The area now known as Blair County was originally a part of Cumberland County from July 6, 1754, until March 9, 1771, when it became a part of Bedford County. Blair County was included within the limits of Bedford from March 9, 1771, until September 20, 1787, when Huntingdon County was formed. All except North Woodbury and Greenfield townships were included in Huntingdon County. Blair County remained a part of Huntingdon from September 20, 1787, to June 1, 1846, when it became a separate
county, being formed from a part of Huntingdon County and the two townships of North Woodbury and Greenfield (Clark, 1896).
John Blair, from whom Blair County received it name, was born at Blair's Gap, now in Allegheny Township. John Blair was born at the old homestead where he spent most of his active life. Being an enterprising and wise businessman as well as a public-spirited citizen, he devoted much of his energies to the public improvements of the State (Clark, 1896).
Blair County is geographically located about thirty miles southwest of the center of the
State, and it lies between the 40th and 41st degrees of North Latitude and between the
78th and 79th degrees of Longitude west of Greenwich (Clark, 1896).
BLAIR COUNTY HERITAGE
The first settlers of Blair County were in search of farming land and agricultural activities. The coal in the mountains, the iron ore in the valleys were unknown or unsought, until the beginning of the 20th century and the timber was only desirable for fuel and the few logs necessary to construct their homes, or make rails to enclose the fields cleared for agriculture. The first industries established in the new county were saw and grist mills, but these were very small and insignificant in comparison with those of a later day and were invariably run by water power. Just after the erection of gristmills came the establishment of distilleries. Prior to the year 1800, nothing was developed in the line of manufacturing except the small number of grist and saw mills and stills, but soon after the beginning of the twentieth century the erection of iron works was (Clark, 1896).
The Indian tribes who lived in the forests of Pennsylvania - as well as those of Delaware, New Jersey and a part of Maryland - called themselves the Lenni Lenape, or the original people. This general name comprehended numerous distinct tribes, all speaking dialects of a common language, the Algonquin (Clark, 1896).
ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP HERITAGE
In 1785, the region that was Frankstown Township was divided with the formation of Woodbury Township. With the erection of Huntington County in 1787, Tyrone Township was formed out of what was previously the northern half of Frankstown Township. During the Court of Quarter Sessions of Huntingdon County, in November of 1793, it was noted that several residents had been complaining about inconveniences that they were subject to because of the size of Frankstown Township. It was in this year that Allegheny Township was formed. Allegheny remained as a large township until 1810 when Antis Township was formed out of the northern half and then until 1850 when a portion of the township was added to a portion taken from Antis Township to form Logan Township. The boundary lines after that division represent the present-day Allegheny Township boundary lines (Sell, 1911).
WESTERN ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP
An iron furnace built and operated by the Blair Iron and Coal Company highlighted the early industrial development of western Allegheny Township. The furnace was constructed in 1846 in the town of Bennington, employed 75 men and produced 550 tons of pig iron per month. When the iron industry flourished, the furnace made Bennington a town of significant importance in Allegheny Township. Today, the iron industry has faded and western Allegheny Township remains mainly unsettled with a few sporadic residential dwellings in the valley areas. A large section of the western portion of the township is now owned or leased by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (Smith, 1997). The westernmost portion of Allegheny Township has a few residential dwellings. These dwellings are spreading out from Tunnel Hill Borough.
CENTRAL ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP
The valley regions throughout the center of Allegheny Township have developed residentially. More specifically in the following areas:
Foot of Ten
Sugar Run Gap
Large portions of central Allegheny Township are not developable due to steep slopes associated with the Allegheny Front.
EASTERN ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP
Today, the eastern portion of Allegheny Township is largely supported by commercial and sparse industrial activities. Collector streets and interstate highways provide access to these facilities. The eastern third of Allegheny Township is heavily settled with commercial, industrial and residential land uses. Some of the towns found in the eastern section include Canan Station, Cross Keys, Sunbrook, a portion of South Lakemont and the Borough of Duncansville.