History of the
Village of Prospect, PA
THE OLD HOME WEEK BOOK
The inception of this book arose with the celebration of Old Home Week, September 28-30, 1907. From the journal of the writer the subjoined extracts are taken as bearing on that point:
Wednesday, 28 - Went with Warren, Katharine and Carl to Prospect to attend the Old Home Week celebration. Met Elvira Kinkaid and Emma Breedon on the train and many other companions when we arrived. The old home village never looked so beautiful. Saw a game of baseball in which Prospect beat Butler 6 to 5. This evening A.W.McCulloch read a historical sketch of the town. The young people had a corn roast.
Thursday, 29 - The day was perfect as to the weather and as to the celebration. The churches were opened for services, of which I attended those at the U.P. and the Lutheran. Mr. Martsolf was buried from our church today. Then I arranged for the publication of A.W McCulloch's history and took subscriptions for over 100 copies. We got some of the old drum corps together and paraded the streets just as of yore. A basket picnic filled out the day in "Kirk's Woods." This evening we had music and speeches in the grove. It was fine.
Friday, 30 - J.C. ("Coon") Buechle brought to me a copy of my great grand-father's will and two copies of "The Butler Centinel" of 1821 and 1826, one of the first newspapers published in Butler county. Came home this evening. Never was there a more pleasant re-union than this in Prospect. Thousands of people were there, yet no drunkeness, no disorder and no police. I was tired but happy, happy, happy.
So far the journal. Mr. McCulloch's health was impaired and he was prevented from completing the work so well begun in the historical sketch which he read and which gave tthe idea which was the nucleus of the effort to have him prepare a more complete history. The money received on subscriptions and the promise given that a history should be published made the writer morally and financially responsible for its appearance. Under the circumstances he has prepared what is now presented, in the hope that his effort may not be condemned - seeing it is the work of a substitute for that of one far better qualified than himself to write the history of our dear native town. The writer began his work as here presented, Oct., 1911.
A few remarks explanatory are in order here,
First, It is not to be expected that much history of more than local interest has ever been made in a little inland village of fewer than five hundred inhabitants.
Second, What history has been made has been largely lost because nobody recorded it.
Third, The attempt is now made to gather such chapters of what has not perished as may be possible; which will be necessarily presented in fragmentary form and without any special continuity.
The paper of Mr. McCulloch, with which this book opens, covers the earlier portion of the history as completely as it will ever be written. The journals and memoranda of the present writer, going back to the time when he was sent away to boarding school in 1864, a period of almost fifty years, are all that he has to rely on to assist his memory in drawing the picture of the vanished life of Prospect.
D. Luther Roth
Pittsburgh, Pa., 1912.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:- I beg to say before beginning to read this manuscript, by way of apology for its glaring incompleteness, that, for some months past, I have not been in mental or physical condition to undertake the task of preparing the historic sketch of Prospect, which honor has been assigned to me by the borough council. Hoping to be relieved by someone taking my place, I wrote to different friends, whom I regard as better qualified to prepare such sketch than I am, urging them to take my place on the program; but each and all declined; so there seemed to be nothing else for me to do but to undertake the work. I feel that what I am about to offer falls far short of being worthy of this occasion, worthy of this audience, or worthy of myself; but in the belief that its defects will be cured by the many speeches along the same line, that are to follow during Old Home Week, I offer it in the sense of starting "the ball to roll."
"Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations." Deut. 32:7. In these words, the greatest Lawgiver that the world has ever known counselled the people of his nation, and of his day, to call back the vanished years and to commune with them. The verbs,"remember," "consider," are in the imperative mood and are more in the nature of a command than of an advisory character. Recall, reflect; call up the past, meditate upon its lessons; be admonished by its mistakes, be encouraged by its attainments; be instructed by its failures, and be stimulated by its achievements, to higher aims, to nobler purposes, to worthier efforts, in the years to come. As the century past, in the history of Prospect and surrounding neighborhood, with its three generations of men shall pass in review before us, in the reminiscent panorama that shall be thrown upon the canvas by the speakers from this platform, and by the old-time friends, as they engage in social intercourse about the days of "auld land syne", it shall indeed be well as we "remember" the years gone by, that we shall also heed the admonition to "consider" the messages of instruction with which they are laden.
We begin our historic sketch of the hamlet, so dear to so many of us, by stating that the village of Prospect, Butler County, Pa., is located on a plateau, that forms the watershed - running from East to West, which divides the waters of the Connoquenessing on the south, and the tributaries of Slippery Rock on the north. By careful barometric levelings, which I made before the last history of Butler County was published in 1893 or 94, starting from the station of the Butler Branch of the West Penn railroad at Butler, Pa., which is 1008 feet above the ocean, as ascertained by the instrumental leveling at the time the road was constructed, I found that the elevation of the Diamond in Prospect is 1370 feet above sea level. That is 585 feet higher than the Union Station in Pittsburg, 30 miles south on an air line; and 757 feet higher than Lake Erie, 573 feet above tide level, 82 miles directly north. Villagers, when I was a boy, in speaking of the two cities named, said, "Down to Pittsburg and up to Erie," which was only half-a-truth. After all "up" and "down" are but relative terms. If the Earth's crust were planed off from Prospect to these cities, we could look down upon both of them; and if, a toboggan slide, from the old "Eagle Tavern," now the residence of Caleb M. Edmunson, were constructed to the cities named, the swifter descent would be on the one to Erie, the velocity being accelerated by the steeper angle of decline to the north, than to the south. So much for the altitude of the village.
Geographically, it is located 80 degrees 2¼ minutes West Longitude; the 80th meridian crossing the Butler road at Sullivan's run; and 40 degrees 55 minutes North Latitude; the 41st parallel crossing the old Franklin road two miles south of the Stone House, that hostelry of ancient and rather unsavory fame. This meridian and this parallel are the only fixed lines encircling the globe that cut across Butler County in opposite directions. The difference in local time between Prospect and Washington, D.C., (putting the greater first) is 12 minutes 2¼ seconds. When the ball drops from the tower of the United States Observatory, on Meridian Hill, at Washington, D.C., and strikes the gong at 12 o'clock high noon, if the tone could be heard instantaneously at Prospect, the clocks and watches, if set at correct local time, would be 12 minutes, 2 and ¼ seconds slow. But, for several years we have the standard "cental time", as you know, which is the same as Washington, D.C.
Geologically, Prospect and surrounding townships, belong to the paleozoic time, and to the Carboniferous age.
Stratigraphically, the soil of the borough plots, and adjacent farmlands, consists of a mixture of argellaceous shale and sand, made up of decomposed strata lying upon and above the Mahoning sandstone. This sandstone is 125 feet in thickness, and is the foundation rock upon which the Lower Barren Measures are built up. It is also the cap stone that tops out the Lower Productive Coal Measures; and its massiveness, resisting the erosive forces of the ages, has spread out a long stretch of table-land in which Prospect is located near the center. This sandrock is nature's great filter through which the annual rain-fall percolates, is distilled, and furnishes the innumerable springs that supply such abundance of pure, cold, soft water all over this section of Butler County.
Butler County Pennsylvania History and Genealogy
Back to Genealogy Trails
Back to Pennsylvania Trails History and Genealogy