Wyalusing History Trail:
Old Wyalusing Historical Sites
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Wyalusing's Middendorf Hotel was the centerpiece of the community from the late 1800's until it was razed in 1984. It once held the distinction of being the region's most frequently photographed building.
The town of Wyalusing is situated near the mouth of the Wyalusing Creek on the Susquehanna River. The original town, called "M'chwihilusing," dates back several centuries. Prior to 1750, the settlement was known as Gahontoto and was inhabited by a native tribe called Tehotachsee. This small tribe was completely exterminated by the Cayugas in wars waged before the Indians knew the use of firearms and fought with bows and arrows.
In 1752, Chief Paupunhank, along with approximately twenty families, built the village of Wyalusing on the ashes of where the destroyed settlement had stood earlier. Their houses, for the most part, were constructed of split logs.
During the Revolutionary War, white settlers in the town sought refuge at the settlement of Wyoming, Pennsylvania. In 1778, Wyalusing was burned to the ground by Indians sympathizing with the British. After the Revolutionary War, the settlers slowly returned to the town.
Through the 1800s, Wyalusing served as a hub for the shipment of logs down the Susquehanna River and grew as a commercial center for the surrounding farms. The Welles Mill Company, established along the Wyalusing Creek in 1820, was a prime reason settlers came to reside in the town and farm the surrounding countryside. The present town is comprised of farmlands once owned by the Gaylord family.
As the town grew, it became a shipping center on the North Branch Canal which followed the Susquehanna River through this region and crossed the Wyalusing Creek by way of an aqueduct. Still later, in the mid-1800s, the railroad was built through this area and Wyalusing became a main shipping point for livestock, grain, lumber and flagstone. The town's business section, which was built mainly between 1820 and the early 1900s has been fortunate in escaping any serious fires such as have swept through other towns in this area. Consequently, the charming, old store fronts still exist today as they were more than a century ago.
Wyalusing was incorporated as a borough in 1887, the same year as the town's newspaper, "The Wyalusing Rocket-Courier," began publication.
In the mid-1920s, Wyalusing became a main shipping center for fresh milk, and the nucleus for a vast dairy industry. The logging industry, after subsiding for a period of time, has again come into prominence in order to meet the supply needs of local timber industries. Cargill Meat Solutions, located just outside the town, is presently one of the largest meat processing industries on the east coast.
Today, Wyalusing is the center of the region's educational system, a large junior/senior high school and our beautiful new elementary school. The school district's area, comprising more than 300 square miles, is one of the largest areas in Pennsylvania.
Citizens of Wyalusing are proud of their heritage and take deep pride in their town's history.