Official Ridgewood Town History
In 1702, French fur hunters and trappers who traded with Native Americans and settlers migrating west along the Allegheny valley constructed a trading post in Pennsylvania called Amity. The village remained a trading post until 1747.
On March 12, 1800, the state formed Myers County from parts of Allegheny County. Frank Wood renamed Amity to Ridge Wood in 1829 after his mother’s lineage: Ridge and his father’s lineage: Wood.
Ridge Wood grew into a sizable railroad town soon after the discovery of oil in northwestern Pennsylvania in 1859. On May 27, 1861, tracks owned by the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad intersected with those of the Sunbury and Erie Railroad and called the “Atlantic and Erie Junction.” Frank Wood owned land at the junction and sold a portion to the Atlantic and Great Western in October 1861. The railroad constructed a ticket office at the junction and named it for Ridge Wood, but through a misspelling, it became Ridgewood.
The combination of railroad growth and the discovery of oil in northwestern Pennsylvania contributed greatly to Ridgewood’s development. The town went from a population of six hundred in 1861 to nine thousand in less than six months. Many surrounding forests were stripped of almost all of their valuable hardwood. Mills and farms sprang up on almost every conceivable spot.
The state recognized the boomtown as a borough in 1863 and designated it as a city in 1865.