Art ~ Writing ~ Life

Steve Campbell's Blog

The Official Ridgewood Map and Town History:

Over the winter I drew several maps of my fictional place and gave it a history. After several tries of cutting and pasting from local road maps, I settled on an arrangement in 2005 that would become my official Ridgewood landscape/topography map.

At my typewriter in 1970, I wrote the town’s history after reading about my own town’s history.

In 1702, I decided, before the Pennsylvania municipality was officially named Ridgewood, the village Amity was constructed as a trading post by French fur hunters and trappers who traded with Native Americans and settlers migrating west along the Allegheny valley. Amity remained a trading post until 1747.

Myers County was then formed from parts of Allegheny County on March 12, 1800. Amity was renamed Ridge Wood in 1829 by one Frank Wood who named the town after his mother’s lineage: Ridge, and his father’s lineage: Wood.

Ridge Wood grew into a sizable railroad town when oil was discovered 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 was called the “Atlantic and Erie Junction.” Land at the junction was owned by Frank Wood, who 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.

This boomtown was chartered as a borough in 1863 and designated as a city in 1865.

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