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A Brief History of the Borough of Duncansville

In 1830, Samuel Duncan, recognizing the excellent possibilities for land development, purchased land on the western banks of the stream, which traversed the area and plotted a town, which he named Duncansville. About the same time Jacob Walters laid out plots of land on the eastern side of the stream and called his settlement Walterstown. Confusion and some rivalry existed between the two settlements. Both Duncan and Walters agreed that a common name should be used for the two places. They decided to cast lots to select the name to be used. The people of both settlements declared a holiday and arranged quite a celebration for the occasion. All assembled at the wooden bridge separating the two towns. A coin was tossed and fortune favored Duncan, thereby uniting the two communities under the name of Duncansville. Duncansville remained a part of Allegheny Township until March 4, 1891, when it was incorporated into a borough. The first council members were: Harry S. Stultz, Daniel W. Higgins, A. K. Hance, J. S. Gibson, P. Kelley, Henry S. Wertz, Secretary and Benjamin Reed, Sr., Burgess.

In 1898, construction began on the water reservoir in Maple Hollow and on the water transmission lines to Duncansville. The system was completed and water turned into the town on November 1, 1902. The reservoir was abandoned in the early 1990’s and the water we now use is from our wells. The municipal sewer system was placed into operation on June 1, 1964. The plant had a daily capacity of 250,000 gallons. The plant was upgraded in February 1998 to a capacity of 1.217 million gallons per day.

In 1920, the PA Highway Department constructed a concrete highway through Duncansville’s Market Street (now 3rd Ave.). In 1932, the concrete highway bridge on Third Avenue was constructed across Blairs Creek. Construction began October 26, 1932, and was completed February 2, 1933. The new bridge replaced a single-lane iron structure, which was built in 1889. The old bridge was the scene of many accidents cause by two vehicle trying to pass on the narrow structure or by heavy vehicles breaking through the bridge flooring. This bridge is now being replaced and will take approximately one to one and one-half years.

November 5, 1935, the town voted “Dry”, eliminating the sale of beer and liquor in the Borough. It has remained “Dry” since that date. Duncansville Community Center construction was started in 1957. The building was dedicated June 14, 1958. The east end of the building is the three bay fire station. The west end was an open gymnasium with a full size basketball court, which was used for roller skating Saturday afternoons. In the center of the building was a kitchen facility with meeting rooms upstairs and behind the kitchen was a room in which meetings for Borough Council were held. The inside of the Community Center has kitchen now has a commercial size stove and refrigerator and small freezer.

The Borough Planning Commission was created on June 5, 1969. In 1970, the Borough purchased the former Presbyterian Church at 1146 3rd Avenue for its offices. The building was renovated and today still serves at the Duncansville Borough Office and Duncansville Police Office.

Duncansville Memorial Park groundbreaking ceremonies were held July 21, 1980. Early in 1980 a committee was formed to set up the celebration held June 21 to June 27, 1981, commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Founding of Duncansville and the famous Coin Toss event of 1831. The celebration was such a success, that each year since that time, it has continued as the Duncansville Community Days. It also created a great interest in the history of Duncansville which, on August 12, 1980, The Duncansville Historical Society was formed. The Borough has 2 churches, Hick’s United Methodist and Evangelical Lutheran Church. There is also Duncansville Emergency Medical Service and Duncansville Volunteer Fire Department within the Borough.

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