Borough of Harmony

Pennsylvania, USA

19th Century Harmony

Abraham Zeigler

When the Harmonists decided to leave Pennsylvania, they offered the entire town and approximately 9000 acres for sale. A Mennonite, Abraham Ziegler of LehighCounty in eastern Pennsylvania agreed to purchase it for $100,000.

The Mennonites were farmers and were not prepared to take over a town. Therefore people of other faiths started to come to Harmony to fill the void.

Unfortunately, times were difficult and money was hard to come by. The Harmony Farm Company was created and Abraham Ziegler?s store settled its accounts with the locals through due bills rather than cash.

By 1818, the situation had deteriorated to the point that Ziegler disbanded the Harmony Farm Company and went to Indiana to renegotiate his mortgage with the Harmonists. The Harmonists forgave a portion of the interest due and also agreed to purchase wool from Zeigler in order to help him meet his obligations

However not all was bleak in Harmony immediately after the departure of George Rapp and his followers. Jacob Schnee operated the first all girls school west of the Alleghenies called the Harmony Institute. It attracted girls from Pittsburgh and other parts of Western Pennsylvania.

Schnee also operated his own bank.

Harmony Institute Bill_reduced

This is a $5.00 note that was issued to George Rapp in 1817.

Harmony has had numerous banks during its 200 years. In addition to the notes issued by the Harmony Farm Company and the Harmony Institute, Harmony was also home to the Harmony Savings Bank, the Harmony National Bank, the Peoples National Bank, and Mellon Bank.

Harmony Savings Bank_reduced_copy1

An 1872 Harmony Bank Draft.

In the 1850?s, Harmony had some significant disasters. In 1852, fire destroyed the northeast corner of the town. Four years later a tornado unroofed many of the remaining buildings.

Around 1870, the Pittsburgh, New Castle, and Lake Erie reached Harmony. Prior to that time, the best way to reach Pittsburgh was to go toRochester and catch a steam packet to the city. The other option was to follow the rugged Perry Highway to Pittsburgh.

After the railroad company failed in 1879, the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad assumed control of the tracks. In 1899, Harmony Boroughdonated property to the railroad for the purpose of constructing a railroad station in the borough.

Train Station_copy2_reduced

The train station was abandoned in the 1930’s.

In 1874, an addition to the town was laid out on the south and east.  Today this area is known as Swampoodle. Swampoodle is believed to be an oil drilling term and was given to this area because it was the site of the Harmony “oil boom” of the 1890s

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