Philipsburg Borough, Pennsylvania, (population 3,056) was founded in 1797 and was originally named Mushannon (Moshannon), meaning “Black Water.” The community’s origin is well documented in the daybooks and ledgers kept by founder Henry Philips, who purchased approximately 350,000 acres on the western slope of the Allegheny Mountains for $173,000. According to several reports, this land was then auctioned on the streets of Philadelphia for two cents per acre.
The location was considered desirable for several reasons: it was close to Moshannon Creek, the area was elevated, offering flood protection, and the state highway came through in 1796, offering access to nearby towns.
The region developed around the lumber industry and later on, coal mining. Philipsburg has experienced many booms and busts over the years. Two local groups, the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership and the Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation, are working to strengthen the area’s economy.
Philipsburg Borough offers historic downtown and residential walking tours. Two of the town’s historic landmarks are the Union “Old Mud” Church, completed in 1842 and so-called because of an exterior stucco layer, and the Simler House, the oldest known structure in Philipsburg. The Rowland Theater, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a 1917 vaudeville/movie palace.
Each year, Philipsburg hosts Heritage Days, a week-long festival that attracts about 12,000 visitors.
Designated a Preserve America Community in December 2007.
For more information
Philipsburg Historical Foundation