A SHORT HISTORY OF WATERFORD
The history of Fort LeBeouf in Waterford reflects the struggle between France and Britain for a colonial empire and the triumph of an independent America.
The sites strategic location on the waters of the upper Ohio made it of vital importance in the struggle for control of the wilderness in the early 18th century.
As the French were displaced by the British and eventually displaced by the Americans, the position along French Creek became the site of three successive forts.
The town of Waterford was laid out in 1794 by Americans who were settling in northwestern Pennsylvania. The town prospered as it became a major stopping point on the route from Pittsburgh to the Great Lakes.
Lake LeBeouf feed into the LeBeouf Creek which feed into French Creek on to the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. Flat boats traversed these waters at the height of the salt trade. When the railroads came into being, the rivers were no longer needed.
The town of Waterford boasts a number of historical points.
2. In 1753, George Washington, then a Major representing the Governor of Virginia, came here to bring a letter to the commander of Fort LeBoeuf warning the French to withdraw their forces from this region claimed by Great Britain. Six years later, the French withdrew their forces and burned the fort. The English took possession of the site and built a new fort in 1760, which was subsequently burned in 1763 by Indians during Pontiac's rebellion.
1. In early 1753, Fort LeBoeuf was built by the French as a system of fortifications extending from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. In this area, it was designed to help protect the Ohio Valley
3. In 1794, United States troops were stationed at the post and built huts and a stockade.One year later, Waterford was laid out and accepted by the Pennsylvania Legislature. A blockhouse was built in 1796 to provide protection for surveyors and settlers. Later, it was used as a prison, storehouse, post office and residence. It was burned in 1868.
4. In the beginning of Waterford's history, it was a booming area because of its location on the North - South trade route between Pittsburgh and the Great Lakes.
5. The Eagle Hotel has its roots dating to the early 1800's. The Eagle Hotel was built in 1826 by Thomas King, son of Robert King, who was a pioneer settler in the township. It was constructed of locally quarried stone. Despite two fires, the exterior of the building has had few alterations through the years. It is still serving fine food daily.
6. The George Washington Monument was erected in 1922 by the citizens of Waterford at a cost of $13,000. It was situated upon the site of the original Fort LeBoeuf, which was in the middle of High Street between the Eagle Hotel and the Judson House. The statue symbolizes Washington carrying out his first public mission. It is interesting to note that this is the only statue of Washington in a British Uniform in Pennsylvania. In 1945, the monument was moved to the lot beside the Eagle Hotel.
7. One of the early settlers was Amos Judson, who came from Connecticut in 1795. He owned a store and by 1820 had accumulated enough wealth to build his Greek Revival home on the corner of our current First and High Streets.
1. Our town is now proudly holding its own economically with many different sizes and varieties of businesses and a fine farming industry in our Township. In our fields you will see corn, wheat, oats, cabbage, potatoes, green beans hay and soybean, to mention only a few. The rewards from each summers toil can be seen at our local Community Fair in September. Our Township also raises some of the finest beef and dairy cows. Because of our good farming industry, we have several local trucking companies and milk cartages. Waterford is also the home of world famous TROYER POTATO CHIPS.
2. The Township has approximately 3,000 residents and an additional 1,450 residents residing in Waterford Borough. Erie County was formed by and Act of the PA Legislature on March 12, 1800. Waterford Township was one of sixteen original townships in the county, with roughly the same boundaries that exist today. A small portion was taken from Waterford Township in 1854 when Summit Township was formed. In 1833, Waterford Borough was incorporated and taken from the Township.
Today Waterford Township is the largest municipality in area in Erie County, with 50.22 square miles. The Township maintains 71.5 miles of roads and has a population of 3,402 (1990 census).
3. The Fort LeBoeuf School District has three schools located in the Borough.
We have quite a talented and cultural area, with our students doing very well scholastically. Our high school consistantly excels in sports, musical productions and our Art, Metal and Woodshop students have won national recognition.
4. We have 2 parks in the center of town separated by the main highways of US Route 19 and State route 97. The park on the west side of the road is a formal park with a gazebo in the center and many tall and stately trees. Antique auto shows and Waterfords annual Heritage Days are held here.
note: BOOTSCOOTERS Dance Hall is located across the south side of the street from this park
The park on the east side of the road is used as a ball field. It is said that burried somewhere in the east park is a horse in full battle regalia. The horse was a hero in the Revolutionary war and was burried with honors.
5. And of course, across the street from the famous eatery, The Waterford Hotel
was the most important place of all: The home of the world famous (ahem)
BOOTSCOOTERS DANCE HALL that closed it's doors forever in February, 2004
HOW TO GET TO WATERFORD, PA.
From I-90 take Exit 6 to Rt. 19 South to Waterford or Exit 7 to Rt. 97 South to Waterford
From I-79 take Exit 38 to Edinboro then Rt. 6N East to Rt. 19 North to Waterford
From Erie take Peach Street (Rt. 19) South to Waterford. Waterford is located about 10 minutes south of the Millcreek Mall
|View the official Waterford map of Historical Sights,
Lake LeBoeuf is situated in Waterford Township and borders the southwestern corner of Waterford Borough. It is about two-thirds of a mile long and a half mild wide, with an island in the center. The water is supplied by bottom springs, Trout Run, Boyd Run, and LeBoeuf Creek (locally known as Beef Creek). LeBoeuf Creek outlets the southeastern end and crosses under Route 19 and joins French Creek about four miles to the south after passing through LeBoeuf Gardens.
LeBoeuf Creek was known to the French as "River Aux Boeufs", named by the for the large number of woods bison or buffalo found grazing grazing the flats below Waterford. The lake was formed by the receding of the "Wisconsin Glacier" during the east ice age.
This lake is the only natural home of the "Tiger Muskie", a distinctive variety of striped muskellunge in Pennsylvania. This lake is one of the only two places in the world where these fish were discovered naturally, the other being Chautauqua in New York State. All "Tiger Muskies" stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission originated at Lake LeBoeuf. In recent years the dredging of the lake has made an excellent area for shore fishing.
The northwest corner of the lake is a marshy area once part of the lake, now overgrown and known as "Hidden Lake", an excellent duck hunting spot. Trout Run enters the lake here.
Lake LeBoeuf was the former home of "Queen Belle of LeBoeuf I and II" . These were steamboat ferries used as tour guide boats, featuring daily rides for ten cents around the lake. They were owned and operated by Lee Lindsley in the early 1900's. After Number I sank, much later Number II caught fire and also sank. Both are still resting on the bottom of the lake.
Other fine links to Waterford happenings are:
Waterford's Official Website
Troyer Farms famous chips and more
PA Land Owners Association
Directory for Waterford
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