Borough of Wormleysburg

A Capital Reflection

Wormleysburg Borough History

John Wormley’s House

Wormleysburg’s heritage begins in 1772 when John Wormley settled on the West Shore and was deeded land beside neighbor John Kreitzer. Both were farmers and became allies. It was not until 1815, when John Wormley, Esquire, a son who inherited his father’s estate, founded the town of Wormleysburg. Samuel Oyster, another area pioneer, writing for historian I. D. Rupp in 1845 described Wormleysburg at that time as having about fifty dwellings, one tavern, two grocery stores a schoolhouse, a Methodist meetinghouse, and a handicraft village. Population at the time was about 280. Today, the
John Wormley House is a symbol of community heritage and can be found at the corner of Front and Walnut Streets in Wormleysburg. Adjacent to the former Wormley residence is a historical marker honoring the founder of the home.


John Wormsley Marker

The original town was bounded by the Susquehanna River on the east, the Borough of Lemoyne on the west, Pine Street on the north and the current Market Street Bridge on the south. The Town of Wormleysburg was incorporated into a Borough on May 13, 1908 after a citizens’ group, started in the 1890’s, pursued this action. In 1928 the portion of the borough north of Ferry Street was annexed from East Pennsboro Township.

Waterford

Following petitions from East Pennsboro residents in 1952, the Borough passed an ordinance to annex 1,000 acres north to the Conodoguinet Creek and west to 21st Street. Also included was the area south from Houck Street through the “bottleneck” to Lemoyne’s Third Street. Following an extended law suit from the township, Wormleysburg reduced its claim to east of Erford Road and agreed to give up the western part of the “bottleneck” to Lemoyne in exchange for the Pennsboro Manor development with its one-acre lots. Riverview Heights developed with 1950’s suburban homes, apartment complexes and the county’s highest condominiums, Waterford.

The minutes of the very first meeting of the Borough Council, held on July 6, 1908, survive, and from them we can see that the protection of the public riverfront area was of concern then. S. S. Bear, who was a Clerk for the Borough, took minutes of the meeting, and described the meeting as follows:

“J. Fredrick Hummel was selected as Chief Burgess. Hummel administered the oath of office to councilmen John D. Hipple, Daniel S. Brown, Carroll W. Burkholder, Jacob S. Orb, Frank L. Wolfley, William S. Miller and Linwood B. Wanbaugh and nominated Wanbaugh for President of Council with no opposition. A. J. Wright was declared Treasurer as well. At this meeting, the Borough’s first concern was addressed. P. C. Coble, a borough resident, was constructing a two-story house on the East side of Front Street without a warrant or title of law. The home site was considered public land and the law prohibited the construction of private dwellings on that land. The Borough Council requested to Mr. Coble to cease his construction, remove the building and restore the common public land as it was originally.”

You can view a copy of the original minutes in Adobe Acrobat format here

Walnut Street View

Today, Wormleysburg is a diverse community of residences, small businesses and restaurants, with a population of 3,063 according to the 2010 census. The riverfront remains a public resource enjoyed by many.

This brief history is complied from research completed by Ms Kelli Wyland, Dr. William Cornell and Gary Berresford, Borough Manager.

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