City streets names link to historical locals

Street names hold historic value in Williamsport, many of them dating back to pioneers in the borough and city’s founding and fixtures.

These streets including Basin, Franklin, Packer, Beeber, Maynard and Hughes — among others.

Much of these street names listed above and below were included by historican and author John F. Meginness in his 1892 “History of Lycoming County.”

Basin Street takes its name from a large water basin that once was adjacent to the West Branch of the Pennsylvania Canal, one of the first sources of commerce up and down the Susquehanna River, said Bruce Huffman, a historical investigator who lives on Cherry Street.

The street elevation shows a gradual dip where the canal system was located.

As part of the realignment and college entrance, Franklin Street was an original street in the Lloyd and Updegraff addition to the borough of Williamsport, dating to at least 1850, Huffman said.

It originally ran from East Fourth Street north only to Washington Boulevard, and was likely named after Benjamin Franklin, he said.

Franklin Street also is one of the 15 streets in the city to retain its original name, Huffman said.

Packer Street, which runs from south off Market Street through Brandon Park and up to Grampian Boulevard was likely named after William Packer, who was a newspaperman, superintendent of the West Branch canal, auditor general, member of the House of Representatives, state senator and governor.

Packer was a delegate to the Baltimore convention in 1835 which nominated Martin Van Buren for president, and also to the Cincinnati convention of 1856 which nominated James Buchanan. Packer died in Williamsport in 1870.

Maynard Street was named after the Maynard family.

Guy Maynard was employed by John White in the lumber business. In 1862 he formed a partnership with Peter Herdic in the lumber business which existed for several years. He was also in partnership with J. W. Maynard in the manufacture and sale of lumber. Maynard belonged to Trinity Episcopal Church, of which he was vestryman from the organization of the parish to his death.

His son, Ransom C. Maynard, began his business life with his father and succeeded to the business, comprising lumber and coal.

Beeber Street was likely named after John Artley Beeber, a lawyer and president of the First National Bank of Williamsport.

He is a descendant of one of the pioneers of the West Branch valley, and the family has lived in what is now Lycoming County since 1783.

Reichard Avenue may have been called that after the Reichard family. Daniel Reighard was born in 1802, and came with his father, John Reighard, to Newberry, in 1811, where he was one of the first settlers.

John Reighard died in 1813, leaving a large family.

Daniel engaged in farming, and served as justice of the peace for several years; he also erected and operated a tannery for a number of years. In 1851, he moved to Jersey Shore and engaged in the hotel business, and died there in 1862.

O.H. Reighard was born in 1840, son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Henry) Reighard. He was largely interested in lumber and manufacturing industries of the city for several years. He has valuable real estate interests, and in 1884 he erected the Reighard Block, on West Fourth street.

In 1886, his failing health prevented him from attending to his legal practice, which was gradually given up.

Reichard became director of the Lycoming National Bank, the Savings Institution, and the Williamsport Water Co., and president of the Brandon Park Commission.

He served as director of Bald Eagle Valley Railroad Company, also of the Valentine Iron Company, and his many and varied interests during the years of his residence in Williamsport have made him one of the busiest as well as one of the most prominent citizens of his native county.

Hughes Street in the East End no doubt was named after Nelson A. Hughes of the firm of Hughes & Bowman, dealers in boots and shoes. After 1882, Hughes arrived in Williamsport and purchased a one-half interest in the retail boot and shoe business of J. E. Dayton & Co. In 1884 he formed a partnership with C. A. Bowman, and purchased the boot and shoe store of T. S. Underhill, on Pine Street, which was established by the latter in 1860.

Hughes was one of the organizers of the Athletic Park Association and was president of that institution.

“The firm of Hughes & Bowman have since enjoyed a prosperous trade, and have won a reputation for dealing in the finest grades of goods that come to Williamsport,” Meginness wrote.


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