Historic town of Apollo, Pennsylvania

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The map above was drawn by Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler and published by T. M. Fowler & James B. Moyer in 1896. Apollo emerged from the newly formed Armstrong County in the early 1800’s. The early settlement next to the Kiskiminetas River was known as Warren’s Sleeping Place. When it was formally laid out in 1816, it was named Warren, but when the post office was established in 1827 the name was changed to Apollo. It had been determined that there was already another Warren in Pennsylvania and Apollo adopted its classical name.

Apollo obtained its first mill in 1849. In 1855, the Pennsylvania Canal was completed, which bolstered the community’s economy. Apollo’s great iron industry began with the formation of the Kiskiminetas Iron Company in 1856. The company’s rolling mill operated under different proprietorships until 1876, when P. H. Laufman & Co., Ltd. took over management. The firm erected a bigger mill adding to its capacity from 65 to 300 tons of de-carbonized steel per week and erected a copper plating works. The Apollo Foundry was organized in 1889. In the 1890’s, the company ended a labor dispute by hiring local workers as replacements. To avoid further disputes, the Apollo Iron and Steel Company aimed to improve its workers’ living conditions and hired the architectural firm of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot, of New York’s Central Park fame, to design a model industrial town, Vandergrift, just north of Apollo.

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35 thoughts on “Historic town of Apollo, Pennsylvania

  1. Richard Jackson November 26, 2019 / 6:14 pm

    I lived in Apollo in the 30s and 40s, and I loved it. I intended to remain there always, but fate had other ideas. For awhile, we made frequent visits to visit friends and family, but now the visits have dropped to none. I married the former June Cunningham 72 years ago in the Methodist Church. Apollo was a great place for boys to grow up in.
    Richard (Jake) jackson

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Rusty Swenson January 17, 2020 / 10:12 am

    Hi, I didn’t know if you would find this of interest, but it regards Apollo’s first lawyer Jacob Freetly. Rusty Swenson

    Jacob’s will was probated on 19 December , 1903, with Lauretta A. (Amelia) Guthrie and Samuel Jack as the witnesses. Jacob had appointed Walter J. Guthrie as his executor , and his will stated the following:
    1. All debts and funeral expenses to be paid first.
    2. All possessions except for his law books were to go to Fanny if she survived him (she didn’t, dying in 1901)
    3. Walter J. Guthrie was to pay $100 to Lauretta Guthrie for the law books.
    4. He willed $100 to Ralph Freetly
    5. After his wife’s death, all of his properties and belongings were to be evenly given to Mary J. Guthrie, Annie E. Smith, and David B. Freetly to “share and share alike”
    He notes of David’s indebtedness to him:
    – A $300 promissary note given to him by Walter J. Guthrie,
    – $190 in cash “for repairing his wells in June,1888” //Note: At this timeframe David was noted as working in the Parker area on oil wells//
    – 2 notes of $200 he paid to Apollo Savings Bank
    It was stated that these debts, if not paid back before Jacob’s death, were to be deducted out of his share of the estate.
    6. He gives Walter J. Guthrie the right to sell any of his holdings in order to settle any debts upon his death.

    Comments:
    – The 1900 census shows Jacob and his wife living in Apollo and having a 28-yr-old “servant”.
    – The 1900 census lists David B Freetly living in Apollo with his wife Thala and son Ralph.
    – The 1910 census shows David at age 67 living with his son Ralph on Armstrong Avenue.
    – On February 23, 1920, David died from an accidental fall from a window at his son’s house. David was born on Oct 31, 1842.
    – Lauretta Guthrie was Mary J. and John Beatty Guthrie’s daughter, and my mom always called her “Aunt Laura Guthrie”, who she took care of in Lauretta’s later years. In reality she would have been my mom’s great Aunt. Aunt Laura Guthrie gave my mom and dad the house I originally grew up in. This happened sometime after 1940 as the 1940 census shows my mom, dad, Clara, and Shirley along with Aunt Martha Freetly living at 304 N. Third Street and a Harry and Emma cox living at the 312 N. Third Street where I began life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apollo Area Historical Society September 28, 2021 / 2:49 pm

      Hi Rusty, I found a great article from the 1891 “Biographical And Historical Cyclopedia Of Indiana And Armstrong Counties” so I finally included Jacob Freetly in our People & Families section of this website. As Apollo’s first lawyer, he needed to be included & I’m sorry for taking so long! Very interesting man & family! Thanks for your notes too. I included them as well.

      Like

  3. Claudia Scott April 18, 2020 / 3:57 pm

    Dear Sirs,
    I am researching the clockmakers along the Kiskiminitus River and I would like to know if you have any records on the clockmakers or clock shop and watch repair that originated in the Apollo Area. I am Secretary of the Allegheny Clock Chapter#37 , an honorary chapter of the NAWCC (National Association of Clock and Watchmakers) located in Colombia PA. I am originally from East Vandergrift and a friend to Don Whitlinger, member and a long time resident in Apollo PA. Dennis Stephens, my first cousin, grew up on Acheson Avenue Apollo, and he is an clock person too and would enjoy any information on this subject. Thank You, Claudia Scott

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apollo Area Historical Society July 13, 2020 / 10:23 am

      Dr. T.J. Henry’s book has no information about clock/watch repair shops. I will have to check the museum, maybe in old phone directories?

      Like

      • Apollo Area Historical Society November 11, 2021 / 9:11 pm

        Hello Claudia,
        I was unable to find anything in the phone directories, but our president, Denise Flickinger, just came across an old photo of the Malta Building (undated, unfortunately). On the steps in front is painted “Watches Clocks”. I can’t figure out how to paste the picture here, but if you’d like me to send you a copy, you could send an email to apollopahistory@gmail.com and I’ll send it along.
        Sue

        Like

  4. John Tobias July 11, 2020 / 2:53 pm

    Is chambers hotel the oldest existing bar in apollo

    Like

    • Apollo Area Historical Society July 13, 2020 / 10:19 am

      I looked in Dr. T.J. Henry’s book & did not see any others listed. I will do some more research & see what I come up with!

      Like

  5. Tammy Cohen April 24, 2021 / 11:19 pm

    Do you have any time information on the former Kiski Park Drive Community Swimming Pool that was behind the Washington Township Firehall? Thank you!

    Like

      • Apollo Area Historical Society July 18, 2021 / 5:27 pm

        Yes, I found some photos. I will try to post them under places. If anyone has anymore info about the Baustert’s Swimming Pool in Washington Township, we would love to learn more.

        Like

  6. Dirci Altamirano April 30, 2021 / 2:31 am

    My family migrated to Apollo in 1906 my grandfather and his brother were both coal miners in Italy and in Apollo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kathryn Dobbs June 2, 2021 / 1:37 pm

    My mom and family lived across the street from the Jackson house in the 1920’s and 30’s. They used Jimmy Stewart’s baby crib. They played at the house many times. I have visited many times. I was there this past Monday with the youngest generation. I like Apollo very much as did they. All of the original family members have passed away. My mom was the last and she just passed this past March. The family name was Davis.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Susan Kardos June 21, 2021 / 5:06 pm

    I have several Kiskitas yearbooks from the 50s and 60s that I would like to donate. My father, max afanesko, taught at Apollo sr and Jr high for 35 plus years. Please contact me if u r interested

    Liked by 1 person

    • William Kerr June 26, 2021 / 9:30 pm

      Teacher Max Afanesko will always be among our beloved teachers at Apollo High School. Mr. Afanesko had an in-depth understanding and working knowledge of American government, political science, and history. His class, Problems of Democracy, was among the favorite planned courses of study. He also was our senior class advisor. – William Kerr, AHS Class 1969

      Liked by 1 person

  9. John Mohney September 11, 2021 / 8:06 am

    Does anyone remember the street or address of ralph or jim mohney?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dianne Rasco January 18, 2022 / 9:27 pm

    would you remember a little league field in the mid 50’s that would have access to a bridge going over the river to it? My husband lived in Apollo at this time frame, Danny Rasco. He would walk to the ball field from his house and would have to go over a bridge? Is there anyway I could find out what his house address may have been? He lived across the street (or next door) to a faimily who had 21 or so kids. Tnank you for your help

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apollo Area Historical Society January 20, 2022 / 1:32 pm

      Something to think about from Denise Flickinger. Her husband Dan’s family had 12 kids. They lived across the river in the Paulton area. Or there was the Poydence family who had (I think) 15 kids. They lived along the hillside going to N. Apollo. Access to the ballfield could have been going over the little bridge located along 11th Street in Apollo. The other family with many kids was the Robinsons (16) but they lived on a street that would not have had a bridge near it. Dan doesn’t remember the Rasco name, but he was pretty young in the 50’s. There is no Rasco name in the phone directories either, but a lot of families still didn’t have phones back then.

      Like

    • Rusty Swenson March 22, 2022 / 12:57 am

      The 1950 census comes out in April of 2022 so you might be able to get his address at that time in one of the genealogy websites. I personally prefer familysearch dot com (free). Regarding the bridge,I can only think of the Apolo bridge crossing the Kiskiminetas, and perhaps he would go to what we called water tank hill. I played some ball there also. It was located off of South Pennsylvania Avenue on top of a hill, which now is full of houses.

      Like

  11. Mary Jane Curry March 4, 2022 / 12:52 pm

    My great grandfather Oscar Oppenheimer and his brother Alfred were among a group of owners of Apollo Steel and Iron from about 1912. I’m trying to find information on what happened with that company later in the early half of the 20th century.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Deb Elliott March 15, 2022 / 8:20 am

    My Mom grew up in Apollo. I have so many family pictures. This is the Laffer family.. None of my cousins want them. I don’t know what to do with all of them. These photos go way back to the late 19 century to early 20th century. I also have a beautiful cotton night gown that was on display at the log cabin. It was my great grandmother’s.
    Thank you for any advice you can give me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apollo Area Historical Society March 15, 2022 / 8:32 am

      Hi Deb, The AAHS is always happy to have photos & memorabilia such as the night gown. Especially if you have names & dates on the pictures! We will be open on Weds. & Sat. 11-2 beginning April 2 if you’d like to drop them off at our museum. We’ll be open for our Flood Program this Sat. also if that suits. That’s assuming of course that you are in our area! Thanks for your interest in the AAHS! Sue

      Like

  13. Beverly (Beamer) Mooney March 28, 2022 / 9:30 pm

    Do you include items or photos from North Apollo? I have glasses and plastic banana split boats from the Dairy Queen from the 50’s or 60’s. I also have some photos from North Apollo of the elementary school.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Bev Mooney March 29, 2022 / 2:33 pm

        Thank you for responding. I will go through my photos and items I have e. I live near Greater Pittsburgh Airport so I don’t get up to Apollo that often. Please me know when and where I can bring the items to you.

        On Tue, Mar 29, 2022, 8:07 AM Apollo Area Historical Society wrote:

        > Apollo Area Historical Society commented: “Yes! We consider N. Apollo as > part of the Apollo Area Historical Society!! And we appreciate any > memorabilia. Thank you.” >

        Like

  14. Virginia Altstatt April 7, 2022 / 6:38 pm

    Hi Kathryn! My maternal side last name is Davis, all coming from Apollo, William L Davis, Arthur B Davis, and my grandma Sally or Sara Christine. Was your mother Nancy? Which would have been my grandmothers sister? Very interesting!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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