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.

Explore Apollo with our new Apollo Walking Tour map. Click here: Walking Tour of Apollo, PA – Google My Maps

23 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.

    – 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.


  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?


      • 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.


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

    Is chambers hotel the oldest existing bar in apollo


    • 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!


  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!


      • 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.


  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

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