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The Smethport Mansion District Walking Tour brochure features a numbered map that guides you along the village streets to over 30 historical properties. You can enjoy the walking tour anytime and at your own pace.
Properties featured include the home of Henry Hamlin, once the wealthiest private banker in the United States, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, a premier example of English Gothic architecture designed by William Halsy Wood. The Melbury House, once used as a stopover on the way to freedom for slaves escaping to the north via the Underground Railroad, the residence of Dr. S.D. Freeman a famed surgeon during the American Civil War of 1861, along with the Bucktail Civil War Monument, bring to light the importance of the village of Smethport and its residents during the Civil War era.
Tucked away in the Pennsylvania Wilds, where the Nunundah Valley and Marvin Creek Valley converge, Smethport was first surveyed by Dutch land surveyors in 1807 who selected it as northwest Pennsylvania’s most perfect town site. In 1880, several factors propelled Smethport into the forefront of the Pennsylvania Wilds.
The combination of vast lumber assets, oil reserves, and the railroads beginning in the 1870s caused McKean County’s economy to skyrocket. Vast amounts of money flowed into Smethport, the governmental seat and financial center of the county. By the 1880s Smethport’s Mansion District was in full construction.
A joint project of the Smethport Area Chamber of Commerce and the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, the Smethport Mansion District Brochure was developed following the designation of Smethport as the first heritage community along Pennsylvania Route 6.
To obtain a brochure, stop by the McKean County Courthouse or the Smethport Visitors Center on Main Street. Brochures are also available at the information kiosk in front of the Courthouse, which also features a large-format map of Smethport.