In 1713, George Gabriel established a settlement “at the mouth of Penn’s Creek.” That, of course, would be where Selinsgrove is today. It became known as Gabriel’s Plantation, and is generally thought to be the first white settlement on the west bank of the Susquehanna River.
Two Men and Two Dreams
The dream Shikellamy had is known, whereby Conrad Weiser, the very influential interpreter who controlled much of the settlement of Selinsgrove and surrounding area, handed over his prized Pennsylvania rifle to the Onondaga chief. Not to be outdone when it came to dreams, Weiser related his nocturnal vision that had Shikellamy presenting Weiser with the Isle of Que. Wisely, after the exchange, Shikellamy solemnly said, “Let’s neither of us dream no more.”
In May, 1776, a Swiss soldier of fortune captained an independent corps per order of General George Washington. To Washington, the captain was probably just another much-needed officer. But he was much more significant. He was Anthony Selin. After Revolutionary forces under Washington accepted the surrender of the British at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1783, Selin resigned his commission and moved to the area that would and still does bear his name – Selinsgrove, although it would be many years before it would be so called.
Simon Snyder, for whom Snyder County, Pennsylvania was named was one of Susquehanna River Valley’s most illustrious citizens. He was Pennsylvania’s third governor and a resident of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. His 1816 home on Market Street currently houses the Selin’s Grove Brewing Pub. Snyder, who had little formal education and no family political connections rose from obscurity to serve three terms as Governor from 1808-1817. Snyder’s life and times continue to be of interest to local, state and national historians. Read more
There is good reason Susquehanna University is located in Selinsgrove. Community visionaries saw the benefit of an institution of higher learning and led the drive for local support that raised $22,500 to bring the Missionary Institute (as it was known when it was first chartered in 1858) to town. The successful fundraising led to Selinsgrove Hall being named in honor of the community, which officially became a borough on September 24, 1853.
Historic Selinsgrove Photo Gallery
The buildings are arranged in a north-to-south order.
1 – Built in 1859 as the Susquehanna Female College, the institution operated until 1873, when declining attendance and increasing debt forced its closure. Its female students were then admitted to the Missionary Institute, later becoming Susquehanna University. The building has held residential apartments for over a century, and was owned by the Noetling family for many years.
2 – Pennsylvania Governor Simon Snyder built this stone mansion in 1816.The Alleman and Coryell families were later occupants of the home, which now is the site of the Selins Grove Brewing Company.A valiant effort by volunteer firefighters saved the Mansion from ruin in the “Great Fire” of 1874.
3 – This impressive three-story building was erected in 1875, by the Chauncey Keeley family, as a combination residence and first floor retail site. It replaced a structure destroyed in the “Great Fire” of 1874.
5 – Another post-1874 structure, this three-story business block, has a rich history of successful downtown businesses. In the early 1900s, the Lutz Barber Shop occupied the site that’s now home to the Kind Cafe. John Bucher operated a popular restaurant and ice cream parlor in the space now comprising Edward Jones Investments agency.
8 – Now home to Miller Insurance, Keystone Group, and the Zeiders Agency, this building was originally the residence of merchant Albert Marburger. It later was the initial location of the Snyder Trust Co, and in the 1950s became Selinsgrove’s Municipal Building.
9 – Currently the site of the Subway restaurant, George Hendricks, and later his son, Charles, operated a hardware business here for over forty years, beginning in 1884. A portion of the building also served as Selinsgrove’s Post Office for eleven years. Home furnishings store, Bearly Country, was a recent long-term occupant.
10 – Now owned by Laird Gemberling (Waddell & Reed), this building is likely the oldest in the downtown area, with construction beginning about 1812. Built by Robert Smith, wealthy businessman Peter Richter acquired the property in 1817, in a rather complicated real estate swap with Smith. It was later the reisdence of Doctor Percival Hottenstein, and for many years, home to the Marion Schoch family.