Green Park, Pennsylvania
Green Park, an incorporated village located in northeastern Tyrone Township, Perry County, Pennsylvania, sits at the intersection of Pennsylvania Route 233 (Green Park Road) and Pennsylvania Route 274 (Shermans Valley Road). Named after popular 1800s picnic grounds located in the vicinity (at the upper end of Stambaugh Farm Run), the town serves as Perry County’s midpoint between the Conococheague Mountain in the west and the Susquehanna River to the east. Given its central location, connection to a once-thriving wheelwright industry, and historic schoolhouse, Green Park has unofficially been nicknamed Perry County's "Hub of Education."
Places of Interest
Notable landmarks within the historic environs of Green Park include West Perry High School (formerly Green Park Union High School) and West Perry Middle School (formerly Green Park Elementary School), the Elliottsburg/Green Park Post Office, and the Perry Mennonite Reception Center. Places of interest include Bernheisel’s Mill, an 18th-century cemetery on the site of the former Limestone Presbyterian Church, and the Green Park School House. Agriculture comprises the principal industry, with eight commercial dairy, beef, hog, or grain farms operating in the community.
Green Park comprises the northeastern corner of Tyrone Township. It is bisected from north to south by Pennsylvania Route 233 (Green Park Road) and east to west by Pennsylvania Route 274 (Shermans Valley Road), and bordered on the east by the Tyrone Township-Spring Township line, the west by the village limits of Loysville, the north by the top of Limestone Ridge, and the south by Stonehouse Road.
Green Park History
Alexander Roddy, who would later build the first grist mill in Perry County, was the first pioneer to live in what is now Green Park. He built a cabin of poles in the early 1750s near a spring on what is now Green Pastures Farms. He was soon driven out along with other squatters in the area, due to pressure from local Indians; he later returned, but to a new location, after the 1754 Treaty of Albany transferred lands in central Pennsylvania, including Perry County, from the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy to John and Richard Penn Sr.
In 1766, the Limestone Presbyterian Church, also known as the Lower Church or Sam Fisher’s Church, was constructed at the bottom of Limestone Ridge on Dum Road in Green Park. It was abandoned in the early 1800s.
The western side of Green Park sits on a 530-acre tract warranted originally to Ludwig Laird in 1755, and surveyed to Henry Shoemaker in 1814. The east part lies on a tract of 50 acres warranted to James Moore in 1766. Around 1857 Martin Mootzer and John Bernheisel built and opened a store in the center of the village (today the intersection of Routes 233 and 274). They were succeeded in the business by Frank Mortimer, George Ernest, William B. Keck, W.W. McClure, Samuel Stambaugh, George Bernheisel, William Hoobaugh, and Edgar A. Stambaugh.
The first Green Park school emerged in 1815. A one-room schoolhouse on Green Park Road, now maintained by The Historical Society of Perry County, operated from 1892 to 1955. The Green Park Union School District closed the one-room school, two years after opening a new high school in Green Park, when it converted the old Landisburg High School into an elementary school.
In 1820, Green Park was one of the nine sites proposed for the Perry County seat. Interestingly, no houses were built in the village center until William Reed erected one in 1834.
John Bernheisel opened a clover mill on his farm in 1826, grinding clover seed and sumac powered by water from Montour Creek. The 3.5-story brick building, today located on Pennsylvania Route 74 (Veterans Way) features a 35-foot by 35-foot grinding structure. A sawmill was added to one end around 1835. In 1874, Bernheisel’s son, Solomon, changed the works over to a grist mill; four years later he installed a steam engine (housed across the road) to run the facility, which continued in operation until the mid-1920s.
Jacob Bernheisel built a grain cradle factory and shingle mill in 1857, later turning it into a foundry. He received U.S. Patent No. 72,783 on Dec. 31, 1867, for a combination corn sheller, separator, and feeder. In 1874, the foundry was purchased by Rheem Bros.
Two tanneries were based in Green Park―the Titzell tannery, which operated until 1870; and the Shearer tannery, which still stands as a private residence on Stonehouse Road.
During the Battle of Gettysburg, Green Park became a haven for refugees fleeing from the conflict. Jacob Bernheisel’s grain cradle factory was turned into a repair depot for Union wagons.
From 1893 to 1903, Green Park served as a switching yard for traffic moving from the narrow-gauge Newport & Sherman’s Valley Railroad (N&SVR), which ran from a connection with the Pennsylvania Railroad in Newport west to New Germantown, to the standard-gauge Perry County Railroad, which ran from Duncannon to Landisburg. The Susquehanna River & Western Railroad swallowed up the bankrupt Perry County Railroad in 1903 and soon abandoned standard-gauge service west of New Bloomfield.
According to the 1910 U.S. Census, the population of Green Park was 178. Green Park Grange No. 1615 was organized on May 27, 1914, by Edgar A. Stambaugh, with a Pomona Grange for the county established in Green Park on May 23, 1919. The Grange building today has been turned into a private residence.
The Green Park Post Office (17031 ZIP code) closed on Aug. 31, 1996, when it and the Elliottsburg Post Office were consolidated under the 17024 ZIP code (both town names remain valid addresses, however). The 17031 ZIP code was not officially retired by the U.S. Postal Service until Oct. 19, 2002. As a result, it’s likely that during those six years Green Park held the distinction of being smallest town in the United States with two valid ZIP codes.
Prior to the official consolidation of Green Park Union and two other Perry County school systems into the West Perry School District on July 1, 1964, West Perry High School served as Green Park Union High School. Green and white were selected as West Perry’s colors because at the time of the consolidation, Green Park Union (whose colors were green and white) had just purchased new band uniforms and the district did not want to replace them. (Green Park Union's mascot was the Green Hornets.) The current West Perry Middle School opened in 1967 as Green Park Elementary; the transfer of functions with the old middle school (now New Bloomfield Elementary) took place with the 2003-2004 academic year.
1. History of Perry County, Pennsylvania: Including Descriptions of Indians and Pioneer Life from the Time of Earliest Settlement (1922) by Harry Harrison Hain
2. Photos of threshing machines in action at Green Park, Pa.
- List of municipal authorities in Perry County, Pennsylvania
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Perry County, Pennsylvania
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- American Narrow Gauge Railroads. George Woodman Hilton. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
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- "Photos of Bolze Brothers threshing machines in action at Green Park, Pa.". Retrieved 14 October 2011.
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- "Newport and Shermans Valley Railroad". Retrieved 14 October 2011.
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- Perry County (official website)