Historic Information


An Historic Timeline Centered on Events
and Activities Affecting Lebanon County


The History of our Lebanon Valley is as old as the country itself


1620       Pilgrims settle in New England

1681       William Penn received Pennsylvania from the King of England

1683       First trial by jury in North America - 2 persons charged with practicing
1868       witchcraft - Wm. Penn presided as judge

1723       Michter’s Distillery founded in Lebanon County south of Schaefferstown

1733       Hill Church founded - 2 miles NE of Annville

1734       Peter Grubb acquired 637 ½ acres in Cornwall

1735       Peter Grubb built first the iron furnace near Cornwall

1737       Cornwall Iron Mine opened

1741        Newmanstown founded

1742       Cornwall iron Furnace put into blast

1742       Light’s Fort at 11th & Maple built. At one time sheltered over 60 families

1746       In Schaefferstown, the first gravitational water conveyance system by
               underground pipes in all the British Colonies was built. Reservoir and spring
               located in Fountain Park on Tower Hill and piped to King George Hotel (now
               Franklin House)

1749       Peak immigration period from Germany - Apparently, the Lebanon Valley
1868       resembled the Upper Rhine River area

1750       Conestoga wagons built - "Conestoga's" heavy draft horses bred

1754       Beginning of French-Indian War

1755       Penn’s Creek Massacre (Selinsgrove) led to wild rumors of Indian massacres.
     Conrad Weiser led settlers to plead for help. Governor proposed a real estate
     tax to raise 50,000 pounds. Money needed for guns and ammunition to be
     supplied to settlers and for forts to be built

1756       11 forts built from Susquehanna to Delaware - 10 to 15 miles apart

1756       Lebanon laid out by George Adam Steitz

1756       Robert Coleman worked as clerk at Quittapahilla Forge in Annville Township

1760       Land granted to Tabor & Salem Churches

1760       Campbelltown founded by Scotch-Irish settlers

1761        Jonestown founded by a Welshman

1763       Annville founded by Scotch-Irish settlers then settled by German and Swedish
1868       settlers

1763       French-Indian war ended

1766       Salem Lutheran Church organized - Has bell which tolls at special events

1768       Myerstown founded by Isaac Meier

1773       Home built by Dr. Henry William Stoy (Historical Society building on
     Cumberland Street in downtown Lebanon). Court held on 2nd floor for five
     years. George Washington was a patient

1773       Dec.     Boston Tea Party

1774       Sept.     First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia (13 colonies discussed
1868       common problems)

1775       April 18     "Shot heard round the world" - the battle at Concord Bridge

1775       April     Battle of Lexington

1775       May     2nd Continental Congress put militia in state of preparedness)

1776       July 4     Declaration of Independence

1776       July 6     2 days later - first cannon was cast at Cornwall Iron Furnace

1776       Dr. John Palm founded Palmyra

1776       Pennsylvania adopted 1st Constitution

1781        Oct. 19,   Cornwallis surrendered

1778       "Steitztown" changed to "Lebanon"

1785       "Baron" Henry William Stiegel died a poor man at Charming Forge. He owned
     Elizabeth Furnace, Manheim Glass and Charming Forge at one time. Built a
     tower for living and entertaining in Schaefferstown

1786       Robert Coleman bought 1/6th interest in mining property from Peter Grubb

1787       The Constitution of the United States was adopted

1789       George Washington elected President

1789-99 The French Revolution

1791        Colebrook Furnace started - 2nd cold blast furnace in Lebanon County

1791        Union Canal started (linked the Schuylkill River with Susquehanna)

1792       George Washington visited Lebanon to inspect Union Canal. 1st night spent with
1868       Robert Coleman . 2nd night spent at Farmer’s Hotel (10th & Cumberland)

1810        St. Mary’s Church Cornerstone laid

1812-14   War of 1812 vs. Great Britain

1813        Lebanon separated from Dauphin County to operate as its own county

1814        Court house built 1813. At first session of court, James Buchanan admitted to
     practice law in Lebanon County (later became President of the USA in 1857)

1819        Work completed on the Horseshoe Pike (Rt. 322)

1823       Monroe Doctrine signed

1825       Robert Coleman died leaving 4 sons and 3 daughters. Officer in PA militia
     during Revolutionary War. Member of state convention which framed the
     Constitution of 1790. Served in Legislature. Associate Judge in Lancaster
     County. Sons -Thomas Burd received Colebrook Furnace  William, James &
     Edward received equal shares in Cornwall and Elizabeth Furnaces. All sons
     shared in Cornwall mines and ore banks. Thomas Burd and James ended up with
     the majority of shares in property. Descendants of these two men, especially
     George Dawson and Robert Habersham Coleman left a lasting imprint on
     Lebanon County. George Dawson was James’ son. He built home in Coleman Park
     and had 11 children. G. Dawson Coleman was a  community trustee with a long
     list of accomplishments. One of his daughter’s Deborah (Mrs. Horace Brock
     was instrumental in the founding of the Good Samaritan Hospital. Robert
     Habersham Coleman (grandson of Thomas Burd-Coleman) was born in 1856

1827       Union Canal Tunnel completed in Lebanon County - it’s the oldest surviving
1868       tunnel in America

1829       "Water Works" completed. Simeon Guilford and William Lehman came to town
1868       to work on Canal

1840       First Iron Works - Phraener’s Foundry on N. 7th St

1845       1st hot Blast Furnace - built by grandsons of R. Coleman

1849       Gold rush in California

1852       Robert Coleman sold furnace interest to George

1853       Cornwall Railroad built by R. W. Coleman to provide transportation from
     Cornwall ore mines to North Lebanon furnaces to Union Canal

1853       Beth Israel Synagogue founded

1854       Lebanon Foundry & Machine Shop started

1854       Republican Party begins in Lebanon

1856       Robert Haversham Coleman born

1856       Lincoln & Hamlin Club (Republican Club) formed at 9th & Cumberland.
1868       Lebanon County became strongly Republican

1856       Peter Weimer opened a machine shop on northeast corner of 8th and Scull
     Streets (across railroad tracks.) Honored nationally and internationally as one
     of the foremost pioneers in the development of the iron industry

1857       First trip by rail between Reading and Lebanon

1857       The Lebanon Perseverance Band was organized

1858       YMCA founded in Lebanon

1860       Pony Express

1861        Civil War began at Ft. Sumter

1865       War ends at Appomattox Court House

1865       April 12  Lebanon Valley College opened its doors

1865       April 14  President Lincoln was assassinated

1868       Palatinate College founded in Myerstown. Later served as Albright College
1868       until move to Reading in 1920

1870       Eagle Planing Mill begins operations - became Miller Bros. Lumber

1872       Lebanon Daily News first published

1873       Miller Organ Company began at 8th & Maple with parlor organs, pianos and
1868       victrolas - in business to early 1900’s

1878       George Dawson Coleman died

1878       Methodist Church built in Cornwall with help from Coleman heirs

1878       St. Luke’s Episcopal Church built - "architectural gem".  Cost was $109,000 to
     build. Robert Habersham Coleman financed

1879       Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb

1880       J. B. Millard began a small quarry operation in Lebanon

1884       "Mount Gretna" picnic grounds were laid out. It became a station stop on the
1868       railroad line

1885       Weaver’s Lebanon Bologna founded

1885       28th Division of PA National Guard began summer encampment in Mount
1868       Gretna

1889       Robert Habersham Coleman’s wealth estimated at $30,000,000; more than J.P.
     Morgan. He built railroad station on N. 8th St. (now Strickler Insurance.) He
     lost all his money in a railroad venture in Florida

1891        Pennsylvania Chautauqua was chartered for the advancement of literary and
     scientific attainment among the people and the promotion of popular culture in
     the interest of Christianity

1890’s     Arthur & Horace Brock (sons-in-law of G. Dawson Coleman) managed furnaces
1868       for several years before 1894

1893       Panic of 1893 - Robert H. Coleman wiped out financially. Dime Bank in
1868       Lebanon failed and with it went the life savings of many residents.  Robert
1868       Coleman was only 37 years old. His accomplishments included the handsome
1868       station on North 8th Street, the great Colebrook Furnaces, Lebanon Iron
1868       Company, and beautiful Mt. Gretna Park. He left Cornwall and never came
1868       back. He died at Hyde Park, N.Y. on March 18, 1930

1897       Women’s Club of Lebanon founded by Mrs. Horace Coleman Brock

1901        Coleman’s sold furnaces to Pennsylvania Steel Company

1902       Seltzer’s Bologna Company started operations

1902       Pennsylvania Steel Company acquired scattered Coleman & Grubb interests

1903       Wright Brothers made first successful airplane flight in North Carolina

1908       First motion picture show

1914        Giralamo Guerrisi founded the Keystone Macaroni Mfg. Co. - changed name in
1868       1955 to San Giorgio

1914-18   World War I

1917        Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce chartered

1918        Furnace sold to Bethlehem Steel. Economy consisted mainly iron - tanners -
     shoe factories - carriage factories - cigar making

1920       Bomberger’s Bologna started operations

1921        Kiwanis organized - Mission to improve local environment

1922       Women’s Suffrage Movement began

1924       Lions Club organized in Lebanon

1926       Cornwall incorporated into a borough. Was the largest geographical borough in
1868       the U.S.

1930       The Great Depression

1932       Mrs. Margaret Buckingham (Robert Coleman’s great-grand daughter) presented
     the Cornwall Charcoal Furnace to the State of Pennsylvania to be used for a

1934       Harry E. Millard operated 11 quarries

1936       Daisy Grubb died. Her mansion was Mt. Hope

1941-45  World War 2

1945       First Atomic Bomb dropped on 7 August, 1945
1945       Lebanon Rescue Mission was founded

1949       Salvation Army founded

1949       First Good Samaritan Hospital Street Fair on Chestnut Street

1949       Margaret Buckingham willed her mansion to become part of the Methodist
1868       Church Home (now Cornwall Manor)

1950-53 Korean War

1954       Civil Rights Movement begins

1957       Russia launches Sputnik I - "Space Race Begins"

1962       Cuban missile crisis

1966       Lebanon Plaza Mall opens

1966       Millard quarries sold to Bethlehem Mines Corporation

1972       Hurricane Agnes devastated Lebanon County

1973       Middle Creek Wildlife Project opens

1973       Cornwall Iron Mine closed

1979       Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident

1982       Bethlehem Steel closes

1990       Lebanon National Guard deployed for Desert Storm

1990       Fire destroys Harrisburg Area Community College and Harpel’s

1990       Lebanon Valley Business Park opens


Return To Top