Newport Historic District

Newport Boro, Perry County, PA

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The Newport Historic District [‡] was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.


The Newport Historic District consists of a large residential neighborhood of primarily vernacular working-class homes, a commercial area, industrial buildings, public buildings, three bridges, and a cemetery. The town of Newport comprises a rectangular grid pattern, six blocks deep and seven blocks long, with the numbered streets running parallel to the Juniata River. The elevated main line of the former Pennsylvania Railroad separates the town from the river, and a low ridge, called Legion Hill, provides the western boundary of Newport. Newport remains anchored by Center Square, at the intersection of Market and Second Streets, with large, three-story brick commercial buildings at each corner. The primary commercial area surrounds Center Square. The residential district surrounds the commercial district on three sides. Some commercial and industrial buildings remain near the river, along Front Street, facing the former Main Line of the Pennsylvania Canal, now filled by the elevated railroad tracks. Industrial buildings cluster near Little Buffalo Creek, which provided power and later, water for the enterprises. Public buildings are scattered throughout the town. A total of 483 buildings, three bridges (one, the Fourth Street Bridge has been previously listed in the National Register), and one site (a cemetery) are within the Newport Historic District. Twenty-seven buildings, less than 50 years old, do not contribute to the District. Another 38 buildings, more than 50 years old, lack sufficient integrity to contribute to the District. The great majority of the 418 contributing buildings are residences, which number 361. Of these residences, most, 321 out of 361, are side-, cross-, or end-gabled two-story I-houses. About half retain some decoration, predominately either Italianate or Folk Victorian. These I-houses, the vast majority of which are vernacular, were constructed in the period of Newport's greatest prosperity, 1865-1920. Most of the I-houses stand immediately adjacent to the street, and most have one-story porches. Few high-style residences are evident: nine Second Empire, four Queen Anne, four Colonial Revival, one Greek Revival, and one Chateauesque provide evidence of the middle-class nature of the population of the town. One contributing residence (301 W. Market Street) is a three-story 1892 brick and stone townhouse. Many residences have garages or outbuildings at the rear of their lots, but only a few could be identified as more than 50 years old. Sixteen Foursquare residences and two Craftsman styles remain in the Newport Historic District. Two of the bridges contribute (the third, the Fourth Street Bridge, was previously listed in the National Register), and the cemetery (1826-1907) contributes. The community retains strong integrity.

Local industries provided most of the building materials. Roughly two-thirds of the buildings are frame, numbering 271. The remaining third are brick, numbering 147. One stone building, a marble and sandstone bank on the northwest side of Center Square, stands in Newport. A Foursquare (319 N Fourth Street) is constructed of cast stone (rusticated concrete block). Three stone arch bridges span Little Buffalo Creek. Although the residents of Newport did not utilize native sandstone and limestone for the structure of their buildings (with the exception of some of the bank), all but a dozen foundations are constructed of stone, including one as late as 1937. The remaining dozen foundations are split between concrete, either poured or blocks, and bricks.

The frame buildings feature primarily balloon frames. Cladding originally consisted of clapboards or drop (or German) siding. However, less than one-quarter of the residences are clad in wooden siding today. Vinyl and aluminum siding account for two-thirds of the visible siding on frame buildings. The remaining third are sided with asbestos and asphalt composition siding, in addition to the portion that retains their wooden siding, either clapboards or drop siding. Only two log buildings (311 and 313 W Market Street, not contributing) could be identified; local residents did not know of others.

Center Square remains the commercial hub of Newport. At each corner of the square, imposing three-story brick buildings dominate the streetscape, all of which contribute to the District. On the northwest corner, the 1871 Graham Hotel (1 N Second Street) presently houses a bank and other businesses. Diagonally, on the southeast corner, the 1875 Butz Building[1] (1 S Second Street) features several shops on the first floor, and apartments on the second and third. Constructed by clothing manufacturer Jesse Butz, Sr., the Butz Building's shops originally provided retail outlets for Butz's goods. Across Market Street on the northeast corner stands the three-story hipped roofed 1875 Mingle House (130 E Market Street), which retains its original function as a restaurant and hotel. Diagonally across from the Mingle House on the southwest corner stands the 1876 Centennial Building (4 S Second Street), housing a shop on the first floor and apartments on the second and third. These four buildings, constructed within a five-year period, provide visual marker of the post-Civil War prosperity of Newport. A variety of businesses, housed in one- and two-story brick, frame, and stone structures, flank the four primary buildings. All buildings within and adjacent to Center Square are more than 50 years old, and all contribute to the District.

Because Newport's early prosperity came from shipping flour and feed, several warehouses stood along Front Street. One, the Jones Warehouse (25 N Front Street), remains, built prior to 1820 (Eby 1978: 153; Hain 1922: 1027), now the David M. Myers Warehouse. Dock Alley (or Dock Street) was named because of the dock adjacent to the Jones Warehouse, which first served river, then canal traffic. A nearby building (35 N Front Street, not contributing) likely also served as a warehouse, and later became an auto dealership, with a modern concrete and glass facade.

Related industries also operated in Newport. Across Market Street stands the Beatty Livery Stable (at Perm Alley and Front Street), constructed in 1876 by J.C. Frank. Carriages and sleighs were constructed and repaired in the building, which later became an auto dealership. Across Little Buffalo Creek, the Newport Ice Company (Bloomfield Avenue and Third Street) utilized the burned-out brick walls of the Newport Foundry and Manufacturing Company. The Forged Steel Products Company (133 S Fifth Street), who later merged with Snap-On Tools, occupied a former garment factory on Fifth Street, also near the creek.

Several public buildings remain. Newport's first firehouse (231 W Market Street), an 1895 brick structure, now houses the Borough's offices. Two lodges, an Owl's Club (off Front Street along Perm Alley) and a Loyal Order of Moose (233 W Market Street), both of which contribute to the District and both circa 1915, continue to be active. The 1911 Newport Public School (25 N Fourth Street) has been converted to apartments.

Six churches, all contributing to the District, from the period 1874 to 1912 remain. One, the former Presbyterian Church (100 N Second Street), has been converted to an outreach program's local headquarters, but retains its Queen Anne style and stained glass windows. The Rider Cemetery (at the end of S Fifth Street, counted as a contributing site), 1826-1907, retains approximately 350 predominately nineteenth-century headstones.

Three stone arch bridges span Little Buffalo Creek, all of which contribute to the District. Although the bridges were reportedly built circa 1900, an 1895 drawing shows both the Third and Fourth Street bridges much as they remain today. Fourth Street Bridge (previously listed) carries considerable traffic on PA Route 34.[2] The Third Street Bridge, originally utilized by the Pennsylvania Railroad, is presently closed to all but pedestrian traffic. The Second Street Bridge continues to carry local traffic across the Creek.

The non-contributing buildings, about half of which are post-1950 residences, comprise less than twelve percent of the total. The post-1950 residences have primarily distinctive Ranch-style features, but because of their low profile, they are not intrusive into the streetscape. In addition, the post-1950 residences are scattered throughout town, and not clustered in a single area. Their impact on the integrity of the district as a whole is negligible. A modern supermarket and a modern post office have been excluded from the District, although they are within the Borough (along the north side of Walnut Street, between N Shrub and N Peach Streets).

The most common alterations to pre-1950 buildings are the addition of vinyl or aluminum siding and the replacement of porches. Because of the large number of brick structures, the addition of vinyl or aluminum siding affects about half of the buildings in the District. Although some of the application of these modern sidings has been unsympathetic, many residents have attempted to match in vinyl (and to some extent aluminum) the original siding, including appropriate color and trim details, resulting in very little impact to the integrity of the District as a whole.

Residents have replaced or altered porches. Many porches, although historic in details, do not appear to be original with the houses. However, 90 percent of the residences presently have porches. The most common alteration to the porches has been the replacement of the previously wooden floors with concrete floors. Because the concrete floors are generally hidden behind flowers, bushes, and other plantings, they do not detract from the integrity of the house. Porch columns have also commonly been replaced, occasionally with unsympathetic modern metal posts. Many original columns with original details remain, most with either Folk Victorian-style turned, chamfered Italianate-style, or Tuscan Classical-style columns. Less common, despite the presence of a local iron industry, are historic wrought-iron posts or their modern replacements. The large number of residences that retain their original or sympathetic replacement porches with period detail add to the integrity of the District.

In summary, the Newport Historic District retains a large number of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century buildings. In addition, much of the layout and structure of the town remains, giving it the visual qualities demonstrative of a local residential, commercial, and industrial center of the last century. Framed by the topography, the buildings of the District exhibit a cohesive unit of scale, massing, and building profile. The primary visual markers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries remain. The District as a whole retains strong integrity.


[1] One source (Perry Historian 1979:99) stated that the Butz Building was built 1855-1857 by John S. Demaree. However, Hain (1922: 1026) described the destruction of the buildings on the east side of Second Street, south of the Jones Warehouse (25 N Front Street) in a fire.

[2] The Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form for the Fourth Street Bridge listed the date of construction as 1926 (Connolly 1982), but the 1895 drawing (NSC 1990:xii-xiii) clearly depicted a three-span masonry bridge virtually identical to the existing one. Perhaps the 1926 date reflects repairs or the addition of the cantilevered sidewalk.


The Newport Historic District is historically significant for its long-term contribution to regional and local commerce and industry. In addition, the buildings of Newport remain largely intact and are generally well preserved, providing a representative example of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architecture. The earliest identifiable extant building is the Jones Warehouse (25 N Front Street), circa 1817 (Hain 1922: 1027), and the last contributing building constructed is the 1944 Myers Apartment Building (29 N Second Street). The dates of these buildings bracket the period of significance of the District, 1817- 1944.

Industry began to overtake agricultural products in the latter part of the nineteenth century in Newport. Tanneries, utilizing forest and agricultural products, operated in Newport. Later, forges, a brickyard, a planing mill, garment factories, a glass works, a wagon and sleigh manufactory, and a gun smithy all operated in Newport by the turn of the century. Newport furnished products for the surrounding region, including Harrisburg and Baltimore.

Newport retains significance for its collection of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century buildings. The cluster of commercial buildings around Center Square remains virtually intact. Surrounding the commercial cluster on three sides is the residential area, with public buildings scattered throughout. Industrial buildings remain, primarily utilized for commercial enterprises. The buildings of the Newport Historic District comprise a representative example of a commercial, industrial, milling, and transportation center.

Brief/Historical Outline:

The site of Newport began as a local milling and shipping center.[1] Although its documented history originated with a patent from the Penn family to David English in 1775, English probably had built a mill prior to the patent. Utilizing the water of Little Buffalo Creek for power, English constructed a gristmill circa 1765 (Eby 1978:162). Flour and feed moved downstream on flatboats, rafts, and arks to Harrisburg and Baltimore.

In 1789, David English's son, also David, sold a tract to Paul Reider (also spelled Rider). By the time of the 1807 construction of the Harrisburg and Millerstown Turnpike, on the east side of the Juniata River, Reider and his sons operated a ferry to connect to it. Some settlement occurred following an 1804 partition, and the fledgling town was called both Reider's Ferry and Reidertown.[2] However, by 1822, Reider's sons sold lots in the town, now called Newport (Perry County Deed Book C, pages 177-181, cited in The Perry Review, 1990:99).[3] English's mill, by that time a 50 by 60-foot stone structure (Hain 1922:259, removed in 1996), was depicted on an 1832 court document describing the partition of Reider's lands (Newport Sesquicentennial Committee 1990:xi).

Newport provided local farmers with an outlet to markets. Local carpenters assembled flatboats and arks to float the agricultural products of the area to Harrisburg and Baltimore. The completion of the Juniata Division of the Pennsylvania Canal to Millerstown in 1830 increased Newport's significance as a local market town. The canal ran along Front Street, permitting local merchants access to goods without using the ferry. In 1840, the Borough of Newport became incorporated (Newport Sesquicentennial Committee [NSC] 19905; Hain 1922: 1023).

Newport's importance as a local market center attracted industry. A sawmill and a gristmill, utilizing the rapid flow of Little Buffalo Creek, provided means for processing local products. A tannery opened in 1837, and an iron furnace made pig iron in the vicinity. By the time of its incorporation, the town contained over 100 houses, with a population of about 500 people (NSC 19905). The census for 1840 enumerated 423 people (Sixth Census of the United States, vol. 1, 1840: 151).

The completion of the Duncannon to Lewistown portion of the Pennsylvania Railroad along Third Street in 1849 increased the commercial importance of the town. Additional industries located in and around Newport, including a furnace, a forge, a brick works, an additional tannery, three planing mills, two hosiery mills, a shirt factory, a dress factory, a glass works, an ice plant, and a gun smithy. With a large and productive agricultural hinterland, Newport contained a prosperous commercial district in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Local historian H.H. Hain wrote "Newport is the leading business town in Perry County, owing to its central location and shipping facilities" (1922: 1023).

The industries that provided the occupations for the residents of Newport in the latter half of the nineteenth century included two tanneries, two forges, three garment factories, two gristmills,[4] a planing mill, and a brickyard. The latter two industries, the planing mill and brickyard, contributed to the buildings of the town.[5] The forges remain extant; one is the Newport Ice Company at S Third Street and Bloomfield Avenue, and the other at 133 S Fifth Street. Hain wrote of the latter, the Forged Steel Products Company, "(d)uring the first half of the Nineteenth Century various furnaces and forges were erected throughout the county [Perry], but near its end but two remained in business, the furnaces at Duncannon and Newport" (1922:272)

Transportation continued to develop in Newport. Prior to the 1830 opening of the Juniata Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, goods moved downriver on rafts, arks, and flatboats. The canal, which ran along Front Street, provided a more consistent link to markets, primarily Harrisburg and Baltimore. The 1849 opening of the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad added additional transportation capability. The railroad originally ran along Third Street. A spur from the main tracks still runs into Newport along North Third Street, but now stops at Oliver Street. Warehouses and a grain mill and elevator continue to function in this area (Fickes Mill, N Third Street). A tannery that burned in 1937 also stood near the rail yard, and large concrete piers remain extant, now part of a modern park.

The early twentieth century brought changes to Newport. The canal, which had been damaged in the 1889 flood, closed in 1899. In 1903, the Pennsylvania Railroad, owners of the canal since 1857, relocated their main tracks to Front Street. The canal was filled, and an embankment raised to permit the railroad to pass over the highway, allowing for increased speed and safety. A new railroad station was constructed in 1905, extant on S Front Street.

Other changes occurred as the twentieth century progressed. The livery stable became, appropriately, an automobile dealership. But other industries closed. By 1920, the forge ceased operation, and in 1937 the last tannery burned. Planing and garment mills continued to the middle of the twentieth century before closing. One garment mill, outside of the District, continues to operate.

Newport's importance as a local commercial, religious, social, and market center continues. On Center Square, the 1875 Mingle House (1 30 E Market Street) continues to operate as the Newport Hotel and Tavern. The Graham Hotel (1 N Second Street) now houses a bank, but the First National Bank (15 N Second Street) remains. Five of the six churches remain in use, and the residences generally remain in good repair.


Commerce in Newport began with grain and lumber shipping. The products of the rich forest and farm hinterland were processed and shipped from Newport. Gristmills, sawmills, and warehouses provided the facilities for the commerce. Throughout the nineteenth century, continuing to the present, Newport has shipped grain and grain products (Eby 1978: 149). The available transportation, which grew increasingly sophisticated over time, permitted the movement of goods to market. Forest and farm products dominated the commerce of Newport into the latter third of the nineteenth century. Four resources remain extant that contributed to the grain and lumber commerce, the circa 1817 Jones Warehouse (25 N Front Street), the circa 1884 Fickes Warehouse (100 N Fourth Street), the 19 10 Fickes Mill (N Third Street), and the 1940 H.R. Wentzel & Sons Feed Mill (S Fourth Street and Bloomfield Avenue, original structure at the site was built in 1878).

Additional businesses began to take advantage of the central location of the town. The First National Bank rebuilt their building (originally brick) in marble on the northwest side of Center Square in 1893. The Bank (15 N Second Street) once housed a barbershop on its second floor. Beside the Bank, the one-story frame Keim Jewelry store (also on the northwest side of Center Square, 17 N Second Street), circa 1890, retains its original safe. Most other buildings on Center Square have housed a sequence of businesses. For example, on the northeast side of the Square (18 N Second Street), the three-story Italianate brick building has housed at least two restaurants, two clothing stores separated by half a century, the public library, and, presently, a dentist office. Next to it (14 N Second Street), a two-story Italianate brick building originally housed a hardware store, now a restaurant and shop (Perry Historians 1990: 10-11).

The Center Square buildings on the south side of Market Street mirrored the north side in the constantly changing businesses. The 1875 three-story Italianate brick Butz Building (1 S Second Street) originally housed clothing manufacturer Jesse Butz, Sr.'s retail outlet. Also located in the building were a gift shop, two different groceries, a soda fountain, a restaurant, an insurance business, a dry cleaning business, a beauty salon, and several clothing stores. Across the Square, the 1876 three-story Italianate brick Centennial Building (4 S Second Street) had originally been built by Philip Boserman to houses his dry goods business. The Centennial Building featured a large room upstairs, used for public gatherings, and at one time, an interim school. Over the years, the Building sheltered a variety of businesses, including a jewelry store, a hardware and grocery, four different drug stores, a book store, a toy store, a post office, and a millinery. Other buildings on Center Square, extending south along Second Street also housed many different businesses that served the population of Newport and its hinterland, and the travelers who passed through the town (Perry Historians 1990: 12-13).

Buildings housed other services. The Beatty Livery Stable (along Perm Alley off Front Street), a large two-story brick structure built by J.C. Frank in 1876, featured a large elevator that was used to haul carriages and wagons to the second floor. Originally, the Stable had been a wagon and sleigh manufactory. By 1917, the Stable had become an auto dealership. A second building that housed an auto dealership, the one-story brick Art Deco Gelnett Brothers Ford Garage, 19 10 (221 W Market Street), remains.

Hotels, restaurants, and taverns located in Center Square and along Market Street. The earlier structures, circa 1820, began to be replaced in the period of economic prosperity following the Civil War. The 1871 Graham Hotel, on the northwest corner of Center Square (1 N Second Street, No 20), and the 1875 Mingle House, on the northeast corner (130 E Market Street, No 393), provided travelers' services with housing, restaurants, and taverns. Later, the 1880 Second Butz Building (102 E Market Street) also featured a pub on the first floor with rooms above. A property at 127 Walnut Street housed a funeral home which S.D. Myers took over in 1907 from John Fleisher, who had begun the business in 1875. Like many undertakers of the period, Myers and Fleisher were also carpenters (Hain 1922: 1033).[6] The large number of businesses lead Hain to state, "Newport has by far the largest number of business places of any Perry County town" (1922: 1032).

Compared to other similar towns in the area, Newport's commercial center exhibits a singular cohesiveness. Nearby Millerstown and New Bloomfield have public squares. Both New Bloomfield's and Millerstown's squares are smaller, with historic buildings on only three of the four corners. Other nearby towns, including Duncannon, Liverpool, Port Royal, and Mifflintown, do not have squares. The commercial districts in the six aforementioned towns are smaller. New Bloomfield and Mifflintown are county seats (of Perry and Juniata Counties, respectively), where their courthouses dominate the center of town, rather than any commercial district. Duncannon, Liverpool, and Port Royal all have less cohesive, linear commercial districts.


Industry provided both the beginnings of settlement at the future site of Newport, and the continuing prosperity of the town. Located near a stream that descended rapidly toward the nearby Juniata River, the site of Newport provided water power for early industries coupled with a means of moving the finished products to market. When other towns began to be superceded by more efficient transportation, Newport retained its leading position in the area as a regional industrial center for over 150 years. Six prominent resources remain extant, providing significant visual markers of the importance of industry to the development of Newport.

Industry began in Newport with English's original gristmill, beginning circa 1765. Although English's mill is no longer extant, two mills continue to operate, the 1910 Fickes Mill (N Third Street), and the 1940 H.R. Wentzel & Sons Feed Mill (S Fourth Street and Bloomfield Avenue, original structure at the site was built in 1878). Both mills retain much of their historic fabric despite their continuing use.

The iron industry provided additional employment and capital to Newport. Forges and furnaces had been built in the area prior to the incorporation of the town in 1840. Marshall Furnace, in East Newport, was built in 1871. The first iron works within the Newport Historic District was built by J.C. Frank in 1876.[7] This building, the Beatty Livery Stable (along Penn Alley off Front Street), originally housed a wagon and sleigh works, utilizing both the forest products of the hinterland and iron from the nearby furnace. The Stable featured a large elevator to raise and lower wagons and sleighs from the first to second floors. Later in the early twentieth century, when demand for wagons and sleighs declined, the Stable became a livery stable, with horses quartered on the first floor, and wagons and carriages lifted to the second. By 1917, the Stable became an automobile dealership, with the automobile showroom located on the second floor, still utilizing the large elevator to lift them there.

The second iron works became the Newport Foundry and Manufacturing Company, built in 1888. The Company manufactured stoves and, later, telegraph pole pins. It burned in 1902, and the burned-out walls were utilized by the Newport Ice Company (S Third Street and Bloomfield Avenue). Photographs show the foundry prior to its destruction (Perry Historians 1978:104 and 1990:85) and immediately following the fire (1990:76). The size and layout of the building appears to be the same, with the exception a second story on the main structure. The Newport Ice Company has remained active since 1902.

The third iron works located within the Historic District is the Forged Steel Products Company (133 S Fifth Street). Built by the Newport Board of Trade in 1902, the building originally housed the Romberger Hosiery Mill. The mill operated until 1920, when the building became vacant. Two years later, in 1922, the Forged Steel Products Company, originally from Newark, New Jersey, moved into the building. Some additional parts of the complex were built in the period 1922-1925. In 1937, Forged Steel Products Company merged with Snap-On Tools of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The forge continued to operate until 1955, when it closed. The building has been utilized as office space, various retail stores, and a health club until the present. Locally called the Plier Factory, it retains much of the original layout and construction of the 1902 and 1922-1 925. Both buildings strongly invoke their industrial beginnings.

The sixth extant industrial building within the Newport Historic District is the A.V. Hombach and Sons Marble and Granite Works (34 S Front Street). The works had been built immediately adjacent to the canal. Although the oldest portion of the extant building dates circa 1890, A.V. Hombach began his business in 1867 (Hain 1922:1033). Likely, Hombach's Works had been badly damaged in the 1889 flood; other buildings nearby had been severely damaged.[8] Additions to the oldest portion date to the period 1920-1940. The name of Hombach's Works remains visible on the end of the oldest portion. Hombach's son Paul operated the works into the third decade of the twentieth century. The Works is presently utilized for storage.

Additional industries developed, including a tannery in 1837. The tannery also reflected Newport's position as a processing center for the local area. Planing mills operated in Newport in the latter half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. However, neither tanneries nor planing mills remain extant.

Comparisons to other towns demonstrate the importance of industry to Newport. Several towns in the area, including Millerstown, Liverpool, Duncannon (originally Petersburg), Port Royal, and Mifflintown, began as local shipping centers, utilizing the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers to move the produce of their hinterlands to markets downstream. The completion of the Juniata Division and the Susquehanna Division of the Pennsylvania Canal (1829-1832) facilitated such shipping. However, with the advent of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1849, the growth of many of these towns ceased. However, towns with major industry, like Newport and Duncannon, continued to prosper into the early decades of the twentieth century, until the economic depredations following World War I brought collapse to all but the largest corporations. A graph of the population of selected towns from the area 1840-1950 shows that Newport, with its mix of industry, grew steadily. Duncannon shows a similar trajectory, primarily a result of its large single industry, the Duncannon Iron Company. Bloomfield and Mifflintown, both county seats, show less growth, while the canal towns of Millerstown and Liverpool both had their peak populations in 1860. Additionally, both Newport and Duncannon benefitted from being on the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Industry permitted the continued growth of Newport throughout its most of its period of significance.


The vast majority of the properties (361 out of 418 contributing) within the Newport Historic District are residences. Most residences are late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century examples of a common vernacular house type, the side- or end-gabled three-bay or four-bay I or L variant of the post-railroad National style I-house (McAlester and McAlester 1984:96-97). Their homogeneity is a manifestation of the architectural conservatism and the vernacular building tradition that are hallmarks of this region. In the Mid-Atlantic region, there generally is a marked persistence of certain building forms over time, and little use of formal stylistic elements popularized in the pattern books of the period (Glassie 1986:400).

Most structures in the study area are vernacular in form and style, with at most only a suggestion of more formal elements that were being expressed more elaborately in other areas. It has been noted that "popular material artifacts, such as houses, may be based directly on folk models. On the other hand, houses also may be patterned after high-style, architect-designed models. Most common houses of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries have represented a mixture of the two traditions. Decoration on traditional forms, even when minimal (only mimicking established styles) carries the sense of fashion symbolic of success, affluence, and taste" (Jakle et a1 1989:4).

Most decoration of residence properties in the Newport Historic District remains confined to porches. Many of the porches had been added after the construction of the house. Streetscape photographs in the last century show porches on about half of the residences, while over 90 percent have porches today. Most decoration on porches consists of decorative columns and Italianate or Folk Victorian gingerbread. Less common, but present, are incised or overlayed pediments above fenestration, and eave brackets.

Some high-style, or near high-style residences remain within the Newport Historic District. Exceptional examples that retain considerable integrity include an Italianate (101 N Second Street), the Italianate Demaree House (220 W Market Street, No 396), a Queen Anne (67 S Second Street), a Chateauesque (141 S Second Street), and the Colonial Revival J. Emory Fleisher Mansion (152 N Fourth Street). The latter property is doubly significant for its association with J. Emory Fleisher, who with his father George, constructed many of the residences in the District during the period 1885-1920 (Hain 1922:1030).

Public buildings, such as churches, the fire station, and the schoolhouse, in contrast, exhibit most decoration. The churches were built in the last quarter of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century, including Romanesque, and less common in the region, Queen Anne decoration.[9] The 1895 Newport Fire Safety Company, (321 W Market Street) features dentils and pilasters with a Neoclassical form. The 1911 Newport Public School (25 N Fourth Street), also a Neoclassical structure, has Roman-arched windows and large pillars flanking the entrance.

The paucity of later styles indicates the decline in prosperity in the early twentieth century. Only 16 Foursquare residences and two Craftsman styles remain in the Newport Historic District. Some additional Foursquares and Craftsman residences also occur in outlying areas, but no neighborhoods exist of early twentieth century residences. The last period of the District, 1930 to 1944, is represented by just three properties, the 1938 Allen E. Hench Building (224 W Market Street), the 1940 commercial Myers Building (23 N Second Street), and the 1944 Myers Apartments (29 N Second Street). The latter property provides the end date of the period of significance of the District.

The Newport Historic District possesses the significance to be a National Register Historic District. According to the National Register criteria, an historic district "is a geographically definable area — urban or rural, small or large-possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, and/or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development." National Register districts generally are historic environments that convey a sense of time and place through the survival of interrelated resources that embody important features of the area's historical development. An historic district may represent an important period or feature in the history of an area, or it may illustrate change over time. Whatever the nature of the historic district, both the district as a whole and its component resources, must possess integrity in order to meet the National Register criteria of significance. The Newport Historic District represents an important period in the commerce and industry of the area. In addition, the District provides excellent representative examples of a range of vernacular and high-style residential, commercial, and industrial architecture.

In summary, Newport contributed to the development and prosperity of the region for nearly two centuries. The commercial, industrial, an architectural significance is embodied in the extant buildings, which taken together provide a sense of the nineteenth and twentieth century importance of the District. These buildings provide representative examples of the architecture and construction of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


[1] Long reported local traditions that stated that Iroquois had an encampment near the site, and that European-American squatters also located at the site prior to 1754 (1936:15-16).

[2] Hain (1922:1025) reported that "the exact date of the plotting was unknown, but believed to be 1804."

[3] Rupp (1846:553) stated that, when the county was divided from Cumberland County in 1820, Newport "was fixed on as the county town" and given its name, "New Port."

[4] The H.R. Wentzel and Sons mill remains standing at the corner of S Fourth Street and Bloomfield Avenue. The original portion (which burned in 1957) had been constructed in 1878. The extant portions date to 1940 and 1957. Snyder's Mill, which sat at 311 Mulberry Street, was removed in July, 1998.

[5] Hain reported George Fleisher and his son J. Emory, as owners of the Newport Planing Mill (not extant) during the period 1885-1920, built many of the frame houses in Newport (1922:1030).

[6] Myers'son, David with his children, continue as both undertakers and furniture retailers. The property at 127 Walnut Street continues as a funeral home. Fleisher's brother George, also a carpenter, operated a planing mill, and with his son J. Emory, built many of the residences in Newport.

[7] According to J.M. Runk & Company (1897: 1259) Frank personally constructed (with help, one would believe) the large two-story brick structure, in addition to two nearby houses.

[8] The Perry Historians' Pictorial History shows a badly damaged planing mill, which stood next to Hombach's Works (1978:107). Photographs in the Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book show extensive damage along Front Street at Market (NSC 1990:91), and along Front Street and the canal at other locations (1990:30-31, and 92).

[9] The churches include the 1885 Queen Anne Presbyterian Church (100 N Second Street), the 1889 Queen Anne Church of the Nativity (154 S Second Street), the 1889 Romanesque Reformed Church of Newport (41 N Fourth Street), the 1912 Romanesque United Evangelical Church (201 N Fourth Street), the 1877 Romanesque St. Paul's Lutheran Church (330 W Market Street), and the 1903 Romanesque Methodist Episcopal Church (400 W Market Street).

Major Bibliographic References

Eby, Eugene E. 1978 Perry County Grist Mills, 1762-1978. Triangle Press, Harrisburg, PA.

Hain, H.H. 1922 History of Perry County, Pennsylvania.. . Hain-Moore, Harrisburg, PA.

Long, Theodore K. 1936 Tales of the Cocolamas. Carson Long Institute, New Bloomfield, PA.

Newport Sesquicentennial Committee (NSC) 1990 A Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book for Newport, Pennsylvania, 1840-1990. No publisher.

Perry Historians 1978 Perry County, a Pictorial History. The Perry Historians, Newport, PA. 1990 Newport, 1840-1990. The Perry Review, Volume 15, 1990, entire issue.

Pomeroy, A. 1877 Atlas of Mifflin, Juniata, and Perry Counties, Pennsylvania. A. Pomeroy and Company, Philadelphia.

Runk, J.M. & Co. (publisher) 1897 A Biographical Encyclopedia of the Juniata Valley, comprising the Counties of Mifflin, Juniata and Perry, Pennsylvania. J.M. Runk & Co., Harrisburg, PA.

Rupp, I. Daniel 1846 The History and Topography of Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Bedford, Adams, and Perry Counties ... Gilbert Hills, Lancaster City, PA.

United States Census 1840-1 950 Sixth through the Seventeenth Censuses, Washington, D.C.

Adapted from: Dinsmore, Douglas, PhD, Newport Historic District, 1998, nomination document, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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2nd Street North • 2nd Street South • 3rd Street North • 3rd Street South • 4th Street North • 4th Street South • 5th Street North • 5th Street South • 6th Street North • Caroline Street • Fickes Lane • Gantt Street • Locust Street • Market Street • Mulberry Street • Oliver Street • Peach Street South • Pine Street • Route 34 • Route 849 • Shrub Street • Spott Street • Walnut Street

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