Potter County, Pennsylvania

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Potter County Courthouse is located at 1 East Second Street, Coudersport PA 16915; phone: 814‑274‑8290.


Beginnings [1]

Formed March 26, 1804; named for General James Potter, an officer of the Revolution, is an almost trackless wilderness covered with dense growth of pine and hemlock, the haunt of bear, deer, wolf, panther, fox, and other wild game. Mean elevation is about 1900 feet above sea. At head waters of the West Branch, Genesee and Allegheny rivers, in the north, the ground is rolling, with beautiful farms; the southern part is broken by deep valleys and lofty mountains, with most picturesque scenery, especially in the Kettle Creek and Sinnemahoning valleys. Probably the first white man to cross the county was David Zeisberger, who passed down the Allegheny River to mouth of the Tionesta, Forest County, in 1767; his journal, now on file in the Moravian Library at Bethlehem, tells of the wild beauty of the county. Farming and stock raising are gaining, but the main industry is still lumbering, with second growth of hardwoods, maple, beech, and birch, which will in time be a great nucleus of wealth.

Earliest important road is the Jersey Shore Turnpike, running from Jersey Shore at the mouth of Pine Creek, Lycoming County, through most wonderful scenery to Coudersport and on to Buffalo; an effort is being made to have this historic highway improved, as it is the most direct way from the West Branch Valley to Buffalo. On this road is the site of Oleona. Ole Bull, the famous violinist, attempted the settlement of a colony of Norwegians; in 1852, he purchased 11,144 acres on Kettle Creek, in the then almost unbroken forests; and laid out four villages, New Norway, New Bergen, Oleona, and Walhalla; this proved a sad failure, and the land is now included in the State Forest Reserve. Ole Bull's Castle, with a great stone wall, still partly standing, was built about a mile below Oleona, on the crest of a bluff. Travel is generally good in summer, during the winter the heavy snowdrifts are often too deep for passage, temperature often falling to 400 below zero.

  1. Archambault, A. Margaretta, ed., A Guide Book of Art, Architecture, and Historic Interests in Pennsylvania, John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia, 1924

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