The Ghost Company Town of Peale, Pennsylvania

From: The Raftsman's Journal, June 24, 1885

A correspondent of the Lock Haven Express recently took a trip from that place to Peale, this county, and he thus gives his impressions of the beauties of the new route and the location of Peale:

"The country through which the road passes is grand and romantic in the extreme. At the base of some gigantic mountain you will pass what a poet would call a babbling brook of a murmuring stream, which indeed is enough to inspire a common man with poetic ardor. Our trip up the mountain was a delightful one. As we approached the Snow Shoe regions malfestations were abundant on every side that the proper industry and capital had been employed to make this wild section yield a portion of its inherent wealth and adds its share to the prosperity and importance of our state. After passing through a tunnel a short distance this side of the town of Peale in Clearfield County, the scenery becomes grand beyond description.

As we came in sight of town we were in full view of the most magnificent gorge it has ever been our fortune to behold. On our left was the beautiful natural park, where the party was to spend the day; on our right a ravine, at the bottom of which fully one thousand feet below where the cars ran is the beautiful little stream of the Moshannon; on the other side of this ravine, on a gently sloping hillside, stands the town of Peale, elegantly located for health and comfort. With the best of drainage and abundance of pure water, which is carried into every house and barn in the town, by pipes running from the fountain, it is destined to become a place of some importance."

From: The Raftsman's Journal, August 20, 1885

"The town of Peale is located on the line of the Beech Creek Railroad 75 miles west of Williamsport. It was named after S.R. Peale of Lock Haven and is owned, and everything in it too, by the coal company. Two years ago the ground was a wilderness; today there are nearly 300 buildings and a population of 2,500 souls in the place, every one of whom is employed or dependent upon those employed by the coal or railroad company."

"The town was built on a hill above Moravian Run. It is divided in two by a small tributary stream. The place is laid out with all the regularity of a city. Down in the ravine, at the foot of town are the slaughter houses, while all the stables drain into the little stream running through the center. A reservoir in back of town distributes pure water into every street and to every house in the place. The houses are 2 story frame buildings painted brick red; wainscoted to 4 ft. and plastered throughout; three rooms on the first floor, 2 or 3 on the second. They rent for $4.25 - $6.75 per month including water. Altogether they are the most comfortable miners' cabins seen throughout the county and the rent is not high for a man earning $9 - $12 per week."

Crumbling foundation in Peale (ca. 1997). Image copyright J.B. Krygier, 1998.

"The only store in the place is owned by the company and everything is sold there a man would likely use. Liquor is the exception. An account is kept with each family and once a month the books are balanced. There is an Episcopal Church and a town hall used by the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran Societies. The Police Chief's duties are nominal; no one is ever arrested and there is no jail."

"The government of all these people and institutions is confined to one man, Mr. George Platt. Fortunately, he is a man of good judgement, and he succeeds admirably in governing without causing dissatisfaction. The men seem contented, and, as they receive fair pay for their work, make few complaints."

These pages comprise an ongoing project to document, map, interpret, and memorialize the ghost company town of Peale Pennsyvania located along the Clearfield and Centre County (PA) boundaries in north-central Pennsylvania. Since this set of pages was placed on the WWW a few years back, I have heard from numerous people with family ties and interest in Peale, and I am always interested in expanding these pages to include information from "Peale People."


Introduction: The Ghost Company Town of Peale, Pennsylvania

...with a contemporary description of Peale, PA.

Interpreting the Geographies of Peale

...with full color map of Peale, Pennsylvania.

by Casey McCracken and J.B. Krygier

The Beech Creek Railroad in the Peale, Pennsylvania Area

...with a description of what you can see along the Beech Creek RR today,
...and a map of the Peale, Pennsylvania Area Railroad Trackage Network.

by Jeff Feldmeier

Peale Pennsylvania Manuscript Census

...names and occupations of Peale residents in 1900, 1910, and 1920.

compiled by Ray Lyncha and Jeff Feldmeier

Project Peale: A Guerrilla Landscape Art Project

by anonymous geographers

Historical Information about Peale and the Tunnel Mines

...from various musty old sources...includes old maps.

Kyle Crichton: Peale's Most Famous Son?

...biographical information and an image of Crichton.

Historical Images of Peale

...historical images of Peale, Grassflat, and the surrounding area.

Peale People

...the world of Peale fans, and what they know!

Directions to Peale, Pennsylvania

...with map.

Peale Related Information:

1952, 1953 & 1956 copies of COTOHISC: Newsletter of the Winburn/Grassflat/Peale High School Newspaper

Jen Ertmer passed along a series of PDF files encompassing nine copies of the high school newspaper from the school that served the Peale, Winburn, and Grassflat area. Each copy is linked below:

Added historical photographs of Peale Station and Viaduct Tower from Genevieve Johnson and Vera (Josephson) Edgren to Jeff Feldmeier's article The Beech Creek Railroad in the Peale, Pennsylvania Area.

Apparently one Peale web site is not enough!

Peale, PA. Borrows some material from this site, with other original information (photos, information about the greater Peale region).

Peale, PA. Mostly original information about Peale, including additional period photographs and history.

Genealogical Research on families from Peale and surrounding areas: Many of the families who settled in and around Peale have roots in Sweden. Several "Peale People" have had excellent luck working with Anneli Anderson, a genealogical researcher from Sweden.

From Anneli Anderson: I work at a genealogy center in Mellerud, which is in the Dalsland province of Sweden. Our center has records of births, deaths, marriages, and households from the entire area. I also have borrowed records from the Swedish church and found all the people from this area and searched for their parents. I noticed that most of the emigrants came from the parishes Bolstad, Erikstad, Gestad, Frandefors, Bralanda and Ryr. I live in Erikstad and every parish is in an area of half an hour from my home. I had Jon Putnam and his wife Karen here in May and showed them the church of Bolstad where the Eld family in Grassflat came from. Jeff Feldmeier's family, the Forces, came from Frandefors. Jeff sent me the Peale Census data and I located information on some of his family members for him. Our museum usually charges for this kind of work. Our fee for a regular family tree is 35 dollars. But my interest is to have information about as many Swedish-American families as possible in my database. I connect people that are related to each other. The landscape has not changed that much since the people left here. Please contact me via email if you have any questions:

A book by Anne Ryba about growing up in Grassflat, PA.

I am Anne Lucas Ryba, daughter of George and Mary Meyer Lucas. I lived in Grassflat, Pa (in the section called "Dobrytown"). I graduated from Cooper High in 1958 and moved to Parma, Ohio where I have been ever since leaving my hometown. In my quest to discover the facts about my ancestors, I accumulated many documents and this resulted in a book about their lives, Slovak customs, neighbors, growing up Slovak in Grassflat and facts about our little hamlet. After 5 years of research, the book was published in September of this year. It is entitled Humble Beginnings and the cost is $22. If you are interested in getting more information or would like a copy of Humble Beginnings, please contact me at:

Anne Lucas Ryba
7229 Mirabeau Drive
Parma, Ohio 44129

Peale featured in the August 2000 issue of Central Pennsylvania Magazine in an article by Nancy Gates ( Copies can be ordered via phone: 800-366-9483.

Peale on National Public Radio's Central PA affiliate!: Central Pennsylvania Legacies: Ghosts of Peale

A few WWW sites review other projects similar to 'Project Peale."

Place in History
The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI)

Please contact j.b. krygier ( with comments, input, or additional information.

...back to krygier top page. krygier research page.

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