Osceola Mills, at the far southeastern end of Clearfield County, has a historic past, which has been rather well documented with town photos. The town, itself, had its beginnings in 1859 but settlements in the surrounding Decatur Township area date back to the late 1790’s.
The original lumbering and farming occupations gave way to the rapid growth of the coal industry during the years immediately following the Civil War. Railway lines reached Osceola Mills at that time and the town became a gateway to the opening of the rich deep and drift mines that permeated the upper Moshannon Valley.
These coal veins provided an energy source that enabled the high-quality clay deposits found in the county to be manufactured into bricks. Railway lines were essential to carry both the raw materials and finished products as decent road ways and heavy trucks were yet unknown.
Osceola Mills, therefore, became a mining, brickyard and railroad town. The ensuing employment opportunities brought thousands of immigrants from Europe and the American South into the community’s immediate area. These people’s lives were often tough, to say the least, but the tough times often made for tough people.
Businesses, churches, schools and, above all, families flourished in Osceola Mills. The old town industries have been gone for decades and Osceola Mills, like so many other Clearfield County towns, relies on a few small businesses and worker’s ability to commute some distances to their jobs.
The first photo, from 1910, shows a peaceful winter scene at one the Pennsylvania Railroad bridges over Moshannon Creek. It looks to be the aftermath of a heavy snowstorm.
The second photo is the same bridge location, with a somewhat more modern bridge structure, that also spans Moshannon Creek. The creek divides Clearfield and Centre Counties. It was provided by Osceola Mills writer and historian, David Caslow, who recently took the snapshot on one of his morning runs.
Snow-covered remnants of the area’s industrial past make for unique photos!