The Chest Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River winds down a path from Cambia County, merging in the town of Mahaffey. Mahaffey is located in the southern region of Clearfield County in Bell Township.
The west side of the town was first called “Franklin.” The borough was incorporated in 1841 and named for Robert Mahaffey, one of the first settlers and the first postmaster. At this time, it had a public school, four churches, a grist mill and a tannery.
In an article published in the Altoona Gazette on Sept. 19, 1895 the headline read “Mahaffey’s Boom.” At this time, Mahaffey’s claim was as an industrial and commercial center for the railroad and natural resources.
When the railroad came through this brought new life to the region. People and businesses came to Mahaffey to work and settle.
The new settlers that the railroad brought found an abundance of natural resources including lumber, coal and clay.
The soil was noted as being rich and fertile for farming. The river and creeks flowing below the thick mountain forest added a picturesque view.
In the Altoona Gazette article, the following was printed regarding one of the businesses in the center of the town, “The Millinery Store of Mrs. Eldred: Through the enterprise of Mrs. Eldred a very excellent millinery store has been established at Mahaffey.
“In this store there is to be found a full line of ladies’ head gear in the different styles, also ladies and children furnishing goods, novelties, Christmas goods and ladies and children’s shoes.
“A very expert bonnet and hat trimmer from an eastern city is employed during the season, so that it is possible to give first class work.
“Mrs. Eldred is deserving of a liberal patronage and will always give satisfaction to her customers.”
A few of the other businesses mentioned include: B.W. McCracken Grocery Store, M.M. Sheesley Beer Distributing, Arlington Hotel, J.H. Eldred: Druggist, Reeser Meat Market, W.T. Stahl: Baker and Grocer, Guy Conrath: Barber, S.C. Lerch: Tailor, J.E. Mitchell General Store, A.B. McCardell: Livery, Dr. Ash B. Bennett & Sons: Physician, The Valley Wave: Newspaper, The Mammoth Hardware Store of Miles Wrigley, The Kenmore Hotel, Dr. J.H. Craft: Dentist, The Mahaffey House Hotel, A.D. Lydic General Store, J.T. Magee Saddlery, Dr. P.L. Hoover: Physician, James Stephenson: Esquire, The Franklin Tannery, P. McManus: Esquire, Robert Mahaffey: Esquire.