Map of New Alexandria, Livermore, and Ligonier, 1876.
New Alexandria, Livermore, and Ligonier compiled and drawn by F. A. Davis, for the New Illustrated Atlas of Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania, published by the Reading Publishing House, in 1876.
This beautiful map from 1876 highlights three boroughs in Westmoreland County. In Pennsylvania a borough is a municipality similar in size to a town. Each borough is situated on a waterway. Ligonier and New Alexandria rest on the banks of Loyal Hanna Creek and Livermore is on the Conemaugh River. The map includes the locations of churches, cemeteries, and mills, as well as the names of the areas' residents. Streets are arranged in a grid pattern along with uniform rectangular plots. Most of the residents live along the main street.
New Alexandria was incorporated as a borough on April 10, 1834, as a result of the merger of New Alexandria and Denniston's-town. The borough has retained much of its original layout and the Methodist Church is still in the same place. It encompasses an area of point eight square miles (or two square kilometers). New Alexandria's population is approximately six hundred people. Perhaps one of the more interesting features about this map is the presence of T. and G. Gallagher's store. Gen. Thomas F. Gallagher (1822-1883) was an important officer during the Civil War in addition to operating the store in New Alexandria. Commissioned as a colonel of the 11th Pennsylvania Reserves he was well respected for his troop managing skills. He was wounded in the Battle of South Mountain, but refused to retire and eventually took command of the 54th Pennsylvania Militia. In 1863, the 54th, under Gallagher, succeeded in capturing the Morgan Raiders. After the war he returned to New Alexandria, where he lived on Main Street with his wife Elizabeth and their seven children.
Another fascinating aspect about this map is that Livermore no longer exists. It was established in 1827, by John Livermore. The town grew thanks to the presence of the Pennsylvania canal, as well as the construction of the West Penn Railroad in 1854. On February 13, 1865 it was incorporated as a borough. Canal traffic began to decline after the 1889 Johnstown flood, which began a decline in Livermore's population. This decline was further exasperated, when a new rail line that bypassed the borough was finished in 1907. Following the Great St. Patrick's Day Flood, in 1936, the population dropped to just over a hundred residents. The borough's fate was sealed with the passing of the flood control acts of 1936 and 1938, which authored construction of the Conemaugh Dam. While the dam would allow for better control of river levels downstream it meant that Livermore would be submerged under the new floodplain. By 1950, there were only fifty-seven people still living in Livermore, they were relocated and the town demolished before the completion of dam two years later. Several legends have cropped up about the area following the flooding of the site and many people believe it to be haunted.
Ligonier was established in 1758 with the construction of Fort Ligonier by Brigadier-General John Forbes, as a supply post for his march on the French Fort Duquesne. The fort was in operation until 1766 but the settlement continued to operate as a supply outpost for pioneers as they pushed westward. The completion of the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Turnpike in 1817 increased area commerce as travelers began to break their journey in Ligonier. A local resident, John Ramsay, began laying out a street plan in order to capitalize on the change. It was he who laid out the area now referred to as the diamond, which is the center square where Main and Market streets intersect on the map. Ligonier prospered thanks to the turnpike and on April 10, 1834, it was incorporated into a borough. However, beginning in the 1850s the area began to experience a decline because the nearest railroad line did not pass through the borough causing a decline in visitors. This trend was reversed with the completion of the Ligonier Valley Railroad in 1877. A dotted line marks the proposed location of the railroad on the map. It was in operation until 1952. Today the population of Ligonier is a little over fifteen hundred people and the presence of Idlewild Park and Seven Springs Mountain Resort help draw tourist into the area.
- Naomi Bean