421 North Broad Street, Emporium PA. 15834-1401
(814) 486-0768 Fax: (814) 486-1849
Emporium was named as early as 1785 when a Holland Land Company surveyor carved the word Emporium in a cut space of a tree in his camp at the mouth of the Portage River. Although the name appears on maps as early as 1790, our first settler did not appear until 1810. Population growth was very slow until Cameron County was established in 1860 and Emporium was chosen as county seat. A sudden growth led to is incorporation as a borough in 1864.
The community lies at an altitude of 1031 feet yet it rests in a valley of the Allegheny Mountain range in north central Pennsylvania. This Land of Endless Mountains, as the county is described, protects Emporium and its immediate area from the severest weather conditions, as well as provides bountiful game and lumber.
The translation of the town's name is most appropriate. Indian paths and rivers were the only means of transportation until the arrival of the railway. At Emporium, streams from 4 directions join to form the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. It is also the junction of highways and railroads, making it a gateway to the north, east, west, and south. The best known of these roads is the Bucktail Trail, or State Route 120. For these assets Emporium was a political football, bounding among Lycoming, McKean, and Elk Counties prior to creation of Cameron County.
Emporium was made the headquarters for Pennsylvania's renowned Bucktail Regiment of the Civil War. Lumbering was the main industry until dynamite factories took over for a period around WWI. It was the home of Sylvania, which for many years was the dominant industry, employing so many women during WWII that a national magazine identified Emporium as Girl's Town, USA. With the closing of Sylvania the slack has been taken up by a number of powdered metal plants and diversified small industries. Lumbering has made a come-back and is an integral part of the local economy.
The town is well known to hunters and fishermen who converge here at the beginning of trout season and again in the fall for small game, wild turkey, deer, and bear. It is also host to the annual Pennsylvania Little League Senior Division Championships held in July.