Community

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Sayre's Grand Playground by Jim Nobles, Spring 2003 Sayre Quarterly

The Railroaders Timepiece by Mary Lou Palmer, Summer 2003 Sayre Quarterly

Early Recollections of The Church of the Redeemer by Louise Bishop Kennedy, Winter 2003-04 Sayre Quarterly

Sears House Arrives in Pieces by Mary Lou Palmer, Winter 2003-04 Sayre Quarterly

Sayre Police Chief, Ray Eldred by Bob Baker

Erwin Rudolph, Billiard Champ by Mary Lou Palmer by Summer 2000 Sayre Quarterly

First Redskin Basketball by Maryanne Mader (Part 1 & 2 of 3)

Glaser's Drug Store by Mollie Caplan

"Smokey" Joe Kennedy by Mary Lou Palmer

Recollections of WTVE by Woody Langley

Sayre Parking Meters by Bob Baker

A Concise History of Sayre, Pennsylvania

Sayre, once a part of Athens Township, includes one area called Milltown that dates back to 1783 when a gristmill was built along Shepard (Cayuga) Creek. Greater Sayre began in 1870 at the junction of two railroads in the plain between the Susquehanna and Chemung Rivers. The activity at that tiny train station led to the development of a small community referred to as Southern Central Junction but which was soon named Sayre. The railroad was the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the history of Sayre was tied into the successes and failures of that railroad over the entire next century. The Lehigh, with its huge complex of shops for building and maintaining its rolling stock, employed thousands of workers. In addition, the many train crews operating out of Sayre included hundreds of additional workers. This railroad proved to be the major employer and economic force not only for Sayre but the entire surrounding area. Sayre grew as a railroad town.

By 1890 the community was large enough that its citizens petitioned the Bradford County Court to become an incorporated borough with its own government. The Court agreed and the Borough of Sayre officially began January 27, 1891.

For the next few decades Sayre experienced phenomenal growth which corresponded with the expansion of the railroad operations. But Sayre was more than a railroad town. Over the years it was "home" to thousands of residents. Yes, many were working on the railroad but many were also working at the thriving businesses, in the professions, at banks, small industries, transportation systems, recreation, hospitals, schools, real estate and work places in neighboring communities. In the earliest of years farms and farmers were a part of Sayre.

The history of 20th century Sayre is a microcosm of American history. A large number of immigrants, mainly from Europe, made Sayre their home during the decades of heavy immigration to the United States. Their cultural influence helped create Sayre's persona. Wars from the Spanish-American War up to the current war in Iraq included hundreds and hundreds of servicemen from the town. During World War I and II, a canteen service operated by area citizens near the LVRR Passenger Station became renowned for its charity. Workers' rights and the movement for equality for women saw activity here. Prohibition and its end had the same effect on Sayre as the remainder of the country. The Great Depression of 1929 brought the borough a very depressed economy and the recovery during and after W. W. II throughout the country saw the same recovery occurring here. Each economic recession of our country was felt locally and each time Sayre recovered with the remainder of the country.

Churches, of which some predate the Borough, have had a strong influence on the community. The public and private schools have been nicely supported by the community. Many organizations, service clubs, fraternities and sororities have helped enrich Sayre by providing support for an endless number of civic projects.
All through these years Sayre was politically active with strong interest in local, county, state and national government and the corresponding elections. Sayreites cheered our country's entrance into the space age and participated in the computer revolution as well as all other technological advances during the last half of the 20th century. New business concepts changed the downtown. Whatever was happening throughout the country and the world was also happening in Sayre.
Sayre's reputation for being a railroad town began to fade after World War l and by the 1970s experienced the end of any major railroading operations. The mystique of the old railroad continues but its influence on the community is a pittance of what had once been a dominating force.

Instead, Guthrie Healthcare now provides the strongest influence on the town. Guthrie began (1885) during the early years of the railroad in Sayre as the Robert Packer Hospital. It continued to grow at the same time as the railroad was declining. Today it is a regional medical center and its position in Sayre is as important as the railroad was in its heyday.

This "Concise History of Sayre" should serve only as an introduction. For detailed information on each topic referred to above, the reader is directed to A Century of Memories, Sayre, Pennsylvania, 1891 1991. Copies can be found in all the Valley public libraries as well as in the Library of Congress. Readers may also research topics of Sayre history in the magazine of the Sayre Historical Society, the Sayre Quarterly. It is also available at the local public libraries or by contacting the Society.

James R. Nobles

Learn More at:
Wikipedia.org - Sayre PA

What do YOU know about Sayre, Pennsylvania?
Try your hometown expertise at answering questions about Sayre and Sayre sports. You can download and print out these two questionnaires. Have fun!!
(These questionnaires have a copyright and can be used for educational purposes. They can only be used by any person or any entity with written permission of the Sayre Historical Society, Inc.)

"The Story of Sayre"
"The Story of Sayre in Sports"