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Wellsboro, PA: A place to stop in

September 15, 2010

The article and photo below were submitted by award-winning writer, editor, and photographer Joe Zlomek, who is the Managing Editor of The Post Publications. A hearty “thank you!” to Joe for contributing. With this article, I’m starting a “Revitalization Library” subject category at Positively!Pottstown. In it, you will be able to find revitalization stories and examples mentioned not only by me but by you, the readers and commenters. Together, we can discover the broad range of possibilities and acquire a kind of revitalization “vocabulary,” so we’re all speaking the same language as we write Pottstown’s revitalization story. 🙂

Wellsboro, PA – A place to stop in
by Joe Zlomek

Like Pottstown, Wellsboro PA (in Tioga County along Route 6 of Pennsylvania’s northern tier) was built on, and because of, industry. Early in the 20th Century it served as a shipping point and trade center, with businesses that included fruit processing, flour and woolen mills, and much more. But as they did in Pottstown, eventually those industries moved out.

The departures forced the borough to change. Because it is only 10 miles from Pine Creek Gorge, the natural wonder known as “the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” two of Wellsboro’s thriving industries are now tourism and retailing.

Lights on in Wellsboro, PA

The length of its downtown is small in comparison to Pottstown’s but, also in comparison, far more robust. Shops are well kept, busy, and open late. The merchandise selection is diverse. Several excellent restaurants can be found within a two-block walk. And the lanterns that became a fixture of the boulevard-like Main Street coursing from east to west through Wellsboro add to its ambiance. They burn from mid-afternoon long into the night.

Is a proposal by Pottstown Main Street Manager Leighton Wildrick for the year-’round lighting of High Street the sole or best solution to attracting more consumers downtown? Not by a long shot. However, it and other changes can be keys in creating an environment that, as in Wellsboro, changes the perception of downtown from “a place to pass though” to “a place to stop in.” ~

Photo by Joe Zlomek: Simulated gaslight lanterns burning Saturday (Sept. 4, 2010) at 4 p.m. on the west end of downtown Wellsboro PA.

Additional resources:
Wellsboro on a map
Wellsboro Chamber of Commerce
PA State Laurel Festival
Vacation in Wellsboro
The local paper, The Wellsboro Gazette
City-data.com

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5 Comments
  1. September 15, 2010 2:34 pm

    Great Post Joe and Sue! I love Wellsboro, I drive through there on my way to my hometown in western NY. How wonderful if Pottstown could model their revitalization similar to Wellsboro.

  2. September 16, 2010 6:39 am

    Wow, Sue; I’m blown away by the presentation. Thanks for your courtesy. I, like you, want to focus on the things Pottstown can do now, at relatively low cost or diffculty, to make itself more attractive to many constituencies: consumers, retailers, residents, visitors. The great news, so often reported right here on Positively!Pottstown, is that we lack nothing and have everything to make the borough an outstanding place.

    Joe Zlomek, The Sanatoga Post

    • September 16, 2010 8:35 am

      You made it easy with the engaging prose and professional photo. 🙂

      “… we lack nothing and have everything to make the borough an outstanding place.”

      That ties in with Evan Brandt’s opinion piece in yesterday’s Mercury. Last Saturday’s events showed that the town can do what needs to be done. It’s a matter of the leaders (not just political & school district, but arts, business, real estate, recreation/conservation) continuing to get together and talk to each other AND bringing in the public early and often – a widening of the civic circle. Sure, you always need your consultants and outside agencies and funders, but the heart & soul of revitalization has to come from within. There’s no getting around that.

  3. Roy permalink
    September 17, 2010 2:12 pm

    I grew up near Wellsboro. We played them in sports so there was a bus ride to Wellsboro several times a year. Every summer our band marched in the Laurel Festival Parade. Wellsboro has always been, or at least going back to the late 60’s, a very well kept town.

    Wellsboro’s Main Street always impressed me, even as as kid. I remember thinking how grand it looked. Wellsboro looks properous compaired to many other towns in that area. They tend to be run down. Marching down that street every year certainly offered a good view. The parade was long and somebody passed out every year.

    We hiked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon numerous times! That’s a LONG walk, even as a kid, but it was fun.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    • September 17, 2010 6:13 pm

      Thanks for these reflections, Roy. Good stuff!

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