Cresson - BUSINESSES
Cresson - RESOURCES
Cresson - CHURCHES
Cresson - SCHOOLS
Cresson was founded in 1854 when the Pennsylvania railroad established a
station there. It is said to have been named for Elliott Cresson, the well known
Philadelphia merchant and philanthropist who died that year. Dr. Robert Montgomery
Smith Jackson, a physician with a practice in the area, is sometimes credited with
suggesting the name. Jackson wanted to establish a health resort here, so perhaps
he sought to curry favor with the philanthropist, though of course the fruit of his
efforts came too late. Jackson was appointed postmaster at Cresson in 1854 as well.
Dr. Jackson came to Cambria County about 1846, locating first at Summit, then
Cresson. Besides having a medical practice and acting as the town postmaster, Jackson
engaged in the manufacture of fire-brick. He was noted for his scientific accomplishments,
especially in botany and geology. Having faith in the healing properties of the mountain
environment, he managed Mountain House a resort in Cresson, until the Civil War.
During the Civil War Jackson was surgeon in the 3rd Pennsylvania, and later medical
inspector of the 23rd army corps - a position he held until his death.
Mountain House ca. 1910
The Alleghany Mountain Health Institute was incorporated by Dr.
Jackson April 29,1854. The original health resort was located near Hollidaysburg, but
was moved to Cresson and the organization was re-named Cresson Springs Resort. The
Mountain House had 89 rooms, and there were around it 32 lots that could be leased
for the construction of cottages. A new hotel was built in 1880-81 that could
accommodate 600 guests. Andrew Carnegie built one of the cottages nearby, and it is
now being restored by the Cresson Historical Society. The Mountain House was razed
Dr. Jackson published a book about the Allegheny mountains, especially
the Cambria County area, called The Mountain, the preface of which was dated
July 1860 at Cresson.
The old "Plank Road" between Loretto and Cresson was built and managed by
a private company, and supported and kept in repair until abandoned as an
unprofitable speculation, by the revenue from a toll-gate located at McManamy's
Cresson is the birthplace of the Arctic explorer Robert Edwin Peary, who
was born there May 6, 1856, the son of Charles N. and Mary Wiley Peary. His parents
came to Cambria County from Maine about 1852. Edwin Peary entered the U.S. Navy as a
civil engineer in 1881, and was chief of the survey corps for a proposed Nicaragua canal.
In 1898 he published Northward Over the Great Ice which includes extensive
descriptions of Eskimo peoples.
Cresson is the site of Mount Aloysius
Academy, (now Mount Aloysius College), opened in 1897.
The borough of Cresson was legally established in 1906. By then the town
was a major stop on the Pennsylvania Railroad, with offices of the local coal shippers,
Mountain House, a brewery, a bank, a newspaper, a two storey department store, four hotels,
a livery stable, a pool hall, a public school as well as Mount Aloysius Academy, and
Cresson Sanitorium ca. 1920
In 1912 the State Sanitorium
for Tuberculosis was built at Cresson. It was in
operation until 1964, when it was replaced by the State School and Hospital.
There are two prisons located near Cresson, one Federal and one State