The phenomenal early growth of DuBois, the only Clearfield County municipality designated as a city, is an American success story in itself.
It continues today, over a century after the ending of the John DuBois lumber empire and decades after the end of the large-scale deep-mining industry.
DuBois, it seems, has for 40 years, taken it upon itself to keep what manufacturing it could and also transition itself by attracting service and technology-based businesses.
Hence, the city and its adjacent surrounding locale have generally kept their economic head above water and much tribute is owed to those who have helped accomplish that success.
Without railroads, American industrial power never would have developed. The Buffalo Rochester and Pittsburgh Railroad became vital to DuBois’ early 20th century growth.
The BRP Railroad was formed in 1885 from a prior failed railway line. Its purpose was to connect the coal fields of northwestern Clearfield County and environs to the steel mills of the Pittsburgh area and shipping along the Ohio River.
Likewise, the line stretched northward, roughly following the present Route 219 and splitting at Ashford, N.Y. The lines moved on to connect to steel mills in Buffalo to the Great Lakes shipping lanes in Rochester.
It was a successful business plan that lasted until the Great Depression when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bought the financially strapped BRP Railroad.
The BRP Railroad had a branch that began by joining the B&O Railroad in Clearfield. The present-day Agway store there was once the line’s station.
The line continued past Curwensville to follow Anderson Creek to the northwest. Railway stops were built in Rockton and Luthersburg, as well as the huge mining operations in Helvetia. DuBois was a vital hub of the BPR line
The 1918 color-coded postcard shows the BRP repair shops on the south side of DuBois, near the Sandy Township line. The surrounding neighborhood was made up of working families. Perhaps many men living there were employed at the shops.
The black and white photo shows the BRP passenger and freight station located on DuBois’ Franklin Street. Before the advent of the car culture, passenger rail service was a profitable enterprise in Clearfield County.
The station building has long since been renovated and now houses the law offices of Gleason, Cherry and Cherry.