What's in a name?

Why is Tyrone named Tyrone? A story, passed down through the years, never fails to elicit good-natured groans from those who hear it. As Ralph Wolfgang noted in his book, A Short History of Tyrone Borough [1850–1950]:

A curious and fantastic story, long current and widely believed, has it in the days when they were seeking a name for the town, a farmer drove into the village driving a spirited roan horse. As he drew up in front of a store, he shouted to a bystander, ‘Hey there, tie Roan!’ The phrase ‘tie Roan’ caught the fancy of another bystander, who suggested it as a possible name for the new town. The name caught on, and some ingenious citizen devised the present spelling.CountyTyroneIreland sh

In reality, the town is named after the home of some of the area's earliest white settlers. Irish immigrants brought the name of their home county, Tyrone, with them to America. They settled in Sinking Valley (now, Tyrone Township) before the Revolutionary War. And no wonder! As you can see in this photo of Ireland's County Tyrone, this place looked a lot like home to them.

"Tyrone Township" appears in county records (at the time it was part of Bedford County) that date back to 1787. John Glonninger named his iron forges in the Birmingham and Ironville area after Tyrone Township. The Borough of Tyrone derived its name from these forges. In Ireland, the name means “Land of Owen.”

Before Tyrone was incorporated, it was known by a number of names. First, it was called Eagleville; however, the citizens wisely decided another name would be better. It was then called Shorbsville in honor of the Lyon, Shorb and Company, which originally owned the land where the town stands. In 1852, the name Tyrone City was adopted, but when the petition was sent to court, it was shortened to Tyrone.

Tyrone, in 1857, had a population of around 700 people. Concerned that being part of Snyder Township would hinder the town’s ability to grow and make improvements to the streets, the citizens incorporated as a borough that same year. At that time, Tyrone was one of four boroughs in Blair County, which had split with Huntingdon County. The other boroughs were Hollidaysburg, Altoona, and Martinsburg.

Those first seven years saw Tyrone grow by leaps and bounds. There were many houses built; streets were laid out; and several stores were doing a brisk business.

The Pennsylvania Railroad put Tyrone on the map when it brought its Mainline to town in 1855. There were two hotels to service the travelers, three churches to tend to the souls of the town, and one doctor to take care of what ailed the body. There was a drug store, no doubt specializing in the potions of the day; a school taught the youngsters; there was a pokey; and two firemen directed the buckets of the brigade.

As 1857, the year Tyrone was born as a borough, came to a close, the citizens undoubtedly were optimistic about the future of their little town.

Adapted from an article by Greg Bock, staff writer for The Daily Herald

Who's on First? The street names of Tyrone

Did you ever wonder what happened to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th streets in Tyrone? Charlie Hoyer compiled this list to help us all figure out where we are.

Current Street Name Former Name
6th Street 2nd Street
7th Street 1st Street
8th Street Express Street
9th Street Meadow Street
10th Street Juniata Street
11th Street Ridge Street
12th Street Allegheny Street
13th Street Clearfield Street
14th Street Dallas Street
15th Street Glen Avenue, Glen Hope
16th Street Grant Street, Grace Street
17th Street Jefferson Street
18th Street Jackson Street
19th Street Hickory Street
20th Street Pine Street, Water Street
21st Street 1st Street (East Tyrone)
22nd Street 2nd Street (East Tyrone)
23rd Street 3rd Street (East Tyrone)
24th Street 4th Street (East Tyrone)
25th Street 5th Street (East Tyrone)
26th Street 6th Street (East Tyrone)
Columbia Avenue Curtin Street (East Tyrone)
Adams Avenue Lyon Street (East Tyrone
Ridge Avenue Harvey Street
Woodland Avenue Olivent Street
Bald Eagle Avenue Bald Eagle Street
Blair Avenue Blair Street
Pennsylvania Avenue Main Street
Park Avenue Park Street, Frankin Street
Washington Avenue Spring Street
Jefferson Avenue Henry Street
Columbia Avenue Colfax Street