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Stuck in the Middle with You

Maiden City Blog

Maiden City Blog is a must-follow for those interested in the history of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania!  As a supplement to Coraopolis History Archive, Maiden City Blog provides insights and background to the history of our beloved Cory, PA.  Follow us on twitter at @maidencityblog to receive real-time updates!


History Research Archive for the Borough of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, near Moon Township, Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, including Coraopolis Cemeteries, Coraopolis Maps, Coraopolis Industries, and Coraopolis Photographs.

Stuck in the Middle with You

Stacey Christe

Before it was Coraopolis, in the 1870s it was the town located at Middletown Station on the P&LERR, named such because it was midway between Pittsburgh and Beaver.  Regional residents often referred to Middletown as ‘on the Ohio River, 12 miles West of Pittsburg(h)’ so as not to confuse it with Middletown, CT on the Delaware River, or other more well-developed regions.  Alternately, it was also referred to as being ‘on Montour’s Bottom’, a flat region alongside Montour Run named for Andrew “Henry” Montour, a celebrated Native-American interpreter and diplomat, to which the land was first granted.

To further confuse matters, legend tells of an even earlier well-trod tavern at Middletown owned and operated by Alexander “Sandy” Middleton, eponymously named “Middleton’s Tavern”.  By local accounts, this 18th Century tavern served as a waystation for those traveling the waters of the Ohio River between Pittsburgh and Logstown (Aliquippa). It does not appear that Sandy’s similar last name had any bearing on the train station’s name; however, all other information about this landmark tavern appears to be lost to history.

Equally confusing was the Post Office name, Vancefort, a local fortification named for Captain Robert Vance who died in 1819.  Edward Maurey explains, ““The location of his “fort,” to which the settlers would go when Indians threatened, was about midway between Broadway and Chestnut street, and between the railroad and Second avenue. This fort is not to be confused with another Vance’s Fort near Cross Creek in Washington County.”  Vancefort Post Office, established August 15, 1861, had the additional frustration of frequently having its mail misdirected to Vanceport, located just below Beaver on the Ohio River, as it shared a strikingly similar name.

It’s no surprise then that Josiah Dillon pushed for a name change upon the borough’s incorporation.  ‘Coraopolis’ had a singular advantage over Middletown, Montour, and Vancefort.  Google it today: even now, we remain the one and only Coraopolis.  Accept no substitutes! 


[Map, courtesy of “Lee's map of the industries of western Pa., no. 1” January 1, 1884, Railway Map and Publishing Co., New York, 1884., Darlington Digital Library Maps, University of Pittsburgh, Digital Library System,;med=1;q1=Allegheny%20County%20%20Pa.;size=20;c=darlmaps;back=back1445361213;subview=detail;resnum=33;view=entry;lastview=thumbnail;cc=darlmaps;entryid=x-darmap0822;viewid=DARMAP0822.TIF]