Evans City, Pennsylvania

Local History


Evans City is located in southwest Butler County along PA Route 68, situated on the banks of Breakneck Creek, known to Indians as Big Beaver run.  Prior to 1790 the Delaware Indians called the area their home.

In the year 1753, more than two-score years before there were any white men residents in Butler County, no less a personage than George Washington traveled on foot and horseback through the wilderness along these trails between "The Forks" (Pittsburgh) and Venango, and between Logstown (Economy) on the Ohio, and the site of Prospect. 

Robert Boggs was one of the earliest settlers of Butler County.  In 1796 he located on a tract of 400 acres of land upon which the borough named Evans City now stands.  He opened a tavern and erected a grist mill.  In 1836 he sold the mill and 200 acres to Thomas B. Evans, who in 1838 laid out a village called Evansburg.

The post office in 1835 was called Breakneck.  At this time, post offices were not a conspicuous entity in the village.  A store was generally designated as the place to post and receive letters.  Since Breakneck was not located on a postal road, mail from Pittsburgh was left at Zelienople and conveyed weekly by a government contractor to the local post office.  William Liken brought the mail to Evans City from Zelienople until the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad in 1879 gave the town a direct connection with Pittsburgh.

In 1879 the Pittsburgh & Western railroad was completed and with it came people and prosperity.  The historic Evans City railroad station was built in 1903 on a platform of parallel I-beams spanning Breakneck Creek, which flowed 14 feet below.  Cupolas on the ends gave watchmen a view in both directions.  In 1923 President Harding's funeral train passed through Evans City.  In 1964 the station was closed; in 1977 it was razed despite efforts of local citizens to save it.  The depot was recognized in Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" as the only railroad station built completely over water.

The Western Telegraph Co. opened channels of communication.  The bank of J. Dambach & Sons was in operation.  The Henry Young store provided goods, a chief of police was appointed, the building committee for a school was named, H.C. Boggs was postmaster.

Evans City Borough was incorporated as a Borough in 1882.

The "Harmony Line" trolley service began in the summer of 1908 with the first run from Ellwood City to New Castle, Zelienople, and Butler via Evans City.  Later that same year the connections to Pittsburgh were complete.  The last interurban car run was August 16, 1931.
The Evans City Depot building remains today at the junction of Washington and Jefferson Streets in Evans City next to our museum.

1915-1917 saw the great oil boom in Evans City,  oil derricks sprouted forth in many back yards throughout the village. Within a short period of time some 140 wells were drilled on the area of not much over 40 acres.  The oil excitement lasted only two years due to the very large number of wells in so small a space.  The oil discovery created excitement and wealth for many.  Evans City became known as  the "City of Black Gold".

In 1968 the cult horror film classic "Night of the Living Dead" was filmed in the Evans City area.  The Evans City Cemetery chapel was featured in the film's opening scene.

For more Evans City area historical information, please visit our museum to view our display of historic artifacts, hundreds of photos, and documents.


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