Hometown Wyalusing

Wyalusing is the corporate home of the Tuscarora Wayne Group of Companies whose offices sit next to America’s first truly transcontinental highway, U.S.  Route 6, once stretching 3,562 miles from Provincetown in Massachusetts to California’s Long Beach.

Wyalusing is located along one most picturesque sections of what was arguably America’s most scenic roadway — known as the Roosevelt Highway following its origins in the 1920’s and 1930’s and later adopting the official name of the Grand Army of the Republic Highway. In fact, one of its most breathtaking views, the Wyalusing Rocks, is less than a mile west of the village ensconced along the banks of the storied Susquehanna River.

The Rocks, as they are known locally, were a favored lookout for Native American tribes in the region, going back hundreds of years. They are located along what came to be known as the Wyalusing Path, snaking through valleys, up mountainsides and along ridges while traversing three counties in a bucolic part of Pennsylvania known as the Endless Mountains. This was years before the first white settlers took in the magnificence of this landscape and was, according to ancient Indian lore, a place for prayer and spiritual revival. Travelers by the thousands still surrender to the allure of the Wyalusing Rocks every year, with the Susquehanna winding serenely below through a unique terrain of forested rolling mountains and fertile fields along its banks.

The primitive power of this part of the country has always carried with it a feeling of being in a very special place, blessed and wrapped in an aura of natural beauty and distinctiveness that seems immune to the incursions of development and commercialization. Wyalusing, originally known as M’chiwihilusing, would become a hub for farming and forestry starting in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, benefiting from its advantageous location near where the Wyalusing Creek empties into the Susquehanna. It became the home of the Welles Mill, one of the most lucrative grain and feed operations in the region, thriving for well over a century through multiple generations.  It became part of the transportation mainstream, with the building of the short-lived North Branch Canal, its successor, the railroad, and later, Route 6.

But Wyalusing is more than just a physical place. It is a state of mind and part of a much larger entity known as the Wyalusing Valley. The town of Wyalusing, officially designated a Pennsylvania Borough in 1887, became the focal point of this rural area that, aside from natural resources like timber and bluestone for quarrying, was home to hundreds of family dairy farms of varying sizes. It was from this self-sustaining, rewarding and often risky way of life that Tuscarora Wayne emerged in nearby Tuscarora Township, initially as Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Tuscarora, as a means of financially protecting farmers from fires, unforeseen hazards and the forces of nature.

Although modern times have been difficult for all but the most enterprising of family farmers, that work ethic and never-say-die attitude of generations of farm families that were once so prevalent lives on. Agriculture is still a significant force in the Wyalusing Valley, but one of the major employers in terms of numbers was a family business in adjoining Wyalusing Township that mushroomed into a multi-million dollar business providing incomes to hundreds of area families. Four generations of the Taylor family specialized in beef processing, and the huge plant is now under the corporate umbrella of the multinational Cargill, Inc.

Other major industries within a 20-mile radius, including Procter & Gamble, DuPont and Craftmaster Manufacturing, allow Wyalusing and Bradford County, to boast one of the lowest unemployment rates in Pennsylvania and, in fact, the eastern United States. The most recent favorable impact in the economy is the resurgence of natural gas drilling, taking advantage of the Wyalusing Valley being situated on the Marcellus Shale. It means more jobs and opportunities for even more businesses.

Despite the favorable economic impact of this unique combination of agriculture, small businesses and major industry, the rural and small-town personality of Wyalusing and surrounding area prevails. The school district just outside the borough limits in Wyalusing Township houses the modern campus for some 2,000 students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. They come from rural homes and small towns like New Albany, Laceyville, Herrickville, Silvara and Camptown. Encompassing just under 275 square miles, the Wyalusing Area School District is still the second largest in geographical area of the more than 500 public school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Reaping the benefits of a bustling economy, at the same time maintaining its rural character and small-town values, makes Wyalusing a very special place indeed.