Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Kenneth Fones-Wolf

Committee Co-Chair

Katherine Aaslestad

Committee Member

Elizabeth Fones-Wolf

Committee Member

W. Thomas Mainwaring

Committee Member

A. Michal McMahon.


This dissertation examines the small town of Washington, Pennsylvania from its post-frontier period to the eve of industrialization. Two primary areas are covered in the study: the Market Revolution's growing influence on the local economy and society, and the Civil War's local impact. This study contributed to the field of urban and town history by providing a case study from a relatively under-examined region, the Upper Ohio Valley and southwestern Pennsylvania, by studying the relationship between its economic development and its social and political characteristics.;Washington was in many ways a typical small western Pennsylvania town, surrounded by farmland and serving as a local commercial and small manufacturing hub. By the 1810s, the town and surrounding county were adapting and adjusting to the growing Market Revolution, with expanding commercial activities, banking, the maturation of the cash-credit nexus in commerce, regular connections to distant markets, and transportation improvements, including local turnpikes, the National Road, and later, railroads.;But despite growing influences from the Market Revolution, Washington's economy and society experienced a high degree of continuity even into the post-Civil War years. There was no surge in population growth or industrialization until well after the Civil War, putting relatively little immediate pressure on the community between the 1810s and the 1870s. Although certainly not a boom-town, Washington Borough was still a growing and developing community, the study of which imparts a greater understanding of nineteenth century regional patterns and small town development generally.