Shermans Dale, PA
Life in a Small Town
Shermans Dale is an unincorporated community in Carroll Township, Perry County, Pennsylvania, United States, along Sherman’s Creek. It was originally settled by Scots-Irish settlers before the American Revolutionary War. Its ZIP code is 17090.
The public school that serves Shermans Dale is West Perry School District.
In the beginning
In 1754, Tyrone Township Cumberland County comprised all of what would become Perry County, west of the Juniata River. In 1820, Perry Co. was formed from seven Cumberland Co. townships, namely: Buffalo, Greenwood, Juniata, Rye, Saville, Tyrone, and Toboyne. The townships west of the Juniata River that exist today were carved out of the original Tyrone Township.
A petition signed by 168 citizens of the district that would comprise Carroll Township was presented to the courts in April of 1834. It would be the eleventh township to be formed in Perry County. Carroll Township would be partially comprised of what was then Tyrone, Wheatfield and Rye Townships. Later, an initial part of Carroll Township was taken to form Spring Township . Carroll Township was officially recorded in April 1834.
In the early days there were several well traveled roads and paths that found their way through Shermans Dale. An old Indian trail crossed Shermans Dale at Cougan’s Gap (now Sterrett’s Gap) and wended its way westward along Sherman’s Creek, past Gibsons Rock to the Tuscarora Mountain to the west. The Cranes Gap Road was a footpath across the mountain at an early date, and in 1848 was made into a road. Cranes Gap was several miles west of Sterret’s Gap and joined what is now Fox Hollow Road. About a mile west of Crane’s Cap was another gap known as Sharon’s Gap. Both Crane’s Gap and Sharon’s Gap roads were abandoned in the early 1900’s . In the early days the roads through Shermans Dale were well traveled routes as horse drawn wagons from Newport, New Bloomfield, Landisburg, and Duncannon used this route to Carlisle. The building of a canal and the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Newport – Shermans Valley Railroad cut off much of this early traffic; but, the coming of the automobile and heavy trucks has again brought much traffic through Carroll Township and Shermans Dale.
There existed several post offices in Shermans Dale. The original was at Sterett’s Gap. The original name of Shermans Dale was Smileytown. It was located on lands warrented by William Smiley in 1755.. The post office at Sterrett’s Gap was moved to this location in 1850 and the name was changed to Shermans Dale as there was already a post office named Smileytown elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
Business and Industry.
In the early to mid 20th century, Shermans Dale was comprised of many small family owned farms with a small industrial base to support these farms. In fact, this writer spent several years as a child during the WWII period living on what was the Daniel Kitner Sr. farm (and later the Harry Kitner farm) that was located on what is now the Texas Eastern Gas Compressor Station on Texas Eastern Road. There also existed at this same time period several family owned sawmills that supplied railroad ties and other lumber to the railroads and builders in surrounding counties. I also remember from the late 1940s until the early 1970s of at least 6 or 7 family owned and operated service stations/gas stations/convenience stores that existed from Mecks Corner to the top of Sterret’s Gap on Spring Road (Pa. Route 34). Carroll Township and Shermans Dale were beginning to gain population and a house building boom began in the mid/ late 1950s, so much so that a dedicated fire company was established several years before. In the last 30 years or so, many of the small businesses evolved from these early ventures into larger and more diverse businesses and now exist to serve the needs of the citizens of Carroll Township and the surrounding communities. Except for these evolved businesses, Shermans Dale today is also a bedroom community to large employers in Cumberland, Dauphin, and York Counties.
From the early 1800s through the mid 1950s, there continuously existed eleven one-room country schools in Shermans Dale. There were additional schools that were located throughout the township at various time periods but these schools were only used for short periods of time. These eleven schools provided primary education to the children of Shermans Dale. Some of these buildings still exist today. The schools were Sandy Hollow , Huston, Lackey’s, Pleasant Grove, Wolfs, Airy View(sometimes called Windy Hill), Shermans Dale, Pine Hill, Bern hill, Fox Hollow, and Narrows. All of these schools were used ( except Pine Hill, Hustons, and Fox Hollow) when Perry County consolidated their schools in January 1954. This writer attended two of these schools at different times, Airy View (1945-47)and Pleasant Grove (1953). In January 1954, Carroll Elementary opened and replaced all of these one-room schools.
Carrroll Township Government
Today Carroll Township is one of the fastest growing townships in Perry County. The township government is responsible for maintaining 64 miles of roadway. This includes paving, light construction, grass cutting, snow plowing , and other work related to taking care of the physical infrastructure. The township is also responsible for zoning, issuing of building permits, approving land development plans
Recreation in Shermans Dale
Parks and Recreation
In the early years, Carroll Township, Shermans Dale, had limited recreation opportunities.. These primarily consisted of church social meetings, hunting, and square dancing. At one time there was a large building located on what is now Valley Road (Rt 850). This building site was used for things like Halloween Parties, Dances, and other similar functions. This building was vacant and subsequently reconstructed as a home. Around 1900-10, there was a camp ground located near the north west corner of what is now Spring Road and Sandy Hollow Road, it was referred to as the Brunner Camp ground , after the name of the family that owned the property. Historians arenot sure when this facility went out of existence. Some time in the mid 1900s a local family created a recreation facility and meeting place that has evolved over the last half century. It is now know as Lupfer’s Grove located on Spring Road (Rt. 34) in Shermans Dale.
Today Carroll has numerous recreation facilities , the Shermans Dale Fire Hall, The Ambulance Building ( Both located on or near Spring Road), the Carroll Township Community Center located on Church Road . In addition to these facilities, The Lions Club Park is used for both picnics, meetings, and athletic events. Carroll Township, Shermans Dale, also has two parks one located on Burn Hill Road and the other located on Valley Road (Rt 850). The Burn Hill Park was initially started as a private endeavor using volunteers and has now owned by the township. The Valley Road Park is also owned by the township. Both of these facilities are operated through joint cooperation of a township appointed recreation board , volunteers and the athletic associations utilizing these facilities.
The Shermans Creek is a lazy meandering tributary of the mighty Susquehanna river. Slowly winding around mountains, and fertile farmlands. This trip will put you in the shadows of the historic Dellville covered bridge. You will float at the base of mountains and thru somewhat deep pools until you reach the fields. You will also encounter a bridge to navigate under, and some gentle shelves just above the second of two newly built Dellville Road bridges. The Shermans Creek is a true hidden gem in Shermans Dale, as you can only float on its waters at certain times. Best times are early spring with snowmelt, and high water. It can be done after certain rains, but not to be done while near or at flood stage. Many fisherman gather throughout the years at this beautiful part of Shermans Dale. Fly fishing is among the most popular.
Shermans Dale Community Fire Company
A community coming together
Based on the values and vision of our founders in 1952
It is the present and future goal of the Shermans Dale Community Fire Company to continue the legacy of service to others that was started by many respectable members of our community years ago. Members are committed to increasing their fire services knowledge through training and educational courses; they place value in presenting themselves as positive role models in order to continue a trusted relationship with our citizens; and they are dedicated to conducting fundraising events which help raise needed monies to offset tax increases to the citizens of Shermans Dale. It is with continued community support and volunteerism that the Shermans Dale Volunteer Fire Company will continue to excel in our community.
Happenings around the Station include Training , Meetings, Fundraisers, and other Events.
Although our history as a company is rather short compared to others, we have grown and expanded at an alarmingly fast rate. With the forethought and ingenuity of several individuals the drive for an efficient company was underway.
The Shermans Dale Community Fire Company was incorporated as a non-profit organization on September 16, 1952. One must recognize that at this time Shermans Dale was nothing more than a small village surrounded by an abundant farming community. While the village was much as it is today, the remainder has continued to grow. Housing developments, mobile home parks, and a small shopping district have slowly replaced the farmland. Also included is the ever-increasing flow of traffic on Rt.34, the main thoroughfare through Shermans Dale.
Prior to that September day, the individuals of the community realized they needed better fire protection, understanding that it had to be closer than neighboring communities could provide. All that was needed for this to get started was a strong backbone that the rest could work and manage off of. Miles Foote, William Brunner, Dick Shatto, Percy Smeigh, Geo Mongeon, Geo Richards, and Ray Stewart provided this solidarity. They provided and at times demanded a good work ethic that is still the inspiring motive present in today’s company and its members.
The Shermans Dale company’s first piece of apparatus was a 1932 Buick coupe. They mounted a 250-gallon water tank in the trunk and strapped a ladder to the roof. Primitive as it sounds, this piece was used as the main piece for two years. Without a station to house this piece, it was kept in garages owned by Dick Shatto, Richard Schuchman, and Bill Brunner. After only about a year or so to get things established, ground was broken for a permanent fire station. So in 1954 things were well on their way. The building of the new station had to be accomplished in a very timely manner considering the company had decided to purchase a new 1954 Chevrolet / Darley Pumper. This piece would be able to pump 500gpm and carry 600 gallons of water. This piece cost approximately $7,200.00 and fully equipped the price tag rose to nearly $12,000.00.
In 1960 the company purchased a 1952 Ford tank truck that held 1000 gallons of water. With this the company added on to the firehouse for more room. Again space became a high premium for the company and it seems that’s the case today. Then in 1964 the company installed two-way radios to help improve their response time and overall efficiency. In 1965 the company bought a 1964 Chevrolet tank truck that could haul 1000 gallons of water. This would complete the company’s apparatus total for several years.
Deciding that the time had come to upgrade again, the company in 1973 purchased a new Chevrolet / Darley Pumper. It could pump 750gpm and would be used as our primary engine. With this purchase came the need to add on to the firehouse, again. Once the addition was complete the firehouse would then be able to house 4 pieces in two bays. Then again in 1978 they purchased a new Chevrolet / Darley Pumper/Tanker that could pump 750 gpm and haul 1600 gallons of water. This then concluded the addition of apparatus for several years.
In 1985 the company purchased a Hendrickson / Darley Rescue/Engine. This would become the company’s primary piece on the majority of calls. It is able to pump 1000gpm and haul 525 gallons of water.
After only six years the company decided it was time to build a firehouse for the future. The blueprints were laid out and the groundwork begun. To do this the community hall and the house beside it had to be torn down. This was accomplished allowing us to add on to the existing firehouse. After a lot of hard volunteered work our present firehouse was built. There were so many people involved, it wouldn’t be proper to try and thank and list everyone. Only out of fear of missing someone, and that wouldn’t be fair to everyone involved, but the driving force had to be Don Shatto, and Vance Shearer. We truly tested the heart and attitude of the company with this long enduring project. While still managing to run our regular fundraisers we also spent many, many hours with this building, almost too many to count. But in the end we can truly say that we persevered and became stronger.
In 1995 the company purchased a GMC four door pick-up truck. This unit would be used as a utility and brush piece. No longer needing to rely on Chief Minich’s personal pick-up as our brush truck. Then in 2000 we purchased a 150-gallon Darley skid unit with a 200ft hose reel. Better equipping this piece for multiple functions. Next, in 1997 a Spartan / Darley tanker/pumper truck was purchased, it is capable of hauling 2500 gallons of water and pumping 1750gpm. For a few years things stayed pretty much as they were, and then in 2001 it was decided we needed a shop to do our service and maintenance as we do about all of our own repair work. With our building complete in 2005 we started looking at what laid ahead for our community, as the population rises and building construction changes, so does the way we must operate and provide service, thus the reason for our latest apparatus purchase. With townhouses and multi-story building being the future, in 2008 we put in service a KME 100ft Quint with a 1750 GPM pump, and 600 gallon of water. The total package with all the portable equipment cost us nearly $800,000.00. Without our municipal support it would be almost impossible to give this kind of protection to our community and our surrounding area, and we thank them for the assistance. This brings us to our present day apparatus total, two engines, one rescue, one tanker, and a utility. Oh yeah will still have the 1954 Darley Pumper (retired) and display it proudly.
The company has had only five fire chiefs in its history. They are and always have been the strong willed leader of this company. They have always set a good standard of excellence that we have followed for the life of the company. The first two years the duty of chief was split among three guys, Dick Shatto, Bill Brunner, and Floyd Vaughn 52-53. Then, Dick Shatto 54-72, Walt Kirk 73-74, and Mike Minich 75-Present. All five men have managed to lead this company to where we presently are today. All five contributed something to this company that the other members have been able to work off of. Traits that have built the heart and soul of the company.
We currently have first due response area in two counties. The majority of our territory is in Carroll Township, Perry County. That would equal approximately 60 square miles. We also cover half of Rye Township and a small portion of Spring Township, totaling approximately 12 square miles. In Middlesex Township, Cumberland County we cover a small portion of territory totaling approximately 6 square miles. Out of all these municipalities we run about 70% of our calls in Carroll Township.
As the population continues to rise, so do our call totals every year. Thus making us have to work harder at raising money so we can provide the best maximum protection to our communities and their citizens. With the help from these townships and their citizens our work is somewhat lessened. We owe them all a great deal of gratitude.
With the company being started out of the community, we strive to serve them the best way we were taught and know how too. The only differing feature between 1952 and present would be that the countryside has changed. But the same as in 1952 we today look to send this company a long way into the future, protecting and serving what made us in the beginning. We are still working and managing off the same backbone that was created back in the very be.