— 19th Century —
The coming of the Littlestown Railroad in 1858 brought growth and a new life to Littlestown. The railroad ran E-W along Cemetery Street and was extended west to Frederick, MD, in 1872. It was not uncommon for Littlestown citizens to leave Littelstown for Philadelphia early in the morning and return the same day. The Pennsylvania RR took over the line in 1874. (The last train service departed Littlestown in 1948.) Between 1850 and 1860 the population had nearly doubled and Littlestown was incorporated as a Borough of Adams County in 1864. Additional lots were laid out along North and South Queen Street to accommodate the need for expansion.
By 1870 the population had grown to 847, with trades including coach makers, ore and foundry workers, druggists, farmers, tavern keepers, shoemakers, physicians, and others typical of 19th Century towns on major transportation routes. During this period more churches and businesses were established, some of which remain today; St. John's Lutheran Church, 1763; Methodist Church, 1828; Redeemer's Church, 1860; St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1863. There was even the Ockers Race Track just a few blocks from the square!
Warehouses and shops were erected to meet the growing needs of this crossroads town. Among these were the Basehoar and Mehring Hardware Store (Basehoar being a descendant of early settlers whose local homestead is just outside the borough). The Protection Mutual Insurance Co., founded in 1851, retains an office at 101 S. Queen St. The Meyers Dry Goods store and building (later "Trimmer's" and the "Littlestown 5 & 10") was constructed on the SW corner of the intersection of Baltimore and Frederick Streets, now Queen and King Streets. An early 1800's building on the NE corner of the square later became the Littlestown Post Office, and remains today as a commercial establishment.
The Alpha Fire No. 1 Engine House was built on East Hanover Street (now King Street) and was an example of an elaborately detailed Victorian structure. The all-volunteer Alpha Fire Company still serves Littlestown.
At least four hotels existed at this time, among them the National Hotel, which was built adjacent to the railroad line, circa 1862. The PRR railroad station was just behind the hotel, to the east. The Barker Hotel (known as the "Central Hotel" and later, the "Ocker House") was built in 1848, on the NW corner of the square.
The map is from an Adams County Atlas and depicts the development of Littlestown as of 1888. The 1888 illustration by T.M. Fowler depicts some of the prominent businesses and residences of the time.