Southern end to Mill Creek
U. S. Route 66 has nearly 800 books as its central subject, Lincoln Highway (Route 30) has 290 books, The Great Silk Road of Asia has over 1400 —in English–by their travelers, photographers and chroniclers. Pennsylvania SR 655 may not be ready for full book treatment. But, SR 655 deserves some attention. Recently I have accomplished what few (if any) have accomplished: driven the entire length of SR 655 in one day.* Even my spouse, Julia, born and raised several hundred feet from that thoroughfare had not completed this journey. Her family has an 1814 deed positioning a corner of the family farm at a “large rock” at the edge of “The Great Road”. (The farm at the upper edge of Allensville is now the Peachey farm.) Julia is one of the natives of Big Valley that knew that 655 has its northern end at Reedsville at North Main Street and Old 322, but this was the first time she had seen the (current) southern end. Here is the chronicle of our journey. [PA SR 655 previously was SR 76 until the start of the Eisenhower Interstate highway system began in 1956. It took over the two-digit numbers and required state routes to be three-digit.] (Thanks to Nelson Roth and Sanford King for this information.)
At the edge of Hancock, MD, is the border of Pennsylvania and the start of SR655
Needmore Full Gospel Church, 4014 Thompson Road, Needmore, PA 17238 at mile 4 sets back off the road. (not shown).
Mile 9.1: US Post Office, 7992 Great Cove Road, Needmore, PA 17238 a brown brick building.
655 becomes Great Cove Road and joins US 522 for .8 miles. The only eatery in Needmore is Gordon’s Cruise-In, just south of the junction of US 522 and SR 655. It is housed in the same building as Gordon’s Garage and Appliance.
Mile 10: 655 turns north along Tonoloway Creek. 655 takes the name Pleasant Ridge Road for the next 17 plus miles. The Creek runs approximately 32 miles south to the Potomac River.
Mile 12.3: Pleasant Ridge Church of the Brethren church is 3.2 miles north of Needmore at the top of a hill.
Just over the mountain east is the Supreme Council of the House of Jacob, an African American community and religion/denomination with a fascinating history.
Mile 18.7 Less than 2 miles before Harrisonville, Baby Run flows into Licking Creek at Schooley Lane. Licking Creek drains south. Its origins are far to the east where part of it starts just north of McConnelsburg where it first heads north, then west before turning south. The other branch starts a bit to the north. Sindeldecker Creek is a major branch
1.1 miles north Route 30, just to the west on Buck Road, is the Independent Holiness Academy.
28.2: SR 655 passes over the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
After a mile, SR 655 becomes Pitt Street in Hustontown for a short time
Mile 27.1, the Hustontown Post Office shares a building with a library. This is the only public restroom between the MD line and Mapleton, Pa. Also here is the Brown Funeral Home.
Twist and Shake serves grapenut ice cream when their machine works.
Grace Bible Methodist Church is nearby. Pitt Street becomes Waterfall Road.
Mile 33.9: US Post Office at Waterfall, Pa.
Mile 37.7: Center Grove Brethren in Christ Church (may have changed it’s name or closed)
Mile 41.6: Junction with PA 994 which leads to Three Springs and PA 747 which leads to Agape Farm Retreat Center and Mt. Union, Pa. Agape Farm Retreat Center has an interesting history. (See https://agapefarm.com/)
Mile 40.8: Saltillo, Pa, Post Office, Main Street. According to Wikipedia, Saltillo was named after the Mexican War Battle of Saltillo (23 October 1840). It was a major tanning center during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Leas and McVitty Tannery was located here, known for quality hides. The main line of the East Broad Top Railroad (https://eastbroadtop.com/) was built through Saltillo in 1874. The railroad served the tannery as well as a short-lived iron mine and an equally short-lived limestone quarry, both just southeast of town. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saltillo,_Pennsylvania accessed 6/25/20)
Mile: 42.1: Calvary Independent Baptist Church, 20258 Main Street.
Mile 43.8 Gravedigger Drive heads up towards Jacks Mountain to the east-maybe a deadend.
Mile 43.9: PA 829 branches off to the west giving access to Cassville, Calvin and the Raystown Lake Recreation area.
Mile 44: Hares Valley Creek. Pa 655 becomes Hares Valley Road. Probably at the PA 829 junction (Signs for change didn’t appear for several miles). Hares Valley Creek runs near the road most of the way to Mapleton.
Mile 48.6: Just north of Labrador Drive (and before Soggy Bottom Lane) is Latta Grove Church. No information is available for this church. The fence in front and the unworn grass near the red front door suggest that there is little use of the building.
Mile 49.5: Barneytown Rd. on the left, then Jacks Mountain Road leads off to the east toward the mountain here. Not clear from Google maps how far it goes or if the road is all season or requires all-terrain vehicles.
Mile 52.3: Beech Run Church of the Brethren, Mapleton, PA is 8.5 miles north of Gravedigger Drive. Not sure that is significant.
Mile 54 in Mapleton, Pa, 655 becomes Campbell Street.
Mile 54.4: another Main Street Post Office—just off SR 655 (n0t shown).
Nearby is the H.O. Andrews Feed Mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 according to Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.O._Andrews_Feed_Mill (Accessed 6/25/20).
My spouse, Julia Hartzler Alleman, remembers her father ordering animal feed from them in the 1940s or 1950s.
Mile 55.4: Pa 655 becomes Bridge Street, Oriskany Road beyond the Juniata River.
Mile 55.5: U. S Silica, according to its web site: “The Premier Silica Sand Provider for Today and Tomorrow”.
Across the Juniata River and not quite 2 miles west on William Penn Highway or U.S. 22 brings one to the beginning of the Valley Pike.
Mile 57.7: SR 655 turns north toward Big Valley and is called Big Valley Pike. The original 655 ended/began here until 1964. Mill Creek/Mapleton to Maryland was added at that time.
Part two, Valley Pike, Mill Creek to Reedsville coming soon.
*If you have traveled Pa SR 655 in one day, email me a firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add your name to the PA SR 655 Wall of Fame.