- November 23, 2022
When my niece Brittany married Chris, who both worked at UPMC Susquehanna Health Hospital in Williamsport, I was very surprised when they purchased a home in Hughesville. I asked why they chose to live there, rather than a location closer to where they worked. They smiled like they were in on a secret. Hughesville is
When my niece Brittany married Chris, who both worked at UPMC Susquehanna Health Hospital in Williamsport, I was very surprised when they purchased a home in Hughesville. I asked why they chose to live there, rather than a location closer to where they worked. They smiled like they were in on a secret. Hughesville is one of the unsung treasures of Lycoming County.
Many folks travel to Hughesville for the annual county fair, but it would be worthwhile to invest a little extra time to enjoy this marvelously quaint, cozy community. It is easy to get around town as the streets are much wider than would be found in most rural communities, and they are well maintained. The residents appear to take pride in their homes, evidenced by the nice lawns and outside decor. The active downtown on Main Street has churches, shops, cafes, taverns, and plenty of parking spaces to enjoy them.
Behind the scenes there is also an infrastructure of involvement. They have an active Rotary Club, churches that provide pre-schooling, a new library that is so amazing that it deserves an entire feature all by itself, and even a fine Historical Society prominently housed in a former pharmacy located right on Main Street. The local fire company is well run and highly respected, not just for its emergency services, but also for its very successful fireman’s carnival held every year. Carnival week in June is packed with shows, rides, and exhibits, and is also an excuse for the community to have not one, not two, but three parades! This is not a surprise, as Hughesville loves parades, and holds them throughout the year.
Credit for all this success would have to go to a number of people, of course, but currently at the forefront is the mayor of Hughesville, Walter Reed. Though he shares a name with a famous military medical complex, Mayor Reed is a worthwhile individual in his own right. Born and raised in Wolf Township, just outside Hughesville Borough, Walt married and moved inside the borough limits in 1969. He worked for years in the construction industry, volunteered with the local fire company, and coached Little League Baseball.
Then, in the 1980s, Walt began to acquire an interest in getting involved in local politics. He jumped in by serving on borough council, and later the Planning Commission, and then dropped out for a while while taking up an education sideline by teaching construction at the local high school’s Career Center. But by 2009, he knew that there was a lot of local discontent with the current local government, and decided to talk about it with the community matriarch, Pauline Montgomery.
Pauline R. Montgomery, who passed away in May of last year, was a true LION (Leader in Our Neighborhood) if ever there was one. A successful businesswoman, she graduated from Hughesville High School in 1946 and then graduated in 1950 to Temple School of Pharmacy, where she was only one of six female students. She opened Montgomery’s Pharmacy on Main Street in 1959 and it was recognized for several National Pharmacy awards over the years. She was the first female president of the Pennsylvania Pharmacist Association. She was named as one of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 Business Women. So, it was not a surprise that Pauline Montgomery would have been the first female mayor of Hughesville.
Though retired, Mrs. Montgomery was still a player in the community, and when Walt went to talk to her, Pauline told him that he beat her to the punch — she wanted to talk to him about becoming mayor! Since Walt Reed has been elected mayor in 2010, the town has not raised taxes, but has been able to increase its police force from one full-time patrolman to three, create better cooperation with area municipalities, and in general, encourage the community pride that Hughesville has long been known for.
Now I get it. My niece and her new husband could have moved anywhere in the county and they chose Hughesville. Nice move!