Montgomery Park was a gift to the town by Ferdinand Q. Hartman, the owner of the first silk mill in Danville. After constructing the mill, he built a home beside it on Water Street. From his home and business, his view was of constant unsightly dumping, along the river. He began the process of purchasing all of the land, from various Montgomery descendants and early settlers, and once he owned it, he added sidewalks, benches and trees, naming it Montgomery Park.
Hartman's Silk Mill & Home, Danville Pa. The mill was named Mnemoloton Mills for ‘Blue Hill’ across the river. Mr. Hartman sold his business to Jouvard & Lavigne in 1914. After various owners the building was razed in 2011. Condominiums were built in it's place, at what is today the 100 block of Jacobs Landing Way.
A view of riverfront park, from the bridge, showing the riverview hotel.
Mr. Hartman donated other ground along the river — an area for a Boy Scout camp along Northumberland road — but is best remembered for the donation of land for a sports field that has for many years carried his name, F.Q. Athletic Field.
DANVILLE -- After more than 40 years, five ornamental cast iron lamp posts originally made in Danville have returned to soon illuminate a park for generations to come. The restored lamp posts were installed Thursday at Danville's newly renovated Riverfront Park along the Susquehanna River. The posts surround an area where a fountain had been. Vincent Castellano, of Berwick, the craftsman who restored the posts, delivered the 12-foot-tall artifacts by trailer. The black posts, which are 300 pounds each, were moved by a hydraulic jack used to change engines. When Mr. Castellano received the posts, they were covered with about three-quarters of an inch of rust. He sandblasted them, replaced parts in poor condition and repaired the cracks. With only one base salvageable, he created four bases of steel. He then reassembled the poles, adding the work is a lot like his stained glass projects. "It was very challenging," Mr. Castellano said. "When I was first invited to do this, I thought I'm old and they're heavy, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to be part of the history of Danville iron." He added, "A lot of old-timers gave me helpful hints." Since he works in management at Harry's U Pull-It in Hazleton, he worked on the restoration in his spare time. "We did it in the garage," Mr. Castellano said. "The 65 Mustang went out in the snow, and the poles came in." He initially picked up the poles when the leaves were coming down last fall. According to Mr. Castellano, he and others who helped, including his 15-year-old daughter Katie, put in 400 hours on the project. "It was a lot of work," said Katie, an honor student who works in stained glass with her dad, makes hot glass beads and plays the violin and flute. "I'm happy with the final project. I learned from just watching what he did and learned what the poles mean to the town." The posts will hold one-foot highly polished Lucite globes resembling glass. They should be installed in about two weeks. Metso Minerals Inc., which is a descendant of the Danville Foundry and Machine Co. that originally made the lamp posts, financed the restoration in observance of the 100th anniversary of Kennedy Van Saun Manufacturing. Metso is also a descendent of The Danville Iron and Steel, Kennedy Van Saun Manufacturing and Engineering and Svedala Industries. In discussing the work, Danville historian Sis' Hause said everything seemed to fall together for this project. She received a call from Bill and JoAnn O'Brien, who wanted to return the five lamp posts to Danville. The posts had been in Danville's Memorial Park on Bloom Street from May 1909 when the Civil War Monument was dedicated until the early 1960s, when they were replaced. Benjamin Franklin Foulke, of Danville, made the patterns for the posts. Mrs. O'Brien's father, Paul "Cal" McVey, saved the posts. He gave one to an employee and placed another in his yard on Center Street. After he died, the O'Briens took the remaining posts to their home in Valley Forge, where they have three of the posts along their driveway. The five, now at Riverfront Park, had been in storage. Mrs. Hause said one of the posts is now at a private residence in Mooresburg, and the other sits at a private home along Church Street. Black plaques, made from molds of the originals, will be placed on each post. They read Danville FDRY and MGH Co. Danville PA. Assisting Mr. Castellano in installing the posts Thursday were borough employees Joe Miller, John Hack and Bob Stine. Riverfront Park was planned by the Penn State Montour County Master Gardeners and Ettinger's Landscaping Services in Williamsport. The gardeners obtained a $15,000 grant from the Columbia-Montour Visots Bureau for pavers for the park. The borough used two grants from the Community Development Block Grant program to develop the park, according to volunteer Penn State Montour County Master Gardener Harriett Perez, of Danville. Part of the tourism grant involves programs to bring people to the park. As a result, the gardeners will offer lectures and workshops July 21-22 during Iron Heritage Days. Tickets, a brochure and map are available from the Iron Heritage Company store on Mill Street by calling 275-6700. In addition, the master gardeners will set up an exhibit and sale of works of local artists in a tent at the park during Iron Heritage Days.