St. Thomas Toll House

Toll1900s

On Lincoln Way West just west of St. Thomas, PA

In 2008 St. Thomas Development Inc. donated an 1810 limestone Tollhouse and parcel of land around it to Franklin County Historical Society – Kittochtinny. The 198-year old structure served the Chambersburg and Bedford Turnpike Road Company for 100 years ending around 1914. It was part of the real estate included in the 2003 purchase from the former owner, Mt. Brooke Orchards, Inc.

The Tollhouse, constructed of coarse, native limestone and known as Tollhouse Number Two, is believed to be a pre-existing structure built by the Campbell family and used as a distillery. Tollhouse Number One was located in Chambersburg just west of the point where Shively Motors is today.
By an act passed March 9, 1814, in the Pennsylvania Legislature, the Governor incorporated five companies to construct a turnpike from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. The Chambersburg and Bedford Turnpike Road Company received its charter on April 25, 1815. John Holliday, a resident of St. Thomas, was appointed its first president and served until 1819. Thus began the monumental task of constructing a 55 mile-long turnpike.

Not only would the company have to acquire tracts of land on which to build tollhouses, but the company also had to erect bridges and culverts, remove trees, widen the roadway, crush stones for the surface, level hills, fill in gullies, straighten turns, and, in essence, do everything possible to construct a turnpike. The company would construct a section of road (usually five miles), then have it approved by three commissioners who were appointed by the Governor. If they reported the section of road was completed and satisfactory, then the Governor would grant a license to the company to establish a tollgate and collect tolls on the completed section.

Chambersburg and Bedford Turnpike Road Company operated at least 19 tollhouses along the 55 mile-stretch from Chambersburg to Bedford. The turnpike served the area continuously for 100 years. However, due to poor maintenance, neglect, and financial woes caused by recession in the 1890s, the Company began to struggle into the 20″ Century. It closed most of its tollgates by 1914 and by 1921 had liquidated its assets and cashed out its stock.

The last manager of the Company was St. Thomas resident David Brake who served in this capacity from 1901-1909. Brake’s daughter, Minnie Brake Sellers, operated Tollhouse Number Two until it closed.
Though records of this company are scarce, Tollhouse Number Two serves today as the best example of the creation of what we now know as U.S. Route 30. The Tollhouse will serve Franklin County Historical Society – Kittochtinny with a museum on its first floor and the remainder to be furnished with period furnishings. Parking will be added and historic markers for Fort Waddell will be removed from their present location and placed on the grounds of the Tollhouse.

Not open for tours at this time.