Peter Herdic did more for the city of Williamsport than just build the Herdic Hotel, in fact, he did more for the advancement of the city than any other single individual before or after his time. He gave Williamsport its first real start on its road to prosperity .
Born on December 14, 1824 in Fort Plains, N.Y., to Henry and Elizabeth Pletts Herdic, Peter was the youngest of seven children - six boys and one girl. His father died in 1826 and his mother picked up and moved the large family to Ithaca, N.Y. where Peter attended school for a short time.
In 1846, when Herdic was less than 23 years of age, he came to Lycoming County, Pennsylvania with William Andress and they settled in Cogan House Township. There the two men bought a shingle mill. Three years later, he purchased a 154 acre farm on Lycoming Creek, built a modest home on the property and on Christmas Day 1849 married Amanda Taylor.
Herdic moved to Williamsport in 1853 and at that time the town had less than seventeen hundred inhabitants. During his next ten years in Williamsport Herdic purchased hundreds of acres of land and built mills and other factories. On December 6, 1856 his wife Amanda died and left Peter with a young daughter and on January 12, 1860 he married once again. Encie E. Maynard was Herdic's second wife and together they had two sons, Henry and Peter.
In the early 1860's, Herdic persuaded the Philadelphia and Erie railroads to move their passenger station to a location near Fourth Street and there he built the Herdic Hotel for Pennsylvania railroad travelers. He also built several large homes on West Fourth Street; and because of his effort to build up the city he played an instrumental part in obtaining the city charter. In the Fall of 1869, he was elected mayor of Williamsport and within 25 years of living in the area, Herdic became a city hero as well as a millionaire.
Not only was Peter Herdic well known in the Williamsport area, he was also known in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington for inventing the horse-drawn carriage that was used in those cities as a taxi. It was called the "Herdic" and Peter Herdic himself is the only local citizen who has added a word to our English language.
Everything went well for Herdic until the Panic of 1878, when he had to declare bankruptcy. A few years later he started to get back on his feet and engaged in many paying enterprises. In his last year of life, he was in business to build water-works systems in Selinsgrove; Huntingdon; Cairo, Illinois; and Orlando, Florida.
Peter Herdic died on February 2, 1888. He slipped on the ice, fell down an embankment and received a head concussion. He died with in one month.
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