Centre Turnpike

Phillip and Maria Waizenegger operated the toll house along the Centre Turnpike,
just past the hamlet of Germantown, west of Ashland.

Centre Turnpike, also known as the Reading-Sunbury Road, was an early United States turnpike located in Pennsylvania. Running from Reading to Sunbury, it was 75 miles in length, and was started in 1808 and completed around 1814 at a cost of USD$208,000. The final toll was collected near Bear Gap in 1855. The general path of the original turnpike is now covered partly by Pennsylvania Route 61 and Pennsylvania Route 54. It was maintained and controlled by the Centre Turnpike Road Company, which was formed in 1805.[1]

Historical route description

The Centre Turnpike started on Penn Street near Fourth Street in Reading. It roughly followed the path of the Schuylkill River to the community of Molino in Schuylkill County, where it diverged to the northwest toward Pottsville, a distance of 35 miles from the origin. From Pottsville it went to the foot of Broad Mountain where toll gate #6 was located. It then headed northwest to the top of Broad Mountain, and turned west along the north side of the mountain toward the village of Fountain Springs.

The turnpike then entered Ashland 48 miles from Reading, a half-mile west of which was located toll gate #7, just past the community of Germantown. It then continued across Locust Mountain (via the current Ashland Road, a.k.a. Snake Road and Logging Road 19018) and entered Mount Carmel. It continued in a northwest course over Red Ridge (current route of PA-54) and up the south side of Big Mountain to Natalie at the top.

From here, Centre Turnpike went down the north side of Big Mountain to Bear Gap. Bear Gap was 58 miles from Reading, and also the site of the first toll house in Northumberland county. From Bear Gap, the road ran west (currently Reading Turnpike Road) and crossed Shamokin Creek just east of Paxinos. About one-half mile west of Bear Gap is the point where the Danville Turnpike (the current PA-54 continuing northward), incorporated in 1815, joined the Centre Turnpike.

From Paxinos, the turnpike followed the present Pennsylvania Route 61 until it crossed Shamokin creek, just east of Sunbury. From there it followed Highland Avenue, and joined Market Street. It followed Market Street to the square, where the turnpike reached its northern terminus.


In 1822, the rate of tolls (per mile) were: Wagons with narrow wheels and four horses, 3-1/5 cents; Wagons with wide wheels 4 to 4-1/2, 1-3/5 cents; Wagons with wide wheels 4 to 4-1/2 inches and above, free; Pleasure carriages, with two horses, 2-3/5 cents ; Horse and rider, 3/5 of a cent. The turnpike collected an average of $6572.67 in tolls per year in the first eleven years of operation.

This article uses content from the English Wikipedia.
Where appropriate, the content of the Coal Region Notebook
is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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This site uses some content from the English Wikipedia.
Where appropriate, the content of the Coal Region Notebook
is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.