A Prosperous History Driven by Innovation
Danville, Pennsylvania has always been a community of forward-thinkers and innovators. Founded in 1792 by prominent industrialist William Montgomery and named for his son Daniel, Danville is located along the Susquehanna River in Montour County, the smallest county in Pennsylvania.
From the 1800s through the early 1900s, Danville was at the heart of an important iron-producing region. During this time, the mills, blast furnaces, and foundries significantly contributed to the area’s success and were the region’s largest employers.
Danville was home to many visionaries during this era, which led to notable developments. The railroad industry’s first iron T-rail was famously created and manufactured in Danville; a self-winding clock was designed by Henry Rempe; the typewriter was invented by Christopher Sholes; and a recreation center for the women who worked at his silk mill was built by J. F. Lavigne.
Danville’s prosperity was seeded by these innovations, as well as the on-going productivity of the iron mills and foundries. A building boom showcased the community’s rising influence and resounding community spirit. During this era, cultural centerpieces such as an opera house, architecturally designed public buildings, mansions with river views, and public events sprung up and most remain to this day as beloved reminders of Danville’s role in the Industrial Revolution.
In time, the mills and mines of central Pennsylvania began to close with devastating consequences for some communities. Danville was not immune to the nation’s changing economic landscape, however, it was fortunate to evolve its economy ahead of the decline of the iron industry. In 1915, local philanthropist and community leader Abigail Geisinger drew on her iron industry fortune and deep-seeded commitment to the health and welfare of the community to found the hospital that would become Geisinger Medical Center.
Over the last 100 years, Geisinger has grown to become an internationally acclaimed integrated health system that employs 23,000 and serves 3 million residents in central Pennsylvania. Once an iron capital, today Danville is home to the largest rural healthcare facility in the country.
A Vibrant and Sustainable Future
Due in large part to the efforts of the Danville Business Alliance and the enterprising leaders of Danville Borough, our business climate is more pro-business and development-friendly than in any time in recent memory. The favorable local tax climate, streamlined process for starting a business, and a welcoming and prosperous economic environment serve as a beacon for local entrepreneurs and a magnet for investors.
In recent years, more than $20 million has been invested in downtown Danville. From the construction of an office building, to the expansion of popular local businesses, to the opening of more than two dozen new shops, restaurants, and offices in the heart of our historic community, Danville is experiencing a renaissance. Our downtown vacancy rate now stands at less than 5 percent and Mill Street hums with the sounds of commerce.