Bloomsburg's earliest development and inhabitants were part of the Indian period of American history. The Susquehannock Indians were the first occupants of the Susquehanna River Valley which was a major route into Central New York State. Today we are reminded of our Indian heritage by the many interesting names of nearby local places such as Susquehanna, Catawissa, Nescopeck, and Shickshinny.
The first settlers occupied lands along the river. In 1772, James McClure came to the area from Lancaster and built a log cabin near the banks of the Susquehanna within the present Town limits. In 1781, a wooden stockade was constructed around the McClure dwelling to protect settlers from Indian attacks. Today, all that remains of the Fort McClure site is a one-room cabin, which is open to the public.
Bloomsburg was founded in 1802 when Ludwig Eyer laid out the town. The Bloomsburg area was largely self-sufficient at first, but gradually developed a need to find markets for surplus products. The construction of new roads and the opening of the North Branch Canal, started in 1828, encouraged the arrival of new settlers and helped to stimulate the economy. In 1830 the first canal boat passed through Bloomsburg. The canal system was abandoned in 1891 and later sold to the D L & W Railroad and part of the old canal is now part of the railroad right of way.
The discovery of iron ore nearby gave rise to a flourishing iron industry that lasted approximately seventy-five years. The settlers flourished by utilizing the many pine and hardwood forests into a booming lumber industry. Bloomsburg's economy changed when the iron ore supply was exhausted and the agricultural base was depleted at the turn of the century. It was then that new businesses including textile mills and small manufacturing enterprises appeared and that established the pattern that characterizes Bloomsburg's present economy.
Bloomsburg became a Town on March 4, 1870 when State Senator Charles R. Buckalew proposed the law that would incorporate Bloomsburg as a town. Bloomsburg was once a combination of crossroads in a country village with few locally-based industries, it has now become a textile town catering to an international as well as a national market producing carpets, knitted goods, silk fabrics and ladies undergarments. It is also a leader in the cut-flower industry. Due to the location of Bloomsburg in close proximity to Interstate 80, and with three interchanges almost at its boundaries, it has helped to lead to economic expansion in canning industries, printing and metal fabricating.
As a result of our rich heritage and the foresight of the early settlers, Bloomsburg developed into a beautiful, safe, and healthy environment that's combined with the benefits of a diverse and progressive community, great location, cultural tradition, quality education and outdoor fun. Bloomsburg is an ideal place to raise a family and operate a profitable business.