EEDC Mission

To maintain a high integrity in the effort of identifying, organizing and implementing projects of civil and commercial importance for the revitalization of the Borough of Etna.

EEDC History

A group of residents, business owners, property owners and local government officials realized the continuing decline of manufacturing and fabricating in the region; combined with the need to guarantee the town’s future of available, quality commercial stores and residential housing. They saw businesses declining, if not closing altogether, and buildings lying vacant in this once thriving community.

The group recruited additional stakeholders and began to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of Etna. Several community-wide meetings ensued, as well as smaller discussions about the threats and opportunities of the community. A program to address these issues was developed and the Etna Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) was formed. The group formally incorporated in March 2003 and shortly after, they were granted non-profit 501(c)(3) status.

The EEDC is an all-volunteer organization, structured on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street model. It is led by a Board of Directors, local officials, businesses and residents of the community all dedicated to the economic development and revitalization of our business district.

Board of Directors

  • Chair:
    Pete Ramage
  • Vice Chair :
    Jeff Plowey
  • Treasurer :
    Mary Macecevic
  • Secretary :
    Judi Becki
  • Member :
    Tom Rengers
    Carl Funtal
    Nick Farine

General Membership Meeting Schedule

The EEDC general assembly meeting is open to all EEDC members and the general public. Please come and meet like minded people in your community, who want to see you, your business, and Etna thrive!

Meeting Dates: The EEDC meets the second Tuesday of every month
Meeting Time: 7:00 PM
Meeting Place: The Etna Borough Municipal Building 437 Butler Street

*Note All meeting times and places are subject to change
Please click here to view monthly calendar for meeting schedule

Join Us and Make a Difference

Progress and growth continues to be seen in our town as more and more changes are occurring throughout our downtown business district. Whether it be the more than a dozen facade improvements that have been made in the designated Main Street district, the beautiful new refuse cans, the colorful garden plantings, the new businesses that have filled some of the empty storefronts or the completion of the Green Streetscape, much has been happening on and along Butler Street and throughout the Etna community!

The Etna Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) has been at the forefront of the planning, work and discussions that have spurred these changes and other planned improvements that you have been seeing!  The EEDC is here for you, …the resident who might be considering opening a business, the building owner who is either looking to improve the physical appearance of their structure or looking for assistance in leasing it, and even current business owners who might be interested in finding better ways to improve their current business operations or ways to grow and expand their market.

For our success to continue, however, we need you! Come join us and become involved in the future of our community. General Membership meetings of the EEDC are held the second Tuesday of the month at 7 PM at the Etna Borough Building. Membership to the organization is $20 for Individuals and $100 for Businesses. Come join us as we continue to change the face of businesses in our town, the streetscape of our business district, plan our annual civic events as well as our annual summer time Farmer’s Market among, others! Come bring your ideas, dreams and visions of what our community can be to you, our families and businesses.

Come join us and help us shape the future of Etna. We look forward to working with you!

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Etna's has a Proud Rich History

Etna's has a deep rich history of pioneering, perseverance, and regions firsts.

Almost 150 Years of History

Etna has a proud history enriched by the presence of famous people, events, and immigrants and frontier families who worked hard to make Etna what it is today. Names like George Washington, Chief Guyasuta, General Williams Wilkins, the Marquis De Lafayette, George Croghan, James Fenimore Cooper, Walt Whitman, Charles Dickens, Henry Spang, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller all have their names tied to Etna’s beginnings.

Etna’s humble beginnings can be traced back to the early 1740’s where George Washington almost met his demise at the hands of the Seneca Indians when surveying the land for the Virginia Land Company. A “roughhewn” Dublin Irishman, George Croghan, was able to settle the land before Washington could claim it. By marrying a Seneca Indian Princess Croghan became the first white settler to come to Etna and establish a trading post in 1746. On August 2, 1749, Croghan purchased the land rights to all the lands at the forks of the Ohio River back to Turtle Creek, and along the river valleys making his plantation the largest frontier trading operation in the New World. Washington’s and Croghan’s paths crossed several times. In 1770 Croghan tried to sell his land rights to Washington who had also laid claim to them. Eventually, Croghan was charged by Washington for treason over his land deals in 1782. The rich natural resources made the area a great place to trade with Indian communities and a huge trading network was established. Eventually the Indians expanded their trade to include the “whiteman” and peacefully traded with both the French and the British at the mouth of Big Pine Creek. Chief Guyasuta, the Seneca Chief who ruled the area in the 1700’s and attacked George Washington while he was surveying, eventually befriended him.

The end of the Revolutionary War brought great change to the area. The Seneca Indians were made landowners to the area just north of Etna and the vacated land was divided up and sold off to pay off the Revolutionary War debt. Major General John Wilkins, Jr. bought up most of these lands and his “Newberry Estate” was built. The Estate mansion known as the “Blue House” was Etna’s first house. Construction of Pittsburgh-Freeport Road and the Pennsylvania Canal brought many immigrants to the area. The canal created a boom town between 1826 to 1868 bringing all kinds of industry.

Meanwhile, in 1825, General Wilkins sold his land and it was divided it into small town lots which were resold to the immigrant families. The community was called Centerville. Centerville immediately became home to an iron mill (Pine Creek Iron Works), a grist mill, and a lumber mill. Overnight a village was born. Henry S. Spang, an immigrant who moved to Etna in 1818, bought the Pine Creek Iron Works in 1828. Spang changed the name of the company to the "Etna Iron Works." Spang greatly expanded the existing mill, initially to manufacture farm implements for local residents and settlers who were moving west. "The original motives of setting up the Etna Iron Works in both Altoona and the Pittsburgh areas was to establish the "Etna" name as a primary supplier to the Pennsylvania Canal System." In 1838, the community changed its name to “Stewartstown,” naming the area after one of its leading residents. The name remained until Etna was incorporated in September 16, 1868.

The name "Etna" was said to have been chosen because the topography of the area surrounding the town was similar to that found near the famous volcano in Sicily, Mount Aetna. Other sources say it was applied to many other industries in the area owned by Spang in 1828. By September 16, 1868, the industries of the village had grown so much there was a constant glow from the industrial furnaces. When the furnaces were opened, fire, sparks and ash erupted 150 feet into the night sky. River travellers wrote, "The combination of the glowing sky, and the rumble of industrial operations filled the air and aroused the senses--as if one were witnessing the eruption of a volcano." It must have been notable, because the name "Etna", instead of a number of other options, stuck.
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