|Posted on February 17, 2011 at 10:05 PM|
"You have to go through Aitch to get to Paradise" was the popular saying and attempt at humor of the locals. The road that went through the small town of Aitch continued on to Paradise Furnace. The town of Aitch was lost with the construction of Raystown Lake. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers acquired property in the late 1960s and early 1970s in order to begin filling and completion of the lake in 1973.
The town of Aitch was not always known as Aitch. In Pomroy's 1873 Atlas of Blair and Huntingdon Counties, the town was known as Grantsville.
The name was eventually changed to Aitch in order to avoid confusion with the railroad station in Grantsville, MD. So, where did the name of Aitch come from? It was derived from the last names of the prominent families:
A - Auman
I - Isett
T - Thomas Enyeart
C - Crum
H - Haffley
Some locals have different variations of the families for these initials, but the names I used seem to get the most votes.
The town of Aitch, which can be seen in this aerial view, consisted of approximately 30 houses and small businesses.
Throughout time, it sported it's own zipcode, railroad depot, water tank, general store, school, tin shop, and gas station.
The late Clair "Pappy" Hetrick took photos of all of the houses in Aitch over time and before they were destroyed for the construction of Raystown Lake. Contrary to popular myth, the town is not intact under the water. Pappy Hetrick shared a set of photos with me before he died. I have a number of the photos uploaded already in the Aitch photo album. I will continue to work on adding the rest. The photos are labeled with the last family or property owner who lived there. However, Pappy Hetrick shared with me all of the families he could remember living in each house through the years. You can find these additional names in my Residents of Aitch list. A number of other local residents, including Clair Grove, John Lynn, and Jean (Lynn) Bookwalter, also helped me clarify some points after Pappy Hetrick died. I won't guarantee the list is 100% accurate, but I am confident it is very complete. I will welcome any additions or corrections!
The construction of Raystown Lake left a lot of bitter and angry land and home owners who lost everything and were displaced by the lake. During high school and college, and for a number of years after, I worked for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers at Raystown Lake. One of the most frequently asked questions I received was about the town of Aitch. Everyone wanted to see photos and know who lived there, and "Is there really a town under the lake?" This small town, which was lost in the face of development, is still a popular and long sought after landmark of the Woodcock Valley.