Genealogy of the Woodcock Valley

Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania



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.

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Reply Deb (Fisher) Riley
2:52 PM on February 20, 2011 
I now have all of my photos from Aitch uploaded and edited in the photo album. I will update the Resident List in the next few days to include the new photos. If you have other photos of homes that I am missing in the hills and hollows around Aitch, please share them with everyone!!!!!
Reply David
4:36 AM on November 22, 2012 
Thanks for this fascinating information! The map shows us that the railroad had already come through in 1873. It also shows J.S. Isett, J. Haffley, and the tin shop.
Reply Larry Laird
2:21 PM on January 27, 2013 
The town of Paradise was south of Aitch--and I've heard it said you have to go through "aitch " (h) to get to Paradise!
Reply Larry L
2:40 PM on January 27, 2013 
Woops--I did read the first line. Sorry! (duh)
Larry Laird says...
The town of Paradise was south of Aitch--and I've heard it said you have to go through "aitch " (h) to get to Paradise!
Reply Amy Meyers Nicolai
9:57 AM on March 27, 2013 
The "residents of Aitch" link appears to be broken...
Reply Deb (Fisher) Riley
11:57 AM on March 28, 2013 
Amy, I'm pretty sure the link is working now.
Reply Leigh Miller
8:43 PM on June 21, 2015 
my Dad always told people he grew up half way between Aitch and Paradise (Horton)
Reply Susan Logan
8:03 AM on January 2, 2016 
My grandparents owned cottages in the area as early as the 1930's, I think. I used to visit them in the 1960's. I didn't know about Aitch. Hesston is the small town we passed through before we drove up the mountain. It was such a cool place. I remember the abandoned one room school house, the Indian camp and the overlook rock, which had an old cemetery behind it. My grandfather told me the land had been flooded and there were Indian villages under the water.
Reply kim
3:33 PM on May 22, 2016 
wow so interesting yet sad i wonder really why they flooded it ???
Reply Linda Hetrick
4:51 PM on May 22, 2016 
Very interesting especially because my husband is related to Clair Hetrick!
Reply Rita Showalter Detwiler
6:49 AM on June 28, 2016 
I remember growing up in Marklesburg, and walking or riding my bike through Aitch down to Paradise. Loved it when someone would ask for directions to Paradise... We honestly told them that they had to go through Aitch to get to Paradise... some of the looks we got were priceless!! Was a wonderful place to grow up.

You can also visit my personal family database at 


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