What The Markers Denote

In addition to those markers placed at the entrances to communities, many other Pennsylvania places of note were graced by a Keystone Marker. These included streams, rivers, trails, and jurisdictional boundaries, such as borough and state lines. Different marker types were used for different purposes.  Markers were also used for speed limits, railroad crossings, parking information, distance information, scenic overlooks, highway patrol stations, and probabaly a host of other purposes.  See the bottom of the History page for some additional illustrations of these varied uses.

TOWN MARKERS. Markers such as these, with a front-mount sign and pole, were used to denote the entrances to all Pennsylvania towns, cities, villages, etc.  Scroll down on this page to learn how to "read" a town marker. This marker shape was also used for a host of other purposes, as shown in the drawings below, including speed limits, directions, danger zones, school zones, etc. STREAM MARKERS. Keystone Markers were used to denote stream and river crossings and could once be found at every such crossing along state roads.  Most stream and river markers were of the top-mount, two-sided variety as shown here at Welsh Run, though some used the front-mount sign and pole common to the Town Markers. (Photo: Fred Yenerall) TRAIL and HISTORIC ATTRACTION MARKERS.  Keystone Markers were used to indicate trails and other points of interest. Trail markers, as shown here, generally used the front-mount pole and the keystone variant sign shape. (Photo: Cheri Campbell).  Some points of attraction markers also used the town or stream type of markers. BOROUGH AND COUNTY MARKERS.  Keystone Markers were  used to indicate jurisdictional boundaries, such as borough lines.  These markers generally used the front-mount pole and the keystone variant sign shape, as shown here.

Some drawings from the Pennsylvania Department of Highways below depict the tremendous variety of uses the cast iron keystone sign once had.

Highslide JS
A Marker for Every Purpose:  This wonderfully intact School Zone marker in Forkston, Pennsylvania, demonstrates the great variety of uses for which Keystone Markers were employed.  While it is unknown at present, it is possible, based on the "Dangerous Hill" marker specifications above, photographic evidence, and the coloration of the Forkston Speed Limit Keystone Marker, that Keystone Markers used for purposes such as School Zones, Speed Limits, etc., were painted black or blue-on-yellow versus the traditional yellow-on-blue.  Note that Forkston is also home to its own town marker and the Mehoopany Creek marker--a marker afficianado's paradise! Photos courtesy of Seth Gaines Highslide JS

HOW TO "READ"  A KEYSTONE MARKER:  The keystone markers used to denote towns have a common format, though there are variations even here (see About the Keystone Markers: A History for more information on the variations).

In general, the town marker text followed this format:

Elizabeth-7 (The next town, Elizabeth, is 7 miles.)
BOSTON (The specific town or municipality)
Named For: BOSTON, MASSACHUSETS (Next who, what, where and why the town got its name.)
Founded 1886 (Self Explanatory)

(courtesy of Adam Prince; photo by Bruce Criddlebaugh)

It was common for a town to have up to four markers, one at the entrance of each principle thoroghfare. The town of Laporte has two markers, both pictured here. The marker on the left is on rte. 220 and, at the right, rte. 42. The marker on rte. 220 is planted unusually low. Both markers are missing their ball finials, and are in need of straightening and repainting. 2 Laporte Markers

Cluttered by other signage and in need of restoration, a marker for Conyngham is located on Sugarloaf Avenue/SR 3034 in Conyngham Borough.Photo provided by Matt Hamel.

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