Born in Fort Plains, New York, in 1824, the promise of lumber riches brought Peter Herdic to Pennsylvania in 1853. In 1857, he and two other local businessmen purchased the Susquehanna Boom Company. Using his political influence, Herdic then convinced the legislature to raise boom tolls from $.50 to $1.25 per thousand feet of logs. In its peak year in 1873, the boom processed nearly 320 million feet of logs, earning considerable profits for Herdic and his partners.
In 1869, Herdic was elected as the third mayor of Williamsport. He owned the gas works and sold land to the railroads to bring them into the city (routing them through other Herdic property to increase its value). He built office buildings, a waterworks, an urban railway, and a bridge over the Susquehanna River. Herdic also owned the local newspaper. But in addition to his business enterprises, he donated homes to the working class, erected churches on donated land, and constructed public buildings and signed them over to the city. Some sources claim his philanthropic activities severely depleted his finances and that he hovered between wealth and ruin on a yearly basis.
The Peter Herdic Society is a vehicle to broaden, deepen, and recognize the support of community leaders for human service programs funded by Lycoming County United Way. Donors who contribute $500 or more to United Way’s annual campaign are eligible for membership. The impact of leadership giving goes far beyond the dollars donated. Participation in the Peter Herdic Society is an indication of involvement, commitment, and a desire to meet the most pressing needs in our community. Members of the Peter Herdic Society ignite the interest of others and lead the way toward building a stronger, healthier community through their generous gifts.