In operation from the early 19th century to the present, the Millersburg Ferry connects Millersville, Pennsylvania to Buffalo Township on opposite sides of the Susquehanna River. It is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna and its double-stern paddle boat is thought to be the last operating in the United States. It is owned by the Millersburg Chamber of Commerce and operated by the Millersburg Ferryboat Association and still ferries both people and vehicles across the river. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Millersburg Ferry is thought to have been in operation prior to the
establishment of the town of Millersburg in 1807. The town’s founder, Daniel Miller, reserved
shad fishing and ferry rights for himself when the town was established. This is the first mention of the ferry’s
existence. The first boats used at by
the ferry were flat-bottomed, pole-driven boats known as bateaus, due to the
shallow depths of the Susquehanna. They
would continue to be used until they were replaced by steam-powered ferries in
1873. The use of the heavier, deeper draft
steam ferries entailed the construction of a ferry wall or dam to deepen the
waters of the river where the ferry crossed.
through 1820, the ferry was operated by George Carson and/or Michael Crow and
it was Crow who petitioned the state government to build a road to the landing
from the “Great Road,” now U.S. Route 11/15.
It is known Crow was involved with the ferry as he was assessed for a
farm, sawmill and ferry in 1820 and, as a result, the western shore landing
came to be known as Crow’s Landing. In
an 1826 sheriff’s sale, the proprietary rights for the Millersburg landing was
transferred from Daniel Miller to David Kramer for $60.00. Ownership of the ferry was greatly contested
from the 1820s through 1866 when the Pennsylvania state legislature licensed it
to David Kramer’s son, Joseph, who was granted the right to operate it at his
own expense on both shores.
was sold at least ten times between the 1870s and 1910 and was then operated by
the Radel and Hunter families from 1907 to 1968 when it was sold to Robert and
Bud Wallis and Jim Zeiders. Robert
Wallis became the sole owner in 1972.
Wallis, in 1990, sold the ferry to Community Banks N.A. which then donated
it to the Millersburg Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber then quickly created the Millersburg Ferryboat Association
to continue operation of the ferry and that arrangement still is in place
continued construction of bridges across the Susquehanna, most ferries were put
out of business, but the Millersburg Ferry has endured. While it was initially used to ferry people,
wagons, livestock, produce, and building supplies across the river, today it is
more of a tourist attraction. Although,
it is the only crossing for forty miles between Duncannon and Sunbury. It currently operates two ferries, the
Roaring Bull V and the Falcon III which make the mile crossing in about twenty
minutes. The ferry can be accessed on
the east side at North and River Streets in Millersburg and, on the west side,
just off U.S. Route 15/11 at Ferry Lane which takes one through the Ferryboat Campsites. The ferry is in operation Friday through
Monday from June 1st through Labor Day.