Throughout much of the 20th century, Williamsport shoppers found everything they needed right downtown, from fresh farm produce to clothing, home furnishings, books, and gifts. L.L. Stearns & Sons department store, on this site (left), was the city's premier shopping venue for more than 100 years, but some family-owned stored like Otto's Books (lower right) have lasted even longer.
The arrival of Kohl's department store in 2011 re-energized downtown shopping, which had declined since its heyday in the 1950s (upper right).
The seasonal Williamsport Growers' Market (above) carries on the tradition of the Indoor Growers' Market (upper left) with farmers selling their produce directly to city residents.
Then and Now
In 2011, the Carl E. Stotz Little League Memorial Bridge (below and right) replaced the Market Street Bridge (1951 opening day, center, bottom). The 2011 bridge is the seventh to cross the Susquehanna River at Market Street; the first was built in 1844.
Replicas of the old city trolleys (right) ply the streets of Williamsport today, departing from the gazebo (below) at the Transportation Museum in the Historic District during the summer months and for special events.
Getting Around Town
Williamsport's downtown has been a regional hub ever since the
city became the Lycoming County seat in 1796. Before the advent of the automobile, four major train lines came into the city, and trolleys transported local residents to work and recreation areas. The trolleys stopped running in 1933, and the last passenger train came to town in 1972, but today River Valley Transit buses continue the tradition of public transportation. A steady stream of people arrives downtown every day to shop, dine, work, and play.