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Dean Township is on the eastern border of the County, north of Gallitzin Township and south of Reade Township. It was formed July 10, 1877 from that part of Clearfield Township lying east of Clearfield Creek.

The township lies on the western slope of the Allegheny range. It is crossed east to west by Laurel Run, Big Laurel Run and Little Laurel Run, each draining into Clearfield Creek. The northeast corner of the township is drained to the east into Bell's Run.

For many years after 1880 the township produced large quantities of bituminous coal. Dean Township coal has been used for years in the homes of the City of Altoona, to which point it has been hauled by wagon and truck. For many years a high grade clay was mined in the township. Clay mining has been discontinued. A very fine sandrock was quarried in the township. This natural resource was used in building many railroad bridges.

Before the days of the coal development, lumbering was the principal industry in the township. Logs were moved down Clearfield Creek to the Susquehanna River. Following 1880 a railroad was built over the mountain from the east to Highland Park on the Blair-Cambria County line and beyond to Dougherty Mines. By this railroad, known as the Altoona Northern, coal moved from the Dougherty Mines to Blair County.

In the extensive development of the coal lands, on the western slope of the township the Cresson and Irvona Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad was extended. This railroad built by Judge Dean and associates was originally known as the C. C. C. & N. Y. S. R. R. R.*

The villages of Dysart and Dean were named for Blair County residents who provided capital to develop the coal. Judge Dean whose name was also given to the township was the chief judicial officer of the district which included Cambria County before 1883.

In 1880 the first census of the township showed a population of 216. In 1950 the population was 703.

*Cresson Clearfield County & New York Short Rail Route Rail Road.

Last Updated: 27 Aug 2015
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen, & contributors