Another Mystery Solved

About a week ago I mentioned that I was trying to learn the origin of the names of two towns. One was Laboratory, Pennsylvania, and the other was Forks of Ivy, North Carolina.

A basic search of the Internet told me that Laboratory, PA was originally known as Pancake, PA because a man named George Pancake ran a tavern there. I guessed that the name had to be changed in order to get a Post Office; at the time, Pennsylvania had two towns named Pancake.

I sent a request for information to the Washington County Historical Society in Pennsylvania. Here is the response sent me by Janet Wareham.

Earle Forrest wrote about this area in his 1926 History of Washington County, Pennsylvania in the chapter on South Strabane Township.  He discusses first George Pancake, then Jonathan Martin and adds this paragraph:

“About thirty years ago the late Dr. Byron Clark, who resided near the end of East Maiden Street, Washington, established a chemical laboratory for the manufacture of patent medicine, which he sold throughout the country.  He had a post office established and named the place Laboratory, by which it is still known, although the original name of Pancake still sticks.”

The only part I had right was that the U.S. Post Office was involved.

Now, let’s see if we can solve the mystery of Forks of Ivy. Maybe a member of the Forks of Ivy Baptist Church can help us.


3 Responses to Another Mystery Solved

  1. Lynne Leeds says:

    I pass through Laboratory, PA at least 3 or 4 times a week. I’ve always laughed or made a quick joke about the name of this little town. It’s nice to know the origin of that name. Thanks for doing the research!

  2. Caitlin says:

    I know this blog post is a year old but I was also curious about the origin of the name Forks of Ivy. I live about an hour away from there and pass by every so often and it always catches my attention. That is how I found your website. I also found this explanation in my online search as well. I thought I would share it with you.

    “The Forks of Ivy Baptist Church
    was established in 1843. The
    community and the church were
    named for the confluence of Big
    Ivy Creek and Little Ivy Creek.”


    Pretty simple explanation I guess.

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