Vision 2022: Untold Stories – The history of Gable Hill – Meadville Tribune

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Updated: February 14, 2022 @ 2:24 pm
Meadville, PA

VERNON TOWNSHIP — Gable Hill, located on Route 322 just west of Walmart, is often thought of as being named for the late Clark Gable, famous movie star, who once resided in Vernon Township.
However, that may not be true. It may well have been named after his paternal grandparents, Charles and Mary Gable, who owned the land stretching from near Hank’s Frozen Custard all the way up to past Walmart. Traditionally many roads were (and often still are) named after a family who lived near them.
Records aren’t clear when and for whom the hill was named. The road was widened in the late 1950s, but it is believed it was called Gable Hill long before that.
Although the hill may not have been named after the famous actor, Gable still has ties to the area.
In fact, he lived here as a toddler until he was about 5 years old.
Gable, famous for many of his 66 movies, including “It Happened One Night,” which won all five major Academy Awards that year, and perhaps what he is best remember for, playing Rhett Butler in “Gone With the Wind,” which also won an Academy Award.
Gable was born in Ohio on Feb. 1, 1901, to William H. Gable and Adeline Hershelman Gable. When Gable was only 6 months old, his mother became very ill and moved back to her parents’ home in Vernon Township. She died Nov. 14, 1901, when Clark was only 10 months old.
His father was a well driller and traveled all over the country, so Clark went to live with his paternal grandparents. He told a biographer that he lived there until he was about 5 when his father remarried and then went to live with him and his new wife in Ohio.
Speaking with a biographer, told of remembering his childhood was “watching a blinding snowstorm through the windows of a Pennsylvania farm house. One lone chicken lost in the snow, was squawking frantically as it tried to find its way back to the coop. I can remember begging my grandfather to bring it in the house.”
He recalled going to church in Meadville in a surrey with his grandparents.
There are no records of him returning to Crawford County until he was 21 and came to claim an inheritance left by his grandfather.
After receiving the inheritance, he took the money and struck out on his own to pursue his dream of becoming an actor.
The rest, as they say, is history.
There is more local connection to the movie star, however,
His mother is buried in Chestnut Corners Cemetery near Harmonsburg. Reports are she had no tombstone at her gravesite. Members of the Altar and Rosary Society of Our Lady Queen of the Americas Roman Catholic Church reportedly wrote to Gable and asked him to consider purchasing one. He ordered one from a local company and had the incorrect date on the order, marking her death date as 1900 instead of 1901.
His paternal grandparents are buried in Greendale Cemetery, according to records. His maternal grandparents are buried in the same cemetery as his mother.
Clark and his wife, the former Kay Williams of Erie, had one son, who was born several months after Clark’s death in 1960.
The connection with Crawford County continues as his son, John Clark Gable, visited here in 1995. He is a car racer and a friend of Bryan Lepley, son of Joanne and Dick Lepley, owners of Street Track ‘n’ Trail. They were racing friends.
The hill, which is about four-tenths of a mile long, may not be named after the famous actor, but, to many, that is who they think of when traveling on it.

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