Brookville's ascension from a humble 18th-century settlement to a booming 19th-century town is representative of the changing face of the nation in the early 1800s. Nestled in the heavily wooded terrain of western Pennsylvania, the Brookville settlement remained in relative isolation for the better part of a quarter century. But the forested topography that served to separate it was also key to its later industrial transformation. The completion of the 1822 Susquehanna and Waterford Pike toll road opened up the town's rich lumber resources to the rest of the region. By the 1850s, more than 60 lumber mills were up and running. This initial success led to more development in the years to come. Glass, furniture, and ax factories, as well as breweries, all sprang up in Brookville. Between 1905 and 1907, the town also was home to the Twyford Motor Car Co., which produced the world's first four-wheel drive automobile. Because of this early history, the town has paid close attention over the years to its preservation and has developed an award-winning revitalization model for its downtown. A nationally registered historic district, Brookville's architecture reflects the town's evolution from late Victorian to late 19th- and 20th-century revival styles.