Acme, Pennsylvania

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Coordinates: 40°7′38″N 79°26′5″W / 40.12722°N 79.43472°W / 40.12722; -79.43472
Acme
Unincorporated Community
Name origin: "acme," meaning the "peak" or the "top"
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Fayette, Westmoreland
Coordinates 40°7′38″N 79°26′5″W / 40.12722°N 79.43472°W / 40.12722; -79.43472
Area 25.7 sq mi (67 km2)
 - land 25.6 sq mi (66 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 2,545 (2000)
Density 99.2 / sq mi (38 / km2)
Timezone EST (UTC-4)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-5)
Zip code 15610
Area code 724
Location of Acme in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Acme is an unincorporated community, identified by ZIP code 15610, in Mount Pleasant and Donegal Townships, both in Westmoreland County, and Bullskin Township and part of Saltlick Township in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population (according to ZIP code) was 2,545 at the 2000 census.[1]

Geography[edit]

Acme is located at 40°7′38″N 79°26′5″W / 40.12722°N 79.43472°W / 40.12722; -79.43472 (40.12731, -79.434929).

According to the United States Census Bureau, it has a total area of 25.7 square miles (66.6 km²), of which 25.6 square miles (66.3 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) is water.

The name Acme refers to the area's location along Chestnut Ridge in the Allegheny Mountains.

Surrounding communities[edit]

Donegal, Kecksburg, Laurelville, Mammoth, Saltlick and Stahlstown.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,545 people, 962 households, and 736 families residing in the area. The population density was 99.2 people per square mile. There were 1,087 housing units at an average density of 42.4/sq mi. The racial makeup of the area was 99.4% White, 0.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 0.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.4% of the population.

There were 962 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.6% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.03.

The ages of the population were distributed as follows: 24.1% under 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 or older. The median age was 38.9 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.5 males.

The median income for a household in the area was $35.290, and the median income for a family was $37,398. Males had a median income of $28,897 versus $21,765 for females. The per capita income for the area was $15,012. 7.8% of the population and 5.1% of families were below the poverty line.

History[edit]

Acme has always been an agricultural community; however, three attempts to develop resorts in the area have likely been inspired by its gateway position along the edge of the Laurel Highlands.

Treetops & Mountain Circles/Polymath Park[edit]

Main article: Polymath Park

In 1962, architect Peter Berndtson developed a master plan for a 125-acre (0.51 km2) property named Treetops & Mountain Circles.[2] Berndtson, an original apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed a network of twenty-four private houses, each within a 300-foot (91 m) diameter clearing in the woods. If completed, the clearings and their connecting roads would have depicted a bunch of grapes when viewed from the sky. Only two homes—those for developers Harry Blum and James Balter—were actually built.

Forty-two years later, local homebuilder Thomas D. Papinchak deconstructed the Donald C. Duncan House in Lisle, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) and relocated it to the Acme property.[3] The Duncan House was designed by Wright as an instance of his Usonian style. In honor of the two architects, the failed development has been renamed Polymath Park Resort. Since 2007, all three houses have been offered as overnight accommodations for visitors to Wright's Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob in nearby Stewart Township.

Bear Rocks[edit]

On November 7, 1965, Pittsburgh real-estate developer Scott Hamilton advertised Bear Rocks, a new "Mountain Ski Area", in the (now-defunct) Pittsburgh Press newspaper.[4] The development in a section of forest originally known as Southerwood, along the western descent of Chestnut Ridge, featured over 1000 house lots in a wooded setting connected by 22 miles of roads. Codes prevented the cutting of more trees than necessary for home construction, unconnected buildings, business restrictions, prohibitions on brick and metal siding and similar provisions intended to maintain the rural character of the development. Two separate lodge buildings were built; one at the upper entrance to the development and another at the base of the ski slopes. At its peak, the Bear Rocks Ski area featured eight slopes and trails with a double-chair lift and snow-making equipment. The advertisement also boasted a private fishing lake, "magnificent" swimming pool, rustic cocktail lounge, tennis, horseback riding, social activities, and "golf at a private country club nearby."

Bear Rocks reportedly ceased ski operations after the 1973 season. The ski lodge and restaurant burned to the ground a few years later and was not rebuilt, however the community lodge remains as a focal point for residents. The community continues to grow, and new homes have been constructed in the clearings of the former ski slopes and continue to be built on vacant lots. While the rustic character of the development is still very evident, it has suffered somewhat in recent years as the Bear Rocks codes have been increasingly ignored, including the clear-cutting of lots, and some logging operations.[5]

Forest Lake[edit]

Following in the footsteps of the very successful Bear Rocks, this much smaller resort featuring a recreational lake, a swimming pond, and wooded house lots, Forest Lake, was developed adjacent to the eastern edge of Bear Rocks along Bear Rocks road. As part of the sales promotion, a red caboose, now greatly decayed, was placed on one of the lots. Forest Lake never enjoyed the success of its larger neighbor and only 5 houses were built.[6]

Government[edit]

An unincorporated place, Acme spans the municipal boundaries of Mount Pleasant, Donegal and Bullskin townships.

Transportation[edit]

Pennsylvania Route 31, a two-lane artery, delivers traffic east and west through the area. The Pennsylvania Turnpike parallels the state road to the north, but the closest interchange is in nearby Donegal. Because Turnpike traffic is occasionally diverted to the state route, additional lanes were added to accommodate truck traffic down the latter's western descent of the Allegheny Mountains, on a two-mile (3 km) stretch of highway known as Three Mile Hill.

Recreation and Amenities[edit]

Chestnut Ridge Park features a 25-acre (100,000 m2) recreational pool (lake) with a boat launch and short walking trail. The county park provides opportunity for fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities in a quiet, isolated rural setting.

Acme Speedway hosts kart racing every Saturday night from mid-April through late September.

Donegal Highlands, an 18-hole public golf course, offers a unique challenge to golfers of all abilities.

Stone Villa Wine Cellars provides seasonal outdoor entertainment as well as daily wine tastings.

In addition to getaway vacation rentals, Polymath Park[7] provides tours of Frank Lloyd Wright's Duncan House on a weekly basis.

References[edit]