Dickson Block in 1912.
Map showing Berwick in Columbia County
Map showing Columbia County in Pennsylvania
|• Type||Borough Council|
|• Mayor||Tim Burke|
|• Council President||Alvin Hill|
|• Borough Manager||Robert Hivish, Jr.|
|• Fire Chief||William Coolbaugh|
|• Police Chief||Kenneth Strish|
|• Total||3.1 sq mi (8.4 km2)|
|Elevation||558 ft (170 m)|
|• Density||3,379.7/sq mi (1,247.3/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Website||Borough of Berwick|
Berwick is a borough in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, 22.6 miles (36.4 km) southwest of Wilkes Barre. Berwick is one of two principal cities of the Bloomsburg–Berwick Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Columbia and Montour counties and had a combined population of 82,387 at the 2000 census.
Founded by Evan Owen, a Welsh Quaker and surveyor. He was the son of Hugh Owen from Trefeglwys, Montgomeryshire, Wales. Berwick was named after Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Situated beside the Susquehanna River, the borough was first settled in 1769, founded in 1786, and incorporated in 1818.
Light and heavy manufacturing industries, such as American Car and Foundry Company and Wise Potato Chips, have flourished in Berwick, which consolidated with the borough of West Berwick, where 5,512 people lived in 1910. Population in 1910, 5,357; in 1920, 12,181; and in 1940, 13,181 people. The population was 10,774 at the 2000 census. Berwick is famous for its high school football team, the Bulldogs, who are six time State Champions and three time National Champions. Berwick is also the home of the 2008 PIAA AAA Baseball State Champions. It is the school's first ever baseball state championship.
Since 1947, the Berwick Christmas Boulevard, created by the Jaycees, displays over a mile long Christmas show of lights and displays down Market Street. The Berwick Christmas Boulevard is seen by thousands of visitors every year, and it has been a regional favorite for over 60 years. Santa Claus is present every year to serve Berwick's famous Wise Potato Chips to everyone who drives past him.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2), of which, 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (4.62%) is water. Berwick is drained by the Susquehanna River, across which is the borough of Nescopeck.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,774 people, 4,595 households, and 2,802 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,477.0 people per square mile (1,341.9/km²). There were 4,992 housing units at an average density of 1,611.0 per square mile (621.7/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.10% White, 0.88% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.61% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.62% of the population.
The Berwick area had a large influx of Eastern European immigrants approximately between 1890–1920, which had a great impact on the current population that continues to this day. These immigrants included Slovaks, Ukrainians, Ruthenians, Lithuanians, and Poles. The 2000 US census shows that Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, is the only county to have a majority of Eastern Europeans in the United States. These immigrants were primarily Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic.
There were 4,595 households out of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the borough the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $27,442, and the median income for a family was $32,357. Males had a median income of $26,467 versus $21,061 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $14,538. About 9.6% of families and 14.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.8% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.
Berwick was one of the places where the Stuart tank was produced in WWII. American Car & Foundry, a producer of rolling stock for railroads also operated a plant in Berwick. Berwick is home to Berwick Offray, a gift ribbon manufacturing plant, and Wise Foods, a snack food company founded by Berwick native Earl Wise in the first half of the twentieth century, famous for its potato chips.
Berwick is home to the Berwick Area School District. There are six public schools located within the district: Berwick Area High School, Berwick Area Middle School, Fourteenth Street Elementary School, Nescopeck Elementary School, Orange Street Elementary School, and Salem Elementary School. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, as of the 2009-10 school year, 94% of all students in the district attend class regularly and 88% of all students graduate on time.
Berwick is also served by Columbia-Montour Area Vocational-Technical School, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16, as well as three private schools: Holy Family School, a Catholic-based school for grades K-5, Heritage Christian Academy, a Baptist-based school for grades K-12, and New Story, a school for children with serious and complex educational and behavioral challenges.
Berwick is also home to a dedicated campus of Luzerne County Community College, located in the Eagles Building. Nearby colleges and universities include Bloomsburg University (12.4 mi), Penn State Hazleton (14.2 mi), the main campus of Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke (21.9 mi), King's College (28.2 mi), and Wilkes University (28.2 mi).
The McBride Memorial Library, built at a cost of $2.35 million and opened to the public in January 2008, serves the residents of Berwick and its surrounding areas. Nearby libraries include the Columbia County Traveling Library, the Bloomsburg Public Library, the Orangeville Public Library, and libraries at those colleges and universities listed above.
- Thomas Bowman, bishop
- Russ Canzler, baseball
- George Curry, football coach
- Matt Karchner, baseball pitcher
- Jake Kelchner, football quarterback
- Douglas Major, composer of sacred music and concert organist
- Warren P. Noble, congressman
- Bo Orlando, football
- Billy Petrole, boxer
- Ron Powlus, football quarterback
- Benjamin F. Rittenhouse, Civil War Hero
- Mike Souchak, golfer
- Jimmy Spencer, racecar driver and commentator
- Ted Stuban, politician
- Joe Torsella, museum director
- Jayson Terdiman, olympian
|Climate data for Berwick, Pennsylvania|
|Average high °C (°F)||2
|Average low °C (°F)||−7
|Precipitation mm (inches)||58
|Source: Weatherbase |
- MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-07-27.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Ninnau March 2004
- books.google.com ("Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad")
- "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania". 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- Climate Summary for Berwick, Pennsylvania
- "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on August 9, 2013.