Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney
|• Type||Borough Council|
|• Mayor||Jim "Snake" Werhle|
|• Total||3.4 sq mi (9 km2)|
|Elevation||1,230 ft (370 m)|
|• Density||1,836.2/sq mi (709.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||814 Exchanges: 249,938,939.|
|Website||Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce|
From the Unami-Len'api term Put'schisk'tey, which means "poison vine."  In 1907, Punxsutawney and Claysville boroughs were consolidated and incorporated as Greater Punxsutawney. A high-grade soft coal was mined in the surrounding region. Formerly, the factories included glassworks, foundries, ironworks, machine shops, and planing, flour, feed, and silk mills. In 1900, 6,746 people lived there; in 1910, 9,058; in 1920, 10,311; and in 1940, 9,482 people lived there. The population was 5,962 at the 2010 census.
The area was originally settled by the Delaware Indians, and the name "Punxsutawney" derives from a Native American term which translates to "town of the sandflies" (or, perhaps, "town of the mosquitoes").
Punxsutawney's most famous resident is Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog said to predict the weather annually on Groundhog Day (February 2). Phil and the town were the basis for the 1993 film Groundhog Day (although nearly all of the movie itself was shot in Woodstock, Illinois).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2), all of it land. It is bordered on the north, west, and south by Young Township, and on the east by Bell Township.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,962 people, 2,573 households, 1,602 families and an unknown number of groundhogs residing in the borough. The population density was 1,836.2 people per square mile (708.0/km²). There were 3,042 housing units at an average density of 890.7 per square mile (343.4/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.8% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, <0.1% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.
There were 2,749 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.0% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 37.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the borough the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 22.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $26,250, and the median income for a family was $33,054. Men had a median income of $28,958 versus $19,076 for women. The per capita income for the borough was $14,802. About 13.3% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.
The Borough of Punxsutawney is governed by seven Council members, each elected to a four-year term. The members are: Lawrence Chenoga, President; Michael Porada, Vice President; Michele Lorenzo; Robert Santik; Jaime Sherry; Brian Smith and Eric Story.
The Mayor, Richard Alexander, is also elected to a four-year term, and in addition to other duties, has oversight of the Borough Police Department.
Other elected offices include: one Tax Collector (four-year term), six assessors (four-year terms) and six constables (four year terms).
The Borough Manager position, held by Benjamin White, is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Borough, and reports to Borough Council.
Punxsutawney is the most populous incorporated municipality in Jefferson County.
The Borough of Punxsutawney employs a full-time police service made up of 12 police officers. The Chief of Police is Thomas Fedigan, Jr. Dispatchers and wardens are also employed by the borough and work closely with police. The police station is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by both police officers and wardens.
The Punxsutawney Fire Department is made up of three volunteer stations, The Central Fire Dept. (Jefferson County Station 20), Elk Run Volunteer Fire Company (Jefferson County Station 30), and Lindsey Fire Company (Jefferson County Station 40). The president of the Punxsutawney Fire Department is Doug McAfoos. The Fire Department Chief is Josh Wachob. In addition to department officers, each station elects its own officers. Scott Depp is the chief of Central Fire Dept., Bryan Smith the chief of Elk Run VFC, and Joe DeFelice, Jr. the chief of Lindsey Fire Co. The fire department responds to fires, vehicle accidents, hazardous materials incidents, and rescue situations in the borough of Punxsutawney, Bell Township, and Young Township. The Punxsutawney Fire Department also maintains an active water rescue team comprising scuba divers and a boat crew.
Jefferson County EMS operates the ambulance station in Punxsutawney. Station 50 is a full advanced life support service comprising paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Station 50 serves not only the borough of Punxsutawney, but also Southern Jefferson County and parts of Northern Indiana County.
In popular culture
In the Lost In Space television series, Captain Alonzo P. Tucker, a space pirate (appeared in two episodes), hailed from the railroad tracks of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Cap'n Tucker (as Will Robinson would call him) was a homeless person, until aliens abducted him and others for study, mostly keeping him in suspended animation.
The television series Breaking Amish includes two cast members from Punxsutawney, PA.
- WECZ-AM and WPXZ-FM, two local radio stations.
- The Punxsutawney Spirit, Jefferson County's only daily newspaper.
- Receives television programming from the Johnstown-Altoona media market.
- Charles Jerome "Chuck" Daly (July 20, 1930 – May 9, 2009) was an American basketball head coach. He had a 14-year NBA coaching career and began his basketball coaching career in 1955 at Punxsutawney (PA) Area High School.
- John Joseph Mizerock (born December 8, 1960 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania) was a backup catcher for the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. He was the eighth overall pick in the 1979 draft.
- Devin Douglas Mesoraco is currently an American Major League Baseball catcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He was the 15th overall pick in the 2007 draft.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.|
- "Lenape Talking Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-05-27.
- Brinton, Daniel G., C.F. Denke, and Albert Anthony. A Lenâpé - English Dictionary. Biblio Bazaar, 2009. ISBN 978-1103149223, p. 121.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- Punxsutawney Fire Department
- Punxsutawney Classifieds and Events
- Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania Information from City-Data.com
- Punxsutawney Groundhog Club