Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

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Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
Seal of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
Seal
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 1, 1811
Named for Schuylkill River
Seat Pottsville
Largest city Pottsville
Area
 • Total 782 sq mi (2,025 km2)
 • Land 778 sq mi (2,015 km2)
 • Water 4 sq mi (10 km2), 0.54%
Population
 • (2010) 148,289
 • Density 190/sq mi (73.5/km²)
Congressional district 17th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.co.schuylkill.pa.us

Schuylkill County is a county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 148,289.[1] The county seat is Pottsville.[2] The county was created on March 1, 1811 from parts of Berks, Northampton, and Northumberland Counties and named for the Schuylkill River. The entire county comprises the Pottsville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area

Schuylkill County is located in the heart of the anthracite Coal Region of Eastern Pennsylvania.

History[edit]

1700s[edit]

In the year 1754, the area that would become Schuylkill County was settled by Germans, as were areas that are now part of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lehigh counties. The earliest settlers in southeastern Schuylkill County, which was then part of Northampton County, were primarily from Moravia. Other early settlers in southern Schuylkill County were from the Palatines. An early mill in the county was built in 1744 by John Finscher, but it later burned down. The first log church in the county was built in 1755. Native American massacres were commonplace in Schuylkill County between 1755 and 1765. Warrant for tracts of land in the vicinity of McKeansburg were in existence as early as 1750.[3]

1800s[edit]

Schuylkill County was created via an Act of Assembly on March 1, 1811 from portions of Berks, Lancaster, and Northampton Counties. More land was added to the county in 1818, from Columbia and Lehigh Counties. An early book of Schuylkill County history was written by Daniel Deibert in 1802.[3]

McKeansburg was the first community in Schuylkill County to be laid out. Initial construction of the community was done in 1803, and the community was expanded in 1809. During the early years of Schuylkill County, there was an attempt to make McKeansburg the county seat of the new county. The community of Orwigsburg was also a contender for the county seat. Orwigsburg was agreed upon to be the county seat, as it was deemed to be well-suited for industries.[3]

Railroad history[edit]

The Reading and Pennsylvania railroads: In the early 19th century southern Schuylkill County was served by the Union Canal out of Pine Grove Township with connections west, and the Schuylkill Canal southward from Port Carbon. Coal mined by Lehigh Coal and Navigation in the Tamaqua and Coaldale areas was often shipped down the Lehigh Canal from Jim Thorpe in neighboring Carbon County. To the north, Broad Mountain was a natural barrier to navigation. Other means would be required to transport coal out of the rich basin of the Mahanoy Valley. Numerous railroads were begun north of the headwaters of the Schuylkill Canal.

Through the 1830s and 1840s, short railroads sprouted up at numerous areas in the county. Of prime importance was the Mine Hill and Schuylkill Haven, which served the Schuylkill Canal. Chartered in 1831, tracks were laid from the "flats" in Schuylkill Haven along the river through Cressona and Minersville to Tremont. The railroad eventually reached Ashland and Locust Gap via the Gordon Planes.

Construction beginning in 1829, the Little Schuylkill Railroad ran from Port Clinton northward to Mahanoy Junction above Tamaqua. It would become the keystone of the Philadelphia and Reading system, serving as a gauntlet for its eastern and western branches. Connecting with it were four important lines. The 146 mile (235 km) Catawissa Railroad operated from Mahanoy Junction to West Milton, providing access to the Mahanoy region by joining the northern terminus of the Little Schuylkill with connections to New York and Scranton. At Port Clinton, it connected with the P&R's main line from Mount Carbon. Its most important connection would be with the Mahanoy and Broad Mountain Railway via Mahanoy Tunnel and East Mahanoy Railroad.

There was once over 1,000 miles (1600 km) of railroad track in Schuylkill County.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 783 square miles (2,027 km²), of which 778 square miles (2,016 km²) is land and 4 square miles (11 km²) (0.54%) is water.[4]

The Schuylkill River headwaters are found in the county, starting in the Appalachian Mountains, and flows through many towns and the city of Reading, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia where it flows into the Delaware River. The Schuylkill drains the majority of the county while some western and northern areas of the county are drained by the Susquehanna River. The Swatara Creek, Wiconisco Creek, Mahantango Creek, Mahanoy Creek, and Catawissa Creek all start in Schuylkill County and are tributaries of the Susquehanna. Areas of the eastern portion of the county drain into the Lehigh River via the Quakake Creek, Nesquehoning Creek, Mahoning Creek, and Lizard Creek, all of which also start in the county. To the south, southern Schuylkill county is home to Blue Mountain and the Appalachian Trail. Broad Mountain crosses the county from northeast to southwest.

Schuylkill County is located in northeastern Pennsylvania's Coal Region. It is located just north of the Lehigh Valley and Reading metropolitan areas. Portions of eastern Schuylkill County around Tamaqua are located in the Pocono Mountains. As a result, like other portions of the Poconos, eastern Schuylkill has experienced an influx of people from New York City and New Jersey who commute into Manhattan each day. The commute can take up to two hours each way due to distance and traffic. Far western areas of the county are located near Harrisburg and are sometimes considered to be located in South Central Pennsylvania.

Micropolitan Statistical Area[edit]

The United States Office of Management and Budget[5] has designated Schuylkill County as the Pottsville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area (µSA).[6] As of the 2010 U.S. Census[7] the micropolitan area ranked the number 1 most populous in the State of Pennsylvania and the 5th most populous in the United States with a population of 148,289.


Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 11,339
1830 20,744 82.9%
1840 29,053 40.1%
1850 60,713 109.0%
1860 89,510 47.4%
1870 116,428 30.1%
1880 129,974 11.6%
1890 154,163 18.6%
1900 172,927 12.2%
1910 207,894 20.2%
1920 217,754 4.7%
1930 235,505 8.2%
1940 228,331 −3.0%
1950 200,577 −12.2%
1960 173,027 −13.7%
1970 160,089 −7.5%
1980 160,630 0.3%
1990 152,585 −5.0%
2000 150,336 −1.5%
2010 148,289 −1.4%
Est. 2012 147,063 −0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 150,336 people, 60,530 households, and 40,131 families residing in the county. The population density was 193 people per square mile (75/km²). There were 67,806 housing units at an average density of 87 per square mile (34/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.62% White, 0.08% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, 2.09% African American, and 0.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.11% of the population. 29.0% were of German, 14.1% Irish, 9.7% Polish, 7.5% Italian, 5.6% American and 5.1% Lithuanian ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.7% spoke English and 1.2% Spanish as their first language.

There were 60,530 households out of which 26.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.40% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.70% were non-families. 29.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.90% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 19.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.20 males.

Schuylkill County is one of the most heavily Lithuanian parts of the United States. New Philadelphia, West Mahanoy, Shenandoah, and Girardville have the highest proportions of Lithuanian Americans of all places in the country. Lithuanian Roman Catholic parishes could be found in Shenandoah (St. George); Mahanoy City (St Joseph); Minersville (St. Francis of Assisi); Tamaqua (SS. Peter and Paul); Frackville (Annunciation BVM); Girardville (St. Vincent de Paul); Gilberton (Our Lady of Siluva, formerly St. Louis); and Coaldale (St. John the Baptist). Also in Schuylkill County (as well as its neighbor to the north, Luzerne County) are Tyroleans, whose ancestors immigrated from the County of Tyrol. Although they bore Italian surnames, the ancestors of the Tyroleans, who immigrated to the Coal Region in the late 19th century and early 20th century, spoke German as their native language. The Tirolesi Alpini organization in Hazleton continues to preserve and promote Tyrolean culture. Irish Americans and Polish Americans are also predominant. The southern and western portions of Schuylkill County which border Berks, Lehigh, and Lebanon counties are predominantly Pennsylvania Dutch.

Politics and government[edit]

As of November 2008, there are 94,110 registered voters in Schuylkill County.[10]

While the Republican Party has been historically dominant in Schuylkill County politics, Democrats became dominant at the county level after the 2007 elections. John McCain received 53.6% of the vote to 44.9% for Barack Obama in November 2008. In the state row offices of the same election, each statewide winner carried the county. In 2006 Democrat Tim Seip won the heavily Republican 125th House district and Bob Casey Jr. carried Schuylkill when he unseated incumbent Republican US Senator Rick Santorum. Former State Representative Dave Argall won the special election of March 3 to succeed the late State Senator Jim Rhoades and was sworn in on March 17. Jerry Knowles won the special election for Argall's seat in the 124th House district on May 19. In 2010, the GOP regained ground when Seip was defeated for reelection by Republican Mike Tobash. In 2011, the GOP reclaimed the county government.

Commissioners[edit]

  • Frank Staudenmeier, Chair, Republican
  • George Halcovage, Republican
  • Gary J. Hess, Democrat

Other county officials[edit]

  • Clerk of Courts, Stephen Lukach, Democrat
  • Controller, Christy Joy, Republican
  • Coroner, David J. Moylan, Republican
  • District Attorney-elect, Christine A. Holman, Republican
  • Prothonotary, David J. Dutcavich, Republican
  • Recorder of Deeds, A. Matthew Dudish, Republican
  • Register of Wills, Theresa Santai-Gaffney, Republican
  • Sheriff, Joseph Groody, Democrat
  • Treasurer, Jacqueline McGovern, Republican

State Representatives[edit]

State Senator[edit]

US Representative[edit]

Municipalities[edit]

Farming near Klingerstown, Pennsylvania.
Vraj Hindu Temple in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Schuylkill County:

City[edit]

Boroughs[edit]

Map of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

Townships[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law.

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Education[edit]

Colleges and Universities[edit]

Public School Districts[edit]

Map of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Law and order[edit]

Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department
Abbreviation SCSD
PA - Schuylkill County Sheriff.jpg
Patch of the Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department.
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County (US) of Schuylkill in the state of Pennsylvania, USA
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County.svg
Map of Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction.
Size 778 square miles (2,000 km2)
Population 150,336(est.)
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Police Officers 12
Elected officer responsible Joseph G. Groody, Sheriff
Agency executive Dennis Kane, Acing Chief Deputy
Website
Schuylkill Sheriff Webpage
Footnotes
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania consists of the Sheriff's Office, Security Guard Service, and Central Booking. The Sheriff's Office is composed of a Civil and Criminal Division. The Civil Division processes real estate and property paperwork, as well as issue firearms permits. The Criminal Division is responsible for the security of the courthouses, as well as the transport of prisoners. The Security Guard Service is responsible for detecting and interdicting weapons before they can enter a courthouse. Central Booking processes fingerprints and photographs of arrested individuals.

Notable people[edit]

  • Boxing heavyweight great Muhammad Ali had his training camp in Deer Lake.
  • Charles Justin Bailey, commanding general of the 81st Division in World War I, was born in Tamaqua on June 21, 1859.
  • Character actress Ellen Albertini Dow, born in Mt. Carmel, who played the "rapping granny" in The Wedding Singer. She also acted in Will & Grace, The Golden Girls, Wedding Crashers, and the Sister Act films.
  • Gary Becker, 1930–, American economist. A professor at the Univ. of Chicago, he was awarded the 1992 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for extending the scope of microeconomic analysis. Sociology, demography, criminology, and other areas of market and nonmarket behavior are included in his work. (born December 2, 1930, Pottsville)
  • Shenandoah, Pennsylvania born, Francis Brennan (7 May 1894 – 2 July 1968) was a cardinal of the Catholic Church, Dean of the Sacra Rota Romana 1959-1968, and prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments 1968. Francis Brennan was the first American to receive an appointment to the Roman Curia, or church court, the highest honor in the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Walter Ciszek, a Roman Catholic priest, best selling author, and GULAG survivor was born to a Polish-American family in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. He is currently under investigation for possible Sainthood.
  • George Washington Deitzler, Born in Pine Grove, November 30, 1826. Moved to Kansas and became a prominent member of the Free-State Party, Kansas Territorial Speaker of the House of Representatives, Territorial Senator, and Mayor of Lawrence, Kansas. Most notably, he raised the 1st Kansas Volunteer Regiment and was appointed Colonel by Kansas Territorial Governor Charles Robinson. He went on to fight in several battles of the Civil War including Vickburg but is most famous for his leadership of the Kansas Militia in the Battle of Westport. (Taken from Article by Christopher Alan Edwards, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, website: suvew.org/mollus)
  • Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey - famous jazz musicians and bandleaders were born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.
  • Judge John E. Jones III of the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District intelligent design trial.
  • The Jordan Brothers. From Frackville,PA, the Jordans were the most successful rock act to emerge from Schuylkill County. Their biggest hit was "Gimme Some Lovin'" from 1966.[11]
  • General George Joulwan (retired), was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, from 1993-97. General Joulwan was born in Pottsville.
  • The Molly Maguires, a clandestine society of Irish miners who engaged in a violent confrontation with Pennsylvania mining companies in the 19th century.
  • John O'Hara - a short story writer and best-selling novelist, brought Pottsville into the national spotlight through his "Gibbsville" stories, accounts of 1920s Pottsville socialites. O'Hara's single family home is located at 606 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville.
  • Henry Pleasants (February 16, 1833 – March 26, 1880) was a coal mining engineer and a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He is best known for organizing the building of an underground tunnel filled with explosives under the Confederate lines outside Petersburg, Virginia, resulting in the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864, an opportunity for Union troops to break the defense of Petersburg. He is buried in the Charles Baber Cemetery in Pottsville.
  • Darryl Ponicsan was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Mr. Ponicsan has written a number of novels, like 1973's, Andoshen, Pa, based on his hometown. Among his novels two were made into motion pictures (Cinderella Liberty and The Last Detail). Mr Ponicsan has also written or co-written many screenplays for Hollywood movies, including Vision Quest, Taps, Nuts and Random Hearts. Mr. Ponicsan has been nominated for a number of awards, such as the Golden Globe and the Writer's Guild Award.
  • Conrad Richter, award-winning American novelist. Books written by Richter include The Light in the Forest and The Awakening Land trilogy. He was born in Pine Grove.
  • Pottsville Maroons, revolutionary NFL franchise in the 1920s who won the 1925 National Football League Championship only to have it taken away for playing an exhibition game against Notre Dame.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c Old Schuylkill Tales: A History of Interesting Events, Traditions and ... - Ella Zerbey Elliott - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-15.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb
  6. ^ http://www.census.gov/econ/census/media/forms/pa.html
  7. ^ http://www.census.gov/2010census/
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of State. "November 2008 Voter Registration Statistics" (XLS). Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  11. ^ Furek,Maxim.The Jordan brothers: A Musical Biography of Rock's Fortunate Sons. Kimberley press, 1986.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′N 76°13′W / 40.70°N 76.21°W / 40.70; -76.21