Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania
|Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania|
|— Borough —|
|• Total||1.8 sq mi (4.9 km2)|
|• Land||1.8 sq mi (4.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)|
|Elevation||499 ft (152 m)|
|• Density||821.7/sq mi (316.9/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC)|
- This article is about the community of Shamokin Dam, for the dam itself see Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam.
Shamokin Dam is a small borough in Snyder County, Pennsylvania, United States. The name is derived from a 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) dam that was built across the Susquehanna River in the 19th century. The dam supported steamboat ferries run by Ira T. Clement, which transported goods and people between Shamokin Dam and the city of Sunbury on the Northumberland County side of the river. These ferries operated from 1772 until the Bainbridge Street Bridge was built in 1907. The dam also provided water to the Susquehanna Division of the Pennsylvania Canal System which was constructed on the western bank of the river. The dam was destroyed by ice in March 1904.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), of which 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (2.66%) is water.
Shamokin Dam sits on the western bank of the Susquehanna River just south of the confluence of the river's west and north branches. The borough is also bordered by the community of Hummels Wharf, Monroe Township, and U.S. Route 15.
There are several small unnamed creeks that cross the borough eventually draining into the Susquehanna River. Seasonal flooding occurs in the lowlands between the rail line and the river where the canal once passed. Some areas of the borough lie in the 100 year flood plain.
For many years addresses in Shamokin Dam were listed under the same zip code as Selinsgrove which was 17870. This led to confusion by delivery companies, emergency services and visitors to the region. Additionally, tax funding that should have gone to Shamokin Dam was lost. The implementation of the GIS readdressing program required that several local communities rename streets so that there were no redundancies within the Selinsgrove zip code. This prompted Shamokin Dam officials to appeal to the United States Postal Service for a unique zip code. It was awarded. Shamokin Dam addresses became 17876.
Pennsylvania was, for centuries, the home of many Native American tribes. During the 17th century the region was dominated by the Haudenosaunee Iroquois Confederacy, which included the Mohawks, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Tuscaroras, the Senecas and the Oneidas. Under the Confederacy the area was hunting grounds for the Delaware, Shawnee, Conoy, Monsey, Mohican and Nanticoke peoples. Allummapeed was a Delaware chief who lived in Shamokin (now called Sunbury).
Shikellamy, of the Oneida people, came to the region. He negotiated with the white settlers on behalf of the native residents. In 1754, Chief Shikellamy negotiated with Conrad Weiser to set the Blue Mountains as the upper limit settlement in the native people's home lands. Weiser told the area's settlers they could not remain. The Six Nations Treaty of 1754 permitted settlements to move west of the Susquehanna River into lands that eventually became Snyder County. Many natives argued they had been cheated by the treaty. Conflicts between the settlers and the native peoples resulted in deaths on both sides. Eventually, the native peoples were pushed out by the white settlers after the French and Indian War.
Shamokin Dam was founded by George Keen in 1745. At the time it was named Keensville. Most of the residents were canal workers, raftsmen, shad fishermen and eel fishermen. Restaurants and hotels provided support for the workers and travelers. A lock for the Pennsylvania Canal was located on the riverbank. Most of the local commerce revolved around transportation and supporting the canal.
In 1907 a toll bridge was completed that connected Shamokin Dam to Sunbury the county seat of Northumberland County. The cost for construction was $150,000. A full-time toll collector lived in the house that straddled the bridge. A gate closed the bridge at night. A bell was posted to summon the toll worker during the night. The bridge was used by pedestrians, buggies and motor cars. The toll was 3 cents for walkers, 4 cents for bicyclists, with 15 cents for horses, buggies and motor cars.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,502 people, 688 households, and 436 families residing in the borough. The population density was 821.7 people per square mile (316.9/km²). There were 726 housing units at an average density of 397.2 per square mile (153.2/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.94% White, 0.60% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.33% from other races, and 0.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.87% of the population.
There were 688 households out of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.76.
In the borough the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 28.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $34,514, and the median income for a family was $45,461. Males had a median income of $31,711 versus $21,917 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $19,923. About 3.9% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.6% of those under age 18 and 12.2% of those age 65 or over.
The coal fired Sunbury power plant was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Power & Light company in 1949. It went into operation in 1953. The Sunbury Generation Station is located along the Susquehanna River in Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania. The plant was purchased by WPS Power Development in November 1999 from PP&L Resources. The plant is part of the Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Maryland (PJM) market area. Power from the plant is sold into Pennsylvania’s deregulated electric market. In May 2005, the facility's emission allowances for both sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) were sold and a seasonal operation plan was announced. Then in July 2006 the plant was sold to Corona Power, LLC. The gross proceeds received by WPS for the 421.7 megawatt power plant were about $34.6 million, and were subject to certain working capital and other post-closing adjustments. In 2006, Corona Power, LLC sought and won a substantial reduction in the tax assessment of the property. The assessment was cut by more than two thirds. Additionally, there is a freeze on the assessment for several years regardless of improvements made on the property.
While the future of the Sunbury Generation facility seemed to be in good hands with its purchase by Corona Power in 2006, in October 2007 Corona Power, LLC working with Merrill Lynch started the process of seeking buyers for the 400 megawatt Sunbury Generation facility.
Several other major local businesses including Kmart and Wal-Mart in Hummels Wharf and housing units in Selinsgrove borough have been successful in appealing their property tax assessments as well. There is also a new development called the Monroe Marketplace which contains businesses such as Target, Kohl's, and Giant.
U.S. Routes 11 and 15 pass through the borough. The highway is a major travel artery through the region. Flow is constant (truck and vehicle) with very heavy loads and backups on Fridays (especially in the afternoon) and holiday weekends. There is a proposed major highway bypass project called the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway. It is meeting with funding challenges that have delayed the project for decades. This thruway will cross Monroe Township just north of Shamokin Dam. Many residential properties are designated for eminent domain actions. Residents along the proposed route have expressed concerns about the negative impact on their quality of life that the thruway will mean. Pro development forces have been successful in overwhelming their objections. Others are concerned that, like the town of Selinsgrove which is in decline, the bypass will mean the loss of local revenue and jobs that the travelers on the highway bring to the many local restaurants and hotels located along the current Rte 11 & 15 highway. In June 2007 another two-year delay was announced by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The primary roadblock is a lack of funding for the estimated over $300 million dollar project. The state's transportation has historically been grossly underfunded. This has resulted in hundreds of bridges and roads in need of repair. PennDOT report on Snyder County roads and bridges in need of repair.
Environmental Issues 
Ongoing pollution and soil erosion in the region continue to degrade the water quality and the environment locally as well as regionally. Farming, wastewater treatment facilities and industrial spills are cited as contributing factors to loss of water quality. It also contributes to the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. Controlling the wastewater discharges alone is expected to cost local taxpayers billions of dollars.
The public water supply is drawn from the Susquehanna River.
The Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies (SRHCES) is a nascent watershed organization whose geographic focus is the entire Susquehanna River West Branch watershed in Pennsylvania. The West Branch Susquehanna watershed drains an area of approximately 4,466 million acres (18,070,000 km2), just under 7,000 square miles (18,000 km2). At present, SRHCES partners include representatives from six academic institutions (Bloomsburg University, Susquehanna University, Bucknell University, Lock Haven University, Kings College, and Lycoming College), the PA Department of Environmental Protection, the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, SEDA-COG, Forum-for-the-Future, and the Geisinger Health System.
The borough is governed by an elected council of seven residents. The Shamokin Dam Borough Council meets the first Monday of the month at 7 pm (with exceptions), in the borough building. There is an elected mayor, a borough manager, a tax collector and a chief of police. Shamokin Dam Borough Office P.O. Box 273, 144 West Eighth Avenue, Shamokin Dam, Pa. 17876 570-743-7565 / 570-743-7910
The Borough levys the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax of $52.00, an earned income tax of 0.50%, and a property tax of 0.00788 on land and improvements. A Per Capita Tax of $5.00 is levied annually. The property and per capita taxes are due June 30 each year. Residents earning less than $5000/year can receive a $42 rebate on the EMS tax through the borough office.
Subdivisions are reviewed by the Shamokin Dam Borough Planning Commission and the Snyder County Planning Commission and are approved by the Shamokin Dam Borough Council. The Shamokin Dam Borough Planning Commission meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Borough Office Building, if they have business to attend to. There is also a Shamokin Dam Borough Zoning Hearing Board.
Shamokin Dam Borough provides curbside recycling on the 2nd Friday of every month. There is a Spring Cleanup service that hauls away large trash items. Nearly all the borough's properties are served with public sewer. The Susquehanna River is the source of public drinking water supplied by Shamokin Dam Borough to its residents. The borough does not have sidewalks. Open burning of trash is prohibited.
Snyder County is governed by a board of three County Commissioners elected every four years. Middleburg, Pennsylvania is the county seat. The courthouse is located there along with the offices of some county services. General Information (570) 837-4207. A directory of county government is provided in the website. It lists current elected officials, government organizations and agencies and some meeting schedules.
Shamokin Dam is assigned to the 108th House Legislative District for the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Pennsylvania Senate District 27. The borough is in the United States House of Representatives 10th District held by Rep. Chris Carney. Pennsylvania is represented in the United States Senate by Senators Bob Casey, Jr. and Pat Toomey.
Route 15 from Selinsgrove to Sunbury has been designated Charles E. Attig Jr. Memorial Highway. Officer Attig was a member of the Shamokin Dam police department when he was murdered while on duty in 1983.
Shamokin Dam's polling place is St. Matthews Lutheran Church Social Hall located behind the church on 30 Old Trail. Mail in voter registration forms are available at the borough office, the U.S. Post Offices on Rtes 11&15, Selinsgrove Community Library and the county courthouse in Middleburg, Snyder County, PA.
- Pennsylvania Driver & Vehicle Services Rte 522, Selinsgrove. (570) 374-8320.
- Pennsylvania State Police Snyder County barracks (570) 374-5793 nonemergency number. Dial 911 for emergencies.
Selinsgrove Area School District is the local public school district. There are approximately 2700 students (down from 3000 in 2002) clustered on a campus located in Selinsgrove borough. The Pennsylvania Department of Education projects a declining enrollment for the foreseeable future. In 2005, Standard & Poors' School Matters findings on the district reported the district's student teacher ratio was 15.9 to 1.
According to Pittsburgh Business Times, which ranks Pennsylvania school districts based on test scores, in 2007 Selinsgrove Area School District was ranked 235th out of 499 public school districts in the state. According to The Daily Item, in 2007, Selinsgrove also reached adequate yearly progress standards for the first time since the progress analysis began during the 2002-03 school year.
SASD employed about 350 people in 2007 making it one of the largest employers in the county. Over two hundred of the employees are teachers. The median teacher salary in 2007 is $58,000 plus benefits. This falls in the upper third for teacher salaries in Pennsylvania. Seventy percent of spending is allocated to employee costs. The district reports spending $9800 per pupil in 2007. According to Jeffrey Hummel, business manager, costs for building projects coupled with salaries, transportation costs and increased charges for energy, will mean continued property tax increases which will meet or exceed the limits prescribed by Act 1.
Selinsgrove Area High School has fewer than 930 students in grades 9-12. In 2005 the high school was ranked 306th out of 601 PA high schools on the annual state testing. In 2006 it reported a 96% graduation rate.
The Selinsgrove Area Middle School serves students in grades 6-8 using a team teaching approach. The school has achieved an 8 out of 10 ranking due to the steady improvement of student achievement.
Selinsgrove Area Intermediate School has students grades 3-5. The 3rd grade ranked 1215th out of 1779 Pennsylvania third grades in 2005.
Primary grades are at Selinsgrove Area Elementary School. Kindergarten is located at Jackson Penn School. Public School busing is provided. The district intends to provide All Day Kindergarten in 2007-2008. Officials are using this as an opportunity to further consolidate the district by renovating and enlarging Selinsgrove Elementary School and closing Jackson-Penn Elementary School. A new 800 person seating, gymnasium will be added to the school. Enrollment in the district is declining and is projected to continue to decline for the next decade. SASD Demographic report PreK-12 school statistics Enrollment Projections
Public school busing is provided to students who reside over 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the school campus.
SUN Area Technical Institute (Formerly SUN AREA Career & Technology Center) New Berlin, Union County, PA. SUN Tech is a regional school. SUN Tech also offers adult education classes, vocational education, and technical career training, serving over 1500 people annually.
Residents also have a wide selection of alternative schools. By law, the local public school must provide transportation to schools within 10 miles (16 km) of the borders of the school district at no charge to the student.
St. Monica School is located at 109 Market Street, Sunbury, PA 17801 Northumberland County is a parochial school providing a first class education to grades: Pre Kindergarten through 8th grade. Their enrollment is about 180. Noncatholics regularly seek admission to this school.
Sunbury Christian Academy 135 Spruce Hollow Road, Northumberland, PA 17857. An Association of Christian Schools International member offering pre Kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum.
Northumberland Christian School 351 Fifth Street Northumberland, PA 17857 NCS was founded in 1972 and is a ministry of the First Regular Baptist Church of Northumberland, Pa. The school offers a full educational program for students from preschool through high school.
SusQ-Cyber Charter School provides students in grades 9-12 with an electronically delivered accredited high school curriculum. This is a regional public school program provided by Intermediate Unit 16. They offer a dual enrollment program where students can attend local universities at little or no cost while also earning a high school diploma.
The 21st Century Cyber Charter School is a state accredited, diploma granting school serving Pennsylvania students in grades 6 through 12. As with all Pennsylvania charter schools it is funded by the state. The students do not pay to attend. Modifications are made to suit individual student learning styles, varying academic levels and scheduling needs, among others. Most classes are offered in honors, college prep, and career paths. All of the classes are designed to help prepare the students for standardized tests such as the PSSAs.
Central Pennsylvania Digital Learning Foundation is a Kindergarten through high school graduation program.
The Pennsylvania Distance & Electronic Learning Academy offers a complete K-12 academic program to assist families that choose to educate their children at home.
The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School provides a free and appropriate course of study to the children of Pennsylvania families. The school provides a high-quality, accredited courses of study, certified teachers, and state-of-the-art technology. PA Cyber has established the highest standards of student achievement and educational standards using both technology and regular contact among students, parents and staff. Parents of cyber school students do not pay tuition. The public school district where the student resides pays tuition with state and local tax money through a state formula.
Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16 serves the region from Montandon, PA. Pennsylvania's intermediate units provide supplemental services to school districts. IU16 is unique in being a fee for service organization. Districts only pay for the services they use. Among their offering is professional development, technology support, special education services, head start programs, insurance programs, group buying and more.
Triangle Tech Sunbury School located in Upper Augusta Township on Rt. 890 just off of Route 61. A two-year college that awards associate degrees and courses toward a bachelor's program. Has about 200 students.
Empire Beauty School Orchard Hills Plaza RTE 11 & 15, Shamokin Dam, PA. This school provides an accredited and licensed program to prepare students for a career in cosmetology.
CareerLink for Union/Snyder County offers various training programs to help displaced workers, the unemployed and underemployed. Located at 713 Bridge Street, Suite 2. Selinsgrove, PA
Pennsylvania Department of Education runs a Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education. Adult Basic Education (ABE) is instruction for adults that are at grades 0 through 8.9. Adult Secondary Diploma/General Educational Development (ASD/GED) provides programs for adults at the 9th through pre high school graduation level.
The Selinsgrove Community Library is a public library that is part of the Snyder County Library system. Patrons have free use of the PA Power Library and Access Pennsylvania which provide extensive online resources for children and adults. The library is on the corner of High Street and Pine Street, one block west of Market Street in downtown Selinsgrove. A small book exchange cart is hosted in the U.S. Post Office building on Rte 11&15, Shamokin Dam.
Snyder County Historical Society 30 East Market St., Middleburg, Pennsylvania. Research services are provided for a fee.
Degenstein Community Library is located at 40 South Fifth Street, Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. It has an extensive collection of back issues of the local newspapers.
The State Library of Pennsylvania Commonwealth & Walnut Sts., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This library provides information for State Government and citizens, collects and preserves Pennsylvania's written heritage through materials published for, by, and about Pennsylvania.
Parks & Recreation 
- Weller Field is an upscale, community baseball field. It was dedicated in 1990, in honor of Dr. Carl A. Weller who served on the borough council. Access to the facility is from Garden Circle. Off street parking located in the 11th Ave. Park.
- 11th Ave. Park is a public park with restrooms, benches, playground equipment and a walking woodland trail. It is open from dawn to dusk. Funding for the park was derived from Land & Water Conservation Fund, and the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1989. Access is from Garden Circle. Off street parking is provided.
- Attig Park has a playground and picnic pavilion. It is located at 8th Ave and Cherry Street. There is on street parking.
- Lions Club Playground located at the corner of Maple Ave. and 11th Ave. Fenced area with several pieces of playground equipment appropriate for young children. No restroom facilities. Minimal on street parking is available.
- Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam State Park is located off the Old Trail near the Veterans Memorial Bridge to Sunbury, Northumberland County. There is a picnic shelter, playground equipment and woods to explore. Located along the Susquehanna River, there is access for kayaking, canoeing and fishing. Off street parking is available within the park. Care must be taken to avoid the dam area in the river as drowning as a very high risk.
- Shikellamy State Park lies just across Rte. 15. It features picnicking areas and hiking with breathtaking panoramic views of the river and Northumberland County.
Shamokin Dam borough government is participating in a regional effort to increase outdoor recreation in Eastern Snyder County. A regional plan has been developed by Shamokin Dam borough, Selingrove borough, Monroe Township, and Penn Township officials. Their hope is to garner state tax dollars through grant and matching fund applications. Officials assert that a poll of 10% of residents showed that they were willing to paying higher taxes to add more recreation facilities to the area.
The East Snyder Park is a multiuse facility which is under development using state grants and local donations. It is located along the upper end of University Ave. near Rt. 522, at the location of the existing Penn Township ball fields. The master plan of the park calls for nine professional grade horseshoe pits, baseball, softball, football and soccer fields, a preschool playground with age appropriate apparatus (Kaboom grant) a playground for older children, and a small wetland conservation education area. The facilities are governed by the East Snyder Regional Recreation Association, a 501 (c) organization with a board made up of interested parties, local youth recreation organization representatives and area government officials.
One concept brought out in the Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan is for the region to market riverfront recreation opportunities.
The extensive Sunbury Riverfront Park Project is in the planning and implementation stages in Sunbury. It includes a multimillion dollar fish ladder to mitigate the impediment of the shad migration up the Susuquehanna River that the annual inflation of the Adam Bower fabri dam causes. An amphitheatre is to be built along the river on the Sunbury side. Concerns have been raised about opening the flood wall. As a result of several devastating floods that resulted in substantial property damage and loss of life, the extensive floodwall protection system was designed and built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1951. Additional height was added to the wall in 2003. The system has provided protection from 15 major flood events over the past 50 years.
- Orchard Hills Cemetery behind the Orchard Hill Shopping Center on rtes. 11&15. Formerly known as West End Cemetery.
- Hartman's Family Cemetery on Old Trail Road near the power plant entrance.
- Schreiner's Cemetery Eleventh Ave. and Stetler Ave. Shamokin Dam. Located next to the Susquehanna Valley Baptist Church.
Emergency services 
Shamokin Dam Volunteer Fire Department, Company 90, the station house can be found at 3343 North Old Trail. The Americus Community Ambulance Service, which is based in Sunbury, is the primary ambulance service for those living in Shamokin Dam. Call 911 for all emergencies. The closest hospital is the Sunbury Community Hospital & Outpatient Center. It is an inpatient and outpatient care facility. Has Behavioral Health, Diagnostic Imaging, 24 hour Emergency Services, Laboratory, Healthy Woman Resources, Sleep Laboratory, Radiology services.
Many public and private groups provide various forms of assistance within the county and region.
- Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition offers counseling, shelter and other emergency services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally they provide educational programs to combat the pervasive spousal and child abuse in the region.
- Union - Snyder Transportation Alliance Shared-Ride Program for Senior Citizens and individuals with Disabilities. There is a graduated fee schedule.
- Property Tax/ Rent Rebate Program is available to citizens with incomes up to $40,000 per year. Seniors 65 years of age or older, widows or widowers 50 years of age or older and the permanently disabled 18 years of age or older may qualify for this program. Only 1/2 of Social Security income is counted for qualification.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency and PEMA (PEnnsylvania Emergency Management agency) provide assistance to communities and individuals that are impacted by disasters including flooding. Additionally, the agencies give educational presentations on emergency preparedness.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Alert Frequency - 162.400 NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from a nearby National Weather Service office.
- Bittinger, John W.; Calderwood, Virginia; Gill, Frank C.; Good, Sherman E.; Herrold, Dewey S.; et al. (1976). Snyder County Pennsylvania from Pioneer Days to the Present, pp. 3-31. Snyder County Communities National Bicenntenial, Inc..
- Misur, Susan (2007) It used to cost to cross the river at Sunbury, Daily Item newspaper Flashback Feature April 9, 2007.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education Enrollment Projections Selinsgrove Aea School District, August 2007.
- School Matters, Standard & Poors.
- Valley schools all over the chart, Daily Item June 6, 2007 http://www.dailyitem.com/archivesearch/local_story_163000144.html
- Jeffrey Hummel, District Business Manager, WKOK Leaders and Lawmakers Show, July 19, 2007.
- Great Schools Ranking data 2005-2006.
- Gessel, Damian, "Regional recreation plan takes shape", The Daily Item, June 22, 2007.
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