|Official name: Borough of Tamaqua|
|Name origin: Corruption of Native American word "Tankamochkhanna" meaning "Little Beaver Stream"|
|Elevation||870 ft (265.2 m)|
|Area||10.0 sq mi (25.9 km2)|
|- land||9.8 sq mi (25 km2)|
|- water||0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 1%|
|Mayor||Christian P. Morrison|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Area code||570 Exchanges: 668, 952|
|School District||Tamaqua Area School District|
Tamaqua is a borough in eastern Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, United States. The borough, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania's Coal Region, had a population of 7,107 as of the 2010 U.S. Census, a drop of less than 1% from 2000. Tamaqua is part of the Pottsville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area, and is located just north of the Lehigh Valley.
Tamaqua (pronounced tuh-MAH-qwah) was taken from the territory of West Penn and Schuylkill Townships, named for the Tuscarora king of the Turkey Clan, Chief Tahkamochk, or Tam-a-kwah. The name is unique in that Tamaqua is the only community in the world with this name.
Tamaqua is located at .(40.798600, -75.966498)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 10.0 square miles (26 km2), of which, 9.8 square miles (25 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (1.31%) of it is water.
Tamaqua is situated within the Pennsylvania Coal Region section of the Appalachian Mountains, and is at the western end of the Pocono Mountains. In the Tamaqua area, coal mining was an extremely vital economic activity throughout the 20th century but has since experienced a decline. The town also gained recognition as a railroad center. In addition, the 1885 Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of Tamaqua is said to have furnished the town with the nation's second incandescent municipal lighting system, a feat accomplished through the involvement of Thomas Edison.
Three streams pass through Tamaqua. The Little Schuylkill River runs through the town from the North through a gap in Nesquehoning Mountain. Panther Creek, flowing southwest at the foot of the mountain, joins the Little Schuylkill in Tamaqua, and the Wabash Creek joins the Little Schuylkill from the West.
Tamaqua is located 12 miles (19 km) south of Hazleton, 5 miles (8.0 km) southwest of Lansford, approximately 45 miles (72 km) south of Scranton, approximately 85 miles (137 km) northwest of Philadelphia, and approximately 100 miles (160 km) west of New York City.
Tamaqua's average elevation is 870 feet (270 m) above sea level. Elevations can reach up to 1,000 feet (300 m) above sea level.
Since 1965 Tamaqua has had an FM station, beginning as WSVB, later WZTA and WCRN, now WMGH Magic 105.5. The Bill Angst Little League Field in Welsh Park is adjacent to the original studios and transmitting tower in the Dutch Hill section of the borough. The studios are now located with co-owned WLSH (AM 1410), 7 miles east of Tamaqua on Route 209 in Summit Hill.
Until the late 1960s, Tamaqua was a hub of railroad activity, namely the Reading Company (RDG) and Lehigh & New England (LNE). A large rail yard existed in the southern part of town that actually extended through downtown; at one time eight tracks passed by the passenger station. An engine house, turntable, and car shop were located across the street from the passenger station in what is now the Family Dollar parking lot. The collapse of the anthracite coal industry in the early 1960s, the Penn Central merger, and Hurricane Diane all lead to the railroad's demise. Today, all that remains is a single track line through town operated by the Reading and Northern Railroad.
The main highway in the borough is U.S. Route 209. Route 209 runs for approximately 212 miles from Millersburg, Pennsylvania in Dauphin County to the town of Ulster in Ulster County, New York. U.S. 209 connects Tamaqua with the Schuylkill County seat at Pottsville in the west and the Poconos in the east (Tamaqua is sometimes considered the westernmost town in the Poconos). The secondary highway in the borough, Pennsylvania Route 309, connects Tamaqua with Allentown and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the south and Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in the north. Route 309 serves as a truck bypass for Interstate 476, as many placarded trucks are not allowed in the Lehigh Tunnel. As a result, Tamaqua has problems with noise pollution and traffic not usually found in small towns. Other highways near Tamaqua include Pennsylvania Route 54, Pennsylvania Route 443, Pennsylvania Route 895 and Pennsylvania Route 902. In addition, Interstates 81, 80, 476, and 78 are not painfully far from the town.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,174 people, 3,179 households, and 1,901 families residing in the borough. The population density was 729.9 people per square mile (281.8/km²). There were 3,602 housing units at an average density of 366.5 per square mile (141.5/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.69% White, 0.18% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.25% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.30% of the population.
There were 3,179 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.93.
The borough's population consisted of 21.8% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 21.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $27,899, and the median income for a family was $36,406. Males had a median income of $29,970 versus $20,637 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $15,752. About 11.1% of families and 14.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those aged 65 or over.
Tamaqua was founded in 1799 by German immigrant Burkhardt Moser. Originally to be named Tuscarora, the name Tamaqua was chosen after it was realized that there already was a community named Tuscarora about four miles (6 km) to the west. Roughly half of Moser's original log cabin is still intact and visible behind a house on the east side of Broad Street. The discovery of anthracite coal in the region in the early 19th century led to the town's rise as a coal producing community. The town was incorporated as a borough in 1832. German, Irish, and Welsh immigrants came to the borough in the 1840s and 1850s, followed by a large influx of Italians, Lithuanians, Slovaks, and Poles in the 1890s and early 20th century. During the 1860s and 1870s, Tamaqua was the geographic center hub for the Molly Maguires. One murder commonly attributed to the Mollies was that of town policeman Benjamin Yost, who was shot to death early one morning while extinguishing a gas lamp at the corner of West Broad and Lehigh Streets.
The Tamaqua Railroad Station was constructed in 1874. Arguably Tamaqua's most famous landmark, it stood idle from the mid 1880s through the late 1890s after passenger railroad service to the town was discontinued. Initially planned to be demolished in the late 1980s, the non-profit group Save Our Station (S.O.S.) eventually managed to raise enough money to have it refurbished at a cost of $1.5 million. The station reopened in August 2004, now home to a full-service restaurant and gift shop. Rail excursions leave from there during the Tamaqua Historical Society's annual Heritage Festival on the second Sunday in October.
Tamaqua remained a thriving community throughout the heyday of coal production in the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Certain sections of the borough, such as Dutch Hill and the South Ward, had a reputation for "toughness"; those sections were also densely populated by immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. However, it began declining, along with many other anthracite communities, in the 1950s as coal mines began tapering off. Hurricane Diane caused tremendous damage to Tamaqua's railroad yards to the extent that they never fully recovered. In 1971 the borough annexed neighboring Rahn Township and its Owl Creek section, home to the world's first fish hatchery.
In 1945 John E. Morgan established a knitwear manufacturing industry in Tamaqua. The company, Morgan Knitting Mills, Inc, grew into one of the largest employers in the area, second only to the Atlas Powder Company. In the mid 1950s, Morgan, working from a design developed by his wife (Anna Hoban Morgan) patented the widely known Thermal Underwear product lines. Since Morgan's death in 2000, the Morgan Trust has donated money to various worthwhile causes in Tamaqua. The Morgan Trust also established the John & Dorothy Morgan Cancer Center at the Lehigh Valley Hospital.
Dial telephone service arrived in Tamaqua in 1961. The new exchange (668) still exists. Operators who worked the switchboards on the top floor of the Tamaqua National Bank at West Broad and Berwick Streets were transferred to Bell Telephone's Hazleton and Pottsville Toll Centers.
The borough of Tamaqua passed an unprecedented law giving ecosystems legal rights. The ordinance establishes that the municipal government or any Tamaqua resident can file a lawsuit on behalf of the local ecosystem. Other townships, such as Rush, followed suit and passed their own laws.
- St. Jerome Roman Catholic
- SS. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic (Lithuanian)
- Primitive Methodist Church
- First United Methodist Church
- St. John's Evangelical Lutheran
- Zion Evangelical Lutheran
- Trinity United Church of Christ
- St. John's United Church of Christ
- Bethany Evangelical Congregational
- Jehovah's Witnesses
- New Life Assembly of God
- The Salvation Army
- New England Valley Mennonite Church
Students in Tamaqua attend schools in the Tamaqua Area School District. There are seven schools, five public and two private, located within the geographic area of the district:
- Tamaqua Area (Senior) High School
- Tamaqua Area Middle School
- Tamaqua Area Elementary School
- Rush Elementary School
- West Penn Elementary School
- St. Jerome's Regional School
- Marian Catholic High School
- "Schuykill County History: Indian Names". Retrieved 2011-04-05.[dead link]
- "Incorporation Dates of Boroughs of Schuylkill County, Pa" (in English). Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790-2000)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Pennsylvania state government web site.
- New York Times
- Kuchta, David.The History of Coaldale, PA.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Forbes, May 24, 2007.
- Schuylkill County history at rootsweb.com
- List of officials and their contact information
- Tamaqua Area School District Official Web Site
- Dates of incorporation of Schuylkill County Boroughs
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tamaqua". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.