Gallitzin, Pennsylvania

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Gallitzin, Pennsylvania
Gallitzin is located in Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°28′55″N 78°33′08″W / 40.48194°N 78.55222°W / 40.48194; -78.55222Coordinates: 40°28′55″N 78°33′08″W / 40.48194°N 78.55222°W / 40.48194; -78.55222
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Cambria
Settled 1849
Incorporated 1873
 • Type Borough council
 • Mayor Raymond Osmolinski Sr.
 • Total 0.7 sq mi (1.9 km2)
 • Land 0.7 sq mi (1.9 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 2,221 ft (677 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,668
 • Density 2,279/sq mi (879.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 16641
Area code(s) 814
USGS overview indicating Kittanning Gap's, Pennsylvania location near Altoona, PA and showing the PRR Horseshoe Curve.png
Location of Gallitzin, Pennsylvania (lower left) overlooking the Kittanning Point region and the local region of the Allegheny Front. The town and its neighbors were transited by the ancient Amerindian alternative[a] [b] [c] trails later called the Kittanning Path through the region. The view shows an identity popup after GNIS finding of 'Kittanning Gap, Pennsylvania' seen in USGS National Map viewer screenshot. The Kittanning Gap is located effectively in a western suburb of Altoona, PA, and all of the ravines in this view were known as Gaps of the Allegheny.
 • The map also are shows the nearby PRR Horseshoe Curve which crosses four gaps and the confluence of Kittanning Run (center top) with Glen White Run which descends running nearly due west to east in the shadow of the promontory Kittanning Point.
 • The Kittanning Gap (top right) contours gave a 'choice way' of climbing the escarpment to wagons or mule trains on the way to the west side of the Allegheny Mountains after the 1780s began. Taking a right through the gap to climb above the escarpment by a circuitous route following a traverse across contours climbing the sides of slopes was longer, but quite a bit easier than attempting to pull farm wagons or Conestoga wagons up either of the steep narrow creek bed straight ahead

Gallitzin is a borough (town) bordered by Gallitzin Township and Tunnelhill in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, in the United States and all three municipalities sit astride the Eastern continental divide. Tunnel Hill and Gallitzin both are pierced by railroad tunnels shortening the necessary ascent for rails crossing the Allegheny Front onto the Allegheny Plateau which encompasses the towns terrains. Topping the gaps of the Allegheny, the area is one of only five major breaks in the Appalachians allowing east-west transportation corridors before the advent of 20th century technologies.[d]


Dutch traders and trappers friendly to the Susquehannock may have visited the region about 1620,[1] as the town sits atop a mountain pass through which the ancient Amerindian trails later renamed the Kittanning Path transited. The plateau atop the escarpment was the domain of the Iroquoian confederations of the Erie people and the Susquehannock peoples,[1] both sharing the byways and hunting lands of the Allegheny Mountains until about the mid-1650s.[1][2] The Susquehannock and Erie people are known to have traded through the area, one of the few avenues the Erie, who dominated the hunting lands west of the Alleghenies had to obtain fire arms, though by all accounts, all the tribes in contact with the numerous Erie were reluctant to trade them fire arms.[3] Further, Susquehannocks are quoted to have expected 800 Erie warriors in 1662 to join in their war with the Iroquois.[4][5] By 1675 both the Susquehannocks and Erie tribes would both fall to rampant multiple-years of epidemic diseases in combination with the vicious multi-decade internecine territorial bloodletting known as the Beaver Wars which left the Alleghenies a remote hunting ground of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederation.

As English and British colonists began their multi-decade onslaught of deal breaking and genocide, by the early 1700s the Delaware people still living along the eastern seaboard were increasingly treated as bad or worse than slaves, and displaced clear across the breadth of Pennsylvania, to beyond the Allegheny Front, where they settled along the rivers of Western Pennsylvania. One of their larger settlements, and closest to the gaps of the Allegheny, was the Amerindian town of Kittanning[6] along the middle reaches of the Allegheny River. These towns would generally ally themselves with the French during the French and Indian War, causing settlers in central Pennsylvania to mount a guard and patrol on the gaps.[7] who founded the Catholic town of Loretto in Cambria County. Coal mining, the Pennsylvania Railroad yard in the town center and the production of coke were important industries. The town still sports an important rail yard with a turning wye for helper engine turn around and holds two rail tunnels leading east and downward from the yard trackage to the famous PRR Horseshoe Curve whose upper approaches are within the town.

Gallitzin is listed by the US Census Bureau as part of the Johnstown Metropolitan Statistical Area, although local sources consider it part of the Altoona area, due to being located closer to Altoona than to Johnstown. In 1900, 2,759 people lived in Gallitzin, and by 1910, that number had risen to 3,504 people. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 1,668.[8]

Gallitzin is known for its historic railroad tunnels (Gallitzin Tunnels), which are a minor tourist draw. The scenic Horseshoe Curve and the Allegheny Portage Railroad historic site are also nearby situated in different gaps of the Allegheny.


Gallitzin is located in eastern Cambria County at 40°28′55″N 78°33′8″W / 40.48194°N 78.55222°W / 40.48194; -78.55222 (40.481816, -78.552336),[9] along the eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau, a highland area of hills and small streams formed differently from the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians to the east and south of the plateau's edge, the Allegheny Ridge in Pennsylvania. Sitting astride the eastern Continental divide along the edge of the Allegheny Front escarpment, the immediate area is lower than other portions of the Appalachian plateau, so contains several small streams and freshets forming the gaps of the Allegheny Escarpment to the east, where the ground fall away rapidly forming steep terrain landforms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.73 square miles (1.9 km2), all of it land.[8]

Gallitzin has the tenth-highest elevation of towns in Pennsylvania, at 2,167 feet (661 m).[10]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 799
1890 2,392 199.4%
1900 2,759 15.3%
1910 3,504 27.0%
1920 3,580 2.2%
1930 3,458 −3.4%
1940 3,618 4.6%
1950 3,102 −14.3%
1960 2,783 −10.3%
1970 2,496 −10.3%
1980 2,315 −7.3%
1990 2,003 −13.5%
2000 1,756 −12.3%
2010 1,668 −5.0%
Est. 2015 1,605 [11] −3.8%

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 1,756 people, 700 households, and 476 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,396.0 people per square mile (928.8/km²). There were 763 housing units at an average density of 1,041.1 per square mile (403.6/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.86% White, 0.11% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.06% Asian, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.85% of the population.

There were 700 households, out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 23.1% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $32,386, and the median income for a family was $38,438. Males had a median income of $29,022 versus $19,550 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $14,216. About 7.2% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.1% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ There were several alternative paths in the Kittanning Path, all of them relatively local, squeezed into a bottleneck heading east from atop the escarpment to the drainage catchment of the Susquehanna and the lands of the Susquehannock tribe to the east.
  2. ^ Similarly, but spreading over a much wider dispersed geographic range, there were several descents to the greater Ohio Country to the west.
  3. ^ Which gap and which water course were followed from the bottleneck of the gaps in the Allegheny depended upon destination and seasonal factors, as well as burdens. If heavily laden with furs to trade with New Sweden, a Susquehannock hunting party would like later settlers, take a softer route. Breaking one's leg in a steep slippery ravine far away from ones home did not appeal to those looking to make miles safely.
  4. ^ Five ways through the Appalachians east to west: Around the bottom (plains or Piedmont area) in Georgia, the Cumberland Gap, the Cumberland Narrows, the gaps of the Allegheny Front, and up the Hudson River then around the north end of the Catskills and across upstate New York, the so called level water route to the Great Lakes. All other transits involve difficult climbs a man on foot can only make with great difficulty, and which animal drawn transport could not.


  1. ^ a b c Editor: Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., by The editors of American Heritage Magazine (1961). "The American Heritage Book of Indians". In page 197. ,. American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. LCCN 61-14871. Some, maybe many, escaped from the long nightmare to the intact tribes beyond the [colonies'] borders; the Narraganset went to Maine and turn [into] Abnaki by the hundreds, maybe thousands, after King Phillip's War; and the parade of Tuscarora plodding north to the Iroquois took 100 years to pass.  But one after the other of the intact tribes marched to destruction in their turn in the major colonial wars from 1689 to 1763, echoes for the most part of European wars between France and England, but in America, fought on the American plan, with as much use as possible of Indian allies. 
  2. ^ American Heritage's editors present the Erie, Neutrals, Tabacco, and Huron had all been overcome by the Iroquois by around 1649-1656, the Erie being the last to fall in that year. Note the conflict with data of 1662's alliance.
  3. ^ ERIE HISTORY,, 2016-0612
  4. ^ ERIE HISTORY,, 2016-0612, quote: "In 1662 the Susquehannock told the Dutch they expected 800 Honniasont warriors to join them in their war with the Iroquois. Honniasont is a Iroquian word meaning "wearing something around the neck" and refers to the Black Mingua habit of wearing a black badge on their chests. The Honniasont (Black Mingua) are believed to have been a division of the Erie that lived around the upper Ohio River in western Pennsylvania. 800 warriors would require a population in excess of 3,000 and may have been an exaggeration (Susquehannock or Dutch). It does, however, indicate that there was a large group still free in 1662, but they were gone by 1679."
  5. ^ Alternative nicknames of the later Mingo tribe who definitely lived west of the mountains & shared Iroquoian ancestry with and the commonalities with the Black Mingua name suggest the Erie remnants also became the seed tribe of the new Mingos.
  6. ^ J. Simpson Africa (1883). LOUIS H. EVERTS, ed. "HISTORY OF HUNTINGDON AND BLAIR COUNTIES, PENNSYLVANIA, subtitle: The Tory Expedition to Kittanning". Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co. pp. Page 26. ...a sufficient force to garrison the frontier defenses, a large body of scouts was sent out to traverse the country along the eastern base of the Allegeheny Mountain, watch the gaps, and note the approach of the expected invaders. 
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 134. 
  8. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Gallitzin borough, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ Highest Elevation of Towns in Pennsylvania
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ "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.