Main Street in Girardville
|• Type||Borough Council|
|• Total||0.5 sq mi (1 km2)|
|Elevation||1,007 ft (307 m)|
|• Density||3,327.4/sq mi (1,284.7/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||570 Exchange: 276|
Girardville is a borough in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Reading. Anthracite coal deposits are in the region. Coal-mining provided employment and incomes for many of the 3,666 people who lived there in 1900. In 1910, 4,396 individuals called it home. The population was 1,742 at the 2000 census. It was founded in 1832 and is named after Stephen Girard of Philadelphia who purchased large land holdings in and around the town. It was incorporated as a borough in 1872. It is known to many in Schuylkill County as "Gun-Town", for reasons unknown.
Girardville is the site of an annual St. Patrick's Day parade that is one of the largest in Pennsylvania. It made history on March 29, 2008 when former President Bill Clinton joined the marchers to the delight of 30,000 parade goers that lined the streets of the small coal town. The Annual AOH Girardville St. Patrick's Day Parade celebrated its 13th parade in 2016 and becomes more popular every year. It is known as "The Best and Biggest Little St. Patrick's Day Parade This Side of the Atlantic". It is truly a "Pipe Band" parade and those pipes call people back from all over Pennsylvania, the US, and beyond home to their Girardville roots.
Girardville had five churches, one New Community Fellowship Church, one Methodist Episcopal, one Lutheran and two Roman Catholic Churches, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Joseph. St. Joseph's Church was closed in July, 2015, while St. Vincent's was kept open as a worship center for the newly formed Parish of St. Charles Borremeo, with the main church in Ashland (the former St.Joseph's). The Reverend Father Edward B. Connolly was the last Pastor of both Catholic Churches. Father Connolly has appeared on EWTN in the series "Road to Cana". He has since retired.
Girardville is home to radio station WQDD-LP.
Girardville is located at (40.792104, -76.284555).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2), of which, 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it is land and 1.85% is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,742 people, 767 households, and 486 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,327.4 people per square mile (1,293.4/km²). There were 886 housing units at an average density of 1,692.4 per square mile (657.9/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 99.43% White, 0.11% Native American, 0.06% from other races, and 0.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.17% of the population.
There were 767 households out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the borough the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $23,702, and the median income for a family was $30,000. Males had a median income of $26,906 versus $20,433 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $13,735. About 10.5% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.7% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over.
Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was born in the village of Homesville on the outskirts of Girardville in 1865 and served as Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1918 until his death in 1951.
A citizen who became famous in the "wild west" is "Captain Jack" Crawford, (also known as the "Poet Scout") western actor, scout for General George Crook's campaign in the Black Hills, native of Carndonagh, Ireland and performer with William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill), was postmaster and had a small general store in Girardville in 1869−1874, leaving town to go out west to find Gold. His poem "Only a Miner Killed" about his experiences as a miner in the region was said to be used by Bob Dylan as the basis for his song "Only a Hobo."
Another famous citizen was John "Black Jack" Kehoe, the high constable of Girardville during the 1870s, whose charismatic leadership in the fight for labor rights by the coal miners of the period earned him a place in local, state, national and world history. Jack Kehoe was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and several divisions of the AOH now bear his name. Kehoe has gone down in history as a member of the Molly Maguires, a group of Irish immigrants committed acts against the mine and railroad owners for their own gains and was hung along with 19 other alleged Molly Maguires in a series of trials. These hangings are popularly known as "The Day of the Rope". Today, Black Jack's tavern in Girardville, The Hibernian House, continues to be operated by his great grandson, Joseph Wayne and is a popular destination for historians, genealogists, and tourists searching for information on the Molly Maguires, the coal region culture, and their Irish roots. Wayne's exhaustive efforts in the 1970s obtained a posthumous pardon for his great grandfather through then Pennsylvania governor Milton Shapp. John Kehoe, a native of County Wicklow, Ireland, was buried in old St. Jerome's Cemetery in Tamaqua. His gravesite is a historical site maintained by the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
The town of Girardville is alluded to in the comic book series Amelia Rules! Created by Girardville native Jimmy Gownley, the series, begun in 2001, has won several awards, been translated into numerous languages, and even turned into a stage musical. In 2008, it was named the Pennsylvania Library Association's One Book Award Winner. Although Gownley is no longer a resident of Girardville, his work references the town in many ways, including being set in a fictional version of Connerton, a town formerly located between Girardville, and Lost Creek, as well as mentioning landmarks such as Centiole's Pizza
The Amelia Rules! series is currently published by Simon & Schuster.
Joseph, Charles and Albert Drulis were born and raised in Girardville and all three went on to star in football at Temple University. Charles and Albert went on to play in the NFL. All 3 brothers have been inducted into the Pennsylvania sports hall of fame. Chuck Drulis was an all-pro lineman for the Chicago Bears and went on to coach in the NFL after his playing career. Chuck Drulis is credited with introducing the "safety blitz" into the league while the defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Cardinals. Chuck's wife, Dsle Drulis, was the artist selected to design all of the art for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. She used her husband and sons Chuck Jr. and Kerry as the models for the sculptures over the main entry to the facility.
Bob Simononis, born and raised in Girardville, was a star pitcher for the Girardville High School Blue Aces. Bob was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Third Annual Legion Pennsylvania East-West All-Star Game of 1949, and went on to be drafted by the Detroit Tigers of MLB. His baseball career was written about in Connie Mack's book, My 66 Years in the Big Leagues. Charles Fullis was another famous baseball player from Girardville.
Girardville is famous all over the coal region for its unique restaurants and pizzerias. Centiole’s Pizza and Marrone’s Café are family-owned establishments that are still in operation. The Golden Moon is a reincarnation of what was formerly Nester’s Restaurant, and Tony’s Lunch continues to serve their famous screamers and A-treat.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 138.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- "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.
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