Minersville, Pennsylvania

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Minersville, Pennsylvania
Borough
Minersville Borough Office on Sunbury Street.
Minersville Borough Office on Sunbury Street.
Minersville, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Minersville, Pennsylvania
Minersville, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°41′26″N 76°15′37″W / 40.69056°N 76.26028°W / 40.69056; -76.26028Coordinates: 40°41′26″N 76°15′37″W / 40.69056°N 76.26028°W / 40.69056; -76.26028
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Schuylkill
Settled 1783
Incorporated 1831
Government
 • Type Borough Council
 • Mayor Joseph Post Jr.
Area
 • Total 0.7 sq mi (2 km2)
Population (2013)
 • Total 4,320
 • Density 6,948.9/sq mi (2,683.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip code 17954
Area code(s) 570 Exchange: 544
Website http://minersvilleonline.com/

Minersville is a borough in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, United States, located four miles (6 km) west of Pottsville. Anthracite coal deposits are plentiful in the region. The population was 4,552 at the 2000 census.

History[edit]

In the year 1783, a settler by the name of Thomas Reed traveled through the valley between the Thomaston Mountains and the Gap Rocks. At this junction, several mountain streams converged where this settler built a log cabin and a sawmill on the west Branch of the Schuylkill River, just below the mouth of Wolf Creek.[1] Shortly thereafter, he built a tavern on the South Side of the Sunbury Trail on the present site of the Saint Vincent DePaul's Church.

This tavern was referred to as the "Half Way House", because it was half-way between Reading and Sunbury.[2] The Sunbury Trail was the first road through Schuylkill County and was known as the Kings Highway which was authorized by the Crown of England, King George III in 1770.The early settlers engaged in timbering as their first livelihood, but experienced difficulty in transporting the heavy logs out of the valley. The rough timber was floated by raft to Schuylkill Haven to the Schuylkill Canal and on to Reading where it was sold or traded for other products. Necho Allen discovered coal in 1799, but it was not until 1814 that any actual mining took place. Dr. McFarland, a scientist, opened a vein at York Farm near Pottsville. Later, in 1818, Jacob Reed, son of the original founder, opened another vein in the Minersville Area.[3]

English Baptist Church.

The completion of the Schuylkill Haven and Mine Hill Railroad provided the means to transport the coal produced in the region. The development of the coal industry grew rapidly and attracted many immigrants. Experienced English and Welsh miners arrived first from their home lands. Next arrivals were the Germans and Irishman, soon to be followed by many other ethnic groups that make up the community. The influx of inhabitants to the community promoted the need to begin municipal planning. Titus Bennett laid out the town in 1830 on parts of two tracts of land patented to Lawrence Lewis and Robert M. Lewis on July 20, 1829, at that time part of Branch Township. On May 2, 1830, Minersville citizens held an election at the home of David Buckwater for the purpose of electing a Burgess. Samuel Richert was elected to this position, as well as the following men who served on the first Council: John Provst, John Patrick, Dr. Anthony Steinberger, John L. Swaine, John B. Hahn, David Buckwater and Daniel R. Bennet. The first president of the Town Council was Daniel R. Bennet; first treasurer, Thomas J. Harman, Clerk, and Milligan G. Gable, High Constable. Minersville was incorporated as a borough on April 1, 1831 by Act of the legislature approved by Governor George Wolf. Minersville School District was involved in a nation court case gaining much attention; Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940.[4] This case dealt with a family whose children would not salute the flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance because of their religious beliefs (they were Jehovah's Witnesses). This case would put Minersville "on the map," as it reached all the way to the Supreme Court. The final verdict was that the school district could, in fact, make students stand, salute, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. This decision came under much scrutiny and would not stay long, as it would be overturned shortly thereafter.

Minersville,1889.jpg

Geography[edit]

Minersville is located at 40°41′26″N 76°15′37″W / 40.69056°N 76.26028°W / 40.69056; -76.26028 (40.690455, -76.260242).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2), all of it land.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,265
1850 2,951 133.3%
1860 4,024 36.4%
1870 3,699 −8.1%
1880 3,249 −12.2%
1890 3,504 7.8%
1900 4,815 37.4%
1910 7,240 50.4%
1920 7,845 8.4%
1930 9,392 19.7%
1940 8,686 −7.5%
1950 7,783 −10.4%
1960 6,606 −15.1%
1970 6,012 −9.0%
1980 5,635 −6.3%
1990 4,877 −13.5%
2000 4,552 −6.7%
2010 4,397 −3.4%
Est. 2015 4,258 [6] −3.2%
Sources:[7][8][9]

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 4,552 people, 2,041 households, and 1,226 families residing in the borough. The population density was 6,948.9 people per square mile (2,662.9/km²). There were 2,312 housing units at an average density of 3,529.4 per square mile (1,352.5/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.51% White, 0.44% African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.07% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.57% of the population.

There were 2,041 households out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the borough the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 23.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 85.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.8 males.The Borough was founded in 1831.

The median income for a household in the borough was $28,373, and the median income for a family was $36,759. Males had a median income of $32,073 versus $19,898 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $15,623. About 10.8% of families and 15.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 19.9% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Map of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania public school districts showing Minersville Area School District

Residents of Minersville may attend the local public schools operated by Minersville Area School District which provides taxpayer funded preschool followed by full day kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2015, the Minersville Area School District's enrollment declined to 1,218 students.[10] In 2012, Minersville Area School District enrollment was 1,280 pupils.[11] The District's enrollment was 1,187 pupils in 2005-06.[12] Minersville Area School District operates three buildings: Early Childhood Education Center (preschool-kindergarten), Minersville Area Elementary Center (1st-6th) and Minersville Area Junior Senior High School (7th-12th).

In 2015, Minersville Area School District's graduation rate was 89%.[13] This was a significant decline from 93.9% in 2014.[14]

In 2015, Minersville Area District's ranking declined to 437th out of 493 Pennsylvania school districts, in 2015, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.[15] The ranking is based on the last 3 years of student academic achievement as demonstrated by PSSAs results in: reading, writing, math and science and the three Keystone Exams (literature, Algebra 1, Biology I) in high school.[16]

In October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported that Minersville Area Junior Senior HIgh School was among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.[17][18] He also reported the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to take any action to remediate the poorly performing schools to raise student academic achievement or to provide them with targeted professional assistance.[19] In 2007, Minersville Area School District was ranked 348th of 501 school districts for academic achievement.

In 2012, Minersville Area School District declined to Warning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.[20] Minersville Area School District's School was cited in a state report regarding irregularities in the PSSA testing at Minersville Area Elementary Center.[21]

Minersville Area Junior Senior High School achieved a score of 56.4 out of 100 in the state performance ranking. The ranking reflects on grade level reading, mathematics and science achievement. The PDE reported that just 61% of Minersville Area Junior Senior High School students were on grade level in reading/literature. In Algebra 1, 55.8% of students showed on grade level skills at the end of the course. In Biology I, just 53% demonstrated on grade level science understanding at the end of the course.[22] In 2012, Minersville Area junior Senior High School declined further to School Improvement I Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status due to missing all academic metrics measured and a low grad rate. The administration was required to develop a plan to raise student achievement and to submit it to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for approval.[23]

High school aged students can attend the taxpayer funded Schuylkill Technology Center, located in neighboring Pottsville, for training in the building trades, auto mechanics, culinary arts, allied health careers and other areas.[24]

Minersville residents may also apply to attend any of the Commonwealth's 14 public cyber charter schools (in 2013) at no additional cost to the parents. Gillingham Charter School is public charter school located in Pottsville, within 5 miles of Minersville. It has been operating since 2009.[25] The resident’s public school district is required to pay the charter school and cyber charter school tuition for residents who attend these public schools.[26][27] The 2015 tuition rate that Minersville Area School District must pay was Elementary School - $8,124.82, High School - $8,949.86.[28] By Commonwealth law, if the District provides transportation for its own students, then the District must provide transportation to any school that lies within 10 miles of its borders. Residents may also seek admission for their school aged child to any other public school district. When accepted for admission, the student's parents are responsible for paying an annual tuition fee set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Schuylkill Intermediate Unit #29 provides a wide variety of services to children living in its region which includes Minersville. Early screening, special education services, speech and hearing therapy, autistic support, preschool classes and many other services like driver education are available. Services for children during the preschool years are provided without cost to their families when the child is determined to meet eligibility requirements. Intermediate units receive taxpayer funding: through subsidies paid by member school districts; through direct charges to users for some services; through the successful application for state and federal competitive grants and through private grants.[29]

Libraries

Community members have access to the Minersville Public Library located on 4th street.[30] Through it Pennsylvania residents have access to all POWER Library [1] online resources. Additionally, the Schuylkill County Historical Society, located in Pottsville, operates an extensive library.[31] Schuylkill County residents have access to the Schuylkill County Law Library which is located in the Schuylkill County Courthouse in Pottsville.[32]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institute is in the Minersville area.

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • Minersville celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2006. A commemoration parade was held in the borough on August 26.
  • Minersville was the birthplace of pool champion Joe Balsis (1921–1995).[33]
  • American Civil War Union general Benjamin C. Christ was a native of Minersville.
  • Big Diamond Raceway [2] is located in Minersville. It is home to seasonal weekly dirt track racing.
  • The Pottsville Maroons played professional football at Minersville Park during the 1920s.
  • Minersville is the setting of the 2010 film Bereavement.
  • Minersville is also home to Railway Restoration Project 113, caretakers of both the Minersville Railway Station and the Central Railroad of New Jersey #113 steam locomotive. The locomotive has recently been restored to operational status and occasionally powers excursions in conjunction with the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway (a subsidiary of the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad).[34][35]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Norwegian Township Administration, The History of Norwegian Township, 2016
  2. ^ W W Munsell, History of Schuylkill County, PA with illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Pioneers, New York 1881
  3. ^ Minersville Borough, Minersville Borough History web site, 2016
  4. ^ Minersville School District v. Gobitis
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (December 4, 2015). "District Fast Facts - Minersville Area School District". 
  11. ^ NCES, Common Core of Data - Minersville Area School District, 2011
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA 2005-06 - 2020, July 2010
  13. ^ PDE, Graduation rate by LEA, 2015
  14. ^ PDE, Graduation rate by LEA, 2014
  15. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 10, 2015). "Guide to Pennsylvania Schools Statewide School District Ranking 2015". 
  16. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 11, 2014). "What makes up a district's School Performance Profile score?". 
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General Office (October 6, 2015). "561 Academically Challenged Schools Overlooked by the Department of Education" (PDF). 
  18. ^ Joe Sylvester (October 7, 2015). "8 schools in Valley jilted, audit reveals". The Daily Item. 
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Auditor General Office (October 7, 2015). "Special Performance Audit Report - Pennsylvania Department of Education" (PDF). 
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Minersville Area School District AYP Overview 2012". 
  21. ^ Liz Hayes and Jody Weigand (July 13, 2011). "New Kensington-Arnold 'flagged' for test scores". TribLIVE. 
  22. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (November 4, 2015). "Minersville Area Junior Senior High School School Performance Profile 2015". 
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Minersville Area Junior Senior High School Academic Report 2012". 
  24. ^ Schuylkill Technology Center Administration (2016). "Schuylkill Technology Center website". 
  25. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education State Charter School Appeal Board (June 15, 2011). "Appeal of Denial Gilligham Charter School" (PDF). 
  26. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2013). "Charter Schools". 
  27. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2013). "What is a Charter School?". 
  28. ^ PDE, Tuition rate by LEA, 2015
  29. ^ Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 Administration, About the SIU, 2015
  30. ^ Minersville Public Library Administration, Minersville Public Library, August 2016
  31. ^ Schuylkill County Historical Society, Schuylkill County Historical Society website, 2016
  32. ^ Schuylkill County Courts, Schuylkill County Law Library website, 2016
  33. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees, 1977-84", Billiards Congress of America, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; accessed February 2, 2007
  34. ^ Railway Restoration Project 113 (2016). "Railway Restoration Project 113". 
  35. ^ http://www.lgsry.com

External links[edit]