Nanticoke, Pennsylvania

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Nanticoke, Pennsylvania
Aerial view of Nanticoke, looking southwest.
Aerial view of Nanticoke, looking southwest.
Location of Nanticoke in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Nanticoke in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
Nanticoke is located in Pennsylvania
Location of Nanticoke in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
Nanticoke is located in the US
Nanticoke (the US)
Coordinates: 41°11′58″N 75°59′57″W / 41.19944°N 75.99917°W / 41.19944; -75.99917Coordinates: 41°11′58″N 75°59′57″W / 41.19944°N 75.99917°W / 41.19944; -75.99917
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Luzerne
Settled 1800
Incorporated (borough) 1874
Incorporated (city) 1926
 • Type City Council
 • Mayor Rich Wiaterowski
 • Total 3.54 sq mi (9.18 km2)
 • Land 3.46 sq mi (8.95 km2)
 • Water 0.09 sq mi (0.23 km2)
Elevation 696 ft (212 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 10,465
 • Estimate (2016)[2] 10,189
 • Density 2,948.21/sq mi (1,138.29/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip code 18634
Area code(s) 570 Exchanges: 735,740
FIPS code 42-52584

Nanticoke is a city in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,465, making it the third largest city in Luzerne County. It occupies 3.5 square miles of land. The city can be divided into several sections: Honey Pot (northwestern Nanticoke), Downtown (northern and central Nanticoke), and Hanover Section (southeastern Nanticoke).[3] It was once an active coal mining community. Today, the 167-acre main campus of Luzerne County Community College is located within the city.


1858 anthracite map; Nanticoke can be seen on the far left

Early history[edit]

The name Nanticoke was derived from Nentego, the Native American tidewater people who moved to the Wyoming Valley when their Maryland lands were spoiled for hunting by the European settlers.[4] For quite some time, the tribe maintained a village in the valley before Europeans settled there. The nearby Nanticoke Creek, also named after the tribe, was once known as Muddy Run. However, its current name was appearing on maps as early as 1776. The creek has also historically been referred to by many other names, including Lee's Creek, Miller's Creek, Robbins Creek, Bobbs Creek, Rummage Creek, and Warrior Run Creek.[5] All of these names were described as erroneous in Henry C. Bradsby's 1893 book History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.[5]

A forge was constructed on Nanticoke Creek in 1778 by Mason F. Alden and John Alden. During that same year, a log gristmill was also built near the creek by a Mr. Chapman. The mill was heavily guarded in 1780. By 1793, a sawmill and gristmill both existed on the creek.[5]


An old postcard of Main Street

In the 19th century, Nanticoke was carved out of Hanover Township and Newport Township. The settlement was incorporated as a village in 1830; Nanticoke was chartered by the Pennsylvania Legislature as a borough on January 31, 1874. Nanticoke experienced its greatest population increase between 1917 and 1925. This allowed for it to qualify as a third class city.[6]

The citizens voted in the fall of 1924 to form a city government; and elections were held the following year. The new city government consisted of a mayor and several councilmen, who took office in January 1926 (which was the official date of becoming a third class city). The first mayor of Nanticoke City was Dan Sakowski.[7]


Samuel H. Kress opened his first store, which grew into the national S. H. Kress & Co. chain, in Nanticoke.[8]

The city gained prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as an active anthracite coal mining community, drawing a large portion of its labor force from European immigrants. At its peak, in the 1930s, the city was home to over 27,000 people. However, when the mining industry in the region collapsed, Nanticoke witnessed urban decay and a shrinking population. The collapse of the mining industry also left behind a scarred landscape – abandoned mines, breakers, buildings, and an impaired creek due to mine drainage.[9] Concrete City, built by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad's coal division in 1911, is located near the Hanover Section of Nanticoke. Abandoned since 1924, it was designated as an historic site in 1998, and its remnants still stand as a tourist attraction. The original entrance has since been bulldozed. However, there is an alternate route that does not appear on maps; it can be found at the end of Bliss & Mosier Streets.[10]

In 1967, Luzerne County Community College, a two-year community college, was established in the city. Today, the main campus covers roughly 167 acres in Nanticoke. The school also maintains eleven satellite learning centers located throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.[11]

Nanticoke City officials voted unanimously to apply for Act 47, or economically distressed city status, which was granted by the state in 2006. Nanticoke faced a projected $700,000 deficit that year, with revenues flat and falling far behind expenses.

Armory in Nanticoke
An old postcard of the post office in Downtown Nanticoke
An old postcard of Nanticoke Park
An old postcard of the World War II memorial in Nanticoke Park


First Presbyterian Church
Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 3,884
1890 10,044 158.6%
1900 12,116 20.6%
1910 18,877 55.8%
1920 22,614 19.8%
1930 26,043 15.2%
1940 24,387 −6.4%
1950 20,160 −17.3%
1960 15,601 −22.6%
1970 14,638 −6.2%
1980 13,044 −10.9%
1990 12,267 −6.0%
2000 10,955 −10.7%
2010 10,465 −4.5%
Est. 2016 10,189 [2] −2.6%

At its height, in the 1930s, the city of Nanticoke was home to over 27,000 people. As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 10,955 people, 4,850 households, and 2,905 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,124.0 people per square mile (1,205.1/km2). There were 5,487 housing units at an average density of 1,564.7 per square mile (603.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.84% White, 0.27% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 0.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.45% of the population.

There were 4,850 households, out of which 23.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 35.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 19.7% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 23.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,169, and the median income for a family was $35,444. Males had a median income of $30,125 versus $20,265 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,348. About 11.5% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 11.4% of those age 65 or over.


Nanticoke Creek
Downtown Nanticoke

Nanticoke is located at 41°11′58″N 75°59′57″W / 41.19944°N 75.99917°W / 41.19944; -75.99917 (41.199514, -75.999119).[16]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2), of which 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 3.05%, is water. Nanticoke is located in the Wyoming Valley (near the Susquehanna River). The elevation is 696 feet (212 m). Both the Lower Broadway Street Bridge and the South Cross Valley Expressway cross over the Susquehanna River and connect Nanticoke with Plymouth Township. The topography of Nanticoke is hilly. The city can be divided into several sections: Honey Pot (northwestern Nanticoke), Downtown (northern and central Nanticoke), and Hanover Section (southeastern Nanticoke). Nanticoke Creek and Newport Creek run through the city.

Adjacent municipalities[edit]


Major highways[edit]

Public transportation[edit]


Government officials[edit]

Nanticoke was incorporated as a third class city in 1926.

Public safety[edit]

Nanticoke City has its own police department and fire department. The police department provides full-time protection for its citizens, visitors, businesses, and public property.[26] The fire department consists of a combination of career and volunteer firefighters. It provides a variety of services, including fire extinguishment, rescue, and emergency medical services. The department also provides its citizens with fire safety education and prevention programs.[27]


An old postcard of Nanticoke High School
Greater Nanticoke Area School District (seen in blue)


  • Greater Nanticoke Area School District serves the city of Nanticoke and the surrounding townships of Plymouth, Newport, and Conyningham. Greater Nanticoke Area School District encompasses approximately 52 square miles (130 km2).
  • Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) is a two-year community college located in Nanticoke. LCCC offers over 100 academic, technical, and career programs. It has an open admissions policy for most programs and has over 30,000 graduates. In addition to the 167-acre main campus in Nanticoke, the school maintains 11 satellite learning centers located throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. College Centers are located in Berwick, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Shamokin, Hazleton, and Kulpmont.
  • Mill Memorial Library


WFUZ 92.1 FM, WSFX-FM at 89.1, WVHO 94.5 FM, and WZMF 730 AM are licensed in Nanticoke.

Notable people[edit]

Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma
John S. Fine, 35th Governor of Pennsylvania


  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Aug 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Pritzker, pp. 440
  5. ^ a b c Henry C. Bradsby, ed. (1893), History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania: With ..., Volume 1, pp. 468, 570, 606, 612 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ The Kress Legacy. The Kress Foundation
  9. ^ Paul Golias (February 18, 2013), "Project to rid acid mine water in the works", Citizen's Voice, retrieved March 11, 2015 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  17. ^ Luzerne County Transportation Authority Website
  18. ^ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport website
  19. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for WBW (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
  20. ^
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  24. ^
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  27. ^
  28. ^ Television Obscurities, The Rebel, 14 October 2003. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  29. ^ "Steve Bilko Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Al "Yogi" J. "Doc" Cihocki". Times Leader. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Pennsylvania Governor John Sydney Fine". National Governors Association. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Pete Gray Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  33. ^ "KANJORSKI, Paul E., (1937 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 
  34. ^ Bernstein, Adam (December 30, 2004). "'Law & Order' Star Jerry Orbach Dies at 69". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Frank Piekarski". National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame. June 9, 2005. Archived from the original on October 12, 2010. 
  36. ^ Randall, David A. (1969) Dukedom Large Enough. New York: Random House, cover notes.
  37. ^ "Murder Witness Back, Accuser of Lepke Will Testify Against Another Suspect". The New York Times. March 30, 1950. p. 22. (subscription required)
  38. ^

External links[edit]