Shamokin, Pennsylvania

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Shamokin, Pennsylvania
Official logo of Shamokin, Pennsylvania
Keystone Marker
Shamokin, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Shamokin, Pennsylvania
Shamokin, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°47′21″N 76°33′17″W / 40.78917°N 76.55472°W / 40.78917; -76.55472Coordinates: 40°47′21″N 76°33′17″W / 40.78917°N 76.55472°W / 40.78917; -76.55472
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Northumberland
Settled 1835
Incorporated (borough) 1864
Incorporated (city) 1949
 • Type City
 • Mayor George S. Rozinskie, Jr.
 • Councilman R. Craig Rhoades, Director of Parks and Recreation
 • Councilman William D. Milbrand, Director of Public Safety
 • Councilman Michael A. Snyder, Director of Public Works
 • Councilman William R. Strausser, Director of Accounts and Finance
 • Total 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
Elevation 800 ft (200 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 7,374
 • Density 9,217.5/sq mi (3,511.43/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 17872
Area code(s) 570 Exchanges: 644, 648

Shamokin (/ʃəˈmkn/; Saponi Algonquian Schahamokink, meaning "place of eels") (Lenape: Shahëmokink [1]) is a city in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, at the western edge of the Anthracite Coal Region. It was named after a Saponi village, Schahamokink. This had been located near where Sunbury was later developed by European Americans as the county seat. At the 2010 census the population was 7,374 residents. The city of Shamokin is bordered by Coal Township, Pennsylvania.


The city was founded by as a village by colonists in 1773, but did not develop much until the 19th century. The discovery of anthracite coal resources in the region, known as "hard coal," became the basis of much industry. Railroad companies, such as Reading Railroad, bought interests in coal and became major employers of the area, building railroads to ship coal to market and controlling most jobs. Workers gradually organized into unions to develop means of bargaining with these powerful companies. During the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, workers in Shamokin marched and demonstrated during the summer period of labor unrest.

Shamokin was incorporated as a borough on November 9, 1864, and as a city on February 21, 1949. In addition to anthracite coal-mining, it became an industrial center in the 19th century, with silk and knitting mills, stocking and shirt factories, wagon shops, ironworks, and brickyards. The Eagle Silk Mill became the largest textile manufacturing building under one roof in the United States.

Thomas Edison, briefly a resident of Sunbury, established the Edison Illuminating Company of Shamokin in the fall of 1882. When the Shamokin station started on September 22, 1883, St. Edward's Catholic Church became the first church in the world to be lit by electricity.[2] (Jones Hardware Company is now located at the Independence Street site of the Shamokin electrical station.[3])

In the 1877 Shamokin Uprising, railroad workers and miners angered by cuts in wages joined what developed as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, with strikes conducted in several major industrial cities in Pennsylvania, as well as cities in the Northeast and to the west through Missouri. Mayor William Douty commissioned a citizen militia to help during the unrest. They shot into a group of strikers, wounding 12 and killing two bystanders who were not even involved in the protest. Five strikers were convicted of rioting and jailed for up to eight months for their part in the actions.

At the turn of the century, resident William A. Conway wrote Murder at Hickory Ridge (1905) as a "dime novel, hoping to cash in on their popularity. It was a fictionalized account of an unsolved murder in the Shamokin area. His two brothers, Alphonsus E. and John J., printed the book on a press in their garage. They continued their business, starting the Conway Print Shop. With the profits from the sale of the novel, the Conway brothers started the Black Diamond Publishing Company in 1905 and founded Black Diamond Magazine to disseminate news of the anthracite coal region. The brothers developed a way to print a roll of tickets, planning to market them to the new movie theaters being built in the area. To meet a request by the nearby Hazleton Baseball Club, they partnered with merchant Nicholas R. Ludes to make a big purchase of colored paper.[4]

Together the Conway brothers and Ludes founded what became the National Ticket Company, located in Shamokin since 1907. At one time it was the largest ticket manufacturing company in the United States. Their first production facility was built in 1911 at the corner of Pearl and Webster Streets. A 1942 fire gutted the plant, although the brick shell still stands. The replacement building at Pearl Street and Ticket Avenue was completed in 1950 and has served as company headquarters. The business is still owned by descendants of the Conway and Ludes families. In the 21st century National Ticket has developed international customers as well.[4]

Edgewood Park, also known as Indian Park, was operated in Shamokin from 1905 through the late 1950s, featuring a roller coaster and other rides and entertainments, and attracting regional crowds. Its 97 acres (390,000 m2) included a large pond. Faced with different needs in the 1950s, the Shamokin area school district developed this property for new elementary and high schools.

The Victoria Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. It was demolished in 2004 and delisted.[5]

Distressed city[edit]

From the post-World War II period, there has been massive restructuring in the railroad and other industries, causing a massive loss of jobs in areas that had enjoyed industrial prosperity, with good working incomes for union people. In addition, there has been pressure on the coal industry due to changes in law to improve air, water, and land quality and prevent environmental contamination. By the early 21st century, Shamokin was part of an economically depressed area.

In June 2014, Shamokin was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for Act 47 Distressed City status after several banks refused it loans for outstanding bills.[6] The designation enables loans from the Commonwealth. Shamokin city officials are required to develop a plan to achieve long-term financial stability and eligibility to leave the program. Only one city in Pennsylvania has ever exited Act 47 status by 2015.[7]

In February 2015, the City was approved to raise its earned income tax to 2 percent a week. Out of the total revenue generated from the tax, 50 percent would go to the school district. By law, municipalities can tax citizens only 1 percent a week in the earned income tax, but financially distressed cities can petition the courts to increase it to 2 percent a week.[8]

In December 2013, Shamokin City Council cut several full-time police officer positions in an effort to reduce budget overruns into compliance.[9]

The Shamokin City Council unanimously approved a 2015 budget of $3.7 million setting property taxes at 58.1 mills. Salaries and benefits of city employees cost $1,956,257, which is 69 percent of all general fund spending.[10] The 2014 real estate tax levy is 47.35 mills. The city adopted a $2.3 million budget in 2014.[11] Bartos had received a $9,350 raise approved by city council in 2012. He had successfully applied for several grants including: $3.4 million for a creek channel preservation project, a grant to expand Claude Kehler Community Park, and another to restore the "99 steps," a city landmark.


A coal pile near Shamokin, Pennsylvania from Shamokin

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all of it land.

Shamokin has two small creeks that divide the town. Carbon Run merges with Shamokin Creek in the north of the town and ultimately empties into the Susquehanna River just south of Shamokin Dam near Sunbury, PA.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,191
1860 2,159 −1.5%
1870 4,320 100.1%
1880 8,184 89.4%
1890 14,403 76.0%
1900 18,202 26.4%
1910 19,588 7.6%
1920 21,204 8.2%
1930 20,274 −4.4%
1940 18,810 −7.2%
1950 16,879 −10.3%
1960 13,674 −19.0%
1970 11,719 −14.3%
1980 10,357 −11.6%
1990 9,184 −11.3%
2000 8,009 −12.8%
2010 7,374 −7.9%
Est. 2015 7,162 [12] −2.9%

As of the census of 2000,[15] there were 8,009 people, 3,742 households, and 2,028 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,601.9 people per square mile (3,725.7/km2). There were 4,674 housing units at an average density of 5,603.6 per square mile (2,174.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.8% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.6% of the population.

There were 3,742 households, out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.8% were non-families. 41.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city the population had 22.2% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 86.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,173, and the median income for a family was $30,038. Males had a median income of $28,261 versus $19,120 for females. The per capita income was $12,354. About 19.3% of families and 24.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.2% of those under age 18 and 21.3% of those age 65 or over.


Map of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania public school districts

Children residing in Shamokin may attend the local, public schools operated by the Shamokin Area School District. They may also opt to attend a private school with tuition at the parent's expense. The public school district is required by state law to transport children to any school within ten miles of its borders. Local private schools include the Darul Uloom Al-Qasim School and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School.

Shamokin Area School District provides taxpayer funded half day preschool and full day kindergarten through 12th grade, with an enrollment of 2,522 pupils in 2013.[17] In 2011, Shamokin Area School District enrollment was 2,356 pupils.[18] The District's enrollment was 2,443 pupils in 2005-06.[19] Shamokin Area School District operates four schools in two buildings: Shamokin Area High School (9-12), Shamokin Area Middle School (7 & 8), Shamokin Area Intermediate School (5&6) and Shamokin Area Elementary School (preschool-4th). In 2014, Shamokin Area School District's graduation rate was 82.8%.[20]

In 2014, the Pittsburgh Business Times ranked Shamokin Area School District 407th out of 496 public schools for academic achievement of its pupils.[21] In 2012, Shamokin Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) despite the low academic achievement at the high school.[22]

High school aged students can attend the taxpayer funded Northumberland County Career and Technology Center, located in Coal Township, for training in the building trades, auto mechanics, culinary arts, allied health careers and other areas. Northumberland County Career and Technology Center is funded by a consortium of the school districts, which includes: Line Mountain School District, Mount Carmel Area School District and Shamokin Area School District. It also receives funds through grants from the state and federal government.

Shamokin 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. This includes SusQ Cyber Charter School which is locally operated. 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.[23][24] The tuition rate that Shamokin Area School District must pay was $7,050.50 in 2012. 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.

Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit #16 provides a wide variety of services to children living in its region which includes the city of Shamokin. 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.[25]

Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) has a satellite campus in the Careerlink Building, Arch Street, Shamokin.

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is a public university located in Bloomsburg. It is one of the 14 state universities that make up the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Eleventh and twelfth grade students may attend the University at a significant tuition discount through its Dual Enrollment program earning college credits, while still earning their high school diploma. The university also operates a summer college program called ACE,[26] where high school students can earn credits at a 75% tuition discount. The credits are transferable to many other Pennsylvania universities through the state's TRAC system.[27]

Mayoral Election history[edit]

  • 2009 - George Rozinskie (D) over Betsy Richardson (D)
  • 2005 - Ronald Bradley (R) over Edward O'Donnell (D)
  • 2001 - James Yurick Jr. (D) over Betsy Richardson (R)
  • 1997 - James Yurick Jr. (D) over Ronald Bradley (R)
  • 1993 - Daniel Strausser (R) over James Yurick Jr. (D)
  • 1989 - Harvey M. Boyer (D) over Daniel Strausser (R) [28]
  • 1985 - Harvey M. Boyer (D) over Malcom C. Farrow IV (R)
  • 1981 - William L. Rickert over Harvey M. Boyer (D)

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  2. ^ Hall, Garth. "Thomas Edison, known world-wide as one of the most prolific inventors in history, held 1,097 U". The News-Item. Shamokin, PA: Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  3. ^ "History of Jones Hardware and Home Center". Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  4. ^ a b "Our History". National Ticket Company. 2016. 
  5. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Community Economic Development (2014). "Shamokin City Act 47 Determination of Distress". 
  7. ^ Emily Previti (Jun 5, 2014). "Last resort becoming reality for Shamokin". 
  8. ^ Justin Strawser (February 26, 2015). "Shamokin gets OK for $1 a week Earned Income Tax increase". The Daily Item. 
  9. ^ PA (December 24, 2013). "Shamokin Council Budget Cuts". 
  10. ^ Eric Scicchitano (December 4, 2014). "Shamokin votes to adopt 2015 $3.7M budget". New Item. 
  11. ^ Eric Scicchitano, (February 7, 2014). "Bartos resigns as Shamokin City Clerk". The News-Item. 
  12. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (November 6, 2014). "District Fast Facts - Shamokin Area School District". 
  18. ^ NCES, Common Core of Data - Shamokin Area School District, 2011
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA 2005-06 - 2020, July 2010
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (November 6, 2013). "Shamokin Area High School School Performance Profile 2014". 
  21. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times (April 6, 2014). "Guide to Pennsylvania Schools Statewide ranking 2014". 
  22. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Shamokin Area School District AYP Overview 2012". 
  23. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2013). "Charter Schools". 
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (2013). "What is a Charter School?". 
  25. ^ Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16 Administration (2014). "About the CSIU". 
  26. ^ Bloomsburg University Administration (2013). "High School ACE". 
  27. ^ PA Transfer and Articulation Center (2014). "Take Your Credits with You". 
  28. ^ "Mayoral history in Shamokin". The News Item. Shamokin, PA. November 1, 2013. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Reynolds, Patrick M. (1980). Startling Stories About Pennsylvania. Red Rose Studio. ISBN 0-932514-04-9. 

External links[edit]