Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

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Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
Seal of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
Seal
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
FoundedMarch 1, 1811
Named forSchuylkill River
SeatPottsville
Largest cityPottsville
Area
 • Total782 sq mi (2,025 km2)
 • Land778 sq mi (2,015 km2)
 • Water4 sq mi (10 km2), 0.54%
Population
 • (2010)148,289
 • Density190/sq mi (73.5/km²)
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
Websitewww.co.schuylkill.pa.us
 
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Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
Seal of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
Seal
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
FoundedMarch 1, 1811
Named forSchuylkill River
SeatPottsville
Largest cityPottsville
Area
 • Total782 sq mi (2,025 km2)
 • Land778 sq mi (2,015 km2)
 • Water4 sq mi (10 km2), 0.54%
Population
 • (2010)148,289
 • Density190/sq mi (73.5/km²)
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
Websitewww.co.schuylkill.pa.us

Schuylkill County is a county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 148,289.[1] The county seat is Pottsville.[2] It takes its name from the Schuylkill River, which rises in the county.

Schuylkill County is located in the heart of the anthracite Coal Region of Pennsylvania. It was created on March 1, 1811 from parts of Berks, Northampton, and Northumberland Counties and named for the Schuylkill River.

History[edit]

1700s[edit]

In the year 1754, the area that would become Schuylkill County was settled by Germans, as were areas that are now part of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lehigh counties. The earliest settlers in southeastern Schuylkill County, which was then part of Northampton County, were primarily from Moravia. Other early settlers in southern Schuylkill County were from the Palatines. An early mill in the county was built in 1744 by John Finscher, but it later burned down. The first log church in the county was built in 1755. Native American massacres were commonplace in Schuylkill County between 1755 and 1765. Warrant for tracts of land in the vicinity of McKeansburg were in existence as early as 1750.[3]

1800s[edit]

Schuylkill County was created via an Act of Assembly on March 1, 1811 from portions of Berks, Lancaster, and Northampton Counties. More land was added to the county in 1818, from Columbia and Lehigh Counties. An early book of Schuylkill County history was written by Daniel Deibert in 1802.[3]

McKeansburg was the first community in Schuylkill County to be laid out. Initial construction of the community was done in 1803, and the community was expanded in 1809. During the early years of Schuylkill County, there was an attempt to make McKeansburg the county seat of the new county. The community of Orwigsburg was also a contender for the county seat. Orwigsburg was agreed upon to be the county seat, as it was deemed to be well-suited for industries.[3]

Railroad history[edit]

The Reading and Pennsylvania railroads: In the early 19th century southern Schuylkill County was served by the Union Canal out of Pine Grove Township with connections west, and the Schuylkill Canal southward from Port Carbon. Coal mined by Lehigh Coal and Navigation in the Tamaqua and Coaldale areas was often shipped down the Lehigh Canal from Jim Thorpe in neighboring Carbon County. To the north, Broad Mountain was a natural barrier to navigation. Other means would be required to transport coal out of the rich basin of the Mahanoy Valley. Numerous railroads were begun north of the headwaters of the Schuylkill Canal.

Through the 1830s and 1840s, short railroads sprouted up at numerous areas in the county. Of prime importance was the Mine Hill and Schuylkill Haven, which served the Schuylkill Canal. Chartered in 1831, tracks were laid from the "flats" in Schuylkill Haven along the river through Cressona and Minersville to Tremont. The railroad eventually reached Ashland and Locust Gap via the Gordon Planes.

Construction beginning in 1829, the Little Schuylkill Railroad ran from Port Clinton northward to Mahanoy Junction above Tamaqua. It would become the keystone of the Philadelphia and Reading system, serving as a gauntlet for its eastern and western branches. Connecting with it were four important lines. The 146 mile (235 km) Catawissa Railroad operated from Mahanoy Junction to West Milton, providing access to the Mahanoy region by joining the northern terminus of the Little Schuylkill with connections to New York and Scranton. At Port Clinton, it connected with the P&R's main line from Mount Carbon. Its most important connection would be with the Mahanoy and Broad Mountain Railway via Mahanoy Tunnel and East Mahanoy Railroad.

There was once over 1,000 miles (1600 km) of railroad track in Schuylkill County.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 783 square miles (2,027 km²), of which 778 square miles (2,016 km²) is land and 4 square miles (11 km²) (0.54%) is water.[4]

The Schuylkill River headwaters are found in the county, starting in the Appalachian Mountains, and flows through many towns and the city of Reading, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia where it flows into the Delaware River. The Schuylkill drains the majority of the county while some western and northern areas of the county are drained by the Susquehanna River. The Swatara Creek, Wiconisco Creek, Mahantango Creek, Mahanoy Creek, and Catawissa Creek all start in Schuylkill County and are tributaries of the Susquehanna. Areas of the eastern portion of the county drain into the Lehigh River via the Quakake Creek, Nesquehoning Creek, Mahoning Creek, and Lizard Creek, all of which also start in the county. To the south, southern Schuylkill county is home to Blue Mountain and the Appalachian Trail. Broad Mountain crosses the county from northeast to southwest.

Schuylkill County is located in northeastern Pennsylvania's Coal Region. It is located just north of the Lehigh Valley and Reading metropolitan areas. Portions of eastern Schuylkill County around Tamaqua are located in the Pocono Mountains. As a result, like other portions of the Poconos, eastern Schuylkill has experienced an influx of people from New York City and New Jersey who commute into Manhattan each day. The commute can take up to two hours each way due to distance and traffic. Far western areas of the county are located near Harrisburg and are sometimes considered to be located in South Central Pennsylvania.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical populations
CensusPop.
182011,339
183020,74482.9%
184029,05340.1%
185060,713109.0%
186089,51047.4%
1870116,42830.1%
1880129,97411.6%
1890154,16318.6%
1900172,92712.2%
1910207,89420.2%
1920217,7544.7%
1930235,5058.2%
1940228,331−3.0%
1950200,577−12.2%
1960173,027−13.7%
1970160,089−7.5%
1980160,6300.3%
1990152,585−5.0%
2000150,336−1.5%
2010148,289−1.4%
Est. 2012147,063−0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 150,336 people, 60,530 households, and 40,131 families residing in the county. The population density was 193 people per square mile (75/km²). There were 67,806 housing units at an average density of 87 per square mile (34/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.62% White, 0.08% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, 2.09% African American, and 0.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.11% of the population. 29.0% were of German, 14.1% Irish, 9.7% Polish, 7.5% Italian, 5.6% American and 5.1% Lithuanian ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.7% spoke English and 1.2% Spanish as their first language.

There were 60,530 households out of which 26.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.40% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.70% were non-families. 29.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.90% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 19.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.20 males.

Schuylkill County is one of the most heavily Lithuanian parts of the United States. New Philadelphia, West Mahanoy, Shenandoah, and Girardville have the highest proportions of Lithuanian Americans of all places in the country. Lithuanian Roman Catholic parishes could be found in Shenandoah (St. George); Mahanoy City (St Joseph); Minersville (St. Francis of Assisi); Tamaqua (SS. Peter and Paul); Frackville (Annunciation BVM); Girardville (St. Vincent de Paul); Gilberton (Our Lady of Siluva, formerly St. Louis); and Coaldale (St. John the Baptist). Also in Schuylkill County (as well as its neighbor to the north, Luzerne County) are Tyroleans, whose ancestors immigrated from the County of Tyrol. Although they bore Italian surnames, the ancestors of the Tyroleans, who immigrated to the Coal Region in the late 19th century and early 20th century, spoke German as their native language. The Tirolesi Alpini organization in Hazleton continues to preserve and promote Tyrolean culture. Irish Americans and Polish Americans are also predominant. The southern and western portions of Schuylkill County which border Berks, Lehigh, and Lebanon counties are predominantly Pennsylvania Dutch.

Politics and government[edit]

As of November 2008, there are 94,110 registered voters in Schuylkill County.[7]

While the Republican Party has been historically dominant in Schuylkill County politics, Democrats became dominant at the county level after the 2007 elections. John McCain received 53.6% of the vote to 44.9% for Barack Obama in November 2008. In the state row offices of the same election, each statewide winner carried the county. In 2006 Democrat Tim Seip won the heavily Republican 125th House district and Bob Casey Jr. carried Schuylkill when he unseated incumbent Republican US Senator Rick Santorum. Former State Representative Dave Argall won the special election of March 3 to succeed the late State Senator Jim Rhoades and was sworn in on March 17. Jerry Knowles won the special election for Argall's seat in the 124th House district on May 19. In 2010, the GOP regained ground when Seip was defeated for reelection by Republican Mike Tobash. In 2011, the GOP reclaimed the county government.

Commissioners[edit]

Other county officials[edit]

State Representatives[edit]

State Senator[edit]

US Representative[edit]

Municipalities[edit]

Farming near Klingerstown, Pennsylvania.

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Schuylkill County:

City[edit]

Boroughs[edit]

Map of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

Townships[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law.

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Education[edit]

Colleges and Universities[edit]

Public School Districts[edit]

Map of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Law and order[edit]

Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department
AbbreviationSCSD
PA - Schuylkill County Sheriff.jpg
Patch of the Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department.
Agency overview
Legal personalityGovernmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction*County (US) of Schuylkill in the state of Pennsylvania, USA
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County.svg
Map of Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction.
Size778 square miles (2,000 km2)
Population150,336(est.)
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersPottsville, Pennsylvania
Police Officers12
Elected officer responsibleJoseph G. Groody, Sheriff
Agency executiveDennis Kane, Acing Chief Deputy
Website
Schuylkill Sheriff Webpage
Footnotes
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Schuylkill County Sheriff's Department in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania consists of the Sheriff's Office, Security Guard Service, and Central Booking. The Sheriff's Office is composed of a Civil and Criminal Division. The Civil Division processes real estate and property paperwork, as well as issue firearms permits. The Criminal Division is responsible for the security of the courthouses, as well as the transport of prisoners. The Security Guard Service is responsible for detecting and interdicting weapons before they can enter a courthouse. Central Booking processes fingerprints and photographs of arrested individuals.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c Old Schuylkill Tales: A History of Interesting Events, Traditions and ... - Ella Zerbey Elliott - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-15.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of State. "November 2008 Voter Registration Statistics" (XLS). Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  8. ^ Furek,Maxim.The Jordan brothers: A Musical Biography of Rock's Fortunate Sons. Kimberley press, 1986.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′N 76°13′W / 40.70°N 76.21°W / 40.70; -76.21