Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

Infobox U.S. County
county = Schuylkill County
state = Pennsylvania

map size = 225
founded = March 1, 1811
seat = Pottsville
largest city = Pottsville
area_total_sq_mi =778
area_land_sq_mi =778
area_water_sq_mi =4
area percentage = 0.54%
census yr = 2000
pop = 150336
density_km2 =75
web =

Schuylkill County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania where the Schuylkill River starts. It is located in the heart of the anthracite Coal Region of Pennsylvania. Schuylkill County was created on March 1, 1811 from parts of Berks and Northampton Counties and named for the Schuylkill River. As of 2000, the population was 150,336. Pottsville is the county seat.

Railroad history

The Reading and Pennsylvania railroad: In the early 1800s southern Schuylkill County was served by the Union Canal out of Pine Grove with connections west, and the Schuylkill canal southward from Port Carbon. 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 40s, 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 Pennsylvania 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.


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) of it is land and 4 square miles (11 km²) of it (0.54%) is water.

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. To the south, southern Schuylkill county is home to Blue Mountain and Appalachian Trail.

Adjacent counties

*Luzerne County (north)
*Carbon County (northeast)
*Lehigh County (southeast)
*Berks County (south)
*Lebanon County (southwest)
*Dauphin County (southwest)
*Northumberland County (northwest)
*Columbia County (northwest)

Notable natives and residents

* Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey - famous jazz musicians and bandleaders were born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

* John O'Hara - a short story writer and best-selling novelist, brought Pottsville into the national spotlight through his "Gibbsville" stories, accounts of 1920s Pottsville socialites. O'Hara's single family home is located at 606 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville.

*The Molly Maguires, a clandestine society of Irish miners who engaged in a violent confrontation with Pennsylvania mining companies in the 19th century.
*Conrad Richter, award-winning American novelist. Books written by Richter include The Light in the Forest and the Awakening Land trilogy. He was born in Pine Grove.

* Walter Ciszek, a Roman-Catholic priest, best selling author, and GULAG survivor was born to a Polish-American family in Shenandoah, PA. He is currently under investigation for possible Sainthood.

* Shenandoah, PA born, Francis Brennan (7 May 1894–2 July 1968) was a cardinal of the Catholic Church, Dean of the Sacra Rota Romana 1959-1968, and prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments 1968. Francis Brennan was the first American to receive an appointment to the Roman Curia, or church court, the highest honor in the Roman Catholic Church.

*George Washington Deitzler, Born in Pine Grove, November 30, 1826. Moved to Kansas and became a prominent member of the Free-State Party, Kansas Territorial Speaker of the House of Representatives, Territorial Senator, and Mayor of Lawrence, Kansas. Most notably, he raised the 1st Kansas Volunteer Regiment and was appointed Colonel by Kansas Territorial Governor Charles Robinson. He went on to fight in several battles of the Civil War including Vickburg but is most famous for his leadership of the Kansas Militia in the Battle of Westport. (Taken from Article by Christopher Alan Edwards, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, website:

*Darryl Ponicsan was born in Shenandoah, PA. Mr. Ponicsan has written a number of novels, like 1973's, Andoshen, Pa, based on his hometown. Among his novels two were made into motion pictures ("Cinderella Liberty" and "The Last Detail"). Mr Ponicsan has also written or co-written many screenplays for Hollywood movies, including Vision Quest, Taps, Nuts and Random Hearts. Mr. Ponicsan has been nominated for a number of awards, such as; the Golden Globe and the Writer's Guild Award.

*General George Joulwan (retired), was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, from 1993-97. General Joulwan was born in Pottsville.

*Boxing heavyweight great Muhammad Ali had his training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania.

*Judge John E. Jones III of the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District Intelligent design trial.


As of the censusGR|2 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, 2.09% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, 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. Also in Schuylkill County ( as well as its neighbor to the north, Luzerne County) are Tyroleans, whose ancestors immigrated from the Tirol in northern Italy (at that time in Austria). Although they bore Italian surnames, the ancestors of the Tyroleans, who immigrated to the Coal Region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, 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 are predominantly Pennsylvania Dutch. This area, which includes the boroughs of Tremont, Schuylkill Haven, Cressona, Tower City, and Pine Grove, cannot really be considered the coal regions, as agriculture was the prevalent occupation.


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


Census-designated places

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. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.


Colleges and Universities

* Penn State Schuylkill Campus, located in Schuylkill Haven
* Schuylkill Institute of Business and Technology, located in Pottsville
* McCann School of Business and Technology, located in Pottsville
* Lehigh Carbon Community College - Morgan Center, Tamaqua

Public School Districts

* Blue Mountain School District
* Hazleton Area School District (also in Luzerne County)
* Mahanoy Area School District
* Minersville Area School District
* North Schuylkill School District (also in Columbia County)
* Panther Valley School District (also in Carbon County)
* Pine Grove Area School District
* Pottsville Area School District
* Saint Clair Area School District
* Schuylkill Haven Area School District
* Shenandoah Valley School District
* Tamaqua Area School District
* Tri-Valley School District
* Williams Valley School District (also in Dauphin County)

ee also

*Coal Region
*Jimmy Dorsey
*John O'Hara
*Molly Maguires
*Reading Company
*Schuylkill River
*Shenandoah, PA
*Tommy Dorsey


External links

* [ Schuylkill County Historical Society]
* [ Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce]
* [ Schuylkill County Fire Companies]
* [ Anthracite Miners]
* [ Black Diamonds Anthacite Coal region]
* [ The Great "Bootleg" Coal Industry in Pennsylvania]
* [ Mining the Anthacite coal country long ago abdicated in this Pennsylvania region starting in "Mahanoy City"]
* [ Necho Allen by George Luks; the legend of Necho Allen, often credited with being the first white man to "discover" coal in Schuylkill County]
* [ North East Rails] , "Reading to Pottsville, Pennsylvania" and the Anthracite Coal Region "of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania".
* [ "Porter Tunnel Mine Disaster" Kocher Coal Company Tower City, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania March 1,1977 ("9 Killed")]
* [ Roadside America, "Miniature Village"]
* [ Scrap book of Historical Schuylkill county Pictures, people, and places, Barb Lavin]
* [ Schuylkill county History]
* [ The name Schuylkill]
* [ "USGS Mining" drainage and the Schuylkill River]
* [ Go PA Outdoors] Schuykill County offers a wide array of outdoor activities to satisfy any sports enthusiast's needs including fishing, hunting, camping and hiking.
* [ Upper Schuylkill]
* [ Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”