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Ford City, Pennsylvania
Borough
Official Seal of the Borough of Ford City, Pennsylvania
Motto(s): 
A Great Place to Work and Live
Location of Ford City in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Ford City in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
Ford City, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Ford City, Pennsylvania
Ford City, Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Armstrong
Settled 1887
Incorporated 1889
Government
 • Type Council-Mayor
Area
 • Total 0.76 sq mi (1.97 km2)
 • Land 0.65 sq mi (1.67 km2)
 • Water 0.12 sq mi (0.30 km2)
Elevation
794 ft (242 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 2,991
 • Estimate 
(2019)
2,764
 • Density 4,285.27/sq mi (1,655.60/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code
16226
Area code(s) 724, 878
FIPS code 42-26512

Ford City is a borough in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, United States, 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Pittsburgh along the east bank of the Allegheny River and 4 miles (6 km) south of Kittanning, the county seat. The population of Ford City at the 2010 census was 2,991.

History

Ford City was founded in 1887 as a company town by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company (now PPG Industries) as the site for its Works No. 3 glass factory. The town was named in honor of the company founder, John Baptiste Ford (1811–1903). The factory employed as many as 5,000 workers in its heyday. PPG shut down its Ford City operations in the 1990s. The once largest employer in Armstrong County, Eljer Plumbing, shut down its Ford City plant in 2008.

In 1900, 2,870 people resided in Ford City borough proper; in 1910, 4,850 people lived there; in 1930, 6,127; and, in 1940, 5,795. The population was 3,451 at the 2000 census.

Geography

Ford City is located at 40°46′17″N 79°31′48″W / 40.77139°N 79.53000°W / 40.77139; -79.53000 (40.771410, -79.529906).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.77 square miles (2.0 km2), of which 0.66 square miles (1.7 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 15.28%, is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,255
1900 2,870 128.7%
1910 4,850 69.0%
1920 5,605 15.6%
1930 6,127 9.3%
1940 5,795 −5.4%
1950 5,352 −7.6%
1960 5,440 1.6%
1970 4,749 −12.7%
1980 3,923 −17.4%
1990 3,413 −13.0%
2000 3,451 1.1%
2010 2,991 −13.3%
2020 2,859 −4.4%
Sources:

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,451 people, 1,580 households, and 935 families residing in the borough. The population density was 4,864.8 people per square mile (1,876.7/km²). There were 1,713 housing units at an average density of 2,414.8 per square mile (931.5/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 94.38% White, 3.88% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.75% of the population.

There were 1,580 households, out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 21.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.84.

The borough median age of 42 years was more than the county median age of 40 years. The distribution by age group was 21.8% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 25.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.3 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $24,457, and the median income for a family was $30,843. Males had a median income of $28,438 versus $21,919 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $14,318. About 13.5% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.2% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.

Attractions

  • Third Street Park features an 1891 bronze statue of John B. Ford, by Hartford, Connecticut sculptor Carl Conrads.

In popular culture

  • The television show American Pickers aired an episode on August 19, 2012 (Season 7, Ep. 2) that consisted of a visit to the Mantini Funeral Home in Ford City as well as several other locations owned by the Mantini brothers. The final stop in Ford City was the picking of a defunct store owned by a dyspeptic elderly man named Aldo. (that was in Seminole, Pa.)
  • Several scenes of the 2009 horror film My Bloody Valentine 3D were shot in Ford City.
  • The borough was referenced in a scene of the cult classic Night of the Living Dead.
  • Ford City is one setting for the 1983 novel A Country Such as This by James H. Webb, now a former U.S. senator from Virginia.
  • It is used by the writer Frank Brookhouser in his books Request for Sherwood Anderson (1947) and She Made the Big Town (1952).
  • A pictorial history, Around Ford City (2008), was written by William L. Oleksak.
  • Ford City was the setting for a scene in Episode 7 of NBC's apocalyptic television series Revolution, which aired in November 2012. The main characters initially attempt to cross a bridge over the Allegheny River in nearby Freeport, Pennsylvania, but they are ambushed and turned back. The main characters then decide to attempt a bridge crossing in Ford City, but are again unsuccessful.
  • In nearby Falcon Park, the annual electronic dance music festival Fantasyland is held for thousands of attendees.

Education

Ford City has its own elementary school and in the past had its own high school, Ford City Jr/Sr High School. This, however, had not always been the case. During the early 1990s, Ford City students attended the same school as students from nearby Kittanning. The temporarily consolidated school was called Armstrong Central.

Currently, students in the Ford City area attend Lenape Elementary from kindergarten through sixth grade. The building recently underwent an extensive renovation process. It is located at 2300 Center Avenue, Ford City. According to statistics from City-data.com, 784 students attended the school in 2007. In honor of the Lenape Native American tribe from the area, the school's mascot is a Native American.

The town's high school, Ford City Jr/Sr High School did not have a separate junior high school. Grades seven through twelve were combined in one building. Unlike the elementary school, the high school was located in Ford City's "downtown" area at 1100 Fourth Avenue, Ford City. According to the Ford City High School Alumni Association [1], FCHS opened its doors in 1909, awarding diplomas to its first graduating class of 4 students on May 10, 1910. The school awarded diplomas to its final graduating class in June 2015. Today, students from Ford City attend Armstrong Jr/Sr High School, a combined 7-12th grade school located at 300 Buffington Drive in Manor Township between Ford City and Kittanning.

Ford City High School
Front entrance of the now demolished Ford City High School.

In addition to the town's elementary and high school, two additional schools are located in the area. Students can attend Lenape Vocational Technical School beginning their junior year. It is located just below the elementary school (hence the similar name). Furthermore, the area's only Catholic elementary school, Divine Redeemer, is located on 4th Avenue in downtown Ford City.

Notable people

  • David Coulter, banker
  • Gus Frerotte, NFL Quarterback
  • Raymond Harvey, Medal of Honor recipient
  • John F. Hunter, Ohio congressman
  • Tim Levcik, American football player
  • Abby Major, member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Zigmund "Red" Mihalik, Hall of Fame basketball official
  • Albert Pechan, Pennsylvania state senator
  • Chris Valasek, computer security expert
  • Michael Yates, economist and magazine editor
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