Hazleton, Pennsylvania facts for kids

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Hazleton
City
A view of Downtown Hazleton from the south
A view of Downtown Hazleton from the south
Nickname(s): The Mountain City, Mob City, The Power City
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Luzerne
Settled 1780
Elevation 1,689 ft (515 m)
Population (2015 Census estimate)
 • Total 24,825
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
ZIP codes 18201, 18202
Area code(s) 570 Exchanges: 450, 453, 454, 455, 459
FIPS code 42-33408
Website www.hazletoncity.org

Hazleton is a city in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 25,340 at the 2010 census. The population of Greater Hazleton (the area in and around the city) was 77,187. Hazleton is the 2nd largest city in Luzerne County and the 17th largest city in Pennsylvania.

History

Hazleton (2674307151)
Hazleton

Sugarloaf massacre

During the height of the American Revolution in the summer of 1780, British sympathizers (known as Tories) began attacking the outposts of American revolutionaries located along the Susquehanna River in the Wyoming Valley. Because of reports of Tory activity in the region, Captain Daniel Klader and a platoon of 41 men from Northampton County were sent to investigate. They traveled north from the Lehigh Valley along a path known as "Warrior's Trail" (which in 1804 became the Lausanne-Nescopeck Turnpike, and is mostly the path of the present-day Pennsylvania Route 93 excluding the elevated bridge into ‹See Tfd›Nesquehoning). This route connects the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe (formerly known as Mauch Chunk) to the Susquehanna River in Berwick.

Hazelton, situated in a mountain pass ‹See Tfd›saddle between watersheds did not yet exist, so Captain Klader's men made it as far north as present-day Conyngham when they were ambushed by Tory militiamen and members of the Seneca tribe. In all, 15 men were killed on September 11, 1780, in what is now known as the Sugarloaf Massacre.

The Moravians, a Christian denomination, had been using "Warrior's Trail" since the early 18th century after the Moravian missionary Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf first used it to reach the Wyoming Valley. This particular stretch of "Warrior's Trail" had an abundance of hazel trees, and indeed, the east draining watercourse into the Lehigh River tributary system is ‹See Tfd›Hazel Creek. Though the Moravians called the region "St. Anthony's Wilderness," it eventually became known as "Hazel Swamp," a name which had been used previously by the Indians. The Moravian missionaries were sent from their settlements in Bethlehem to the site of the Sugarloaf Massacre to bury the dead soldiers. Because of the aesthetic natural beauty of the Conyngham Valley, some Moravians decided to stay. In 1782, they built a settlement (St. Johns), which is near the present-day intersection of Interstates 80 and 81 along the Susquehanna River tributary, Nescopeck Creek.

In the two decades after, the Warrior's Trail became a crude road, the Lausanne-Nescopeck Road between ‹See Tfd›Lausanne Landing and ‹See Tfd›Nescopeck along the Susquehanna, little more than a pack mule trail excepting during excellent weather but connecting the lower Wyoming Valley and central Pennsylvania with the population centers along the Delaware River. The road saved over 100 miles (160 km) from the trip west below Blue Mountain to follow the Susquehanna north through the Susquehanna Gap.

Nathan Beach, of Salem, Snyder county, found coal in the [Penn twp., ‹See Tfd›Northampton County or Lehigh County of the time, now ‹See Tfd›Junedale south of Hazelton a handful of miles] township in 1812. A mine or quarry was opened by Beach in 1813 where Cuyle's stripping is now situated. The first coal produced here was hauled in wagons to ‹See Tfd›Berwick and ‹See Tfd›Bloomsburg, where it was used for blacksmithing purposes. As the nature of anthracite became better understood and the demand increased, the product of this mine was hauled over the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike to the landing on the Lehigh, from which point it was shipped to Philadelphia in "‹See Tfd›arks," commanding eight dollars per ton. Mr. Beach, being called upon to defend the title to his land, in 1829, won the suit, and soon thereafter sold five hundred acres to Judge Joseph Barnes, of Philadelphia.

The Beaver Meadow Railroad and Coal Company, soon after its organization, purchased two hundred acres of land, located where coal had been first discovered, and these workings became known as the Beaver Meadow Mines. This property was leased to A. H. VanCleve & Company in 1841, and was operated by that firm until 1846. William Milnes & Company then worked the mines for about a year. The firm of Hamberger & Company then leased them and continued operations until 1850, after which the mines were abandoned until 1881, when they were leased to Coxe Brothers & Company. The property is now controlled by the Lehigh Valley Coal Company.

—Brenckman
USGS relief-Broad Mountain and Terrains it dominates west of the Lehigh Gorge and north of Tamaqua, Nesquehoning and Jim Thorpe, PA
Topographic map showing the Terrain to the south governing transportation up the Lehigh corridor and into Hazel Creek valley to reach South Hazelton. Coal was first mined in Junedale suburb of Beaver Meadows. The Beaver Meadow Railroad and Coal Company began operations in 1830, improving transit into Hazelton.

In 1804, the charter for the Lehigh & Susquehanna Turnpike was issued and capital improvements were made turning the track into a marginal wagon road suitable to emigrant's feet, pack animals and light carts, but having to climb the steeps of the south face on ‹See Tfd›Broad Mountain, was for a long while, not suitable to wagons or stage coaches. In 1812, light anthracite coal mining began in the Junedale neighborhood to the west of the ‹See Tfd›Beaver Meadows village, and was taken out westwards to smithies across the Nescopeck-Berwick toll bridge to ‹See Tfd›Columbia County. This 'Lausanne turnpike' is the predecessor roadway of today's PA 93, save for a redesign of it's starting point where the Lausanne toll house guarded the ascent up Jean's Run from the crossing of Nescopeck Creek.

Jacob Drumheller

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the "Warrior Trail" was revamped and widened. It was renamed the Berwick Turnpike. Later, a road was built to connect Wilkes-Barre to McKeansburg. This road intersected with the Berwick Turnpike. An entrepreneur named Jacob Drumheller decided that this intersection was the perfect location for a rest stop, so in 1809, he built the first building in what would later be known as Hazleton. Though a few buildings and houses were erected nearby, the area remained a dense wilderness for nearly 20 years. At the time, the area offered little more than small-scale logging. Jacob Drumheller is buried at Conyngham Union Cemetery.

Discovery of coal

Bethlehem Steel
Anthracite coal mined from Hazleton was shipped via the Lehigh Canal to Bethlehem Steel Corporation during the American Industrial Revolution.

In 1818, anthracite coal deposits were discovered in nearby Beaver Meadows by prospectors Nathaniel Beach and Tench Coxe. This caught the attention of railroad developers in Philadelphia. A young engineer from New York (named Ariovistus "Ario" Pardee) was hired to survey the topography of Beaver Meadows and report the practicality of extending a railroad 20.5 miles (33.0 km) from the Lehigh's Canal around ‹See Tfd›Broad Mountain (See map above) to the canal head in Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) using the ‹See Tfd›Black Creek to travel upriver to ‹See Tfd›Beaver Meadows through Penn Haven Junction. Pardee, knowing that the area of Beaver Meadows was already controlled by Coxe and Beach, bought many acres of the land in present-day Hazleton. The investment proved to be extraordinarily lucrative. The land contained part of a massive anthracite coal field. Pardee will forever be known as the founding father of Hazleton.

Pardee incorporated the Hazleton Coal Company in 1836, the same year the Beaver Meadows Railroad rail link to the Lehigh Valley market was on the brink of being completed. The Hazleton Coal Company built the first school on Church Street, where Hazleton City Hall is now located. Pardee also built the first church in Hazleton (located at the intersection of Church and Broad Streets). The Pardee mansion was built on the northern block of Broad Street (between present-day Church and Laurel Streets).

The coal industry attracted many immigrants for labor. The first wave (in the 1840s and 1850s) consisted mostly of German and Irish immigrants. The second wave (from the 1860s to the 1920s) consisted mostly of Italian, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Slovak, and Montenegrin immigrants. The coal mined in Hazleton helped establish the United States as a world industrial power, primarily fueling the massive blast furnaces at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

"Patch towns"

Many small company towns, often referred to by locals as "patch towns" or "patches," surrounded Hazleton. In the settlement era, the whole Coal Region was in a literal wilderness the Delaware peoples called 'Towamensing', the region above Blue Mountain Ridge. Companies had to import workers, and provide lodging, medical, and even merchantmen services. They were built by coal companies to provide housing for the miners and their families. Many had a Company store and a church built by the company. More enlightened companies, such as the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company which subdivided many company towns, would subdivide and sell lots from the moment an operation began to work out. The following is a list of “patch towns” in and around Hazleton:

  • Beaver Meadows, coal was discovered here
  • Stockton, founded by John Stockton
  • Jeansville, founded by James Milens
  • Milnesville, founded by James Milens
  • Tresckow, formerly known as Dutchtown
  • Junedale, formerly known as Colraine - coal found here early on.
  • Freeland, originally called Freehold (founded by Joseph Birkbeck in 1846)
  • McAdoo, originally called Pleasant Hill, then Saylors Hill
  • West Hazleton, founded by Conrad Horn
  • Eckley, founded by Eckley B. Coxe
  • Jeddo, named after a Japanese port to which coal was exported by the Hazleton Coal Company
  • Hollywood, part of Hazleton, named before Hollywood, California
  • Weatherly, a small borough outside of Hazleton

Sudden prosperity and growth

Lattimer massacre
Mine workers began their protest march near Harwood and many were eventually killed by the Luzerne County sheriff in Lattimer in 1897.

Hazleton was incorporated as a borough on January 5, 1857. “Hazelton” was intended to be the borough’s name, but a clerk misspelled it during its incorporation, and the name "Hazleton" has been used ever since. The borough's first fire company, the Pioneer Fire Company, was organized in 1867 by soldiers returning home from the American Civil War. Hazleton was incorporated as a city on December 4, 1891. At the time, the population was estimated to be around 14,000 people. In 1891, Hazleton became the third city in the United States to establish a citywide electric grid.

Lattimer massacre

On September 10, 1897, the Lattimer Massacre occurred near Hazleton. It resulted in the deaths of 19 unarmed striking immigrant coal miners at the Lattimer mine. The miners, mostly of Polish, Slovak, Lithuanian and German ethnicity, were shot and killed by a Luzerne County sheriff's posse. Scores more were wounded. The massacre was a turning point in the history of the United Mine Workers (UMW).

20th and 21st centuries

St Gabes Convent Hazelton LuzCo PA
St. Gabriel's Convent
St Gabes Hazelton LuzCo PA 1
St. Gabriel's Catholic Church

After World War II, the demand for coal began to decline as cleaner, more efficient fuels were being used. Readily available, cheap energy helped open the door for manufacturing. The Duplan Silk Corporation opened in Hazleton and became the world's largest silk mill. The garment industry thrived and was invested in by New York mobster Albert Anastasia.

In 1947, Autolite Corporation was looking to expand operations in the East, and had been looking into Hazleton. Officials from Autolite came to the area to survey it and in their report, they noted Hazleton is a "mountain wilderness" with no major water route, rail route, trucking route, or airport. In response, several area leaders gathered to address these problems.

CAN-DO (Community Area New Development Organization) was formally organized in 1956 by founder Dr. Edgar L. Dessen. Their main goal was to raise money, through their "Dime A Week" campaign, in which area residents were encouraged to put a dime on their sidewalk each week to be collected by CAN-DO. The company raised over $250,000 and was able to purchase over 500 acres (2.0 km2) of land, which was converted into an industrial park. Because of CAN-DO's efforts, Hazleton was given the All-America City Award in 1964. Hazleton's economy is now based largely on manufacturing and shipping, facilitated by the relative closeness to Interstates 80 and 81. Five Pennsylvania highways also run through the Hazleton area (including Pennsylvania Route 309, Pennsylvania Route 93, Pennsylvania Route 924, Pennsylvania Route 424, and Pennsylvania Route 940).

An article published in December 2002 (by U.S. News & World Report) was entitled "Letter from Pennsylvania: A town in need of a tomorrow" which reported Hazleton's shortcomings to the world. It was criticized by local politicians and business leaders alike, and again prompted local leaders to address the problems facing the community.

A new wave of immigrants

Altamont2
Altamont Hotel, Hazleton

In 2006, Hazleton gained national attention as Republican Mayor Lou Barletta and council members passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act. This ordinance was instituted to discourage hiring or renting to illegal immigrants. Initially, the ordinance levied an administrative fine of $100.00 per illegal immigrant rented to and a loss of permits for non-compliance. Another act passed concurrently made English the official language of Hazleton.

Mayor Lou Barletta of Hazleton estimated that as "many as half" of the estimated 10,000 Hispanics who were living in Hazleton left the city when the ordinance was passed. The issue was covered by the television program 60 Minutes in 2006 and the Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor in March 2007.

The ordinance was criticized as illegal and unconstitutional. A number of residents (landlords, business owners, lawful aliens defined as illegal under the act, and unlawful aliens) filed suit to strike down the law, claiming it violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. After a trial and several appeals (including a remand from the Supreme Court), the Third Circuit found the ordinance invalid due to federal preemption.

As of 2015, nearly 40 percent of Hazleton’s population is of Hispanic/Latino descent. Over half of Hazleton's Hispanic population is of Dominican descent (making up 21% in 2010). Hazleton has the highest percentage of Dominicans in Pennsylvania and the fourth highest in the nation. Many Dominicans had moved to Hazleton from portions of New York City (including the Bronx and Brooklyn) and parts of northern New Jersey (such as Newark and Paterson). Many of these migrants had families that were relatively large. In 2012, Amilcar Arroyo (a Hazleton Integration Project board member) estimated that 80% of Hazleton's Hispanics and Latinos were of Dominican origins, and that many of them had ancestry from San José de Ocoa. Many Hispanic and Latino businesses are on Wyoming Street. In 2016, Michael Matza of the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that as a result of the influx of Hispanics, the Wyoming Street corridor was revived from a moribund state.

Geography

Hazleton is located at (40.958834, −75.974546). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.0 square miles (16 km2), all of it land. Hazleton is located 12 miles (19 km) north of Tamaqua and 30 miles (48 km) south of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The city is located in Pennsylvania's ridge and valley section (on a plateau named Spring Mountain). Hazleton's highest elevation is 1886 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest incorporated cities east of the Mississippi River and the highest incorporated city in Pennsylvania. It straddles the divide between the Delaware and Susquehanna River watersheds.

Greater Hazleton

Hazleton and its surrounding communities are collectively known as Greater Hazleton. Greater Hazleton encompasses an area located within three counties: southern Luzerne County, northern Schuylkill County, and northern Carbon County. The population of Greater Hazleton was 77,187 at the 2010 census. Greater Hazleton includes the City of Hazleton; the boroughs of Beaver Meadows, Conyngham, Freeland, Jeddo, McAdoo, Weatherly, West Hazleton, White Haven; the townships of Black Creek, Butler, East Union, Kline, Foster, Hazle, Rush, Sugarloaf; and the towns, villages, or CDPs of Audenried, Coxes Villages, Drifton, Drums, Ebervale, Eckley, Fern Glen, Haddock, Harleigh, Harwood Mines, Hazle Brook, Highland, Hollywood, Hometown, Hudsondale, Humboldt Village, Humboldt Industrial Park, Japan, Jeansville, Junedale, Kelayres, Kis-Lyn, Lattimer, Milnesville, Nuremberg, Oneida, Pardeesville, Quakake, St. Johns, Sandy Run, Still Creek, Stockton, Sybertsville, Ringtown, Sheppton, Tomhicken, Tresckow, Upper Lehigh, Weston, and Zion Grove.

Downtown hazleton pa
Panoramic view of Hazleton overlooking Downtown and the southern section of the city.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,080
1860 1,707 −17.9%
1870 4,317 152.9%
1880 6,935 60.6%
1890 11,872 71.2%
1900 14,230 19.9%
1910 25,452 78.9%
1920 32,277 26.8%
1930 36,765 13.9%
1940 38,009 3.4%
1950 35,491 −6.6%
1960 32,056 −9.7%
1970 30,426 −5.1%
1980 27,318 −10.2%
1990 24,730 −9.5%
2000 23,329 −5.7%
2010 25,340 8.6%
Est. 2015 24,825 −2.0%
Sources:

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 21,340 people, 9,281 households, and 6,004 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,904.6 people per square mile (1,508.8/km2). There were 10,556 housing units at an average density of 1,934.1 per square mile (747.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.7% White, 0.82% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 16.4% Pacific Islander, 2.76% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.15% of the population.

There were 10,281 households, out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.6% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.0% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 22.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,082, and the median income for a family was $57,093. Males had a median income of $36,144 versus $37,926 for females. The per capita income for the city was $39,270. About 9.4% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.

According to the 2015 census, the top ten ancestries in the city are: Italian (72.8%), Polish (43.2%), German (23.9%), Irish (14.1%), Slovak (11.4%), American (5.5%), English (3.4%), Ukrainian (2.8%), Greek (2.2%), and Russian (1.5%).

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, the racial makeup of the city was 69.4% White (59.0% non-Hispanic/Latino white), 4.0% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, and 22.0% from other races, and 3.4% were multiracial. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 37.3% of the population. Almost all of the population growth in Hazleton (from 2000 to 2010) consisted of Hispanics and Latinos.

There were 23,340 people, 9,798 households, with 6,162 of these being family households. The population density was 4,123.3 people per square mile (1583.75/km2). There were 9,409 housing units, at an average density of 1901.5 per square mile (713.1/km2).

There were 9,798 households, out of which 22.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 19.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.1% were non-family households. 21.9% were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.3% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

Parks and recreation

Memorial Park, Hazelton, Pa (68655)
An old postcard of Memorial Park (Hazleton, Pennsylvania)

Annual festivals

Hazleton's annual street festival, Funfest, is celebrated usually during the second weekend of September. The festival includes a craft show, a car show, entertainment from local bands, and many games of chance. The Funfest parade is held on Sunday during the Funfest weekend. Valley Day is celebrated in Conyngham during the first weekend of August. Many church festivals, including the Festival of the Madonna del Monte at Most Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church in Hazleton, is celebrated to preserve the Italian heritage of Hazleton. This is honored by carrying candle houses (cintis) by men up and down the streets of the eastern side of town, from the church to the Key Club, which is located on Monges Street.

Regional parks and outdoor entertainment

  • Altmiller Playground
  • Eagle Rock Resort (private)
  • Edgewood In The Pines Golf Course
  • Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails
  • Hazle Township Community Park & Soccer Fields
  • Hickory Run State Park
  • Lehigh Gorge State Park
  • Memorial Park
  • Paragon Off-Road Adventure Park
  • Valley Country Club Golf Course (private)
  • Whitewater Challenge, in Jim Thorpe

Sports

Hazleton was a long-time home to minor baseball. On April 14, 1934, the Philadelphia Phillies entered into an affiliation agreement with the New York–Penn League Hazleton Mountaineers. This was the first ever minor league affiliation for the Phillies. The last minor-league club to play in Hazleton was the Hazleton Dodgers in 1950, a Brooklyn Dodgers farm-club which played in the Class D North Atlantic League.

Organizations and historic locations

8 West Broad Hazelton LuzCo PA
Markle Banking & Trust Company Building, Hazleton

Hazleton's modest skyline is remarkable for a city its size. Almost unaffected by examples of modern architecture, it provides an interesting window on American urbanism prior to World War II.

  • The Altamont Hotel
  • The Duplan Silk Building
  • Eckley Miners' Village, Eckley, Pennsylvania
  • St. Gabriel's Catholic Parish Complex, 122 South Wyoming Street, Hazleton
  • The Hazleton Cemetery (the Vine Street Cemetery)
  • The Hazleton National Bank
  • Israel Platt Pardee Mansion
  • Markle Banking & Trust Company Building, tallest building in Hazleton
  • The march of the Lattimer Massacre, which began at State Route 924 near Harwood
  • The MPB Community Players
  • The Nuremberg Community Players
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Tyrolean Roman Catholic Church, the only Tyrolean church in the United States (now closed)
  • The Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts (PTPA)
  • Saint Joseph Slovak Roman Catholic Church, 604 North Laurel Street, the first Slovak Roman Catholic church established in the Western Hemisphere
  • The Traders Bank Building

Sister cities

Hazleton has several sister cities. They are:

Climate

The Köppen climate classification subtype for this climate is "Dfb" (Cool Summer Continental Climate).

Climate data for Hazleton, Pennsylvania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) -1.1
(30)
0.6
(33)
5
(41)
12.2
(54)
18.3
(65)
22.2
(72)
25
(77)
23.9
(75)
20
(68)
13.9
(57)
7.2
(45)
1.1
(34)
12.2
(54)
Average low °C (°F) -10.6
(13)
-9.4
(15)
-5
(23)
1.1
(34)
6.7
(44)
11.1
(52)
14.4
(58)
13.3
(56)
9.4
(49)
3.3
(38)
-1.7
(29)
-7.8
(18)
2.2
(36)
Precipitation mm (inches) 81
(3.2)
71
(2.8)
86
(3.4)
102
(4)
117
(4.6)
127
(5)
112
(4.4)
114
(4.5)
127
(5)
97
(3.8)
102
(4)
81
(3.2)
1,217
(47.9)
Source: Weatherbase

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