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Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

Fredrickstown
Borough
Hummelstown square
Hummelstown square
Motto(s): 
Your Kind of Town
Location in Dauphin County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Location in Dauphin County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania is located in the United States
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Dauphin
Settled 1762
Incorporated (borough) 1874
Government
There are 12 seats on the borough council
 • Type Borough Council
Area
 • Total 1.31 sq mi (3.39 km2)
 • Land 1.24 sq mi (3.22 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
Elevation
397 ft (121 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 4,538
 • Estimate 
(2019)
4,823
 • Density 3,883.25/sq mi (1,499.19/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
17036
Area code(s) 717 Exchanges: 566,568
FIPS code 42-36232
GNIS feature ID 1213972

Hummelstown is a borough in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 4,538 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the HarrisburgCarlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Originally named Fredrickstown, the town was established in 1762. The current mayor is David Roeting. Hummelstown is a Tree City and is located in District 15 of the Pennsylvania State Senate. It is centrally located between Harrisburg and Hershey, making it a common tourist drive-through. It has several businesses and shops designed to capitalize on the tourist travel that passes through town.

History

Parish house museum1
The original Parish House, now the Hummelstown Historical Society Library & Museum

Hummelstown was founded as "Fredrickstown" in 1762 by two Germans, Frederick and Rosina Hummel. They purchased the land for 200 pounds sterling, then divided the area into building lots, which were sold to German settlers. During the mid 19th century, the Union Canal along Swatara Creek was an important factor in the development of the local economy, promoting trade and transportation.

The town was located on the Berks-Dauphin Turnpike, and later it was served by the Union Canal which paralleled Swatara Creek bordering the north and the west sides of the town, and was opened in 1827. The Lebanon Valley Railroad arrived in 1858. This brought about many jobs of stone cutting and shipyard work and helped facilitate the Hummelstown Brownstone Company which became the leading employer of Hummelstown residents. The company mined Hummelstown brownstone at its quarries from 1867 until 1929. The company was the largest producer of brownstone on the East Coast.

Throughout the history of the town it has been a stopping point for tourists traveling to Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, or to Hershey, the home of Hershey Foods, Hersheypark, and Chocolate World. At various times Hummelstown has been as close as 20 miles (32 km) from up to ten different professional sports teams, such as the Harrisburg Heat, Hershey Bears, Hershey Wildcats, and the Harrisburg City Islanders. The Calder Cup has had several ceremonies conducted in Hummelstown over the years.

The borough celebrated its semiquincentennial or 250-year anniversary in 2012.

The Dr. William Henderson House, Keystone Hotel, Enoch Matlack House, and Zion Lutheran Church and Graveyard are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hummelstown Historical Society building is located at North Rosanna Street and North Alley Street in the original building for the Zion Lutheran Church, which is now the main brownstone church on Main Street of Hummelstown. The society has a library, museum, and genealogy section, and hosts numerous Native American relics, such as arrowheads, bones, and pottery.

Hummelstown is within a thirty-minute drive of several colleges and educational institutions, such as HACC, Lebanon Valley College, Penn State Harrisburg, YTI Career Institute, Kepler Career Institute, and VoTech. Many residents of Hummelstown have jobs in Derry Township, mainly through Hershey Foods and its subsidiaries.

Hummelstown currently has two historical markers in the town, one for the town's oldest church and the other for the Hummelstown Brownstone company.

Geography

SwateracreekinHTown
Swatara Creek as seen from a park in Hummelstown, at the west end of town. The bridge supports U.S. 322.

Hummelstown is located in southern Dauphin County at 40°15′55″N 076°42′30″W / 40.26528°N 76.70833°W / 40.26528; -76.70833 (40.265168, −76.710995) at an elevation of 397 feet (121 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), of which 1.2 square miles (3.2 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2), or 6.31%, is water. Swatara Creek, a south-flowing tributary of the Susquehanna River, forms the northern and western border of Hummelstown, and there is one unnamed pond by the Hummel Nature Trail east of the 7–11 at the end of town next to the Tee Ball baseball field.

Climate

The climate of Hummelstown is similar to Harrisburg's. The lows during winter reach about −5 °F (−21 °C), and the highs during summer reach about 95 °F (35 °C).

Hummelstown's climate chart

Weather

Few tornadoes or hurricanes striking Hummelstown over the years. In 1992 the borough was hit by a bow tornado. In past years the town has been hit by only several hurricanes, the most severe being Hurricane Agnes which knocked out two key bridges in the town.

Hummelstown has had numerous blizzards. In 1996, a blizzard hit with 13 inches (330 mm); in 1997, a blizzard hit Hummelstown with 9 inches (230 mm) of snow. In 2004, a blizzard with 7 inches (180 mm) hit Hummelstown, and a blizzard hit Hummelstown in 2010 with a record-setting 21 inches (530 mm).

Highways

U.S. Route 322 skirts the south side of the borough as the Hummelstown Bypass. U.S. Route 422 branches off US 322 just east of the borough limits. The center of Hershey is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east of the center of Hummelstown, and Harrisburg is 11 miles (18 km) to the west.

East of the center of Hummelstown, Main Street ends at the Boro Bar and Walton Avenue (previously Main Street) turns into and becomes PA Route 39/Hersheypark Road. At the west end of Hummelstown, Fiddlers Elbow Road crosses the US 322 bypass without access to it, then leads south 3 miles (5 km) to the PA 283 expressway. Main Street, leaving Hummelstown to the west, joins U.S. Route 322. Going east Main Street turns into PA Route 39 at what part is known as Hersheypark Drive in Derry Township.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 480
1850 619 29.0%
1860 807 30.4%
1870 837 3.7%
1880 1,043 24.6%
1890 1,485 42.4%
1900 1,729 16.4%
1910 2,128 23.1%
1920 2,654 24.7%
1930 3,036 14.4%
1940 3,264 7.5%
1950 3,789 16.1%
1960 4,474 18.1%
1970 4,723 5.6%
1980 4,267 −9.7%
1990 3,981 −6.7%
2000 4,360 9.5%
2010 4,538 4.1%
2019 (est.) 4,823 6.3%
Sources:

According to the United States Census Bureau the median house value in Hummelstown is $99,400. Directly within the main limits of the town, excluding those of the development of Graystone, as well as those that have Hummelstown addresses, there is a total of 1,953 housing units.

Units in structure Number Percent
1-Unit Detached 1,031 52.8%
1-Unit Attached 195 10%
2-Units 116 5.9%
3 or 4 Units 216 11.1%
5 to 9 Units 220 11.3%
10 to 19 Units 65 3.3%
20 or more Units 74 3.8%
Mobile Home 36 1.8%
Boat, RV, or Van (etc.) 0 0.00%

Hummelstown is home to many older homes; a large number were built in the earlier decades of the 1900s.

Year structure built Number Percent
1999 to March 2000 21 1.1%
1995 to 1998 85 4.4%
1990 to 1994 33 1.7%
1980 to 1989 143 7.3%
1970 to 1979 239 12.2%
1960 to 1969 250 12.8%
1940 to 1959 531 27.2%
1939 or earlier 651 33.3%

According to the United States Census Bureau, the estimated upkeep cost and home improvement costs to percentage of house value in Hummelstown, has a median of less than 15% (which comes to a median cost of $14,910).

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

  • The Lollipop Drop – New Year's Eve
  • Movie Nights – at the Herbert A. Schaffner Memorial Park
  • Taste of Hummelstown – food sampling by restaurants along the Main Street
  • The Hummelstown Arts Festival (www.facebook.com/HummelstownArtsFestival) – An non-profit annual arts festival held each September to raise money for scholarships for graduating seniors at Lower Dauphin High School continuing their education in the arts.
  • Trick or Treat – the Thursday closest (before) Halloween is the night used for the annual Trick or Treat. Houses with their porchlight on from 6 pm until 8 pm are houses participating.

Museums and other points of interest

Hummelstown has a historical society constructed with Hummelstown brownstone. The Hummelstown Historical Society is both a museum and visitor center. The town is home to a historical landmark, the Warwick Hotel, which is still a tavern reminiscent of its pre-Revolutionary War days. George Washington stayed a night there and drank from its bar.

Indian Echo Caverns, located one-half mile south of the borough limits, is one of the main attractions near Hummelstown. The caverns were originally used by the Susquehannock tribe, who lived and hunted in the nearby area until they vanished in the 1670s; it opened to the public in 1929.

The shortline Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad operates heritage and freight service between its namesake towns of Middletown and just south of Hummelstown proper, stopping in front of the Indian Echo Caverns entrance. The Hummelstown Borough Council has expressed concern around quality of life issues (noise, odor, safety) with having more trains passing through town. As such, trains stop just south of the busy four-lane U.S. Route 322 grade crossing on a regular basis, and are allowed to enter town exactly 12 times per year. Norfolk Southern's busy Harrisburg Line traverses the northern section of Hummelstown, with up to 20 lengthy freight trains passing through daily.

In the town

In the town there is an American Legion, a VFW, a borough office building, and a post office. The legion and the post office are located on Walton Avenue (Main Street). The VFW and the borough office building are located on South Hanover Street. The town has several bars, including the Warwick Hotel, the Boro Bar, Chicks, and the new Gas Station. The town also has several churches, most located on Main Street.

The Hummelstown Chemical Fire Department occasionally serves as a distribution center for Potassium Iodide pills supplied by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Hummelstown falls within a 10 mile radius of Three Mile Island.

Religion

As much of Pennsylvania, in the initial days of its founding, Hummelstown had a large base of Quakers. As the town grew, other Protestant denominations such as Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian developed.

Parks and recreation

See also: List of Pennsylvania state parks
BPpavilion
The Pavilion at Herbert A. Schaffner Park

Several parks are located throughout the borough:

BPplayground
The playground at Schaffner Park, the former Borough Park.
  • Barry E. Mehaffie Memorial Park (formerly West End Park)
  • Herbert A. Schaffner Memorial Park (formerly Borough Park)
  • Hummel Nature Trail
  • Marion F. Alexander Memorial Park
  • Shope's Field

Folklore

Hummelstown has a rich folklore, both of the town and especially concerning the local area. There is a great history to the area, with its fields, creek, and the caves nearby. The biggest case of folklore around the town is the case of the sister and brother duo of William "Amos" Wilson and Elizabeth "Harriot" Wilson. William would later be known as "the Pennsylvania Hermit". Indian Echo Caverns uses the folklore of William to help attract tourists.

Historic buildings and listings

See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in Dauphin_County, Pennsylvania
Henderson House DauphCo PA
Henderson House
  • Dr. William Henderson House – 31 East Main Street
  • Keystone Hotel – 40 East Main Street
  • Enoch Matlack House – 250 East Main Street
  • John Todd House – South Meadow Lane
  • Zion Lutheran Church and Graveyard – Rosana Street, home of the Hummelstown Historical Society

Native Americans

There were several Native American tribes located around Hummelstown, including the Susquehannocks, the Iroquois, and several smaller tribes that would later be conquered or assimilated into the Iroquois.

Education

LDHS-overhead
Lower Dauphin High School, as taken from the Hershey Medical Center life lion

Hummelstown is located in Lower Dauphin School District. Lower Dauphin High School, Lower Dauphin Middle School, Nye Elementary School, and the Price Building are located within the borough, as is the school district's administration building.

LDFalcons
The Lower Dauphin High School Falcons logo

Libraries

Hummelstown's public library, the William H. and Marion C. Alexander Family Library, named for its major donors and local philanthropists, is located on the corner of 2nd and Railroad Streets.

HUM at a glance:
2,821 square feet of net space
27,456 volumes
Opened in 1953.
Building constructed in 1957 as Hummelstown Teen Center, later Hummelstown Civic Center.
Library moved into building in 1965.
Became part of the Dauphin County Library System in 1975. Library took over entire building in 1983. (This address is the current location of the library but the building info pertains to the former location across from the NYE Elementary School.)

Notable people

  • Kate Baer, poet
  • Brian Baker, actor
  • Terry Farrell, model and actress
  • Bill Gaudette, soccer player for the New York Red Bulls
  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate, was raised by his mother and step-father on Main Street in an apartment above what is now a computer store. There is a tree on Main Street dedicated to his step-father as well as a plaque commemorating the site as their place of residence.
  • George M. Leader, former governor of Pennsylvania
  • Laurel Martin, field hockey player formerly for the US Olympic Team
  • John D. Payne, Republican member of the US House of Representatives
  • Alexander Ramsey, second governor of Minnesota
  • William Simonton, Whig member of the US House of Representatives
  • Bob Swank, head coach of the Buffalo State College football team
  • William K. Thierfelder, psychologist
  • Chris Villarrial, American football player, formerly for the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears
  • James M. Wallace, member of the US House of Representatives
  • Richard Winters, WWII veteran best known for his direction in "Band of Brothers"
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