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Kutztown, Pennsylvania

View of Kutztown from hill north of town
View of Kutztown from hill north of town
Seal of Kutztown
Location of Kutztown in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Kutztown in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Kutztown, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Kutztown, Pennsylvania is located in the United States
Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Berks
Incorporated April 6, 1815
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Total 1.60 sq mi (4.16 km2)
 • Land 1.60 sq mi (4.15 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
400 ft (100 m)
 • Total 5,012
 • Estimate 
 • Density 3,175.00/sq mi (1,225.53/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area codes 610 and 484

Kutztown (Pennsylvania German: Kutzeschteddel) is a borough in Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States, 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Allentown and 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Reading. As of the 2010 census, the borough had a population of 5,012. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is located just outside the borough limits to the southwest.


Trinity Lutheran Church

George (Coots) Kutz purchased 130 acres (53 ha) of land that became Kutztown on June 16, 1755, from Peter Wentz, who owned much of what is now Maxatawny Township. Kutz first laid out his plans for the town in 1779. The first lots in the new town of Cootstown (later renamed Kutztown) were purchased in 1785 by Adam Dietrich and Henry Schweier.

Kutztown was incorporated as a borough on April 7, 1815, and is the second oldest borough in Berks County after Reading, which became a borough in 1783 and became a city in 1847.

As with the rest of Berks County, Kutztown was settled mainly by Germans, most of whom came from the Palatinate region of southwest Germany, which borders the Rhine river.

The Kutztown area, broadly defined, encompasses an area of land also known as the East Penn Valley, a broad limestone valley situated in northern and eastern Berks County, bounded by the Blue Mountain and South Mountain ranges to the north and south, respectively, by the Lehigh County border to the east, and by Ontelaunee Creek (Maiden Creek) to the west. Crystal Cave was discovered near the town in 1871.

The H.K. Deisher Knitting Mill and Kutztown 1892 Public School Building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Since 1950 the Kutztown Folk Festival has been held in early July celebrating the culture, artistry and culinary delights of the aforementioned early German settlers as well as their Pennsylvania Dutch neighbors.


Kutztown is located in northeastern Berks County at 40°31′11″N 75°46′31″W / 40.51972°N 75.77528°W / 40.51972; -75.77528 (40.519798, -75.775260). It is surrounded by Maxatawny Township but is separate from it.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.3 km2), of which 0.004 square miles (0.01 km2), or 0.33%, is water.


West Main Street from Whiteoak Street
Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 693
1850 640 −7.6%
1860 915 43.0%
1870 945 3.3%
1880 1,198 26.8%
1890 1,595 33.1%
1900 1,328 −16.7%
1910 2,360 77.7%
1920 2,684 13.7%
1930 2,841 5.8%
1940 2,966 4.4%
1950 3,110 4.9%
1960 3,312 6.5%
1970 4,166 25.8%
1980 4,040 −3.0%
1990 4,704 16.4%
2000 5,067 7.7%
2010 5,012 −1.1%
2019 (est.) 5,080 1.4%

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,012 people living in the borough. The racial makeup of the borough was 95.8% White, 1.4% African American, 0.0% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.6% of the population.

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,067 people, 1,874 households, and 886 families living in the borough. The population density was 3,191.4 people per square mile (1,230.4/km2). There were 1,940 housing units at an average density of 1,221.9 per square mile (471.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.00% White, 0.99% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.53% from other races, and 0.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.97% of the population. Historically there has been a large Pennsylvania Dutch population.

There were 1,874 households, out of which 18.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.7% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.80.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 12.4% under the age of 18, 38.7% from 18 to 24, 19.0% from 25 to 44, 13.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $35,677, and the median income for a family was $49,653. Males had a median income of $33,438 versus $28,669 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $18,803. About 3.8% of families and 29.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.6% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

"Welcome to Kutztown" sign on East Main Street by the northeastern entrance to Kutztown Park


Ethnicities in Kutztown:

The Kutztown area is home to an Old Order Mennonite community consisting of about 160 families. The Old Order Mennonites in the area belong to the Groffdale Conference Mennonite Church and use the horse and buggy as transportation. There are several farms in the area belonging to the Old Order Mennonite community and a meetinghouse is located south of Kutztown. The Old Order Mennonites first bought land in the area in 1949.



U.S. Route 222 bypasses the borough to the north and west on a freeway called the Kutztown Bypass, heading northeast to Allentown and southwest to Reading. Pennsylvania Route 737 heads north on Krumsville Road to Krumsville and Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22. Main Street runs southwest–northeast through Kutztown, becoming Kutztown Road outside the borough and connecting to US 222 at both ends. Greenwich Street heads north from Main Street and becomes PA 737 past an interchange with US 222. Noble Street heads south from Main Street toward Lyons.

The Allentown & Auburn Railroad operates a freight and tourist railroad from a station in Kutztown east to Topton; the tracks are owned by the Kutztown Transportation Authority. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania has a zero-fare shuttle bus service that serves the campus and the adjacent town when school is in session, consisting of four routes operating at different times and to different locations. Klein Transportation provides bus service from a stop at Kutztown University to Douglassville, Reading, Wescosville, Hellertown, and Midtown Manhattan in New York City. Kutztown-based Bieber Transportation Group formerly provided bus service from the Bieber Bus Terminal in Kutztown to Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem, Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal in Philadelphia, and Midtown Manhattan in New York City. Bieber ended bus service on February 8, 2019. Kutztown Airport was located outside the borough but closed on January 31, 2009.


The Borough of Kutztown Electric Department provides electricity to most of the borough, with portions of the borough receiving electricity from Met-Ed, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy. The borough's electric department dates back to the early 1900s and is one of 35 municipal electric departments in Pennsylvania. The borough purchases its electric power from American Municipal Power. The borough of Kutztown provides water and sewer service through the Water Department and Wastewater Department, respectively. The Public Works department provides trash collection and recycling to the borough. The borough also provides cable, internet, and telephone service through Home Net, a division of Hometown Utilicom. Natural gas service in Kutztown is provided by UGI Utilities.


View of West Main Street from Noble Street

Kutztown's economy is strong and diverse, with workers employed by Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Radius Toothbrush, a digital creative agency, and Sposto Interactive. Companies formerly based in Kutztown include Bieber Transportation Group and the athletic shoe company Saucony.


Kutztown University view of Old Main from Alumni Plaza
Old Main at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Public school students in Kutztown, along with Lyons, Maxatawny Township, Greenwich Township, Lenhartsville, and Albany Township, are served by the Kutztown Area School District. Schools in the district serving the borough include Greenwich Elementary School, Kutztown Elementary School, Kutztown Area Middle School, and Kutztown Area High School. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is a four-year public university located just outside the borough to the southwest. The university, which is one of the 14 schools of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, has an enrollment of 7,391 undergraduates and 918 postgraduates.

Notable people

  • Luther Adler, actor. Had a home in Kutztown at the time of his death.
  • Keith Haring, artist and Kutztown Area High School alumnus.
  • Bruce Harper, played football for Kutztown University and for the New York Jets in the NFL
  • Ranger Bill Miller, silent Western film actor
  • John Mobley, played football for Kutztown University and played for the Denver Broncos in the NFL
  • Ray O'Connell, mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Andre Reed, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills who played for Kutztown University.
  • Gillian Ryan, national champion swimmer from Kutztown High School
  • Gary Mark Smith, artist/author
  • Ryan Vogelsong, played baseball for Kutztown University and the San Francisco Giants

See also

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