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Mars, Pennsylvania
Downtown Mars, PA.JPG
Official name: Borough of Mars
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Butler County
Township Adams Township
Area 1.2 km² (0.5 sq mi)
 - land 1.2 km² (0 sq mi)
 - water 0.0 km² (0 sq mi)
Population 1,699 (2010)
Density 1,393.5 /km² (3,609.1 /sq mi)
Settled 1873
 - Incorporated 1882
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 16046
Area code 724
School District Mars Area School District

Mars is a borough in Butler County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,699 at the 2010 census.


Mars is located in southern Butler County at 40°41′48″N 80°0′44″W / 40.69667°N 80.01222°W / 40.69667; -80.01222 (40.696594, -80.012205), about halfway between the cities of Pittsburgh and Butler. The small community is nestled in a small valley along Breakneck Creek. Pennsylvania Route 228 bypasses the borough to the south, leading east 4 miles (6 km) to Pennsylvania Route 8 and west 8.5 miles (13.7 km) to Interstates 79 and 76 in Cranberry Township. The Mars-Evans City Road leads out of town to the north.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough of Mars has a total area of 0.5 square miles (1.2 km2), all land.

Mars is home to the popular roadside attraction the Mars "Spaceship" or "Flying Saucer". It is also home to the Mars Station, one of the last railroad depots still standing from the now defunct Pittsburgh and Western Railroad.


The Spaceship in Mars, PA

In 1873, Samuel Parks constructed a home and a water-powered gristmill along Breakneck Creek. Parks decided to have a post office placed in his home, so he received help from his friend Samuel Marshall to help establish it. The name of the post office became Overbrook. In 1877, the Pittsburgh, New Castle and Lake Erie Railroad was constructed through Overbrook, and had a station built there. In 1882, the name of the community was changed to Mars since the railroad already had a stop with the name "Overbrook". No one is sure how the name "Mars" came into being. Some say it was Park's wife who enjoyed astronomy, while others believe it was shortened after Samuel Marshall's name. On March 6, 1895, Mars was incorporated as a borough.

In 1904, the Pittsburgh and Butler Street Railway gained permission from Mars to construct its right-of-way through the borough. The line become part of the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway in 1917, being renamed Pittsburgh, Mars and Butler Railway. The line closed in 1931.

The USS Mars (AFS-1) was named after the borough. The ship became part of the United States Pacific Fleet in 1963, and was decommissioned in 1998. It was then sunk in 2006 as a target vessel. The bell of the USS Mars was donated to the borough and has become a permanent memorial in the downtown park.

Mars station
Mars Station, Pennsylvania


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 777
1910 1,215 56.4%
1920 1,226 0.9%
1930 1,302 6.2%
1940 1,318 1.2%
1950 1,385 5.1%
1960 1,522 9.9%
1970 1,488 −2.2%
1980 1,803 21.2%
1990 1,713 −5.0%
2000 1,746 1.9%
2010 1,699 −2.7%
Est. 2015 1,658 −2.4%
Mars seen from Clay Avenue

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,746 people, 687 households, and 395 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,906.5 people per square mile (1,498.1/km²). There were 715 housing units at an average density of 1,599.7 per square mile (613.5/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.68% White, 0.46% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.11% from other races, and 0.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.40% of the population.

There were 687 households, out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.4% were non-families. 38.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 24.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 18.6% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 33.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 70.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 64.2 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $33,073, and the median income for a family was $46,136. Males had a median income of $34,083 versus $26,080 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $17,701. About 7.8% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.8% of those under age 18 and 14.4% of those age 65 or over.



Because of its unique name, and proximity to Pittsburgh, Mars has on occasion received national media attention. In 2011, a representative from The Walt Disney Company invited students from Mars Elementary School to attend the Pittsburgh premiere of Mars Needs Moms, after reading a featured article on the town by Mars was the only school nationwide invited to the film's premiere.

The borough has also been a location for films and television commercials. The 1988 comedy-drama film The Prince of Pennsylvania and the 1996 comedy film Kingpin were filmed throughout the borough. In 2000, a Kraft salad dressing commercial was filmed in downtown.

Canadian musician John Southworth named his first album Mars, Pennsylvania after the town, which he had passed through many years earlier on a school trip.

Mars was the inspiration for the fictional town of Athena, Pennsylvania, the setting for the 2015 fictional trilogy, Benjamin's Field, by local author J. J. Knights.


Mars has several Christian denominations located within and just outside the community. One of the largest churches was Saint Kilian Parish. Founded in 1917, the parish was originally located in downtown Mars, but by the early 2000s (decade), membership had swelled so much that a new facility was constructed just outside the neighboring Seven Fields borough along PA 228 in 2008. There is also a large presence of Presbyterians in the borough. The Mars United Presbyterian was founded in 1969 with the merging of two older churches, one under the United Presbyterian Church of North America, the other under the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). There is also a Lutheran and Methodist church located within the borough. The Woodland Valley Church is one of the newer churches in Mars, and is one of several contemporary churches that have recently started in the Mars/Cranberry area. Others include the Mars Alliance Church, and the Discovery Christian Church which will be built along PA 228 across from the former.[1] The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America has its headquarters in Adams Township, near Mars.

Traditions and events

Residents of Mars are often called "Martians", or "Planets" because of the high school team name. The high school has a homecoming parade every fall. The borough also holds a Fourth of July parade during the holiday, as well as Apple Fest, which is held on the first Saturday of October.



Lakehill Airport is a small airport located about a mile and a half northwest of Mars. It is used for light, private aircraft. The next closest airports are the Butler County Airport and the Zelienople Municipal Airport.


The Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad operates on the P&W Subdivision in Mars. It makes occasional rounds to Austin's Bleach in Downieville and to a small transfer with the Allegheny Valley Railroad in Bakerstown. The AVR will also on occasion bring long loads of railcars through Mars to Harmony Junction in Eidenau. This usually occurs when there are too many cars to handle at the transfer point in Bakerstown.


The largest and busiest road in Mars is Pennsylvania Route 228. It is an important link for commuters because it connects with Pennsylvania Route 8 and Pennsylvania Route 356 to the east, and with Interstate 79 and US Route 19 to the west. Commuters on PA 228 can easily get on to Interstate 76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) via I-79 or US 19 in Cranberry Township. The second busiest road in Mars is the Mars-Evans City Road which was originally Pennsylvania Route 855. It is an important connecting road for Mars and the borough of Evans City. The Red Belt of the Allegheny County Belt System is located just three miles south of Mars.

Notable Martians

  • Gino Crognale, Emmy Award winner for The Walking Dead
  • William Eythe, actor and playwright of the 1940s
  • Jillian O' Neil [2], film actress and director
  • Chloe and Christi Lukasiak, former stars on Dance Moms
  • The King Family of the reality show, Farm Kings
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