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Saxton, Pennsylvania
Location of Saxton in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Saxton in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
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Coordinates: 40°12′53″N 78°14′43″W / 40.21472°N 78.24528°W / 40.21472; -78.24528Coordinates: 40°12′53″N 78°14′43″W / 40.21472°N 78.24528°W / 40.21472; -78.24528
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Bedford
Settled 1855
Incorporated 1867
 • Type Borough Council
 • Total 0.41 sq mi (1.05 km2)
 • Land 0.41 sq mi (1.05 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,716 ft (523 m)
 • Total 736
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,677.34/sq mi (646.96/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code
Area code(s) 814
FIPS code 42-68072

Saxton is a borough in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 736 at the 2010 census.


Saxton is located in northeastern Bedford County at 40°12′53″N 78°14′43″W / 40.21472°N 78.24528°W / 40.21472; -78.24528 (40.214584, -78.245241), at the northern edge of an area known as the Broad Top in the Appalachian Mountains. Saxton is located in Woodcock Valley, along the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River. Known as "The River" locally, it supplies the town with a secondary source of drinking water. It flows into Raystown Lake just north of town. Saxton Mountain is a small, sharp ridge which rises above the town to the east, behind which is the Broad Top plateau. About a mile to the west of Saxton is Tussey Mountain which runs south to north.

Saxton is bordered to the west by the unincorporated community of Stonerstown. Pennsylvania Route 913 passes through Saxton, leading west through Stonerstown and across the Raystown Branch to end at Pennsylvania Route 26, and leading east to Broad Top City atop the plateau. By PA-26 it is 22 miles (35 km) south to Everett and 27 miles (43 km) north to Huntingdon.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Saxton has a total area of 0.41 square miles (1.05 km2), all of it land.


Saxton about 1900
Saxton around 1900
Main Street Saxton in 1938

Saxton was once a thriving town of several thousand people. Officially founded in 1855 by James Saxton, the area now known as Saxton has been inhabited for centuries. Before Anglos arrived, Native Americans camped along the river that flows through the area. As the United States grew and pushed the frontier west, a few settlers began building homesteads, farms, and mills throughout the valley that Saxton is located in. The region being rich in bituminous coal, a railroad was soon built to export the commodity. Saxton was the hub of the Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad (H&BT) and for almost 100 years it shipped coal from Saxton to places like Bedford, Huntingdon and Everett. From there it went on to industrial centers, such as Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

The thriving railroad attracted thousands of workers and their families to the town and surrounding area. In its heyday Saxton had a bowling alley, a toy factory, a candy factory, a coal power plant, dozens of shops and businesses, and even a 7 Up bottling plant. Saxton and the surrounding area were full of industry and other businesses. These included a pig iron furnace, coke ovens, a tannery, brickyards, dairies, and others. However, the prosperity would not last, as the mines began to become exhausted of coal after World War Two. This in conjunction with the recession of 1949 caused the railroad to shut down in 1955. Most of the buildings and infrastructure owned by the railroad were abandoned, and has subsequently been salvaged or left to erode away.

Saxton was chosen to be the home of the Saxton Nuclear Generating Station, the nation's fourth nuclear power plant, which was commissioned in 1961. It was one of the first test facilities for peace-time plutonium use, as well as cooling methods that would be used to relieve meltdown situations such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. The facility was decommissioned in 1972, and the radioactive core removed in 2005.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 318
1880 369 16.0%
1890 712 93.0%
1900 937 31.6%
1910 1,195 27.5%
1920 1,165 −2.5%
1930 1,128 −3.2%
1940 1,152 2.1%
1950 1,093 −5.1%
1960 977 −10.6%
1970 858 −12.2%
1980 814 −5.1%
1990 838 2.9%
2000 803 −4.2%
2010 736 −8.3%
2019 (est.) 681 −7.5%

As of the census of 2000, there were 803 people, 357 households, and 213 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,949.9 people per square mile (756.2/km²). There were 397 housing units at an average density of 964.0 per square mile (373.9/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 99.25% White, 0.12% African American, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.87% of the population.

There were 357 households, out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 24.2% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 79.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.5 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $26,853, and the median income for a family was $34,250. Males had a median income of $29,375 versus $22,917 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $22,326. About 13.2% of families and 15.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.5% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.

According to the 2010-2014 American Community Survey, Saxton household income demographics reflect 57.1% of all households earn less than $50,000 annually.

Notable people

  • Billy Clapper, head coach, men's basketball, Penn State Altoona
  • Sandra Fluke, feminist, pro-choice activist
  • Justin Jordan, writer, comic book creator
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