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Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Borough
St. Casimir's Catholic Church in Shenandoah.
St. Casimir's Catholic Church in Shenandoah.
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Schuylkill
Settled 1820
Incorporated 1866
Government
 • Type Borough Council
Area
 • Total 1.6 sq mi (4 km2)
Population
 (2000)
 • Total 5,624
 • Density 3,710.7/sq mi (1,432.7/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
17976
Area code(s) 570 Exchange: 462
Website http://shenandoahpa.org/

Shenandoah is a borough in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, United States, located in the anthracite-mining region approximately 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Philadelphia. It is distinct from Shenandoah Heights, which is part of West Mahanoy Township immediately to the north.

History

The area that became Shenandoah was first settled by a farmer named Peter Kehley in 1835 where he cleared a patch of land at the center of the valley and built a log cabin. Peter Kehley maintained his farm for about 20 years in total isolation. He sold his claim to the Philadelphia Land Company, which in anticipation of the opening of coal mines in the area, laid out the town in 1862.

Coal at Girard Park, Shenandoah PA
Six ton piece of coal at Girard Park.

Booming growth occurred during the Civil War years caused by the development and opening of several anthracite coal mines.

After the original influx of English, Welsh, Irish, and German immigrants a large influx of people from central, eastern and southern European countries such as Poland, Lithuania, and Italy occurred in the decades before and after the turn of the 20th century.

Shenandoah1889
1889 Panoramic Map of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania

In Schuylkill County Court, January 1902, those interested filed their petition for retail, wholesale, bottling or brewing licenses at the Office of the Clerk of the Court. Shenandoah was represented with bars and breweries. This coal town offered more bars per thousand people than any other location in the world.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Station served as the main passenger terminal in Shenandoah, but because of the coal industry, it was not the only railroad to service Shenandoah. The town was also served by the Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Railroad, making Shenandoah the only borough in Pennsylvania to be served by three railroad companies.

During the Great Coal Strike of 1902 the Pennsylvania National Guard was called into Shenandoah to keep the peace and curb rioting by angry miners. The strike would only be resolved after President Theodore Roosevelt intervened.

Shenandoah, the rise and fall of the coal industry, and the dismantling of the Molly Maguires was one of the subjects examined by George Leighton in his 1939 book Five Cities: The Story of Their Youth and Old Age.

Shenandoah Valley was featured in the documentary 2012 film "Shenandoah, Pennsylvania" exploring the hate crime murder of Luis Ramirez and the local police attempting to cover it up.

Origins of the name

The origin of the name Shenandoah is much debated. One theory holds that Shenandoah received its name from an Indian word meaning 'sprucy stream' or 'river flowing alongside high hills and mountains'. Another origin theory is that the town was named after the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The Virginia valley in turn took its name from an Iroquoian word meaning 'deer'.

Geography

Shenandoah is located at 40°49′11″N 76°12′10″W / 40.81972°N 76.20278°W / 40.81972; -76.20278 (40.819753, -76.202883).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), of which 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (3.80%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,071 people, 2,213 households, and 1,213 families residing in the borough. There were 3,112 housing units, with 28.9% vacant. The racial makeup of the borough was 86.3% White, 1.7% Black, 0.4% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 8.7% some other race, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.7% of the population.

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,624 people, 2,649 households, and 1,380 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,710.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,432.7/km2)). There were 3,339 housing units at an average density of 2,203.1 per square mile (850.6/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.40% White, 0.34% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.76% of the population.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,951
1880 10,147 243.8%
1890 15,944 57.1%
1900 20,321 27.5%
1910 25,774 26.8%
1920 24,726 −4.1%
1930 21,782 −11.9%
1940 19,790 −9.1%
1950 15,704 −20.6%
1960 11,073 −29.5%
1970 8,287 −25.2%
1980 7,589 −8.4%
1990 6,221 −18.0%
2000 5,624 −9.6%
2010 5,071 −9.8%
Est. 2015 4,873 −3.9%
Sources:

There were 2,649 households out of which 20.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.5% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.9% were non-families. 42.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 26.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the borough the population was spread out with 19.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 28.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $18,714, and the median income for a family was $26,910. Males had a median income of $24,289 versus $19,783 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $12,562. About 16.2% of families and 20.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.3% of those under age 18 and 16.1% of those age 65 or over.

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