Connellsville is a city in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States, 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Pittsburgh on the Youghiogheny River, a tributary of the Monongahela River. It is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The population was 7,637 at the 2010 census, down from 9,146 at the 2000 census.
|City of Connellsville|
|Established||March 1, 1806|
|Incorporated||May 12, 1911|
|• Mayor||Gregory Lincoln|
|• Total||2.27 sq mi (5.88 km2)|
|• Land||2.18 sq mi (5.66 km2)|
|• Water||0.09 sq mi (0.22 km2)|
|Elevation||919 ft (280 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||3,337.91/sq mi (1,288.52/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-4 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (EDT)|
During the French and Indian War, a British army commanded by General Edward Braddock approached Fort Duquesne and crossed the Youghiogheny River at Stewart's Crossing, which is situated in the middle of what is now the city of Connellsville.
Connellsville was officially founded as a township in 1793 then as a borough on March 1, 1806, by Zachariah Connell, a militia captain during the American Revolution. In February 1909, balloting in New Haven and Connellsville resulted in these two boroughs joining and becoming the first city in Fayette County on May 12, 1911.
Due to the city's location in the center of the Connellsville Coalfield, coal mining, coke production, and other accompanying industries became the major sources of employment and revenue during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Connellsville became known at the "Coke Capital of the World" due to the amount and quality of coke produced in the city's many beehive ovens.
Connellsville is located in northeastern Fayette County along the Youghiogheny River, a north-flowing tributary of the Monongahela River. The city is on both sides of the river, with the downtown on the eastern side. It is bordered to the south by the borough of South Connellsville. U.S. Route 119 passes through the northern and western sides of the city, leading north 22 miles (35 km) to Greensburg and southwest 11 miles (18 km) to Uniontown, the Fayette County seat. Pittsburgh is 50 miles (80 km) to the northwest via US 119 and Interstate 76.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Connellsville has a total area of 2.29 square miles (5.92 km2), of which 2.18 square miles (5.65 km2) is land and 0.10 square miles (0.27 km2), or 4.63%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,146 people, 3,963 households, and 2,377 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,053.5 people per square mile (1,562.5/km2). There were 4,434 housing units at an average density of 1,965.2 per square mile (757.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.54% White, 3.93% Black, 0.13% American Indian, 0.33% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.54% of the population.
There were 3,963 households, out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.5% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,070, and the median income for a family was $28,105. Males had a median income of $28,942 versus $23,016 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,165. About 22.4% of families and 28.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.5% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.
Residents of Connellsville may attend the local, public schools operated by Connellsville Area School District which provides full-day kindergarten through 12th grade. By 2015, the District's enrollment declined to 4,321 students. In 2008, The district's enrollment was 5,219 pupils. In 2015, Connellsville Area School District ranked 401st out of 493 ranked public school districts for academic achievement of its pupils, by the Pittsburgh Business Times.
Opportunity Scholarship schoolsEdit
In April 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a report identifying that five Connellsville Area School District schools were among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in the state. They were: Clifford N. Pritts Elementary School, Dunbar Boro Elementary School, Dunbar Township Elementary School, West Crawford Elementary School and Zachariah Connell Elementary School. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, only Zachariah Connell Elementary School was on the state's lowest achievement list. In 2011, five district schools were on the bottom 15% achievement list: Zachariah Connell Elementary School, Springfield Elementary School, Dunbar Township Elementary School, Connellsville Township Elementary School, and Connellsville Junior High School West.
Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012. The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.
Connellsville Area Senior High School students and adults can attend the publicly funded Connellsville Career & Technical Center which is located in the community. CACTC provides students training in the: construction and mechanical trades, automobile repairs, culinary arts, health aids, computer technical careers and other fields. Enrollment was 279 pupils in 2015. Connellsville Career & Technical Center achieved a School Performance Profile of 55.7 out of 100 in 2015. The Profile reflects percentage of students on grade level in reading, mathematics and science; Industry Standards-Based Competency Assessments – NOCTI; as well as, its annual graduation rate of just 67.2%.
Alternatively, Connellsvile residents may apply to attend any of the Commonwealth's 14 public cyber charter schools (in 2013) at no additional cost to the parents. The resident's public school district is required to pay the charter school and cyber charter school tuition for residents who attend these public schools. By Commonwealth law, if the District provides transportation for its own students, then the District must provide transportation to any school that lies within 10 miles of its borders. Residents may also seek admission for their school-aged child to any other public school district. When accepted for admission, the student's parents are responsible for paying an annual tuition fee set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In 2012, the tuition fees for West Perry School District were: Elementary School – $7,477.04, High School – $10,138.63.
Intermediate Unit No. 1 provides a wide variety of services to children living in its region which includes Connellsville. Early screening, special educations services, speech and hearing therapy and many other services like driver education are available. Services for children during the preschool years are provided without cost to their families, after the child is determined to meet eligibility requirements.
Conn-Area Catholic School also operates in the borough at 613 East Crawford Avenue. The School provides kindergarten through sixth grade at an annual tuition fee. The School's Principal is Mrs Cecilia Solan. The school offers a strong STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics, Engineering) focus. There are also several sports programs including: basketball, volleyball, soccer, and cheerleading. By state law, the local public schools, within 10 miles of C-ACS must provide free bus service to and from the school.
Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School has also been serving the Connellsville community since January 6, 1964. In the fall 2014, Geibel Catholic was again honored as a "School of Excellence" by the Cardinal Newman Society.
Community members have access to the eleven public libraries of Fayette County and to the statewide Pennsylvania Power Library which is an online library funded with tax dollars through the state's annual education budget.
The Daily Courier, a newspaper based in the city, has been in publication for over a century.
Parks and trailsEdit
East Park was created by the Works Progress Administration. Laborers transformed what had been a city garbage dump along Connell Run, near Wills Road, into East Park. The park was dedicated on Oct. 12, 1940. Its location in a hollow contributes to many unique features, which include an underground entrance tunnel along Connell Run, a castle lookout up above, a large outside stage bandshell, many stone walls and pillars, and a waterfall at one end. 
Connellsville has the distinction of having been served at one time by five railroads: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Western Maryland Railroad, the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, and the Norfolk and Western Railroad.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (now CSX Transportation) entered Connellsville on the right (east) side of the Youghiogheny River. This main line originated in Baltimore, passed through Cumberland, Maryland heading west followed the river to Pittsburgh, then continuing on to Chicago. In 1934, the B&O switched its passenger trains to the tracks of the P&LE and used the P&LE station.
The Pennsylvania Railroad's Southwest branch from Greensburg entered Connellsville from Connellsville Township, crossing Route 119 and the North End, then crossing the Youghiogheny on a trestle in the middle of the town; this line terminated in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The line has been abandoned, and the trestle was demolished in the late 1980s. It remains as a coal loading facility behind the location of the former Back Creek Lumber Co where the line was severed. This line is now operated by the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad.
The Western Maryland Railroad's line crossed the Alleghenies from Cumberland and entered Connellsville on the right side of the Youghiogheny River, connecting with two separate railroad companies. The first connection was with the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad's line from Pittsburgh which continued down the right side of the river to Pittsburgh. This was in direct competition with the B & O directly across the river. The second connection of the Western Maryland was to the Norfolk and Western Railroad which crossed the river to the left side on the former Pittsburgh & West Virginia railroad bridge.
The Norfolk & Western branch was acquired by the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad, which built a new connection on the left side of the river to CSX, which severed the old line across the bridge. This historic bridge is now threatened with demolition. Several of these former railway lines have been abandoned and the right of way acquired for other uses. The former Western Maryland Railroad and Pittsburgh & Lake Erie lines are now the part of the Youghiogheny River Trail.
West Penn RailwayEdit
Historically, the mining and steel working Connellsville-Greensburg-Scottdale-Jeannette-Mt Pleasant-Irwin-Latrobe area was served by a 339-mile interurban trolley system, the wide track gauge West Penn Railways. It operated until 1952. Before the better economy of the area plus improved roads allowed more ownership and use of automobiles, the run every hour 5 cents a ride bright orange West Penn trolleys provided reliable local transportation.
The Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation transit center hub is located at the Connellsville Airport in Lemont Furnace, about halfway between Fayette's two largest urban centers, Connellsville and Uniontown.
The main route through Connellsville is U.S. Route 119, which links Connellsville with nearby cities Uniontown and Greensburg, and provides access to many of the business on the outskirts of the city. Pennsylvania Route 201 ends in Connellsville, and PA 711 serves as the main street through downtown before heading into the local mountains.
- Bob Bailor, professional baseball player
- Harold Betters, jazz trombonist
- Scott Blasey, lead vocalist for rock band the Clarks
- William A. Clark, copper baron, U.S. Senator of Montana
- James J. Davidson, politician and businessman
- Justin Deas, actor
- Gene Hasson, professional baseball player
- Johnny Lujack, Heisman-winning quarterback for Notre Dame and Chicago Bears
- Jerry McKenna, sculptor and author
- Herbert Morrison, radio reporter
- Edwin S. Porter, movie director
- Bo Scott, professional football player
- Bob Shrum, journalist
- Edgar Snyder, Famous area attorney.
- John Woodruff, 1936 Olympic gold medalist in 800 metres
- TrailHeads, progressive Funk Band
- James Johnson, Production Worker, 2017 Itu Absorbtech Production excellence award winner.
- "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001), Connellsville city, Pennsylvania". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- Pennsylvania Auditor General Office (October 6, 2015). "561 Academically Challenged Schools Overlooked by the Department of Education" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 18, 2015.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program 2014–15, April 2014
- PDE, 2015–16 OSTCP – List of Lowest achieving school in Commonwealth, 2015
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program 2011–12, April 2011
- Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (April 2014). "Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program FAQ". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2012). "Tuition rate Fiscal Year 2011–2012".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (December 4, 2015). "Connellsville Career & Technical Center Fast Facts 2015".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (December 4, 2015). "Connellsville Career & Technical Center School Performance PRofile 2015".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2013). "Charter Schools".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2013). "What is a Charter School?".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (May 2012). "Pennsylvania Public School District Tuition Rates".
- "Conn-Area Catholic School". connareacatholic.org.
- Petrisek, Justin. The Cardinal Newman Society https://newmansociety.org/catholic-ed-honor-roll/past-awardees/2014-schools-excellence/. Retrieved September 15, 2014. Missing or empty
- "Power Library". powerlibrary.org.
- "Connellsville's parks a major part of city's attraction | TribLIVE.com". archive.triblive.com. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
- Wikipedia site: Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad
- Wikipedia site: West Penn Railway
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Connellsville, Pennsylvania.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia article Connellsville.|
- City of Connellsville official website
- Fayette County Cultural Trust
- Downtown Connellsville Initiative
- Connellsville Canteen Museum
- Historic Connellsville, PA Guide
- Fayette County Portal
- Carnegie Libraries: The Future Made Bright, a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan