Lewisburg is a borough in Union County, Pennsylvania, United States, 30 miles (48 km) south by southeast of Williamsport and 60 miles (97 km) north of Harrisburg. In the past, it was the commercial center for a fertile grain and general farming region. The population was 5,792 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Union County. Located in central Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River Valley, on the West Branch Susquehanna River, Lewisburg is northwest of Sunbury. It is home to Bucknell University and is near the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. Its 19th-century downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. Lewisburg is the principal city of the Lewisburg, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area, and is also part of the larger Bloomsburg-Berwick-Sunbury, PA Combined Statistical Area.
Location of Lewisburg in Union County, Pennsylvania.
|• Mayor||Judy Wagner|
|• Total||0.97 sq mi (2.52 km2)|
|• Land||0.97 sq mi (2.52 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||5,866.39/sq mi (2,264.56/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT|
Lewisburg was founded in 1785 by Ludwig Derr. A settler of the area (since as early as 1763–1769), Derr had purchased several tracts of land from the William Penn family and other neighboring land owners, the largest of which was known as "The Prescott". Having been on the land for such a long time, Derr had befriended the local Native Americans of the area. His relationship with these indigenous peoples was so well founded that, even as many of the other local settlers' homesteads were routinely sacked by Native Americans, Derr's lands remained free from attacks. Subsequently, in 1784, he worked with Samuel Weiser to lay out his combined land tracts, and create Derrstown. The name was later changed to Lewisburgh when Snyder County was created from Union County in 1855 (according to a local Keystone marker sign), but was known on original plans and deeds as Lewisburg before that time (also see note below).
Much has been considered[by whom?] regarding 'how' the name changed from Derrstown to Lewisburg. The most likely truth is that Derr's first name "Ludwig" translated into English as "Louis" but, being of German descent, it was spelled "Lewis". Later, after Derr's death, the traditional Germanic "burgh" was appended to his first name to create Lewisburgh.
Note: U.S. Postal Service records contradict this story. The post office was named Lewisburgh when it was established in 1796; in 1893, the name was shortened to Lewisburg.
The street names that run east and west are a local urban mystery. St. George, St. Catherine, and St. Louis etc. appear to be named for saints. While Lutherans, such as Derr was, recognize historic catholic saints, the street names are more likely named for Derr's family members (whose names coincided with saints). Those streets are consecutively parallel, and emanate from what was then Derr's home, and the location of the first available lot sold (which were both situated on, what is now, Mill Street). George was Ludwig's son, his wife Catherine and Ludwig/Lewis (sic) himself. The other original street names that still exist are St. John, St. Mary and St. Anthony, which may be the names of other children from families with whom Derr's own family were friends. However, there is an indication that Derr also had a daughter named Mary. Overall, however, the premise is further supported by the notion that the German word for street is Strasse (Straße, abbreviated St). At the time, street names were pronounced as Strasse Mary or Strasse George. Later, when signs were made to note the street names, the abbreviation for Strasse was allowed to remain, but the US/English abbreviation was redundantly added to the signs.
The second mystery surrounding Lewisburg is the disappearance of its founder Ludwig Derr. After selling several lots of land, Derr set off for Philadelphia to sell additional lots. Shortly after arriving, records indicate some of his lots had sold. However, Ludwig Derr simply disappears from history in that city. Derr's son George went to Philadelphia to search for his father, but returned a short time later, unsuccessful.
Over the centuries, Lewisburg has been a center of commerce in Union County. The West Branch Susquehanna River was used for logging and shipping, and remains of old factories and other ancient stone structures exist along the river banks. Prior to, and during, the Civil War, many abolitionists lived in the area, and several locations within the town of Lewisburg served as stopping points on the famous Underground Railroad.
Lewisburg is located at (40.963895, -76.888154).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,620 people, 1,778 households, and 787 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,724.7 people per square mile (2,214.2/km2). There were 1,938 housing units at an average density of 1,974.1 per square mile (763.5/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 91.57% White, 2.62% African American, 0.19% Native American, 2.79% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.00% from other races, and 1.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.33% of the population.
There were 1,778 households, out of which 17.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.7% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 55.7% were non-families. 42.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.97 and the average family size was 2.64.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 10.0% under the age of 18, 45.9% from 18 to 24, 16.4% from 25 to 44, 12.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.3 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $30,137, and the median income for a family was $53,409. Males had a median income of $32,727 versus $25,436 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $14,146. About 6.3% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.
State and Federal
The borough is located in the 85th House District and the 23rd Senate District of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. With regards to the U.S. House of Representatives, residents are in Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district. Each state is represented by two at large senators in the United States Senate.
Lewisburg is governed by an elected mayor and eight-member Borough Council (two from each of the four wards). Borough Council appoints the Borough Manager who is tasked with the supervision of the various departments (e.g. Public Works, Planning, Code Enforcement). The municipal authorities work closely with several elected committees and commissions, such as the Lewisburg Planning Commission, the Lewisburg Historical Architectural Review Board, and Lewisburg Shade Tree Commission. In addition, the borough collaborates with neighboring East Buffalo Township on several regional authorities, namely the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority, the Regional Police Commission, and the Lewisburg Area Joint Sewer Authority.
The borough is divided into four wards. Polling locations are by ward. The Ward I election site is the Union-Snyder Agency on Aging, 116 N. 2nd St., Lewisburg. The Ward II election site is the Union County Courthouse, 103 S. Second St., Lewisburg. The Ward III election site is the Donald Heiter Community Center, 100 N. 5th St., Lewisburg. The Ward IV election site is St. John's United Church of Christ, 1050 Buffalo Rd., Lewisburg.
Budget and Revenue
For fiscal year 2018, the Borough of Lewisburg's budget was $5.49 million. Property taxes in 2018 were 12.94 mills.. For fiscal year 2016, the budget was $3.1 million. Property taxes were 11.74 mills.
Elementary and Secondary Education
The Lewisburg Area School District is the public school district serving the borough and surrounding area. In 2016, Lewisburg Area School District ranked 21st out of 496 Pennsylvania public school districts, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. In 2015, the District was ranked 22nd out of 500 Pennsylvania public school districts for student academic achievement. In 2009, Lewisburg Area High School was awarded a Silver Medal and recognized as one of America's Best High Schools by U.S. News & World Report, placing it among the top 3% of high schools in the nation. The Lewisburg Area High School has been ranked in the top ten percent in the state. In 2007, Pittsburgh Business Times ranked the district 39th out of 499 Pennsylvania school districts based on three years of Pennsylvania System of Student Assessment test scores. The district has been innovative in meeting the needs of their special education students which has led to substantially increasing costs. They provide technical training through the regional SUN Area Career and Technical Center located in New Berlin, Pennsylvania.
Donald H Eichhorn Middle School serves 6th through eighth grades. The school was recognized as one of the finest in the nation when it received the National Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence from the United States Department of Education in 2002, and again in 2017. The school was awarded as a National Schools To Watch in 2010.
Linntown Intermediate houses grades four and five with a student population of 270 and approximately 20 professional staff members.
Kelly Elementary serves kindergarten through third grades. The school has approximately 560 students. It offers a child centered learning program that builds a solid foundation of reading and math skills for all students. Class sizes are typically 20 or less to maximize learning experiences in the formative years. In 2008, the district changed to all day kindergarten in order to prepare its students to meet rigorous academic goals. A small school district, the enrollment in kindergarten in 2008 is 141 pupils. A pre-kindergarten program was added in the fall of 2008. It serves a small number of children ages 3 and 4. The program's cost for the first year was paid for with a $78,000 state grant.
Pennsylvania conducted a Costing Out Study to identify how much per pupil spending should be to achieve student success. The study called for the district to spend $11,538 per child. The district spends $9,242 per pupil ( a $2,297 deficit in spending per pupil according to the study), with outstanding results and a well rounded program. Lewisburg Area School District ranked 220th of all 501 districts in per pupil spending. It ranked 39th of all 501 districts in academic performance on the PSSA.
In 2007 the district levied a variety of taxes to support its programs. Taxes include a levy of 13.06 mills on real estate, a per capita tax of $15 on residents who are at least 18-years-old, and an earned-income tax of 1.5 percent. In May 2007 the district's voters rejected raising the local earned-income tax to reduce property taxes.
Straddling the border between Lewisburg and neighboring East Buffalo Township, Bucknell University is a selective, nationally ranked, private liberal arts university. Bucknell offers 3,600 students from across the United States and around the world rigorous curricula in the humanities, natural and social sciences as well as pre-professional programs in engineering and management. Founded in 1846 by the local Baptist community as the University at Lewisburg, Bucknell now comprises three colleges: the College of Arts & Sciences (1846), the College of Engineering (1962), and the Kenneth W. Freeman College of Management (2017). As Bucknell has grown over the course of the last 175 years, it has become relatively more central to the economic vitality of Lewisburg and the surrounding area.
Parks and RecreationEdit
Hufnagle Park is located along Bull Run Creek in the heart of downtown. It offers open space, a picnic pavilion, playground equipment, and gardens. It is named in honor of former Public Safety Director Gordon Hufnagle. Officer Hufnagle died saving lives during the Agnes Flood on June 21, 1972.  A covered footbridge just north of the park was built in his honor in 1982.
Hufnagle Park is a terminus of the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail. The 9.5-mile trail runs westward from Lewisburg to Mifflinburg following the rail bed of the Lewisburg & Tyrone Railroad, which was decommissioned in 1982. In 2009, the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority acquired the right of way to the entire West Shore railroad which runs from Mifflinburg to Northumberland. The rail trail opened in 2011 and was extended in 2015. 
The Lewisburg Community Garden is a joint venture between Lewisburg Borough and Bucknell University. Opened in 2012, the community garden provides educational opportunities for students and area residents, rents garden plots, and grows and donates 3,800 pounds of organic produce to local food access programs.
Other parks in the borough are: Soldier's Memorial Park and Mariah's Garden (both located on the Susquehanna River), Lewisburg Area Recreation Park, Wolfe Field and St. Anthony Street Park, and D.F. Green Field.
Residential building (ca. 1860) in the Lewisburg Historic District.
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- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. .