Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

Mercersburg is a borough in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is 72 miles (116 km) southwest of Harrisburg, the state capital. Originally called "Black Town", it was incorporated in 1831. Locals also used to refer an area outside of the town as "Little Africa" due to the large population of African Americans who lived here during the time of the Underground Railroad.[4] However as of 2010 only 6.49 percent of the population is African American. The population was 1,561 at the 2010 census.[5]

Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
Mercersburg Borough Hall
Mercersburg Borough Hall
Location of Mercersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Mercersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Mercersburg is located in Pennsylvania
Location of Mercersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Mercersburg is located in the United States
Mercersburg (the United States)
Coordinates: 39°49′46″N 77°54′07″W / 39.82944°N 77.90194°W / 39.82944; -77.90194Coordinates: 39°49′46″N 77°54′07″W / 39.82944°N 77.90194°W / 39.82944; -77.90194
CountryUnited States
 • TypeBorough Council
 • MayorRoger Defibaugh[1]
 • Total0.90 sq mi (2.34 km2)
 • Land0.90 sq mi (2.34 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
558 ft (170 m)
 • Total1,561
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,698.45/sq mi (655.83/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)717
FIPS code42-48704
Mercersburg Academy Chapel


Mercersburg was platted in 1780.[6] The borough was named after Hugh Mercer, a general and hero in the American Revolutionary War.[7] A post office has been in operation at Mercersburg since 1812.[8]

The Mercersburg Historic District, Lane House, and Mercersburg Academy are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[9]


Mercersburg is located in southwestern Franklin County at 39°49′46″N 77°54′7″W / 39.82944°N 77.90194°W / 39.82944; -77.90194 (39.829388, -77.901952).[10] According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.89 square miles (2.3 km2), all of it land.[5]

Mercersburg is located at the eastern foot of Cove Mountain on the west side of the Great Appalachian Valley. The borough is 7.5 miles (12.1 km) north of the Mason–Dixon line, which serves as the state border with Maryland. Whitetail Ski Resort and golf course are located 7 miles (11 km) south of the town.

Pennsylvania state highways 16, 75, and 416 all pass through Mercersburg. PA 16 leads east 10 miles (16 km) to Greencastle and 11 miles (18 km) to Interstate 81, and northwest through Cove Gap and over Tuscarora Mountain 10 miles to McConnellsburg. PA 75 leads north 6 miles (10 km) to Fort Loudon and south 7.5 miles (12.1 km) to the Maryland border. PA 416 leads northeast 7 miles (11 km) to U.S. Route 30 near St. Thomas and southeast 10 miles (16 km) to the Maryland border. Hagerstown, Maryland, is 17 miles (27 km) to the southeast via PA 416 and Maryland Route 58, while Chambersburg, the Franklin County seat, is 16 miles (26 km) to the northeast via PA 416 and US 30.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)1,532[3]−1.9%

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 1,540 people, 686 households, and 439 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,581.0 people per square mile (613.0/km²). There were 770 housing units at an average density of 790.5 per square mile (306.5/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 92.08% White, 6.49% African American, 0.58% Asian, 0.52% from other races, and 0.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.36% of the population.

There were 686 households, out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.7% 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 2.80.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 23.6% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $32,619, and the median income for a family was $46,042. Males had a median income of $30,602 versus $23,000 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $18,934. About 7.2% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.5% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.


Franklin County school districts

Tuscarora School DistrictEdit

The Tuscarora School District covers an area of 201 square miles (520 km2), stretching north-south from just south of 40 degrees north latitude to the Maryland border and from east of the 78 degree west longitude line to just west of Chambersburg. The district is located within the borders of Franklin County in south-central Pennsylvania and includes the borough of Mercersburg and Montgomery, Peters, St. Thomas and Warren townships. The school district is primarily a rural agricultural area with a total population of approximately 17,000 people. The district consists of four K-5 elementary schools (Saint Thomas, Mountain View, Mercersburg, Montgomery), one grade 6-8 middle school (James Buchanan MS) and one grade 9-12 high school (James Buchanan High School). Tuscarora, the name of the mountain on the western boundary, is derived from the Tuscarora people of the Iroquois Confederation. The Tuscarora came north from the Carolinas about 1713 and settled for a time along the mountains. "Conococheague", the name of the creek that flows through the district on its way from the Path Valley south to the Potomac River, is a name from the Delaware people meaning "clear water".

Main Hall, Mercersburg Academy

Mercersburg AcademyEdit

Mercersburg Academy is an independent college preparatory school that was founded in 1893. It has produced several Rhodes scholars, three Medal of Honor recipients, a Nobel laureate, two Academy Award winners, and 54 Olympians (including 12 gold medalists). Its campus, located east of the square in downtown Mercersburg, spans 300 acres (120 ha) and is home to 430 students (grades 9-12) from 26 states and 40 nations.

Mercersburg Academy

Marshall CollegeEdit

Marshall College was a college founded in Mercersburg in 1836. It later merged with Franklin College, in Lancaster County, and produced the so-called Mercersburg Theology.

Notable peopleEdit

Academy Award–winning actors Jimmy Stewart and Benicio del Toro each attended Mercersburg Academy, as did actors John Payne and Dick Foran, as well as John Hamilton, who played Perry White on Adventures of Superman TV series, and Vanessa Branch, the actress best known for Orbit Gum commercials.


  1. ^ "Council". Borough of Mercersburg, PA. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ Wingert, Cooper H. Slavery and the Underground Railroad in South Central Pennsylvania.
  5. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001), Mercersburg borough, Pennsylvania". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  6. ^ M'Cauley, I. H. (1878). Historical Sketch of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Patriot. p. 213.
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 205.
  8. ^ "Franklin County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  9. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  12. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  13. ^ "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 11 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.

External linksEdit