Punxsutawney (//; Lenape: Punkwsutènay) is a borough in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, United States, 84 miles (135 km) northeast of Pittsburgh. With a population of 5,962 as of the 2010 census, Punxsutawney is the largest incorporated municipality in Jefferson County. The borough is most well-known for its ties to Groundhog Day (February 2), the primary celebration of which takes place every February 2nd at Gobbler's Knob in southeastern Punxsutawney. This celebration of the holiday has become the most attended in the United States, with upwards of 20,000 people attending the celebration on average each year, with millions more watching on television or on the Internet. The lore of the holiday is a major part of the borough's identity. This is shown throughout town in various ways, such as the mural of the weather-forecasting groundhog himself, Punxsutawney Phil, at the intersection of Gilpin and Mahoning Streets; the mural painted by art students from Punxsutawney Area High School that can be found under the bridge over the Mahoning Creek crossing into the east end of town; the mascot of the Punxsutawney Area School District's schools, the Chucks; and the numerous statues of Phil that can be found throughout town, lovingly called Phantastic Phils, that present the groundhog in dress appropriate to where he is found, such as the statue dressed as a reporter outside of the offices of The Punxsutawney Spirit, the borough's local newspaper. These statues also serve to provide a history of the borough outside of its Groundhog Day identity.
|Nickname(s): "Weather Capital of the World," "Punxsy"|
Location of Punxsutawney in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania.
|• Type||Borough Council|
|• Mayor||Richard Alexander|
|• Total||3.42 sq mi (8.85 km2)|
|• Land||3.35 sq mi (8.68 km2)|
|• Water||0.06 sq mi (0.17 km2)|
|Elevation||1,230 ft (370 m)|
|• Estimate (2016)||5,814|
|• Density||1,733.97/sq mi (669.54/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
Exchanges: 249, 938, 939
|Website||Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce|
The area was originally settled by the Lenape (Delaware Indians), and the name "Punxsutawney" derives from a Native name in Unami (a Lenape language): Punkwsutènay, which translates to "town of the sandflies" or "town of the mosquitoes" (punkwës- ‘mosquito’ + -utènay ‘town’). Alternatively, the name is said to come from another Unami term, Put'schisk'tey, which means "poison vine."
In 1907, Punxsutawney and Claysville boroughs were consolidated and incorporated as Greater Punxsutawney. A high-grade soft coal was mined in the surrounding region. Formerly, the factories included glassworks, foundries, ironworks, machine shops, and planing, flour, feed, and silk mills. In 1900, 6,746 people lived there; in 1910, 9,058; in 1920, 10,311; and in 1940, 9,482 people lived there. The population was 5,962 at the 2010 census.
Punxsutawney's most famous resident is Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog said to predict the weather annually on Groundhog Day (February 2). Phil and the town were the basis for the 1993 film Groundhog Day (although nearly all of the film was shot in Woodstock, Illinois). The film actually made the name "Punxsutawney Phil" a national cultural reference in the US.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2). One small river, Mahoning Creek, winds through the town. It is bordered on the north, west, and south by Young Township, and on the east by Bell Township.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,962 people, 2,573 households and 1,602 families in the borough. The population density was 1,836.2 people per square mile (708.0/km²). There were 3,042 housing units at an average density of 890.7 per square mile (343.4/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.8% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, <0.1% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.
There were 2,749 households, out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.0% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 37.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 21.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 22.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $26,250, and the median income for a family was $33,054. Men had a median income of $28,958 versus $19,076 for women. The per capita income for the borough was $14,802. About 13.3% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.
The Borough of Punxsutawney is governed by seven Council members, each elected to a four-year term. The members are: Brian Smith, President; Lawrence Chenoga, Vice-President; Jeanne Porada, President Pro-Tem; James Bianco; Jaime Sherry; Cynthia Rebuck; and Robert "Toby" Santik.
The Mayor, Richard Alexander, is also elected to a four-year term, and in addition to other duties, has oversight of the Borough Police Department.
Other elected offices include: one Tax Collector (four-year term) and six constables (four year terms).
The Borough Manager position, held by Benjamin White, is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Borough, and reports to Borough Council.
Punxsutawney is the most populous incorporated municipality in Jefferson County.
The Punxsutawney Area School District serves the borough of Punxsutawney and the surrounding area for K-12 education. The district has two secondary buildings (Punxsutawney Area High School & Punxsutawney Area Middle School) and six elementary buildings (Jenks Hill, Bell Township, Longview, Mapleview, Parkview, West End). However, as of the 2018-2019 school year, the six elementary schools have been consolidated, and students in grades K-6 will attend Punxsutawney Area Middle School while students in grades 7-12 will attend Punxsutawney Area High School.
The Borough of Punxsutawney employs a full-time police service made up of 12 police officers. The Chief of Police is Matt Conrad. Dispatchers and wardens are also employed by the borough and work closely with police. The police station is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by both police officers and wardens.
The Punxsutawney Fire Department is made up of three volunteer stations, The Central Fire Dept. (Jefferson County Station 20), Elk Run Volunteer Fire Company (Jefferson County Station 30), and Lindsey Fire Company (Jefferson County Station 40). The president of the Punxsutawney Fire Department is Tami McFarland. The Fire Department Chief is Matt Powell. In addition to department officers, each station elects its own officers. Scott Depp is the chief of Central Fire Dept., Doug McAfoos the chief of Elk Run VFC, and Joe DeFelice, Jr. the chief of Lindsey Fire Co. The fire department responds to fires, vehicle accidents, hazardous materials incidents, and rescue situations in the borough of Punxsutawney, Bell Township, and Young Township. The Punxsutawney Fire Department also maintains an active water rescue team comprising scuba divers and a boat crew.
Jefferson County EMS operates the ambulance station in Punxsutawney. Station 50 is a full advanced life support service comprising paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Station 50 serves not only the borough of Punxsutawney, but also Southern Jefferson County and parts of Northern Indiana County.
In popular cultureEdit
- In the television series Lost In Space (1965–68), one of the fictional characters that the Robinson family encounters, Captain Alonzo P. Tucker, is from Punxsutawney.
- The town of Punxsutawney is the setting for the 1993 film Groundhog Day, which centered on the annual event involving Punxsutawney Phil. Filming took place in Woodstock, Illinois.
- A musical for the stage based on the film opened in London in 2016.
- Charles Jerome "Chuck" Daly (July 20, 1930 – May 9, 2009) was a basketball head coach. He had a 14-year NBA coaching career and began his basketball coaching career in 1955 at Punxsutawney (PA) Area High School.
- Wilbur Good was a Major League Baseball player for the Chicago Cubs and other teams in the early 20th Century.
- Lloyd Jordan (1900–1990) was head coach at Harvard and was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.
- John Mizerock (born December 8, 1960, in Punxsutawney) was a backup catcher for the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. He was the eighth overall pick in the 1979 draft.
- Devin Douglas Mesoraco is currently a Major League Baseball catcher for the New York Mets. He was the 15th overall pick in the 2007 draft.
- Billy Hunter is a retired shortstop, coach and manager in Major League Baseball.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.|
- "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Aug 14, 2017.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "Punxsutawney (lit: mosquito town)". Lenape Talking Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-05-27.
From punkwës- = mosquito plus -utènay = town
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Groundhog Day | #visitPA". VisitPA. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
- Brinton, Daniel G., C.F. Denke, and Albert Anthony. A Lenâpé - English Dictionary. Biblio Bazaar, 2009. ISBN 978-1103149223, p. 121.
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- "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 17 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- "Building Address & Contact Info". Punxsutawney Area School District. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- McClure, Bridget. "Punxsutawney School Board decides on consolidation plan". WJAC. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
- "Punxsutawney Christian School". Punxsutawney Christian School. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- SSCD http://www.sscdchurch.com/school. Retrieved 26 August 2015. Missing or empty
- "Conrad in as new police chief". Retrieved 12 October 2016.