Renovo, Pennsylvania

Renovo is a borough in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, United States, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Lock Haven. In 1900, 4,082 people lived there, and in 1910, 4,621 lived there, but in the 2010 census the borough population was 1,228.[3]

Renovo, Pennsylvania
14th Street in Renovo, looking south during the Flaming Foliage Festival Parade
14th Street in Renovo, looking south during the Flaming Foliage Festival Parade
Location in Clinton County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Location in Clinton County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Coordinates: 41°19′35″N 77°45′02″W / 41.32639°N 77.75056°W / 41.32639; -77.75056Coordinates: 41°19′35″N 77°45′02″W / 41.32639°N 77.75056°W / 41.32639; -77.75056
CountryUnited States
Incorporated (borough)1860
 • TypeBorough Council
 • MayorTom Tarantella Jr
 • Total1.06 sq mi (2.74 km2)
 • Land1.05 sq mi (2.72 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
668 ft (204 m)
 • Total1,228
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,146.53/sq mi (442.52/km2)
Time zoneEastern (EST)
 • Summer (DST)EDT
ZIP code
Area code(s)570 Exchanges: 531, 923
FIPS code42-64200

The borough is located on the West Branch Susquehanna River, and along Pennsylvania's Bucktail State Park Natural Area, centered on Pennsylvania Route 120, which winds through the surrounding mountains following the river. The town is the home of the "Flaming Foliage Festival" held each October, generally on the second weekend, celebrating the fall colors of the trees on the area's many mountains. The festival includes a parade and the crowning of a queen, usually chosen from one of the nearby high schools. The festival serves as a "homecoming" event for former residents of Renovo, many of whom return annually for the event. Various vendors from the surrounding areas sell food, clothing, and an array of novelties, memorabilia, and souvenirs.

The economy of Renovo and the surrounding area were primarily based on lumbering, until the first-growth forest was almost entirely stripped away, and the industry collapsed. There are also deposits of bituminous coal and fire clay in the region.


Renovo was built for and by the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad as the midpoint between Philadelphia and Erie. The town was laid out on a mostly-flat flood plain along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in North-Central Pennsylvania, and was incorporated in 1866. Many of the buildings of what became the sprawling Railroad Shops complex were built before, during, and after the American Civil War.

The Philadelphia and Erie Railroad, along with many other relatively smaller lines eventually became incorporated into the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Pennsylvania Railroad was the largest corporation in the world with an annual GPO larger than the federal government, and is the only corporation in history to have paid out dividends due to its profitability for 100 years.

Unlike most "rural" towns and residential areas, Renovo was laid out in an industrially-oriented urban grid with avenues given names of the Great Lakes, and "side streets" numbered from 1 to 16. Houses were mostly built close to one another or incorporated into row houses. Houses with larger lots allowing for big yards were a rare luxury.

Before the town was completely built out, Renovo was known and advertised as a "resort town in the mountains." One can still find newspaper ads and brochures extolling the restorative mountain air, clean water, and outdoor activities such as fishing and hunting. There were several large hotels in the town well before the turn of the 20th century. The railroad made access to this remote area seemingly quick and effortless for those living in other cities which enjoyed railroad service.

The town boasted dozens of bars and restaurants as well as fine churches which gave testimony to the forward-directed, optimistic, and vigorous energy which fueled the town's growth and development. Most institutions which one would find in a town of the era or today, such as a hospital, YMCA, schools, taxi service, shops, clubs, lodges, fraternal organizations, professional services, and sports teams, were established.

The major employer was the Pennsylvania Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad Shops. As long as the railroad prospered, the town was a bustling center of activity. Some aspects of railroad business began to decrease as early as before World War II, but business surged back strongly during the War. However, further decline in demand for both passenger and freight transportation via the railroad came with the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the building of the Interstate Highway System, the surge of automobile ownership and use, and the consolidation of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Shop facilities to other locations such as Pittsburgh and Altoona.

The closing of the shops in the 1960s tolled the death knell for Renovo as an enterprising town with a future. Its present population is less than 2,000; it was once around 5,000. Many residents drive the two-lane, windy roads and I-80 to other towns for employment. There is also a substantial contingent of lifelong residents and transplants who are retired. The change in human activity over the years hasn't dimmed or substantially altered the natural environment of this Allegheny Mountain area of the larger Appalachian Highlands.[citation needed]


Renovo is located in north-central Clinton County at 41°19′43″N 77°44′54″W / 41.32861°N 77.74833°W / 41.32861; -77.74833 (41.327669, -77.749580),[4] along the West Branch Susquehanna River, at the bottom of a 1,000-to-1,200-foot-deep (300 to 370 m) gorge. South Renovo is directly across the river, on the south bank. The vicinity of the town is one of the least densely populated areas in the eastern U.S. and was featured as such in the book The Last Empty Places (2010) by Peter Stark.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Renovo has a total area of 1.13 square miles (2.93 km2), of which 1.13 square miles (2.92 km2) is land and 0.004 square miles (0.01 km2), or 0.48%, is water.[3]

Pennsylvania Route 120 passes through the borough, leading southeast (downriver) 28 miles (45 km) to Lock Haven, the county seat, and west then northwest up Sinnemahoning Creek and its tributaries 45 miles (72 km) to Emporium. Pennsylvania Route 144 crosses the West Branch from Renovo into South Renovo and leads southwest 35 miles (56 km) to Snow Shoe and Interstate 80. PA 144 leads north 44 miles (71 km) to Galeton on U.S. Route 6.

Airports and distances from Renovo:

  • Jersey Shore Airport - 54 minutes (43.1 miles)
  • Williamsport Regional Airport - 1 hour 9 minutes (59.4 miles)
  • State College Airport - 1 hour 14 minutes (57.0 miles)
  • Bradford Regional Airport - 1 hour and 57 minutes (83.3 miles)
  • DuBois Airport - 1 hour and 39 minutes (89.2 miles)
  • Johnstown Airport - 2 hours and 24 minutes (135.0 miles)
  • Harrisburg International Airport - 2 hours and 37 minutes (145.8 miles)


A house on Huron Avenue (PA 120), Renovo's main thoroughfare
Census Pop.
Est. 20191,205[2]−1.9%

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 1,318 people, 593 households, and 333 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,136.0 people per square mile (438.7/km²). There were 727 housing units at an average density of 626.6 per square mile (242.0/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.94% White, 0.23% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.08% Pacific Islander, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.38% of the population.

There were 593 households, out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.4% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.7% were non-families. 38.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 21.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 25.9% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $18,636, and the median income for a family was $23,854. Males had a median income of $26,328 versus $16,429 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $11,709. About 25.7% of families and 30.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.8% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interestEdit

Renovo is in the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds which comprises twelve and a half counties (Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Forest, Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield and part of Centre) located in north-central Pennsylvania. This area contains over two million acres of remote, mountainous, and pristine lands located on state forest lands, state game lands, state park lands and public grounds that offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities. The Wilds has within it 29 state parks,[8] 8 state forests, 50 state game lands, abundant wildlife, several natural/wild areas, and miles of hiking trails and fishing streams. This region also contains the largest elk herd in the Northeast, stretching as far west as Ridgway and as far east as Renovo.[9]

Renovo Energy CenterEdit

In early 2015, the Clinton County Economic Partnership announced that it would be working with Renovo Energy Center LLC. to plan out the construction of a new natural gas fired power plant on the site of the old Pennsylvania Rail Road shops across the tracks from Erie avenue. The project's original planned construction date was 2017 but has since been pushed back. The project is expected to bring over 500 construction workers to Renovo and offer around 30 full time jobs.[10]


In 2011, Immix Wireless rolled out 2.75G (EDGE) wireless GSM services in Renovo. Immix was the first to roll out a cellular service in Renovo. Before this, only wired internet and phone services were available in Renovo through Comcast and Verizon Communications.

Local servicesEdit

  • The Renovo Fire Dept. "The Emerald Hose Company"
  • The Renovo Police Dept.
  • Bucktail Medical Center - Located in South Renovo
  • Family Practice of Renovo

Notable peopleEdit

Rev. Henry “Harry” Kingsley Ash, Minister of North Bend Methodist Church and Famed Boy Scout Leader Dr. Allen Sapora Wrestler ⋅ Class of 1991

•Allen Sapora began his Wrestling in Renovo, Pennsylvania.

His collegiate wrestling was at the University of Illinois where he became a two time Big 10 Place winner and one time champion, which culminated in winning the NCAA Divisions Championship in 1938.

When he won the National Championship, it marked the first time that brothers has accomplished this feat. His brother Joe had done this in 1929 and 1930.

Upon graduation, Allen was an graduated assistant to the University of Illinois coach Hall of Famer Hek Kenney now deceased. He continued to help until he earned his PhD in recreation. He then became a member of teaching staff at the University of Illinois in the department of leisure studies. It was during this time that he turned his attention to officiating.

Along with Hek Kenney, he aided in demonstration of wrestling at over 50 high schools throughout Illinois, teaching wrestling principles and rules. As an official he worked numerous dual meets in the area and at the University. He officiated in 5 State Championships. With Hek Kenney he also officiated at the Canadian National Championships.

• Joe Sapora started his career in Renovo, Pennsylvania. He came to the University of Illinois in 1927 where he wrestled for Hall of Famer Paul Prehm. While at the University of Illinois Joe were a Big 10 Runner-Up and a Two Time Big Ten Champion. In 1929 he won his First National Division One Championship and in 1930 he repeated this Championship.

His Coaching and Teaching took him back East, where he coached the New York University Team for 19 years. He was also involved with the New York Athletic Club for many years and was one of the officials for many years in the area.

The Helms Foundation elected him to their Hall of Fame. This Hall of Fame was in essence the NCAA Hall of Fame.


See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Renovo borough, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  5. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2013-12-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Administrator (2015-04-06). "Gas-Fired Power Plant Proposed for Renovo". The Record Online. Retrieved 2020-07-12.


• © 2019 Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA). IWCOA is a non-profit, tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Renovo, Pennsylvania at Wikimedia Commons