Shamokin (//; Saponi Algonquian Schahamokink, meaning "place of eels") (Lenape Indian language: Shahëmokink ) is a city in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, surrounded by Coal Township at the western edge of the Anthracite Coal Region in central Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River Valley. It was named after a Saponi Indian village, Schahamokink. At the 2010 decennial United States Census, the population was 7,374, approximately half what it was in 1950.
Location of City of Shamokin and adjacent Coal Township in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
|• Mayor||John J. Brown|
|• Councilman||Daniel McGaw, Director of Parks and Recreation|
|• Councilman||John J. Brown, Director of Public Safety|
|• Councilman||Charles R. Varano, Director of Public Works|
|• Councilwoman||Barbara S. Moyer, Director of Accounts and Finance|
|• Total||0.83 sq mi (2.16 km2)|
|• Land||0.83 sq mi (2.16 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
 (benchmark in center of city)
|741 ft (226 m)|
 (northern boundary on Big Mountain)
|1,080 ft (330 m)|
 (Shamokin Creek)
|710 ft (220 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||8,335.73/sq mi (3,218.37/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern Standard Time (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||570 and 272|
The first human settlement of Shamokin was probably Shawnee natives migrants. A large population of Delaware Indians (also known as the Lenapes) were also forcibly resettled there in the early 18th century after they lost rights to their land in the "Walking Purchase" (also known as the "Walking Treaty") along the eastern border of the colonial Province of Pennsylvania in the upper northern reaches of the Delaware River in 1737. Canasatego of the Six Nations, enforcing the Walking Purchase on behalf of George Thomas, Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania (1738-1747), ordered the Delaware Indians to go to two places on the Susquehanna River.
The city of present-day Shamokin lies along Shamokin Creek. Shamokin was founded in 1835 by the coal speculators John C. Boyd and Ziba Bird, it was early known as Boyd's Stone-coal Quarry, Boydtown, and New Town. The discovery of anthracite coal resources in the region, known as "hard coal," became the basis of much industry. Railroad companies, such as Reading Railroad, bought interests in coal and became major employers of the area, building railroads to ship coal to markets and controlling most jobs. Workers gradually organized into unions to develop means of bargaining with these powerful companies. During the nationwide Great Railroad Strike of July 1877, workers in the 1877 Shamokin Uprising at that time marched and demonstrated during the summer period of labor unrest.
Shamokin was incorporated earlier as a borough under the Commonwealth constitution on November 9, 1864, and subsequently as a city 85 years later, on February 21, 1949. In addition to anthracite coal-mining, it became an industrial center in the 19th century, with silk and knitting mills, stocking and shirt factories, wagon shops, ironworks, and brickyards. The dominant Eagle Silk Mill became the largest textile manufacturing building under one roof in the United States.
Famous inventor, scientist and entrepreneur Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931), briefly a resident of nearby Sunbury, established the Edison Illuminating Company of Shamokin in the fall of 1882. When the Shamokin power generating station on Independence Street started on September 22, 1883, St. Edward's Roman Catholic Church which was connected, became the first church in the world to be lit by electricity. Until 2017, Jones Hardware Company was located at the Independence Street site of the former 1882 Edison electrical station in Shamokin.)
In the 1877 Shamokin Uprising, railroad workers and miners angered by unexpected cuts in wages begun by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) joined what developed across the East with the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, which began with strikes in neighboring Martinsburg, West Virginia, then others in Maryland including the headquarters of the B&O at its Camden Street Station in downtown Baltimore then spread north and west into Pennsylvania and to Pittsburgh and other sites conducted in several major industrial cities in Pennsylvania, as well as more cities in the Northeast and as far west through to St. Louis and Missouri. Mayor William Douty commissioned a citizen manned local militia unit to help during the unrest. They shot into a group of strikers, wounding 12 and killing two bystanders who were not even involved in the protest. Five strikers were convicted of rioting and jailed for up to eight months for their part in the actions.
At the turn of the 20th century, resident William A. Conway wrote Murder at Hickory Ridge (1905) as a "dime novel", hoping to cash in on their popularity. It was a fictionalized account of an unsolved murder in the Shamokin area. His two brothers, Alphonsus E. and John J., printed the book on a press in their garage. They continued their business, starting the Conway Print Shop. With the profits from the sale of the novel, the Conway brothers later started the Black Diamond Publishing Company in 1905 and founded Black Diamond Magazine to disseminate news of the anthracite coal region. The brothers developed a way to print a roll of tickets, planning to market them to the new movie theaters being built in the area. To meet a request by the nearby Hazleton Baseball Club, they partnered with merchant Nicholas R. Ludes to make a big purchase of colored paper.
Together the Conway brothers and Ludes founded what became the National Ticket Company, located in Shamokin since 1907. At one time it was the largest ticket manufacturing company in the United States. Their first production facility was built in 1911 at the corner of Pearl and Webster Streets. A 1942 fire gutted the plant, although the brick shell still stands. The replacement building at Pearl Street and Ticket Avenue was completed in 1950 and has since served as company headquarters. The business is still owned by descendants of the Conway and Ludes families. In the 21st century National Ticket has developed international customers as well to grow its business.
Edgewood Park, also known as Indian Park, was operated in Shamokin as an increasing popular amusement park from 1905 through the late 1950s, featuring a roller coaster and other rides and entertainments, and attracting regional crowds. Its 97 acres (390,000 m2) included a large pond. Faced with different needs in the 1950s, the Shamokin area school district developed this property for new elementary and high schools.
From the post-World War II period, there has been massive restructuring in the railroad and other industries, causing a massive loss of jobs in areas that had enjoyed industrial prosperity, with good working incomes for union people. In addition, there has been pressure on the coal industry due to changes in law to improve air, water, and land quality and prevent environmental contamination. By the early 21st century, Shamokin was part of an economically depressed area.
In June 2014, Shamokin was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for Act 47 Distressed City status after several banks refused it loans for outstanding bills. The designation enables loans from the Commonwealth. Shamokin city officials are required to develop a plan to achieve long-term financial stability and eligibility to leave the program. Only one city in Pennsylvania has ever exited Act 47 status by 2015.
In February 2015, the city was approved to raise its earned income tax to 2 percent a week. Out of the total revenue generated from the tax, 50 percent would go to the school district. By law, municipalities can tax citizens only 1 percent a week in the earned income tax, but financially distressed cities can petition the courts to increase it to 2 percent a week.
In December 2013, Shamokin City Council cut several full-time police officer positions in an effort to reduce budget overruns into compliance.
The Shamokin City Council unanimously approved a 2015 budget of $3.7 million setting property taxes at 58.1 mills. Salaries and benefits of city employees cost $1,956,257, which is 69 percent of all general fund spending. The 2014 real estate tax levy is 47.35 mills. The city adopted a $2.3 million budget in 2014. Bartos had received a $9,350 raise approved by city council in 2012. He had successfully applied for several grants including: $3.4 million for a creek channel preservation project, a grant to expand Claude Kehler Community Park, and another to restore the "99 steps," a city landmark.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all of it land.
Shamokin has two small creeks that divide the town. Carbon Run merges with Shamokin Creek in the north of the town and ultimately empties into the Susquehanna River just south of Shamokin Dam near Sunbury.
It's also home to the world's largest man made culm bank – the Cameron/Glen Burn Colliery Culm Bank.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,009 people, 3,742 households, and 2,028 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,601.9 people per square mile (3,725.7/km2). There were 4,674 housing units at an average density of 5,603.6 per square mile (2,174.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.8% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.6% of the population.
There were 3,742 households, out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.8% were non-families. 41.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the city, the population had 22.2% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,173, and the median income for a family was $30,038. Males had a median income of $28,261 versus $19,120 for females. The per capita income was $12,354. About 19.3% of families and 60.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.2% of those under age 18 and 21.3% of those age 65 or over.
Children residing in Shamokin may attend the local, public schools operated by the Shamokin Area School District. They may also opt to attend a private school with tuition at the parent's expense. The public school district is required by state law to transport children to any school within ten miles of its borders. Local private schools include Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School and Meadowview Christian Academy. In 2015 and 2015 the Pennsylvania Department of Education placed the high school on the state's lowest academic achievement list. This makes pupils at the high school eligible for the state's Opportunity Scholarship Program to attend other schools both public and private.
Shamokin Area School District provides taxpayer funded half day preschool and full day kindergarten through 12th grade, with an enrollment of 2,375 pupils in 2016. It had an enrollment of 2,522 pupils in 2013. In 2011, Shamokin Area School District enrollment was 2,356 pupils. The District's enrollment was 2,443 pupils in 2005–06. Shamokin Area School District operates four schools in two buildings: Shamokin Area High School (9-12), Shamokin Area Middle School (7 & 8), Shamokin Area Intermediate School (5&6) and Shamokin Area Elementary School (preschool-4th). In 2014, Shamokin Area School District's graduation rate was 82.8%.
Shamokin Area School District statewide academic ranking declined further to 445th out of the 493 ranked Pennsylvania school districts, in 2016, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The District is the lowest ranked school district in the CSIU16 region. In 2014, the Pittsburgh Business Times ranked Shamokin Area School District 407th out of 496 public schools for academic achievement of its pupils. In 2012, Shamokin Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) despite the low academic achievement at the high school.
High school age students can attend the taxpayer funded Northumberland County Career and Technology Center, in Coal Township, for training in the building trades, auto mechanics, culinary arts, allied health careers and other areas. Northumberland County Career and Technology Center is funded by a consortium of the school districts that includes Line Mountain School District, Mount Carmel Area School District and Shamokin Area School District. It also receives state and federal government grants.
Shamokin residents may also apply to attend any of the Commonwealth's 14 public cyber charter schools at no additional cost to the parents. This includes SusQ Cyber Charter School, which is locally operated. 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. The tuition rate that Shamokin Area School District must pay was $7,050.50 in 2012. Residents may also seek admission for their school age child to any other public school district. The student's parents owe annual tuition set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit #16 provides a wide variety of services to children living in its region, which includes Shamokin. Early screening, special education services, speech and hearing therapy, autistic support, preschool classes and many other services like driver education are available. Services for children during the preschool years are provided without cost to their families when the child is determined to meet eligibility requirements. Intermediate units receive taxpayer funding through subsidies paid by member school districts, direct charges to users for some services, state and federal competitive grants, and private grants.
Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) has a satellite campus in the Careerlink Building, Arch Street, Shamokin.
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is a public university in Bloomsburg. It is one of the 14 state universities that make up the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Eleventh and twelfth grade students may attend Bloomsburg at a significant discount through its dual enrollment program, earning college credits while still working toward their high school diplomas. Bloomsburg also operates a summer college program, ACE, where high school students can earn credits at a 75% discount. The credits are transferable to many other Pennsylvania universities through the state's TRAC system.
Mayoral election historyEdit
- 2017 - John Brown (R) over William Milbrand (D)
- 2013 - William Milbrand (D) over Daniel McGaw (R)
- 2009 - George Rozinskie (D) over Betsy Richardson (D)
- 2005 - Ronald Bradley (R) over Edward O'Donnell (D)
- 2001 - James Yurick Jr. (D) over Betsy Richardson (R)
- 1997 - James Yurick Jr. (D) over Ronald Bradley (R)
- 1993 - Daniel Strausser (R) over James Yurick Jr. (D)
- 1989 - Harvey M. Boyer (D) over Daniel Strausser (R) 
- 1985 - Harvey M. Boyer (D) over Malcom C. Farrow IV (R)
- 1981 - William L. Rickert over Harvey M. Boyer (D)
In popular cultureEdit
Shamokin is referenced in the 1930 film King of Jazz during the "Has Anybody Seen Our Nellie?" number in the final line of the chorus, "Please send her back to Shamokin, P-A."
- Bill Barke, Chairman of US Higher Education and Pearson Canada, 2012-2014
- Harry Coveleski (1886-1950), Major League Baseball pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in the American League. In his sports career he was an Earned run average (ERA) record holder
- Stan Coveleski (1889-1984), a Major League Baseball pitcher and now noted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He began his professional baseball career in the minor leagues in 1908. He pitched for four major league teams - the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators and the New York Yankees - all in the American League.
- George H. Cram (1838-1872), Union Army colonel in the American Civil War (1861-1865) and brevet general in the post-war Reconstruction era.
- Jake Daubert, Major League Baseball player with two National League batting titles He was selected as the "Most Valuable Player ("MVP") in the 1913 season.
- Herbert G. Hopwood (1898-1966), United States Navy, four star admiral and commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, 1958–1960
- Eddie Korbich, Broadway, film and television actor
- Mary LeSawyer, operatic soprano
- Harry J. Lincoln, early 1900s popular music composer
- Michael Luchkovich, first ethnic Ukrainian member of the House of Commons of Canada (1926–1935)
- Fred Rhoads, cartoonist of Sad Sack
- Captain Holden C. Richardson, (USN) (1878-1960), pioneer in U.S. naval aviation; the Navy's first engineering test pilot; assisted in the development of the first Navy-built seaplane.
- Ronald L. Thompson, Pennsylvania state legislator
- Thomas I. Vanaskie, federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Bud Weiser, Major League Baseball player, played for the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League.
- Joseph Zupicich, crewmember of the steamship RMS Carpathia, which assisted in the rescue operation for the RMS Titanic which hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic Ocean in April 1912(1892-1987)
- "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
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- "History of Jones Hardware and Home Center". Joneshardware.com. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- "Our History". National Ticket Company. 2016.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
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- Emily Previti (Jun 5, 2014). "Last resort becoming reality for Shamokin". WITF.org.
- Justin Strawser (February 26, 2015). "Shamokin gets OK for $1 a week Earned Income Tax increase". The Daily Item.
- PA Homepage.com (December 24, 2013). "Shamokin Council Budget Cuts".
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- Eric Scicchitano (February 7, 2014). "Bartos resigns as Shamokin City Clerk". The News-Item.
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- PDE, Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program 2016, 2016
- PA Department of Community and Economic Development (2017). "Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program".
- PDE (October 4, 2016). "Shamokin Area School District Fast Facts 2016".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, District Fast Facts - Shamokin Area School District, November 6, 2014
- NCES, Common Core of Data - Shamokin Area School District, 2011
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, Enrollment and Projections by LEA 2005-06 - 2020, July 2010
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (November 6, 2013). "Shamokin Area High School School Performance Profile 2014".
- Pittsburgh Business Times (April 12, 2016). "Chester County district leads statewide Honor Roll 2016".
- Pittsburgh Business Times (April 6, 2014). "Guide to Pennsylvania Schools Statewide ranking 2014".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 21, 2012). "Shamokin Area School District AYP Overview 2012". Archived from the original on April 27, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (2013). "Charter Schools".
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, What is a Charter School?, 2013
- Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16 Administration (2014). "About the CSIU". Archived from the original on 2014-10-29.
- Bloomsburg University Administration (2013). "High School ACE".
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shamokin, Pennsylvania.|
- Website for the City of Shamokin
- Historic and modern photos of Shamokin
- Photos and historic postcards of Shamokin, Flickr account
- Shamokin Area School District, official website
- The News Item, local newspaper and website for Shamokin and Mount Carmel.
- Adamic, Louis. "The Great Bootleg Coal Industry", The Nation, Vol. 140, No. 3627, 9 January 1934; p. 46
- History of the Shamokin Coal Township Public Library
- Edgewood Park, defunctparks.com