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Borough of Hamburg
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Berks
Elevation 397 ft (121 m)
Coordinates 40°33′23″N 75°58′58″W / 40.55639°N 75.98278°W / 40.55639; -75.98278
Area 2.0 sq mi (5.2 km2)
 - land 1.9 sq mi (5 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 4,114 (2000)
Density 2,212.2 /sq mi (854.1 /km2)
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Code 19526
Area code 610
Location of Hamburg in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Hamburg is a borough in Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 4,114 at the 2000 census. The town is named after Hamburg, Germany.



Hamburg is located at 40°33′23″N 75°58′58″W / 40.55639°N 75.98278°W / 40.55639; -75.98278 (40.556271, -75.982667).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.2 km²), of which, 1.9 square miles (4.8 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (7.00%) is water.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 4,114 people, 1,824 households, and 1,156 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,212.2 people per square mile (854.0/km²). There were 1,932 housing units at an average density of 1,038.9/sq mi (401.0/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.91% White, 0.34% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.49% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.

There were 1,824 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the borough the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $37,683, and the median income for a family was $50,957. Males had a median income of $37,650 versus $22,308 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $20,689. About 5.1% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.


In 1779, Martin Kaercher Jr. received 250 acres of land from his father and divided it into building lots, naming the area Kaercher Stadt. Hamburg was officially founded in 1787, named after the "German Hamburgh" due to the largely German population of the region. On July 1, 1798 Hamburg become the second town with postal designation in Berks County, preceded only by Reading, Pa.

The Centre Turnpike was created in 1812 running between the two cities of Reading and Pottsville. Being approximately 15 miles from both towns, Hamburg began to grow rapidly due to the close proximity of a major roadway. Eight years later (1820) the Schuylkill Canal was completed, followed quickly by railroad lines. Both of these advances in infrastructure had stops in Hamburg and boosted its population.

Hamburg Borough was officially organized in 1837.


The Hamburg school district is geographically the largest in all of Berks County with a 103 square mile radius. Within this area there are on average 2600 students, ranging from kindergarten to high school. The school district includes the towns of Hamburg, Shoemakersville, and Strausstown as well as the rural Townships of Perry, Tilden, Upper Bern, Upper Tulpehocken, and Windsor.

There are two elementary schools, one located in Tilden Township just outside of Hamburg’s city limits and the other located in the center of Shoemakersville, that teach to students K-5. From here both schools combine into one middle school, grades 6-8, and then finally one high school, grades 9-12. Both the high school and middle school are located within Hamburg and are separated by less than half a mile. There is also a Private high school, Blue Mountain Academy grades 9-12, that has an average enrollment of 204 students.

Additionally, of the 10 churches located in Hamburg, six of them offer a weekly Sunday school services. Many of these churches also have preschool programs for children too young to attend kindergarten.

The King Frost Parade

In 1910, Jack Walker formed a committee to organize a large fall parade in the town of Hamburg. His motivation was to boost the local economy and to create an enjoyable event for the prospering town. With a budget of just over $100, Mr. Walker was able to advertise and prepare the town for a parade that consisted of 4 full divisions. Among the original participants we the fraternal club known as Red Men, “Heckmen’s Chairwarmers,” and the Hamburg’s Darktown Fire Brigade. The event consisted of individual marchers, bands, communal groups, and business sponsored horse drawn floats.

The parade was canceled from 1916 to 1921 due to a combination of infantile paralysis, an outbreak of influenza, bridge reconstruction, and the World War. The Keystone Social Club revived the parade from 1921 to 1924. They also agreed to sponsor the parade again in 1940. The 1940 parade resulted in wide scale traffic problems due to a crowd of 50000, a dilemma that would cancel the parade for many years to come.

In 1964, the Hamburg Jaycees once again began funding the parade, spurring the interest of 2200 marchers alongside 50 floats. The King Frost Parade has been a presence in the town ever since and boasts the title of “Largest Fall Extravaganza Parade on the East Coast.” With an average crowd of 20000 and a budget over $30000, this is Hamburg’s largest public event. The few restrictions in place are; date to begin placing chairs, no politically oriented groups, and the bars close once the parade begins.


Hamburg has multiple sites where recreational activities such as athletics, hiking, and fishing are able to take place. The area around the high school contains 2 soccer fields, 2 baseball fields, 2 softball fields, 6 tennis courts, a football field, and a field hockey field. These outdoor fields are open to public use during the sports offseason. There are also 2 basketball courts located inside the school and a third within the middle school.

There are two official parks, one in the center of town and Kaercher Creek Park which is on the outskirts. The center park offers 4 basketball courts, a baseball field, a swimming pool, little league baseball and soccer fields, playground equipment, 2 pavilions and a cleared trail that runs along the edge of the Schuylkill River. During the summer months there are daily activities run by park leader. Kaercher Creek Park surrounds a large manmade lake that is open to fishermen and contains a loading/unloading boat ramp. The park’s forty acres also contain trails through the hillside, pavilions, grills, a playground and a volleyball court.

Further upriver from the central park is the Kernsville Dam. There is a boat loading/unloading ramp upstream from the dam itself with mid-river water levels varying from 6 to 15 feet. There are extensive trails on both sides of the river that through the woods, leading to a small beach on the river’s west side and an unused quarry on the east.


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  

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