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Hazleton, Pennsylvania
Panoramic view of Hazleton overlooking Downtown and the southern section of the city.
Nickname(s): The Mountain City, The Power City
Hazleton, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
Location within the state of Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°57′32″N 75°58′28″W / 40.95889°N 75.97444°W / 40.95889; -75.97444Coordinates: 40°57′32″N 75°58′28″W / 40.95889°N 75.97444°W / 40.95889; -75.97444
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Luzerne
Settled 1780
Incorporated (borough) January 5, 1857
Incorporated (city) December 4, 1891
 - Mayor Lou Barletta (R)
Elevation 1,689 ft (515 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 23,329
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 570

Hazleton is a city in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 23,329 at the 2000 census.


Greater Hazleton

The City of Hazleton and its surrounding communities are collectively known as Greater Hazleton. Greater Hazleton encompasses an area located within three counties: southern Luzerne County, northern Schuylkill County, and northern Carbon County. The population of Greater Hazleton was 80,351[1] at the 2000 census. Greater Hazleton includes the City of Hazleton; the boroughs of Beaver Meadows, Conyngham, Drifton, Freeland, Jeddo, McAdoo, Weatherly, West Hazleton, White Haven; the townships of Black Creek, Butler, East Union, Foster, Hazle, Sugarloaf; and the towns, villages, or CDPs of Audenried, Coxes Villages, Drums, Ebervale, Eckley, Fern Glen, Haddock, Harleigh, Harwood Mines, Hazle Brook, Highland, Hollywood, Hudsondale, Japan, Jeansville, Junedale, Keylares, Kis-Lyn, Lattimer Mines, Milnesville, Nuremberg, Oneida, Pardeesville, Quakake, St. Johns, Sandy Run, Stockton, Sybertsville, Ringtown, Sheppton, Tomhicken,Tresckow, Upper Lehigh, Weston, and Zion Grove.


Sugarloaf Massacre

During the height of the American Revolution in the summer of 1780, British sympathizers, known as Tories, concentrated from New York's Mohawk Valley, began attacking patriot outposts located along the Susquehanna River Valley in Northeast Pennsylvania. Because of the reports of Tory activity in the region, Captain Daniel Klader and a platoon of 40 to 50 men from Northampton County were sent to investigate. They traveled north from the Lehigh Valley along a path known as "Warrior's Trail," which is present-day State Route 93, since this route connects the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe (formerly known as Mauch Chunk) to the Susquehanna River in Berwick.

Heading north, Captain Klader's men made it as far north as present-day Conyngham when they were ambushed by members of the Seneca tribe and Tory militiamen. In all, 18 men were killed on September 11, 1780 in what was to become the Sugarloaf Massacre.

The Moravians, a Christian denomination, had been using "Warrior's Trail" since the early 1700s after the Moravian missionary Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf first used it to reach the Wyoming Valley. This particular stretch of "Warrior's Trail" had an abundance of hazel trees. Though the Moravians called the region "St. Anthony's Wilderness," it eventually became known as "Hazel Swamp," a name which had been used previously by the Indians.

The Moravian missionaries were sent from their settlements near Bethlehem to the site of the Sugarloaf Massacre to bury the dead soldiers. Because of the aesthetic natural beauty of the Conyngham Valley, some Moravians decided to stay and in 1782, built a settlement, St. Johns, along the Nescopeck Creek, which is near the present-day intersection of Interstates 80 and 81 [2].

Jacob Drumheller's Stage Stand

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the "Warrior Trail" was widened and became the Berwick Turnpike. Later, a road was built to connect Wilkes-Barre to McKeansburg. This road intersected with the Berwick Turnpike at what is present-day Broad and Vine Streets, in downtown Hazleton. An entrepreneur named Jacob Drumheller decided that this intersection was the perfect location for a rest-stop, so in 1809, he built the first building in what would be later known as Hazleton. Though a few buildings and houses began to be built nearby, the area remained a dense wilderness for about 20 more years. Aside from small-scale logging, the area offered little else.

Discovery of coal

Anthracite coal mined from Hazleton was shipped via the Lehigh Canal to Bethlehem Steel Corporation during the American Industrial Revolution.

Railroad developers from Philadelphia became interested in the Hazleton area once previous rumors were validated that in 1818 anthracite coal deposits had been discovered in near-by Beaver Meadows by prospectors Nathaniel Beach and Tench Coxe.

A young engineer from New York named Ariovistus "Ario" Pardee was hired to survey the topography of Beaver Meadows and report the practicality of extending a railroad from the Lehigh River Canal in Jim Thorpe to Beaver Meadows. Pardee, knowing that the area of Beaver Meadows was already controlled by Coxe and Beach, bought many acres of the land in present-day Hazleton. The investment proved to be extraordinarily lucrative. The land contained part of a massive anthracite coal field. Pardee will be forever known as the founding father of Hazleton.[citation needed]

Pardee incorporated the Hazleton Coal Company in 1836, the same year that the rail link to the Lehigh Valley market was about to be completed.

The Hazleton Coal Company built the first school on Church Street, where Hazleton City Hall is now located. Pardee also built the first church in Hazleton located at Church and Broad Streets. The Pardee mansion was built on the northern block of Broad Street, between present-day Church and Laurel Streets.

The coal industry attracted many immigrants for labour, mostly German and Irish in the 1840s and 1850s, and mostly Italian, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, and Slovak in the 1860s to 1920s.

The coal mined in Hazleton helped to establish the United States as a world industrial power, primarily fueling the massive blast furnaces at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.[3]

"Patch Towns"

Many small company towns, often referred to by locals as "patch towns," surrounded Hazleton and were built by coal companies to provide housing for the miners and their families. The patch towns included:

  • Beaver Meadows, coal was discovered here
  • Stockton, founded by John Stockton
  • Jeansville, founded by James Milens
  • Milnesville, founded by James Milens
  • Tresckow, formerly known as Dutchtown
  • Junedale, formerly known as Colraine
  • Freeland, originally Birbeckville after founder Joseph Birbeck, then South Heberton
  • McAdoo, originally called Pleasant Hill, then Saylors Hill
  • West Hazleton, founded by Conrad Horn
  • Eckley, founded by Eckley B. Coxe
  • Jeddo, named after a Japanese port in which coal was exported to by the Hazleton Coal Company
  • Hollywood, area now part of Hazleton, named before Hollywood, California.
  • Weatherly, small borough outside of Hazleton

Sudden prosperity and growth

Mine workers began their protest march near Harwood and many were eventually killed by the Luzerne County sheriff in Lattimer in 1897.

Hazleton was incorporated as a borough on January 5, 1857. Its intended name was supposed to be spelled "Hazelton" but a clerk misspelled the name during incorporation, and the name "Hazleton" has been used ever since. The borough's first fire company, the Pioneer Fire Company, was organized in 1867 by soldiers returning from the American Civil War. Hazleton was incorporated as a city on December 4, 1891. The population then was estimated to be around 14,000 people.

In 1891, Hazleton became the third city in the United States to establish a city-wide electric grid.

On September 10, 1897, the Lattimer Massacre occurred near Hazleton.

Changing times and fuels

After World War II, the demand for coal began to decline as cleaner, more efficient fuels were being used. Readily available, cheap energy helped open the door for manufacturing. The Duplan Silk Corporation opened and became the world's largest silk mill [4]. The garment industry thrived, some operations serving as a front for mafia boss Albert Anastasia.

In 1947, Autolite Corporation was looking to expand operations in the East, and had been looking into Hazleton. Officials from Autolite came to the area to survey it and in their report, they noted Hazleton is a "mountain wilderness" with no major water route, rail route, trucking route, or airport. In response, several area leaders gathered to address these problems.

CANDO (Community Area New Development Organization) was formally organized in 1956 by founder Dr. Edgar L. Dessen. Their main goal was to raise money, through their "Dime A Week" campaign, in which area residents were encouraged to put a dime on their sidewalk each week to be collected by CANDO. The company raised over $250,000 and were able to purchase over 500 acres (2.0 km2) of land, which was converted into an industrial park. Because of CANDO's efforts, Hazleton was given the All-America City Award. Hazleton's economy is now based largely on manufacturing and shipping, facilitated by the relative closeness to Interstates 80 and 81.

An article published in December 2002 by U.S. News & World Report was entitled "Letter from Pennsylvania: A town in need of a tomorrow" which reported Hazleton's shortcomings to the world. It was criticized by local politicians and business leaders alike, and again prompted local leaders to address the problems facing the community.

Recent recovery attempts

The site of the mine reclamation project.

Many local leaders looked for solutions to help change the appearance and perceptions of Hazleton. Similar attempts had been made in the 1980s to try and help clean up and revitalize the image of Downtown Hazleton. Since the local economy had declined, the big department stores closed their doors and left behind a bleak and dreary downtown. Some old buildings had been saved by recent restoration efforts, but still many empty storefronts remain.[5]

In 2005, Mayor Louis Barletta and a private firm introduced a controversial plan to import millions of tons of sediment dredged from the New Jersey and New York harbors and surrounding rivers. The plan calls for the river dredge to be used as fill for the many mine craters left behind from abandoned strip-mining operations. After the mines are filled and the land restored, the plan calls for a 20,000-seat open-air amphitheater. It was the hope of the mayor and the developers that the amphitheater would give people a reason to visit Hazleton and that the project would stimulate the local economy. The plan drew many opponents because of the already-high cancer rate in the region. Many felt capping the mines was an unnecessary risk, because many had questions about pollutants that may be found in the dredge.[6]

Perhaps the most substantial attempt to bring Hazleton's economy back has been a proposed cargo airport to be built 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Hazleton near the Humboldt Industrial Park and Eagle Rock Resort. The planners of the project were expecting $17 billion to be injected into the local economy, as well as 4,500 direct airport jobs, and as many 160,000 indirect jobs.[7] The planners were hoping the airport would have been able to replace the coal industry, but due to the lack of interest by major carriers, the enormous contribution required from public taxpayer funds, the global financial crisis of 2007–2010, and the Luzerne County judicial corruption scandal involving a key player in the proposal,[8] the project has lost the support of many local leaders and has been put on hold indefinitely.[9]

Sanctions against illegal immigrants

In 2006, Hazleton gained national attention as Republican mayor Lou Barletta and council members passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act.[10] This ordinance was instituted to discourage hiring or renting to illegal immigrants. Initially, an administrative fine on landlords for $1000 per illegal immigrant rented to and a loss of permits for non-compliance has been passed.[11] Leaders from other communities across the United States have requested information on this proposal for use in their own municipalities.[12][13] Another act passed concurrently made English the official language of Hazleton.[14]

The ordinance has been criticized as illegal and unconstitutional. A number of Hispanic residents (both legal and illegal[citation needed]) filed suit to strike down the law, claiming it violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. A copy of the court complaint is available from the Pennsylvania ACLU.[15] In an agreement, announced on September 1, with the ACLU, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Community Justice Project, Hazleton will not enforce the ordinance for now.[16] In response to the lawsuits the city of Hazleton has retained the counsel of the former head of immigration in the Department of Justice.[17]

Mayor Lou Barletta of Hazleton estimates that as "many as half" of the estimated 10,000 Hispanics who were living in Hazleton left Hazleton when the ordinance was passed.[18] Reportedly, several shops in the city's Hispanic business district have closed, with others struggling to remain open.[19] The issue was covered by the television program 60 Minutes in 2006[20] and the Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor in March 2007.[21]

The local Chamber of Commerce claims that the influx of both legal and illegal immigrants revitalized a dying coal town, turning a dismal commercial strip on Hazleton's Wyoming Street into a lively row of shops. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed an amicus brief in support of the ACLU's case.[22] The mayor said that murders and other violent crimes had increased dramatically over the prior 10 years.[23]

On July 26, 2007 a federal judge, James Munley, struck down Hazleton's Illegal Immigration Relief Act as an unconstitutional ordinance pre-empted by federal law.[24] The injunction stirred up a national controversy. Mayor Barletta expressed his confidence that the injunction will be overturned by the appellate court.


Hazleton is located at 40°57′32″N 75°58′28″W / 40.95889°N 75.97444°W / 40.95889; -75.97444 (40.958834, -75.974546).[25]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.0 square miles (15.5 km²), all of it land.

Hazleton is located 12 miles (19 km) north of Tamaqua and 25 miles (40 km) south of Wilkes-Barre. Located in Pennsylvania's ridge and valley section on a plateau named Spring Mountain, Hazleton's highest elevation is 1886 feet above sea level, one of the highest incorporated cities east of the Mississippi River and the highest in Pennsylvania. It straddles the divide between the Delaware and Susquehanna River watersheds.


As of the census[26] of 2000, there were 23,329 people, 10,281 households, and 6,004 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,904.6 people per square mile (1,508.8/km²). There were 11,556 housing units at an average density of 1,934.1/sq mi (747.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.70% White, 0.82% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.76% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.85% of the population (however, some estimates show that this has grown to as high as 30% since the 2000 Census [27]).

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1990 24,730
2000 23,329 −5.7%

There were 10,281 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.6% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.0% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 22.2% 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 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,082, and the median income for a family was $37,093. Males had a median income of $31,144 versus $20,926 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,270. About 10.4% of families and 14.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.4% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over.


All of Hazleton's major mining and garment industries have disappeared over the past 50 years. Through the efforts of CANDO and a practical highway infrastructure, Hazleton has become home to many industrial parks. []], Office Max, Simmons Bedding Company, Michaels, Network Solutions, AutoZone, General Mills, and [28] are just some of the large companies with distribution, manufacturing, or logistic operations in Hazleton.

Notable natives and residents

Hazleton in popular culture

  • In 1997, the Pennsylvania rock band Fuel released an EP titled "Hazleton." The EP was so named because it was recorded at C and C Recording Works in Hazleton.
  • Parts of the film Gypsy 83 (2001) were shot in and around Hazleton. In an assumed nod to the area, a character in the movie was named "Hazleton".

Local media


  • The Standard-Speaker, daily newspaper (name merged from the Standard Sentinel (morning paper) and Plain Speaker (evening paper)
  • El Mensajero, Spanish newspaper


  • Radio WAZL 1490(AM), on the air since 1932


  • Local News 13 (local cable subscribers only)
  • WYLN-35 Broadcast Channel 35 and Service Electric Cablevision cable channel 7
  • WHYZ channel 13 (overair, was 69), ABC affiliate and has Spanish language news edition in 10:30PM[citation needed]


History of local education

  • The first school was built in the 1830s by the Hazleton Coal Company. It was a private elementary school at the corner of Church and Green Streets, the present-day site of Hazleton City Hall.
  • Hazleton High School, the first high school, was built in 1875 at Pine and Hemlock Streets, the present-day site of the Pine Street Playground.
  • Hazleton Senior High School, the Mountaineers, was built at 9th and Wyoming Streets, in 1926.
  • Hazle Township High School, the Shippers
  • Foster Township High School, the Falcons
  • McAdoo High School, the Maroons
  • Freeland High School, the Whippets
  • Black Creek Township High School, the Rockets
  • West Hazleton High School, the Wildcats
  • Bishop Hafey High School, the Vikings, was Hazleton's only Roman Catholic High School. It was built in 1971 and closed in 2007.

Hazleton Area School District

Between 1966 and 1992, the Hazleton Area School District closed all area high schools except Hazleton, Freeland, and West Hazleton. The Hazleton Area High School opened in 1992, which resulted in the complete consolidation of all remaining area high schools.

The Hazleton Area School District encompasses 300 square miles (780 km2), which is one of the largest school districts in the state. It includes 1 city, 6 boroughs, 9 townships, (16 municipalities) and 3 counties. Enrollment is currently over 10,000 students. In 2004, the Hazleton Area High School was the 11th largest high school in the state.

The schools of the Hazleton Area School District are:

  • Arthur Street Elementary School
  • Drums Elementary/Middle School
  • Freeland Elementary/Middle School
  • Hazleton Elementary/Middle School
  • Heights-Terrace Elementary/Middle School, the Hawks
  • McAdoo/Kelayres Elementary/Middle School
  • Valley Elementary/Middle School
  • West Hazleton Elementary/Middle School
  • Hazleton Area High School
  • Hazleton Area Career Center

Current Hazleton Area School Board directors are:

  • Elaine Curry, president
  • Jack Shema
  • Sean Shamany
  • Dr. Robert Childs
  • Carmella Yenkevich
  • Steve Hahn
  • Tony Bonomo
  • Paulette Platukis
  • Brian Earley

Private schools

Colleges and universities



City Council

  • Joseph Yannuzzi, President
  • Jack Mundie, Vice President
  • Evelyn Graham
  • Tom Gabos
  • Robert Nilles

Transportation infrastructure

Air transit

Hazleton's commercial passenger airport is the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport located in Avoca, Pennsylvania. The Lehigh Valley International Airport also serves Greater Hazleton. The Hazleton Municipal Airport is the general aviation airport for the city.

Public transportation

Public transportation is provided by the Hazleton Public Transit, a service of the City of Hazleton's Department of Public Services. HPT operates nine routes throughout the city and neighboring communities.


While Hazleton currently has no passenger rail service, it is a major regional center for commercial rail traffic, operated by Norfolk Southern Railway.


Three interstate highways run through the Hazleton area, with associated exits to the city.

There are five major inbound roads to Hazleton: Church Street, Broad Street, CANDO Expressway, Greater Hazleton Chamber Of Commerce Beltway and 22nd Street.

Museums and cultural organizations

Parks and recreation

Annual festivals

Hazleton's annual street festival, Funfest, is celebrated usually during the second weekend of September. The festival includes a craft show, a car show, entertainment from local bands, and many games of chance. The Funfest parade is held on Sunday during the Funfest weekend. First Night Hazleton's annual New Years Party. Valley Day is celebrated in Conyngham during the summer. Many church festivals, including the Festival of the Madonna del Monte at Most Precious Blood in Hazleton, is celebrated to preserve the Italian heritage of the once beautiful town of Hazleton. This is honored by carrying candle houses (cintis) by men up and down the streets of the eastern side of town, from Most Precious Blood to the Key Club, which is located on Monges Street.


  • Altmiller Playground
  • Community Park, Hazle Township
  • Eagle Rock Resort
  • Edgewood In The Pines Golf Course
  • Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails
  • Hickory Run State Park
  • Lehigh Gorge State Park
  • Paragon Off-Road Adventure Park
  • Valley Country Club Golf Course
  • Whitewater Challenge, in Jim Thorpe


Hazleton was a long-time home to minor baseball. On April 14, 1934, the Philadelphia Phillies entered into an affiliation agreement with the New York-Penn League Hazleton Mountaineers. This was the first ever minor league affiliation for the Phillies.[29] The last minor-league club to play in Hazleton was the Hazleton Dodgers in 1950, a Brooklyn Dodgers farm-club which played in the Class D North Atlantic League.[30]

Landmarks and historic locations

  • Eckley Miners' Village, Eckley, PA
  • Hazleton Elementary Middle School (formerly Hazleton Senior High School)
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Tyrolean Roman Catholic Church, the only Tyrolean church in the United States
  • Saint Gabriel The Archangel Roman Catholic Church, 122 South Wyoming Street
  • Saint Joseph Slovak Roman Catholic Church, 601 North Laurel Street, the first Slovak Roman Catholic church established in the Western Hemisphere
  • Saint Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church, Freeland, PA, the mother parish of Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Churches in the United States
  • The Altamont Hotel
  • The Duplan Silk Building
  • The Hazleton Cemetery (the Vine Street Cemetery)
  • The Hazleton National Bank
  • The Markle Building, tallest building in Luzerne county
  • The Traders Bank Building
  • The march of the Lattimer Massacre, which began at State Route 924 near Harwood
  • The site of the Lattimer Massacre in Hazle Township

Sister cities

Hazleton has several sister cities. They are:


  1. ^ Population
  2. ^ Greater Hazleton Historical Society
  3. ^ Greater Hazleton Historical Society
  4. ^ Greater Hazleton Historical Society
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Text of the ordinances
  11. ^ Illegal Immigration Relief Act passed | Small Town Defenders - Hazleton, Pennsylvania
  12. ^ Home - Official Web Site of the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania
  13. ^ Philadelphia Jobs with Justice
  14. ^ 2006-19 _Official English
  15. ^ Lozano v. City of Hazleton :: American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania
  16. ^ American Civil Liberties Union : Coalition Gains Immediate Halt to Unconstitutional Ordinance in Hazleton, PA
  17. ^ Canyon News - The Hazleton Case: The People vs. the ACLU
  18. ^ Washington Times article
  19. ^ Chicago Sun Times article
  20. ^ Welcome To Hazleton, One Mayor's Controversial Plan To Deal With Illegal Immigration - CBS News
  21. ^ The O'Reilly Factor Flash
  22. ^ Immigration Shootout At The Local Corral -
  23. ^ - Transcripts
  24. ^ Judge Voids ordinance on Illegal Immigration. The New York Times. July 27, 2007
  25. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  26. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  27. ^ Newsday article
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Hazelton to Be Phils' Farm". New York Times. 1934-04-15. 
  30. ^ "Hazleton, PA". BR Bullpen.,_PA. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 

External links

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