|Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania|
|— Borough —|
|Nickname(s): "The Little Town That Could"|
Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania
|Incorporated||June 11, 1840|
|- Type||Mayor and Borough Council|
|- Mayor||Gary Hess (D)|
|- Total||1.4 sq mi (3.6 km2)|
|Elevation||526 ft (160 m)|
|- Density||3,908.2/sq mi (1,509/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|- Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Schuylkill Haven is a borough in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, four miles (6 km) south of Pottsville and 89 miles (143 km) north-west of Philadelphia, in the United States. The borough's population was 5,548 as of the 2000 census. Schuylkill Haven is situated along the Schuylkill River for which it is named. Schuylkill Haven is a focal point of activity in southern Schuylkill County.
Before Europeans settled the land that is now part of Schuylkill Haven, the area was occupied by the Lenni Lenape Indians (who were known as the Delawares by the English). The earliest white settlers first traveled north of the Blue Mountain (which is located south of Schuylkill Haven at the Berks-Schuylkill County line) in the 1730s. The first settler in Schuylkill Haven was John Fincher, a Quaker from Chester County, Pennsylvania. Fincher received a land grant of 225 acres on March 5, 1750, the day which Schuylkill Haven considers to be its unofficial founding. Fincher constructed a house and barn near the Schuylkill River, and called his settlement "Fincher's Ford." The next known settler of Schuylkill Haven was Martin Dreibelbis, a German who came to modern-day Schuylkill Haven in the Spring of 1775. Martin Dreibelbis constructed a house, saw mill, distillery, and a grist mill on the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River. He later built a log house near modern-day Main Street, giving Martin Dreibelbis the title of the first citizen of Schuylkill Haven. Martin Dreibelbis willed the original plot of the town to a son, Jacob. Another son, Daniel, received an area east of the original plot, and a third son, George, received an area outside of the present borough known as "Seven Stars" (located north of Schuylkill Haven on the Schuylkill River). The original plot of Schuylkill Haven shows that the borough stretched from the Schuylkill River on the west, to present-day Main Street on the north (then known as Front Street), to Saint Peter Street on the east (then known as Jacob Street), and Liberty Street on the south. Present-day Columbia Street was supposed to be the main residential district.
Schuylkill Haven was developed around the Schuylkill River. The river flows through the center of the borough, entering northwest of Island Park (near Fritz Reed Avenue) and exiting at the southeastern border. The elevation at the river in the borough is approximately 490 feet above sea level. Farther from the river, the borough extends up numerous hills, reaching its highest elevation of about 700 feet above sea level near the top of Avenue C.
Schuylkill Haven receives an average of 47 inches of rain each year. The warmest month is normally July with an average high temperature of 84 degrees fahrenheit, while the coolest month is typically January with an average high of 36 degrees fahrenheit.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.7 km²), all of it land.
Schuylkill Haven provides electric, water, sewer, and refuse services to the citizens of the borough. The Tumbling Run Reservoir, located about five miles north of the borough, is the Schuylkill Haven's source of water. Storage tanks at Willow Lake at the northern edge of the borough are an additional part of the borough's water facilities. Schuylkill Haven's sewage treatment plant is located at the southern edge of town, on the western side of St. Charles Street.
Schuylkill Haven's borough hall is located on Main Street in the former Reading Railroad passenger station. Borough Hall can be contacted during normal business hours at (570) 385-2841.
Schuylkill Haven is served by its own police force. The Schuylkill Haven Police Department consists of eight officers. The Police Department provides service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with at least two officers typically on duty at any given time. Located at 220 Parkway, the Police Department's office can be reached at (570) 385-9111. Additionally, the Schuylkill County Communications Center can be reached at (570) 628-3792. Emergency calls should be made to 911.
Schuylkill Haven has a volunteer fire department that is one of the best in the area. The borough has three fire stations: The Schuylkill Hose Co. (Station 1) located at Union & St. Peter Streets, the Liberty Hose Co. (Station 2) located at Columbia & St. James Streets, and the Rainbow Hose Co. (Station 4) located on Dock Street.
Schuylkill Haven has numerous playgrounds and recreation areas.
Playgrounds in the borough include the "Green Goose" (located on Jackson street just west of Avenue A), the Saylor Street playground (in the western side of the borough), the Naffin Avenue playground (located on Naffin Avenue just northwest of the public school district's main athletic field), and the Willow Street playground (located in the northwestern corner of the borough). Other children's play areas are located on Garfield Avenue, North Berne Street, Williams Street, and Fritz Reed Avenue. Located on South Berne Street is an area known as "The Courts" which features a basketball court, picnic benches, and a gazebo.
Bubeck Park is located south of Columbia street near the Columbia Heights section of the borough. The park includes two pavilions, a bandstand, and a gazebo. Situated at the eastern edge of Bubeck Park is Stoyer's Dam. Officially dedicated on May 20, 1984, this man-made dam is the site of fishing and iceskating, as well as the home of numerous ducks, geese, and swans. The source of water for the dam is Long Run Creek, which enters on the western side of the dam after traveling along Pennsylvania Route 443 from the Friedensburg, Pennsylvania area.
Island Park is the newest addition to Schuylkill Haven's park system. It is located south of Fritz Reed Avenue between the Schuylkill River to the north, east, and south, and the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad tracks to the west. Island park is currently the site of fireworks displays in the borough and is expected to feature a skate park, pavilions, and other opportunities for recreation once development is completed.
The Community Center (also known as the "Recreation Center" or the "Senior Center") is located at 340 Haven Streeet. Senior citizen events, biddy basketball, council chambers, and internet access are found at the center. A gym and two rooms are available to rent for meetings, showers, and small parties. The center is handicap accessible and has handicap accessible bathrooms.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,548 people, 2,393 households, and 1,536 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,908.2 people per square mile (1,508.5/km²). There were 2,551 housing units at an average density of 1,797.0/sq mi (693.6/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.22% White, 0.76% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.26% of the population.
There were 2,393 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the borough the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $32,442, and the median income for a family was $41,286. Males had a median income of $33,047 versus $20,582 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $16,804. About 7.1% of families and 8.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and 15.3% of those age 65 or over.
Schuylkill Haven is governed by a borough council and a mayor. There are seven borough council members, each elected to a four-year term. The mayor is also elected to a four-year term, with the next mayoral election in November, 2013. The current mayor is Gary Hess (D). There are no term limits for borough council members or the mayor. Borough council meetings are typically held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month in the borough's recreation center located on Haven Street. In addition to council and the mayor, a borough administrator leads the municipality's daily operations.
Schuylkill Haven is in the 17th United States Congressional District. Its current US Congressman is Tim Holden (D).
The borough of Schuylkill Haven lies within Schuylkill Haven Area School District. The district's three schools are joined through a small system of roadways, parking lots, and sidewalks. The current middle school (formerly the high school) was built in 1938, the current high school was built in 1967, and the current elementary center was constructed in 1991 and combined the borough's three smaller elementary schools (the North Ward, the East Ward, and the South Ward). The school district is small compared with many urban and suburban school districts, graduating 102 seniors in 2009, and ranking as a PIAA Class "A" district for athletic activities. Recent upgrades within the school district include an addition of classrooms to the elementary center, a new auditorium and an eighth-grade wing for the high school, and artificial turf for the athletic field, known as "Rotary Field," which serves as the district's main athletic complex for sports and marching band activities. Schuylkill Haven High School athletic teams are known as the "Hurricanes."
In addition to the public school district, St. Ambrose School is on the eastern side of the borough and is a private, co-educational school for kindergarten through eighth grades.
Penn State Schuylkill is part of the Pennsylvania State University system and is located along Pennsylvania Route 61 immediately northeast of the borough. This public college currently offers five associate degrees, along with the opportunity to complete the first two years of 160 majors from Penn State.
Also within the borough is the Schuylkill Haven Free Public Library. Dedicated on June 26, 1966, the library is located at 104 St. John Street, at the intersection of St. John Street and Union Street. The library is open Monday through Saturday, and proudly serves the citizens of the Schuylkill Haven Area School District.
Schuylkill Haven is served by two state highways, Pennsylvania Route 61 and Pennsylvania Route 443. PA Route 61 (a north-south highway) travels through the northern part of the borough. PA Route 61 is known as "Center Avenue" in Schuylkill Haven. The road continues north to Pottsville, Pennsylvania and ends in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, and south into Berks County, Pennsylvania where it ends in the city of Reading, Pennsylvania. PA Route 443 enters Schuylkill Haven at the western end of the borough where it is known as "Columbia Street." It continues on "Parkway" to "Main Street" until it enters "Dock Street." PA Route 443 exits the town along with PA Route 61 on the northeastern side of the borough. PA Route 443 continues east toward Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, and west toward Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
Schuylkill Haven is not directly served by any interstate highways. Interstate 81 can be accessed from PA Route 443 near Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, whereas Interstate 78 can be accessed near Hamburg, Pennsylvania in Berks County, Pennsylvania from PA Route 61.
The Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad traverses the center of the borough on a single-track line with grade crossings on Williams Street, Union Street, and Main Street. This line was once part of the Reading Railroad. There is currently no passenger service in the borough, although the Reading Railroad's passenger station remains as the borough hall (and formerly the police station until 2008).
Ralph Peters, writer