Washington, Pennsylvania: Wikis


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The county courthouse in downtown Washington on a snowy winter day.
Official name: City of Washington
Named for: George Washington
Country  United States
State  Pennsylvania
County Washington
Elevation 1,156 ft (352 m)
Coordinates 40°10′30″N 80°15′2″W / 40.175°N 80.25056°W / 40.175; -80.25056
Area 3.3 sq mi (9 km2)
Population 15,268 (2000)
Density 5,199.2 /sq mi (2,007 /km2)
Established 1768
 - Incorporated 1810
Mayor L. Anthony Spossey
Timezone EST (UTC-4)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-5)
Area code 724
Location of Washington within Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States
Website: www.washingtonpa.us

Washington is a city in Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States and part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The population was 15,268 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Washington County[1] and is located in the southwestern part of the state.



Washington is located at 40°10′30″N 80°15′2″W / 40.175°N 80.25056°W / 40.175; -80.25056 (40.174959, -80.250634)[2].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.3 square miles (8.5 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 15,268 people, 6,259 households, and 3,486 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,199.2 people per square mile (2,005.1/km²). There were 7,111 housing units at an average density of 2,421.5/sq mi (933.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.88% White, 14.60% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.61% from other races, and 2.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.94% of the population.

There are 6,259 households out of which 24.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.3% were non-families. 38.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 13.2% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,764, and the median income for a family was $34,862. Males had a median income of $29,977 versus $22,374 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,818. 20.7% of the population and 16.4% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 29.2% of those under the age of 18 and 15.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


City Hall in Washington, PA
George Washington Hotel

Delaware Indian chief Tangooqua, commonly known as "Catfish", had a camp on a branch of Chartiers Creek in what is now part of the city of Washington.[4] The French labeled the area "Wissameking", meaning "catfish place", as early as 1757.[4] The area of Washington was settled by many immigrants from Scotland and the north of Ireland along with settlers from eastern and central parts of colonial Virginia. It was first settled by colonists around 1768.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed an act on March 28, 1781, erecting the County of Washington and naming Catfish Camp as the place for holding the first election. This was the first county in the U.S. to be named in honor of President George Washington. David Hoge laid out a plan of lots immediately after the legislature's action. His original plot carried the name "Bassett, alias Dandridge Town," but before the plot was recorded, lines were drawn through "Bassett, alias Dandridge Town" with ink, and the word "Washington" was written above.

The original plot dedicated a tract of ground to the people for recreational purposes. A lot was given for a courthouse where the current building now stands, and Lots 43 and 102, according to the plan, were presented by Hoge to "His Excellency, General Washington, and Mrs. Washington." The town was the center for the 'Whiskey Rebellion' of 1791, which was one of the first open rebellions against the new U.S. government and Constitution. The Rebellion was centered around a tax being imposed on whiskey distillation in the region. The town was incorporated as a borough on February 13, 1810, and became a city of the third class in 1924.[5]

In 1903 the Washington and Canonsburg Railway Company linked the two towns with a trolley line. The company was bought by the Philadelphia Company in 1906, later becoming part of the Pittsburgh Railway Company, linking through to Pittsburgh as part of their interurban service in 1909.[6] The line closed on August 29, 1953. A short section of the line and a number of trolley cars are preserved at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum north of the city.

Current projects

The city of Washington is currently working to improve the social conditions of the community through a $14-million street-scape improvement project that will significantly improve the infrastructure of downtown Washington. Along with the infrastructure improvements, Millcraft Industries has announced a $100 million revitalization project for downtown Washington.

As part of the revitalization, Land America is currently building a new 7 story office building at the corner of Beau and Franklin streets in Washington. Land America is expected to take about 100,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of the seven-story, 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) building for its corporate headquarters, and will employ up to 1,000 people in the building upon completion in December, 2006.

Other aspects of the Crossroads Project include street level retail, residential lofts, an 80-room hotel, and an outdoor park and amphitheatre. In addition, the Carl Walker Construction Co. will build an $12 million, 850-space parking garage between Chestnut and Beau streets to accommodate the office building.

Points of interest

"Old Main" is the most recognizable building on the W&J Campus

Washington is home to Washington & Jefferson College, a small, co-educational private liberal arts college founded in 1781. Located in downtown Washington, the college now enrolls over 1,500 students. It is noted as an excellent pre-med and pre-law institution due to its fine liberal arts curriculum and is considered a good preparatory school for graduate level studies in general. W&J’s 60 acre suburban campus includes more than 40 academic, recreational, and residential buildings, as well as a 54 acre biological field station. In the 2006 U.S. News and World Report "America's Best Colleges" guide, W&J was ranked #94 among the top 100 Liberal Arts Schools in the US.

The Washington Wild Things minor league baseball team play at CONSOL Energy Park, constructed in 2002 in nearby North Franklin Township. The Wild Things are in the Frontier League, an independent professional baseball organization. Over their young history, the team has had considerable success, including a league-record 62 wins in 2004. The Wild Things have been the Frontier League Organization of the Year three times since moving to Washington in 2002. In 2007 The stadium has also started hosting concerts, with acts such as the Counting Crows, A Perfect Circle, and Trace Adkins.

PONY Headquarters, viewed from right front of property.

Located next to CONSOL Energy Park is the PONY Baseball and Softball International Headquarters, constructed in 2005. The new facility replaces their old building, which was also located just outside the city of Washington in South Strabane Township. The old building, a 6,500-square-foot (600 m2) facility was replaced with the new building - a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) building that houses the offices, museum and shipping departments for PONY Baseball and Softball. Not only is the Washington area the home of PONY Baseball and Softball's headquarters, but also the PONY League World Series (for 13 and 14 year old players). The PONY League World Series is held at historic Lew Hays Field located in the city's Washington Park.

Also in the city are two historic homes, that of David Bradford on Main St. and that of F. Julius LeMoyne on Maiden St. LeMoyne built the first crematory in America. Both homes are listed on the List of Registered Historic Places in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1891, Beth Israel Congregation is the only synagogue in Washington County.

The city is the setting for the independent film, "Reversal."[citation needed]

On January 27, 2006, to commemorate the Pittsburgh Steelers' appearance in Super Bowl XL, the city council voted to symbolically rename the city "Steelers, Pennsylvania" through February 5, 2006.[7]


The City is home to Off The Wall Productions, a professional theater company, established 2007, staging contemporary plays and musicals from October until May. Washington Symphony Orchestra, founded 2002, offers four to five concerts annually.


Club League Venue Established Championships
Washington Wild Things FL, Baseball CONSOL Energy Park 1997 1
Observer-Reporter Building


The Observer-Reporter is a daily newspaper that traces its history to 1808.

Notable residents

Philo McGiffin - Solider of Fortune


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ a b Walkinshaw, Lewis Clark (ca. 1939). Annals of southwestern Pennsylvania, Vol. 1. New York. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc, p. 16.
  5. ^ City of Washington home page
  6. ^ Grefenstette, Jerry (2009). Canonsburg - Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 0738565334. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vr31Qfo34g0C&source=gbs_navlinks_s. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  7. ^ Washington, Pa., renamed until end of Super Bowl - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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