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Shenandoah, Pennsylvania

Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
St. Casimir's Catholic Church in Shenandoah
St. Casimir's Catholic Church in Shenandoah
Flag of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Location of Shenandoah in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Shenandoah in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
Shenandoah is located in Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Shenandoah is located in the United States
Shenandoah (the United States)
Coordinates: 40°49′11″N 76°12′10″W / 40.81972°N 76.20278°W / 40.81972; -76.20278
CountryUnited States
 • TypeBorough Council
 • MayorMark Adams Jr.
 • Council PresidentCatherine Catizone
 • Council Vice PresidentLeo Pietkiewicz
 • Councilors
  • Rosanne Mychak
  • Robert Mychak
  • Paul Holland
  • Marlana Buhl
  • Ronald Mickalowski
 • Total1.58 sq mi (4.09 km2)
 • Land1.51 sq mi (3.91 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.17 km2)
 • Total4,249 Decrease
 • Estimate 
 • Density3,150.23/sq mi (1,216.46/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code570
FIPS code42-70056

Shenandoah is a borough in Schuylkill County in the Coal Region of Pennsylvania. It is distinct from Shenandoah Heights, which is part of West Mahanoy Township immediately to the north. As of 2021, the borough's population was 4,247.

Shenandoah is located approximately 53.5 miles (86.1 km) northwest of Allentown, 102.3 miles (164.6 km) northwest of Philadelphia, and 144.5 miles (232.6 km) miles west of New York City.


The area that ultimately became Shenandoah was first settled by a farmer named Peter Kehley in 1835. Kehley cleared a patch of land at the center of the valley and built a log cabin and maintained his farm for about 20 years in total isolation.[3] He sold his claim to the Philadelphia Land Company, which in anticipation of the opening of coal mines in the area, laid out the town in 1862.[4]

Six ton piece of coal at Girard Park.

Booming growth occurred during the Civil War years caused by the development and opening of several anthracite coal mines.[citation needed] The area was incorporated as a borough in 1866[4] and was a famous hotbed of activity during the era of the Molly Maguires in the 1870s.[citation needed]

After the original influx of English, Welsh, Irish, and German immigrants a large influx of people from central, eastern and southern European countries such as Poland, Lithuania, and Italy occurred in the decades before and after the turn of the 20th century. [citation needed]

1889 Panoramic Map of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Station served as the main passenger terminal in Shenandoah, but because of the coal industry, it was not the only railroad to service Shenandoah. The town was also served by the Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Railroad, making Shenandoah the only borough in Pennsylvania to be served by three railroad companies.[citation needed]

In Schuylkill County Court, in January 1902, those interested filed their petition for retail, wholesale, bottling or brewing licenses at the Office of the Clerk of the Court. Shenandoah was represented with bars and breweries. This coal town offered more bars per thousand people than any other location in the world.[citation needed]

During the Great Coal Strike of 1902 the Pennsylvania National Guard was called into Shenandoah to keep the peace and curb rioting by angry miners.[5] The strike would only be resolved after President Theodore Roosevelt intervened.

By 1920, the town had a population of nearly 30,000 residents.[citation needed]

The community was hard hit by the decline of the anthracite coal industry after World War II and heavy emigration by coal miners occurred in order to find work elsewhere.[citation needed]

Shenandoah, the rise and fall of the coal industry, and the dismantling of the Molly Maguires was one of the subjects examined by George Leighton in his 1939 book Five Cities: The Story of Their Youth and Old Age.[6]

Shenandoah Valley was featured in the documentary 2012 film "Shenandoah, Pennsylvania" exploring the hate crime murder of Luis Ramirez and the local police attempting to cover it up.


The origin of the name Shenandoah is much debated. One theory holds that Shenandoah received its name from an Indian word meaning 'sprucy stream' or 'river flowing alongside high hills and mountains'.[citation needed] Another origin theory is that the town was named after the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The Virginia valley in turn took its name from an Iroquoian word meaning 'deer'.[7]


Shenandoah is located at 40°49′11″N 76°12′10″W / 40.81972°N 76.20278°W / 40.81972; -76.20278 (40.819753, -76.202883).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), of which 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (3.80%) is water. It has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Dfb) and average monthly temperatures range from 25.0 °F in January to 69.5 °F in July. PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University The hardiness zone is 6a.

Attack on the Coal and Iron Police by a Mob of Polish Strikers, February 3rd, 1888


As of the census of 2010, there were 5,071 people, 2,213 households, and 1,213 families residing in the borough. There were 3,112 housing units, with 28.9% vacant. The racial makeup of the borough was 86.3% White, 1.7% Black, 0.4% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 8.7% some other race, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.7% of the population.

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 5,624 people, 2,649 households, and 1,380 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,710.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,432.7/km2)). There were 3,339 housing units at an average density of 2,203.1 per square mile (850.6/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.40% White, 0.34% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.76% of the population.

Historical population
2021 (est.)4,247[2]0.0%

There were 2,649 households, out of which 20.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.5% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.9% were non-families. 42.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 26.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 19.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 28.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $18,714, and the median income for a family was $26,910. Males had a median income of $24,289 versus $19,783 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $12,562. About 16.2% of families and 20.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.3% of those under age 18 and 16.1% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

Local Media

  • The Pottsville Republican – Herald, daily newspaper, name merged from the Pottsville Republican and Shenandoah Evening Herald.[14]
  • The Hazleton Standard-Speaker, daily newspaper, name merged from the Standard Sentinel (morning paper) and Plain Speaker (evening paper).[15]
  • WCDH 91.5FM, licensed to Shenandoah, with a Contemporary Christian music format.
  • Locally owned WMBT 1530 on the AM dial served the community from 1963 to 2003.
  • The Shenandoah Sentinel, online local newspaper.


St Michael Greek Catholic Church (Ruthenian Catholic Church) was first of that denomination in the United States. On 21 November 1886, the church was dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel. The new parish was started four years earlier when a group of seventy Galician and Subcarpathian Ruthenian families gathered together and agreed to petition the Ruthenian Catholic Metropolitan of Galicia. [citation needed]

St. George Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church is the oldest Lithuanian parish in the United States.[16] The Lithuanian parish was established in 1872, and the church was built in 1891.[17] The church was demolished in 2010 by the decision of Diocese of Allentown and against the wishes of parishioners.[18]

St. Casimir Roman Catholic Church is listed as one of the oldest Polish parishes in the United States.


See also


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Bureau, US Census. "City and Town Population Totals: 2020—2021". US Census Bureau. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  3. ^ "The Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society". Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  4. ^ a b W.W. Munsell & Co (1881). History of Schuylkill County, Pa. New York: W.W. Munsell & Co. p. 377.
  5. ^ Grossman, Johnathan (1975). "The Coal Strike of 1902 – Turning Point in U.S. Policy". Monthly Labor Review. 98: 21. Archived from the original on February 6, 2019 – via U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  6. ^ Leighton, George R. (1939). Five Cities: The Story of Their Youth and Old Age. New York: Harper & Brothers. doi:10.1002/ncr.4110280620.
  7. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 437. ISBN 0-8061-3576-X. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  10. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  11. ^ "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  12. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  13. ^ "Great Mural By Former Town Man". Republican and Herald. November 11, 1942. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  14. ^ Herald, Pottsville Republican. "". Pottsville Republican Herald.
  15. ^ Speaker, Hazleton Standard. "". Hazleton Standard Speaker.
  16. ^ "History of St. George Parish in Shenandoah, PA". Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  17. ^ "Diocese plans to tear down St. George Church in Shenandoah". Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  18. ^ "St. George Parish in Shenandoah, PA, needs help". Arizona Chapter of Lithuanian-American Community, Inc. December 17, 2009. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
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Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
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