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Northumberland, Pennsylvania

Northumberland, Pennsylvania
View of Northumberland
View of Northumberland
Northumberland, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Northumberland, Pennsylvania
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Northumberland
Settled 1772
Incorporated 1828
 • Type Borough Council
 • Mayor Len Zboray
 • Total 1.6 sq mi (4.1 km2)
Population (2000)
 • Total 3,714
 • Density 2,368.2/sq mi (913.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip code 17857
Area code(s) 570
Website Northumberland borough

Northumberland is a borough in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 3,804 at the 2010 census.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Education 4
    • Parochial schools 4.1
    • Charter Public Schools 4.2
  • Government 5
  • Notable people 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Northumberland was founded in 1772.[1] The land that became Northumberland was purchased from the Iroquois in the first Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, and the village was laid out in 1772. During the American Revolution, Northumberland was evacuated during the Big Runaway in 1778, and only finally resettled in 1784.[2]

Northumberland was the American home of eighteenth-century British theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, educator, and political theorist Joseph Priestley (1733–1804) from 1794 until his death in 1804. The Joseph Priestley House still stands on Priestley Avenue and is a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and a museum administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. There is one other property in the borough on the NRHP: the Priestley-Forsyth Memorial Library, built by a great grandson of Joseph Priestley. Much of the borough is part of the Northumberland Historic District, which is also on the NRHP.


View of Northumberland from the Shikellamy State Park overlook

Northumberland is located at (40.893935, -76.795975),[3] about 60 miles northeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It sits at the confluence of the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km²), all of it land.

The Susquehanna River near Northumberland


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 3,714 people, 1,657 households, and 1,045 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,368.2 people per square mile (913.4/km²). There were 1,772 housing units at an average density of 1,129.9 per square mile (435.8/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.38% White, 0.73% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.40% from other races, and 0.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.62% of the population.

There were 1,657 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the borough the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 90.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $31,891, and the median income for a family was $38,807. Males had a median income of $31,162 versus $22,203 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $18,229. About 4.5% of families and 7.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.7% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.


Map of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

The local public school system is the Shikellamy School District, with administrative offices in nearby Sunbury. Shikellamy High School has a 78% graduation rate according to the district report card 2005-2006. In 11th grade in the same year, 49% were proficient in math and 62% were proficient in reading.[8] The high school is ranked 384th out of 606 public high schools in Pennsylvania.[9]

In 2007, the Pittsburgh Business Times ranked the Shikellamy School District 434th out of 499 Pennsylvania school districts based on three years of Pennsylvania System of Student Assessment test scores.[10]

The Shikellamy School Board set the budget at $34.62 million for 2007-2008. The board levies a variety of taxes to support its programs. Taxes include 62.5 mills real estate tax in 2007.[11] Per capita taxes are $5 per resident. An occupational tax, which charges a set amount based on your job title, earns approximately $1.7 million. Many see this tax as particularly unfair, as people classified in the same job title often earn vastly different amounts but have to pay the same amount. An earned income taxes of one-half of 1 percent of income yields a revenue of approximately $1.8 million. Additionally, the real estate transfer tax of one-half percent (Northumberland Borough, Point Township, Rockefeller Township) and one percent (Snydertown borough) is levied on real estate transfers.[12]

Voters rejected a tax referendum in May 2007 which would have increased local earned income tax by 0.5 percent to reduce property taxes for homeowners and farmers by $176 on average.[13]

SUN Area Technical Institute is a regional vocational school, offering adult education classes, vocational education, and technical career training. SUN Tech serves over 1500 people annually. ISO9001 and Middle States Accredited. SUN Tech was presented with the Significant Achievement Award in Education for raising their Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award score to 648 points, a 345-point increase from 303 points in August, 2000.

Residents also have a wide selection of alternative schools. By law, the local public school must provide transportation to schools within 10 miles of the borders of the school district at no charge to the student.[14]

Parochial schools

  • St. Monica's School provides a parochial education program for kindergarten to 8th grades. The school is a member of the National Christian Schools Association. Noncatholics seek admission to this school.
  • Sunbury Christian Academy offers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The campus is located just north of the borough of Northumberland.
  • Northumberland Christian School Northumberland Christian School was founded in 1972 and is a ministry of the First Regular Baptist Church of Northumberland, Pa. The school offers a full educational program for students from preschool through high school. High school students must complete a minimum of 26 credits in order to graduate. All students must complete 4 credits in English, 3 credits in social studies, 3 credits in math, 3 credits in science and 2 credits in health and physical education.

Northumberland Christian School has graduated 312 students, beginning in 1978 and continuing each year to the present. 70% of their graduates have gone on to attend four-year colleges, including state universities, independent liberal arts colleges, and four-year Christian colleges; 12% of their graduates attended two-year college programs or two-year nursing schools; and 4% have entered the armed forces.

From their 312 Alumni, they have had 5 National Merit Scholars and 11 students who received Letters of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The average SAT score of their graduates is well above the national average.

Charter Public Schools

  • Connections Academy provides a form of public school that students can attend from home. This is a unique program that combines strong parental involvement, the expertise and accountability of publicly funded education, and the flexibility of online classes. Centered on meeting students needs and goals. Has a K-11th program. Students are required to take all state mandated, standardized tests in person at locations designated by the school.[15]
  • SusQ-Cyber Charter School provides students in grades 9-12 with an electronically delivered accredited high school curriculum.
  • 21st Century Cyber Charter School is a state accredited, diploma granting school serving Pennsylvania students in grades 6 through 12. Modifications are made to suit individual student learning styles, varying academic levels and scheduling needs. Most classes are offered in honors, college prep, and career paths. All of the classes are designed to prepare the student for standardized tests such as the PSSAs.
  • Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School provides a structured yet flexible, interactive environment in a program for Kindergarten through 10th grade. The rigorous instruction, high standards, informed guidance, and individual attention provide each student with the opportunity to be highly successful. Teachers interact with students via email. Additionally the Elluminate classroom gives the student access to their teachers during the teacher’s office hours to ask questions related to content of a subject. "An independent audit of cyber-charter schools by KPMG Consulting, which was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, praised PAVCS for offering a well-researched program and an appropriate assessment plan."[16]

The Central Susquehanna LPN Career Center, located in Sunbury, provides a one-year full-time program to prepare the individual to enter a career in licensed practical nursing. Classroom instruction and laboratory experience are offered in Sunbury. Affiliated hospitals, nursing care facilities, doctors' offices and childcare settings provide clinical experience.


A seven-seat Council governs the Borough of Northumberland, with a mayor taking on a largely ceremonial role. Council members serve for four-year terms, as does the mayor. The current mayor, Len Zboray was appointed in July 2011 to complete the term of Past Mayor Gretchen Brosius upon her resignation.

Panoramic view of Northumberland (left) with the confluence of the West Branch Susquehanna River (left) and North Branch (center) of the Susquehanna River, along with the borough of Sunbury (far right). Taken from the Shikellamy State Park Overlook, with the state park's Marina unit on Packer Island in the river visible.

Notable people

English chemist and co-discoverer of oxygen Joseph Priestley lived in Northumberland for the last decade of his life, until his death in 1804. The Joseph Priestley House remains standing, and operates as a museum.

World War II Major Gen. Enola Gay, the plane that delivered the first atomic bomb (Little Boy) on Hiroshima, Japan, on 6 August 1945. The Enola Gay's navigator on the mission was Capt. Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, also a native of Northumberland, who was among the men hand-selected by Tibbets to accomplish the mission.

Daniel McFarlan Moore born in Northumberland (February 27, 1869 - June 15, 1936). Moore was a U.S. electrical engineer and inventor. He developed a novel light source, the "Moore lamp," and a business that produced them in the early 1900s. The Moore lamp was the first commercially viable light-source based on gas discharges instead of incandescence; it was the predecessor to contemporary neon lighting and fluorescent lighting.[1] In his later career Moore developed a miniature neon lamp that was extensively used in electronic displays, as well as vacuum tubes that were used in early television systems.

David Fulmer, the author of a series of novels about Storyville, New Orleans and the producer of the documentary film "Blind Willie's Blues," was born in Northumberland in 1950 and resided there until he was eighteen.


  1. ^ Hirsch, 25; Bell, 517-18.
  2. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Northumberland Historic District".
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  7. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Shikellamy School District 2006-2007 Report". Pennsylvania Department of Education. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-09-16. 
  9. ^ "School Digger report". Retrieved 2007-09-16. 
  10. ^ Valley schools all over the chart, Daily Item June 6, 2007
  11. ^ Shikellamy school board adopts $34.6M budget, Daily Item, June 20, 2007
  12. ^ Shikellamy budget approved Daily Item, May 19, 2007
  13. ^ Tax reform proposal falls in all Valley school districts, Daily Item, May 19, 2007.
  14. ^ 24 PS 17-1726-A Transportation to charter schools
  15. ^ Connections Academy
  16. ^ Boss, Shira, "Virtual charters: public schooling, at home", Christian Science Monitor, January 2002.

External links

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