Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

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Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
Bloomsburg Town Hall in 2012
Bloomsburg Town Hall in 2012
Nickname(s): The only incorporated town in Pennsylvania
Map showing Bloomsburg in Columbia County
Map showing Bloomsburg in Columbia County
Map showing Columbia County in Pennsylvania
Map showing Columbia County in Pennsylvania
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Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Columbia County
Bloom Township 1797
Town of Bloomsburg March 4, 1870
 • Mayor Sandy Davis
 • Town Council Eric Bower, Bill Kreisher, Fred Trump, Diane Levan, Sylvia Costa, W. Carey Howell
 • Total 4.69 sq mi (12.14 km2)
 • Land 4.35 sq mi (11.27 km2)
 • Water 0.34 sq mi (0.88 km2)  7.22%
Elevation 531 ft (162 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 14,855
 • Density 3,415/sq mi (1,318.5/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 17815
Area code(s) 570, Exchanges 380, 387, 389, 784

Bloomsburg is a town in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States, located 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Wilkes-Barre along the Susquehanna River. It is the county seat of Columbia County[1] and the only incorporated town in Pennsylvania.[2] As of the 2010 census, Bloomsburg had a population of 14,855,[3] with an estimated population of 14,519 in 2013.[4]

Bloomsburg is one of two principal communities of the Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Columbia and Montour counties,[5] and had a combined population of 85,562 at the 2010 census.[6]


A marker behind the airport showing the height of the river during historic floods (the dirt mark is from the 2006 floods).
A monument set up by the Daughters of the American Colonists honoring Native American settlement in Bloomsburg

The first signs of European settlement date to the year 1772, when James McClure established a log cabin in the area. Until the mid-19th century, it was just a small village, known as Bloom Township. Traditionally, Bloomsburg's founding in 1802 has been ascribed to settler Ludwig Eyer, son of Johann Martin Eyer.[7][8] For 75 years after the discovery of ore in the area,[when?] Bloomsburg developed a booming iron industry.

For more than a century, starting from its incorporation on March 4, 1870, Bloomsburg held the distinction of being the only incorporated town in Pennsylvania. While other municipalities are often commonly referred to as towns, they were all officially classified as either cities, boroughs, or townships. Bloomsburg still uses the slogan of "The only incorporated TOWN in Pennsylvania", and state government publications continue to describe Bloomsburg as "the only incorporated town" in Pennsylvania.[9][10][11] However, in 1975, McCandless Township in Allegheny County adopted a home rule charter under the name "Town of McCandless".[12][13]

The Bloomsburg Historic District and Rupert Covered Bridge No. 56 are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[14]

On 28 October 2015, a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) blimp broke free from Aberdeen Proving Ground and headed north, taking out the town's power supply as it went. [15] [16]


Bloomsburg is located west of the center of Columbia County, along the north bank of the Susquehanna River and on the east side of Fishing Creek. The southern half of the town occupies level ground along the Susquehanna, while the northern half is occupied by 940-foot-high (290 m) Turkey Hill. The campus of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania occupies a large portion of the hill.[17]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Bloomsburg has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12.1 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.3 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km2), or 7.22%, is water.[3]

Neighboring municipalities


In January the average high temperature is 35 °F (2 °C), while the average low temperature is 19 °F (−7 °C). In July the average high temperature is 85 °F (29 °C), while the average low temperature is 62 °F (17 °C). The month with the least precipitation is February, which has 2.37 inches (60 mm) on average. The month with the most precipitation is June, which has 4.5 inches (110 mm) on average.[18]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,626
1830 2,090 28.5%
1840 1,774 −15.1%
1850 3,122 76.0%
1860 2,668 −14.5%
1870 3,341 25.2%
1880 3,702 10.8%
1890 4,635 25.2%
1900 6,170 33.1%
1910 7,413 20.1%
1920 7,819 5.5%
1930 9,093 16.3%
1940 9,799 7.8%
1950 10,633 8.5%
1960 10,655 0.2%
1970 11,652 9.4%
1980 11,717 0.6%
1990 12,439 6.2%
2000 12,375 −0.5%
2010 14,855 20.0%
Est. 2014 14,727 [19] −0.9%

As of the census[23] of 2010, there were 14,855 people residing in the town. The population density was 3,414.9 people per square mile (1,088.4/km²). There were 5,121 housing units. The racial makeup of the town was 89.6% White (down 5% from the 2000 census), 6.2% African American, 0.10% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.

According to the 2000 census [24]There were 4,080 households, out of which 19.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.2% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 56.1% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the town the population was spread out, with 12.3% under the age of 18, 45.5% from 18 to 24, 18.6% from 25 to 44, 12.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 77.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $24,868, and the median income for a family was $39,806. Males had a median income of $29,940 versus $19,961 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,819. About 10.5% of families and 31.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.8% of those under age 18 and 15.2% of those age 65 or over.


Top of the Bloomsburg post office

The town of Bloomsburg is administered by a town council of six members and the mayor. As an incorporated town, the mayor can vote along with the council on every motion. This is different than most borough councils, where there are seven council members and the mayor can only vote to break ties.[25] The current mayor is Sandy Davis.[26]


Bloomsburg is served by the Bloomsburg Area School District, which has about 1,800 students enrolled from the town itself, western, and southeastern suburbs.

Columbia-Montour Area Vocational-Technical School in Bloomsburg has numerous secondary education trade programs.

The Central Columbia School District has approximately 2,100 students and encompasses the eastern and northern suburbs of Bloomsburg.

Bloomsburg University, one of the 14 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, had a 2012 enrollment of 10,000 full-time undergraduate and 846 graduate students.

Additionally, there are several private religious and non-denominational schools in and of the immediate vicinity of Bloomsburg.


The one park in Bloomsburg is the 43-acre (170,000 m2) Town Park,[27] established in 1927. The Norris E. Rock Memorial Swimming Pool and the Bloomsburg Skate Park immediately adjoin the park. The town has also purchased the former Streater Farm at the confluence of Fishing Creek and the Susquehanna River, which is being converted into athletic fields, a nature preserve, and a walking path that will be tied in with the existing Columbia-Montour Rails-to-Trails program.

Notable businesses

On May 31, 2009, Bloomsburg Mills, Inc., after 120 years of weaving and finishing fabrics in Bloomsburg, went out of business, closing both a local plant and a dye plant in Monroe, North Carolina. The closure affected over 200 employees in both locations.[28]

Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce

In early 2014 Windsor Foods (formerly Del Monte Foods) closed their doors and affecting more than 160 employees. Company officials cited flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Lee as one of their reasons for the plant closing.[29]


Bloomsburg is home to the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, founded in 1978 to establish a resident professional ensemble for the production of quality entertainment and educational programs for the region, and to promote the arts.

The Bloomsburg Public Library was founded in 1899 and funded jointly by the taxpayers of Bloomsburg, Scott Township, and Hemlock Township.

Bloomsburg is also home to the Bloomsburg Fair (the largest fair in the state of Pennsylvania) which, since 1855, is a traditional farm fair.

The David Stroup Fountain, erected in 1892, is located at Bloomsburg's Market Square. David Stroup was the owner of a local candy shop who left money in his will to the town's water works. The current fountain is a restored version of the original, which was dismantled in 1966 due to its deterioration but was put back together in 1982 by two local residents. The original crane sculpture, which was at the top of the fountain, was lost in storage until 2005, when it was cleaned, repaired, and replaced on the fountain.

The Children's Museum is at 2 West Seventh Street.

Local media

Bloomsburg is home to one daily newspaper, the Press Enterprise. Bloomsburg has two online news sites: The Bloomsburg News covering all of Bloomsburg activities, and covering Bloomsburg University as well as local news. The Voice, Bloomsburg University's student newspaper, covers university-related campus news.[30]

Several radio stations serve the area, including WHLM (formerly WCNR-AM), WHLM-FM (formerly WKAB), and WFYY-FM (formerly WHLM-FM). The town is primarily served by Service Electric Cablevision cable TV and receives both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market television stations and Philadelphia stations.



Bloomsburg Municipal Airport

Bloomsburg Municipal Airport is in the southeast corner of Bloomsburg, along the Susquehanna River.


The main highways in Bloomsburg are U.S. Route 11, Pennsylvania Route 42 (serves the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds) and Pennsylvania Route 487. Interstate 80 passes north of the town, with access from Exit 232 (PA 42) to the northwest of town and Exit 236 (PA 487) northeast of town. US 11 leads west 9 miles (14 km) to Danville and east 13 miles (21 km) to Berwick, both on the Susquehanna River. PA 42 leads northwest 10 miles (16 km) to Millville and south 22 miles (35 km) to Ashland, while PA 487 leads northeast 17 miles (27 km) to Benton and southwest 15 miles (24 km) to Elysburg. Via Interstate 80 and connecting highways it is 44 miles (71 km) northeast to Wilkes-Barre and 42 miles (68 km) northwest to Williamsport. Harrisburg, the state capital, is 80 miles (130 km) to the south via PA 42 and Interstate 81.


Notable People

  • Dan Washburn, award-winning Shanghai-based writer and journalist.


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  13. Pennsylvania Code, Title 302, Chapter 23
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  15. Military Blimp on the Ground in Pennsylvania: NORAD
  16. Army Blimp Breaks Loose, Drifts Over Pennsylvania
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  23. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named
  24. "Bloomsburg, Pa Demographic Profile" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Borough Mayors Manual, June 1, 2003, retrieved October 23, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Szymanski, Mallory (November 8, 2007), Bloomsburg student elected Mayor, retrieved April 10, 2009<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Parks & Recreation". Bloomsburg Town Park. Town of Bloomsburg. 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. retrieved on April 13, 2009.
  29. retrieved on August 18, 2014.
  30. Stories can also be found online at

External links