Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

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Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Official logo of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Keystone Marker
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Jefferson
Settled 1816
Incorporated 1850
 • Type Borough Council
 • Mayor Richard Alexander
 • Total 3.4 sq mi (9 km2)
Elevation 1,230 ft (370 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 5,962
 • Density 1,836.2/sq mi (709.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip code 15767
Area code(s) 814 Exchanges: 249,938,939.
Website Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce

Punxsutawney (/ˌpʌŋksəˈtɔːni/; Lenape: Punkwsutènay[1]) is a borough in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, United States, 84 miles (135 km) northeast of Pittsburgh.


The area was originally settled by the Delaware Indians, and the name "Punxsutawney" derives from a Native American term which translates to "town of the sandflies" (or, perhaps, "town of the mosquitoes"[2]). The name of the borough is also said to come from the Unami-Len'api term Put'schisk'tey, which means "poison vine."[3]

In 1907, Punxsutawney and Claysville boroughs were consolidated and incorporated as Greater Punxsutawney. A high-grade soft coal was mined in the surrounding region. Formerly, the factories included glassworks, foundries, ironworks, machine shops, and planing, flour, feed, and silk mills. In 1900, 6,746 people lived there; in 1910, 9,058; in 1920, 10,311; and in 1940, 9,482 people lived there. The population was 5,962 at the 2010 census.

Punxsutawney's most famous resident is Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog said to predict the weather annually on Groundhog Day (February 2). Phil and the town were the basis for the 1993 film Groundhog Day (although nearly all of the film was shot in Woodstock, Illinois).

The T. M. Kurtz House, Jefferson Theater, Christian Miller House, and United States Post Office-Punxsutawney are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]


Punxsutawney is located at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. (40.945454, -78.975175),[5] roughly 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and 100 miles southeast of Erie.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2), all of it land. It is bordered on the north, west, and south by Young Township, and on the east by Bell Township.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 256
1860 415 62.1%
1870 553 33.3%
1880 674 21.9%
1890 2,792 314.2%
1900 4,375 56.7%
1910 9,058 107.0%
1920 10,311 13.8%
1930 9,266 −10.1%
1940 9,482 2.3%
1950 8,969 −5.4%
1960 8,805 −1.8%
1970 7,792 −11.5%
1980 7,479 −4.0%
1990 6,782 −9.3%
2000 6,271 −7.5%
2010 5,962 −4.9%
Est. 2014 5,887 [6] −1.3%

As of the census[8] of 2010, there were 5,962 people, 2,573 households, 1,602 families and an unknown number of groundhogs residing in the borough. The population density was 1,836.2 people per square mile (708.0/km²). There were 3,042 housing units at an average density of 890.7 per square mile (343.4/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.8% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, <0.1% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.

There were 2,749 households, out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.0% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 37.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 21.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 22.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.2 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $26,250, and the median income for a family was $33,054. Men had a median income of $28,958 versus $19,076 for women. The per capita income for the borough was $14,802. About 13.3% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.


The Borough of Punxsutawney is governed by seven Council members, each elected to a four-year term. The members are: Lawrence Chenoga, President; Michael Porada, Vice President; Michele Lorenzo; Robert Santik; Jaime Sherry; Brian Smith and Eric Story.

In January 2015, Aaron L. Hendricks was appointed to fill the vacancy on council left by the passing of Michael Porada.

The Mayor, Richard Alexander, is also elected to a four-year term, and in addition to other duties, has oversight of the Borough Police Department.

Other elected offices include: one Tax Collector (four-year term), six assessors (four-year terms) and six constables (four year terms).

The Borough Manager position, held by Benjamin White, is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Borough, and reports to Borough Council.

Punxsutawney is the most populous incorporated municipality in Jefferson County.


The Punxsutawney Area School District serves the borough of Punxsutawney and the surrounding area for K-12 education. The district has two secondary buildings (Punxsutawney Area High School & Punxsutawney Area Middle School) and six elementary buildings (Jenks Hill, Bell Township, Longview, Mapleview, Parkview, West End).[10]

Punxsutawney Christian School and S.S. Cosmas & Damian Church are two private schools in Punxsutawney.[11][12]

Emergency services

The Borough of Punxsutawney employs a full-time police service made up of 12 police officers. The Chief of Police is James Borza.[13][14] Dispatchers and wardens are also employed by the borough and work closely with police. The police station is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by both police officers and wardens.

The Punxsutawney Fire Department is made up of three volunteer stations, The Central Fire Dept. (Jefferson County Station 20), Elk Run Volunteer Fire Company (Jefferson County Station 30), and Lindsey Fire Company (Jefferson County Station 40). The president of the Punxsutawney Fire Department is Tami McFarland. The Fire Department Chief is Josh Wachob. In addition to department officers, each station elects its own officers. Scott Depp is the chief of Central Fire Dept., Doug McAfoos the chief of Elk Run VFC, and Joe DeFelice, Jr. the chief of Lindsey Fire Co. The fire department responds to fires, vehicle accidents, hazardous materials incidents, and rescue situations in the borough of Punxsutawney, Bell Township, and Young Township. The Punxsutawney Fire Department also maintains an active water rescue team comprising scuba divers and a boat crew.

Jefferson County EMS operates the ambulance station in Punxsutawney. Station 50 is a full advanced life support service comprising paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Station 50 serves not only the borough of Punxsutawney, but also Southern Jefferson County and parts of Northern Indiana County.

In popular culture


The film Groundhog Day is set in Punxsutawney, although actual filming was done in Woodstock, Illinois.

In the Lost In Space television series, the character Captain Alonzo P. Tucker (a space pirate who appeared in two episodes, portrayed by Albert Salmi), hailed from the railroad tracks of Punxsutawney. Cap'n Tucker (as Will Robinson called him) was a homeless person, until aliens abducted him and others for study, mostly keeping him in suspended animation.

Mac Miller's 2011 song "Frick Park Market" makes a reference to Punxsutawney.

The television series Breaking Amish includes two cast members from Punxsutawney. Several episodes of the show were filmed in and around Punxsutawney.

A view of a section of downtown, plus one of 32 "Phantastic Phil" statutes installed in the borough.


  • WECZ-AM and WPXZ-FM, two local radio stations.
  • The Punxsutawney Spirit, Jefferson County's only daily newspaper.
  • Receives television programming from the Johnstown-Altoona media market.

Notable people

  • Charles Jerome "Chuck" Daly (July 20, 1930 – May 9, 2009) was a basketball head coach. He had a 14-year NBA coaching career and began his basketball coaching career in 1955 at Punxsutawney (PA) Area High School.
  • Wilbur Good was a Major League Baseball player for the Chicago Cubs and other teams in the early 20th Century.
  • John Mizerock (born December 8, 1960 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania) was a backup catcher for the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. He was the eighth overall pick in the 1979 draft.
  • Devin Douglas Mesoraco is currently a Major League Baseball catcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He was the 15th overall pick in the 2007 draft.
  • Billy Hunter is a retired shortstop, coach and manager in Major League Baseball.

See also


  1. "Lenape Talking Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-05-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. http://www.talk-lenape.org/search.php?ls=english&q=town&_e=m
  3. Brinton, Daniel G., C.F. Denke, and Albert Anthony. A Lenâpé - English Dictionary. Biblio Bazaar, 2009. ISBN 978-1103149223, p. 121.
  4. Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Building Address & Contact Info". Punxsutawney Area School District. Retrieved 26 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Punxsutawney Christian School". Punxsutawney Christian School. Retrieved 26 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. SSCD http://www.sscdchurch.com/school. Retrieved 26 August 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Police Department - Punxsutawney Borough". Punxsutawney Borough. Retrieved 26 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Town Chooses New Police Chief After One Year". We Are Central PA. Retrieved 26 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links