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Williamsburg, Pennsylvania
—  Borough  —



Williamsburg, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Williamsburg, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°27′42″N 78°12′14″W / 40.46167, -78.20389Coordinates: 40°27′42″N 78°12′14″W / 40.46167, -78.20389
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Blair
Settled 1790
Incorporated 1827
Government
 • Type Borough Council
 • Mayor Ted Hyle
Area
 • Total 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)
Population (2000)
 • Total 1,345
 • Density 3,599.7/sq mi (1,403.5/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip code 16693
Area code(s) 814

Williamsburg in Morrisons Cove, is a borough in Blair County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,345 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Altoona, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Geography[]

Williamsburg is located at 40°27′42″N 78°12′14″W / 40.46167, -78.20389 (40.461587, -78.203954).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Williamsburg has a total area of 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), all of it land.

According to the US Geological survey, Williamsburg and the surrounding area sits on a 550 feet thick bed of sandstone, divided into medina white, red, and gray, with beds of red shale. Below that is the Oneida band, a 500 feet thick bed of greenish gray, iron speckled and very hard sandstone.

Williamsburg is accessed by Pennsylvania Route 866, approximately fifteen miles from Altoona to the west and thirteen miles from Huntingdon to the east. The streets are laid out in a grid pattern; going from the Frankstown Branch Juniata River southward are First (or Front) Street, Second Street, Third Street, and Fourth Street (east side of the borough only). Union Street and Academy Alley/Sage Hill Drive follow the same direction of Fourth Street, if it continued. The main street is High Street, which runs through the center of the borough. Going east from High Street are Spring, Liberty, and Locust Streets; going west are Plum, Black, Taylor, and Dean Streets.

Union Street was named in honor of the federal union; Liberty Street for American liberty. Locust and Plum were named for trees. Black, Taylor and Dean were named for three Blair County judges born in Williamsburg. Academy Alley borders the school property. A small cross street along the eastern side of the high school, is named Blue Pirate Street, after the school mascot.

The Frankstown Branch Juniata River borders the borough. Piney Creek flows into this river to the west of the borough, and Clover Creek to the east. Across the river is Robeson Extension, usually considered part of Williamsburg, but actually lying in Catharine Township. Street names from the borough extend into the Extension, with the addition of Recreation Drive (borders the ballfields) and Home Street (borders Grace Pointe Community Church, former site of the Blair County Children's Home). The Williamsburg Farm show is held at the complex in Robeson Extension.

Approaching Williamsburg on Route 866 from the west, after crossing the Juniata River (Frankstown Branch) two natural landmarks can be seen on the left. One is locally named Indian Rocks and is a series of exposed ridges of tall chimney like stone formations (one larger than the others). The other is a flat rock outcropping locally named Table Rock. Native American legends are associated with these rock formations. A hiker standing on top of Table Rock has a view over the entire town.

On the south side of Williamsburg is a large natural spring locally named The Big Spring. This water source is the reason Charles Schwab, the steel tycoon wanted to build a steel mill in Williamsburg. Ultimately Schwab built a paper mill and a housing development on the east side of Williamsburg, referred to as Schwab Town in the early years.

The Big Spring is a favorite photography location for wedding parties.

Wilmer Stultz, famous native son aviator who piloted Amelia Earhart across the Atlantic, as a passenger and the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, is buried, with his wife, in the Presbyterian Cemetery near The Big Spring.

Wilmer Stultz was born on a farm on Piney Creek Road south of Williamsburg. After his father died when he was age 14, his mother moved with Wilmer into Williamsburg where they lived on Spring Street (named after The Big Spring).

In July 1928, Amelia Earhart accompanied Wilmer to Williamsburg where a gigantic welcome celebration was held, including Wilmer, Amelia and Lou Gordon riding through Williamsburg in aan open convertible and accompanied by state police escorts.

In July 1929, Amelia attended Wilmer's funeral in Williamsburg after he died in an airplane accident in New York City (Long Island).

Demographics[]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 1,345 people, 562 households, and 349 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,599.7 people per square mile (1,403.5/km²). There were 583 housing units at an average density of 1,560.3 per square mile (608.4/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.96% White, 0.07% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.15% Asian, and 0.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.30% of the population. 42% of the population is of German background; 14% of Irish.

There were 562 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the borough the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $29,375, and the median income for a family was $37,717. Males had a median income of $28,681 versus $20,526 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $14,019. About 10.1% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.0% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

History[]

Before the first settlers arrived in the vicinity of what was later called the Big Spring, this area was part of the hunting grounds of the Lenape and Shawnee.

On July 6, 1754 a treaty was signed at Albany, New York between the Iroquois and the William Penn heirs, opening up portions of the west for settlement. However, British policy forbid western expansion and was in effect until after the American Revolution.

The massacre of Captain William Phillips' Rangers took place near Williamsburg in July 1780. Ten men were murdered after surrendering to a party of Indians.

September 17, 1789 George Reynolds took out a patent from the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania for a large tract of unsettled land surrounding the Big Spring which flows into the Frankstown Branch Juniata River.

The borough was founded in 1790 by Jacob Ake. Originally called Aketown, it is the oldest borough in the current borders of Blair County. The name change was in honor of William Ake, Jacob's son. By 1810, there were 34 houses in the village; the census of 1820 notes an inn, a distillery, and the presence of one slave. The Main Line of the Pennsylvania Canal was completed in 1832, and opened on November 28 when the packetboat "John Blair" left Huntingdon, for the west. The Blair County Children's Home was located in Williamsburg for many years until its destruction by fire. Today, the borough is approximately 30 blocks, centered on High and Second Streets. This comprises the Williamsburg Historic District, listed by the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Nearby places also listed are: Etna Furnace and the Daniel Royer House. Originally served by a canal along the Frankstown Branch Juniata River, the canal was abandoned in 1872. In the following year, the Pennsylvania Railroad completed a branch line from Hollidaysburg to Williamsburg along the old canal towpath. It would eventually be extended to Petersburg in 1900, completing a bypass of the main line known as the Hollidaysburg and Petersburg Branch. The railroad supplied passenger service on the branch until 1933. Freight service would continue until 1982, when Conrail abandoned the line through Williamsburg. It is now the Lower Trail (vide infra).[3]

Government[]

Williamsburg has a mayor-council form of government.
Recent Mayors:
Jean Kifer
Harold Mardis
Dennis Hammel
William Brantner 2004-2008
John Traxler 2008 (resigned)
Ted Hyle 2008-

Education[]

The first school in Williamsburg was founded and taught by Jacob Ake, the borough's founder.

Williamsburg Community School District is one of Pennsylvania's smallest. The acting interim superintendent is James Kaufman with Linda Smith as director of education and the school board is headed by Dr. Barry England. The current principal of the High School is Todd Dishong. There are two buildings in use in the district; one for grades K-6, and one for grades 7-12. The high school mascot is the Blue Pirate. Sports offered at the high school include football, baseball, basketball for both sexes, and volleyball and softball for girls. Both the boys and girls basketball teams have won state championships. On October 13, 2006, the Blue Pirate football team won their first game since 2004. In addition to the public schools, students within the district also attend private schools in nearby Altoona and Huntingdon, as well as homeschooling.The girls junior basketball team has won the past two Juniata Valley league championships, only losing twice to the central/ Spring Cove Dragons both seasons. In 2005 the Junior High Boys won the Juniata Valley League championship to. The school districts website is http://www.Williamsburg.k12.pa./us.

The Williamsburg Public Library opened on January 28, 1950. The library was located in a back room of the Williamsburg Borough Building, and was open on Tuesdays and Saturday evenings from 7 to 9. Members of the Women's Civic Club served as volunteer librarians. In 1968 the library moved to the former Patterson home on West Second Street, and in December, 2001 it moved again to the former Presbyterian Church building. In 1966 the library became a member of the Blair County Library System. It currently serves the residents of Williamsburg, Catharine and Woodbury Townships, and parts of Huston and Frankstown Townships. The library provides a variety of programs, including story hours, summer reading programs, book discussions, and Tech/STEM events and is open five days a week. A Weight Watchers group used to meet weekly at the library. The library has a computer lab with high speed Internet, free WiFi and a community meeting room. The library's collection has thousands of books covering a wide variety of topics.

Recreation[]

The Lower Trail (pronounced like "power") passes through in Williamsburg. The Williamsburg trailhead allows the user to access to Alexandria, 11 miles east, and to Flowing Springs, five miles west. The trail is crushed limestone (paved in frequent flood areas) with grass on both sides. The Lower Trail offers access to the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River along much of its length. This river is a prime fishing location for trout and other game fish. Many historical points of interest, especially involving the Pennsylvania Canal and the Pennsylvania Railroad, are located along the trail. This trail is popular for exercise, relaxation, and enjoyment of scenery. Other trailheads are located in Ganister and Mount Etna. The Pennsylvania Mid State Trail overlaps the Lower Trail in Williamsburg.

Sports[]

  • The Junior High Lady Pirates won the Juniata Valley League basketball championship in 2006. (17-2)
  • The Williamsburg Blue Pirates Varsity Football Team (2006) ended a 16 game losing streak with a win against Tussey Mountain. The team record for the year was 2-8. Jr. High 4-4

Events[]

The Blair County Allied Firefighters convention, with parade and fireworks, was held in Williamsburg at Riverside park in 2006. The Williamsburg Community Farm Show is held annually, usually near the end of August. Rides and a midway are also provided; this event was previously known as Old Home Week. The Barnes and Carson Circus came to Williamsburg on 8/5/2006. This was the second time a big top in five years a big top has been raised. Historically, the Adam Forepaugh Circus visited Williamsburg on May 5, 1871.

The arts[]

Residents of Williamsburg engage in many arts and crafts. Craft shows occur when artisans sell their work. Some of the media worked in include leathercraft, metal, and wood. Local cabinetmakers craft fine wood furniture.

Musically, the high school band has won awards. The band traveled to Dublin, Ireland, in the early 1970s to play in the St. Patrick's Day parade. Today, musicians, individually and in small groups, play everything from bluegrass to heavy metal.

The local library has sponsored a poetry coffeehouse on several occasions, and Royer Mansion has hosted readings from local literacy and writer's societies.

Painting and the fine arts are also practiced.

Businesses[]

The largest employer is Cenveo, located just outside of the borough limits and established in 1964. In 2006, MeadWestvaco reopened the former Sweetheart/Fonda building as a new West Plant. Other business include a Martin General Store, a Williamsburg Hometown Market (groceries), branches of the Clearfield Bank and Trust and First National Bank, Evan's Garage and Nic's Grab n Go. Past to Present offered bicycle rentals and ice cream at the trail head, and laundromat. In addition to sandwiches and groceries, two pizza shops (the Sizzler and OIP) are located in the borough. Several mechanics offer car repairs, and gasoline is available at two service stations. Dairy cattle and other agricultural farms surround Williamsburg. Grannas Brothers operate a large stone quarry just outside of Williamsburg, in nearby Ganister. White Deer Run has a D&A treatment center in nearby Cove Forge. Many residents are employed in the surrounding communities.

Media[]

Williamsburg has no television or radio stations, nor a current newspaper. Past newspapers were the Williamsburg Tribune (in the 1800s); the Williamsburg Journal, owned by H.A. “Barney” and Charlotte Barnhart in the 1940s-1950s; the Williamsburg Focus (1960s-1990s) edited by Dr. Marion Morelli; the Williamsburg Gap (1996) and the Williamsburg Focus (1990s). The Altoona Mirror and Morrisons Cove Herald both cover the Williamsburg area.

Notable people[]

Charles Schwab was born in Williamsburg. At the age of 39 he became president of the United States Steel. Near the turn of the 20th century, he was approached by leading citizens and asked to assist with bringing manufacturing jobs to the borough. He helped fund a paper mill that was built just outside Williamsburg in 1903. The paper mill's final owner was Westvaco (West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company). It was closed in the 1970s and later demolished. Mr. Schwab also helped make the borough larger by building houses for some of the mill workers. This section of Williamsburg was called Schwabtown.

Wilmer Stultz was an aircraft navigator. He flew across the Atlantic Ocean with Amelia Earhart. He died on July 3, 1929, in an aircraft crash while stunt flying. His two passengers were also killed.

Galen Hall was raised in Williamsburg, and has played and coached football at the college and professional levels. He is currently on the staff at Penn State.

Williamsburg was the home of D. Raymond Sollenberger, a delegate to the 1956 Republican National Convention that re-nominated Dwight Eisenhower.

Facts[]

Eddie August Schneider landed and took off August 5, 1930 from Williamsburg during his transcontinental flight.

References[]

  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Hilker, Jr., Jim (Spring 2007). "A History of the H&P Branch". The Keystone 40 (1). 

External links[]


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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