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Carnegie Free Library (1903)

National Register of Historic Places


Connellsville is a city in Fayette Countymarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, USAmarker, 57 miles (92 km) southeast of Pittsburghmarker on the Youghiogheny River, a tributary of the Monongahela River. It is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. In 1890, 5,629 people lived in Connellsville, which was a borough at that time. 7,170 people lived in Connellsville in 1900; 12,845 in the new city of Connellsville in 1910; 13,804 in 1920; and 13,608 in 1940. The population was 9,146 at the 2000 census.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,146 people, 3,963 households, and 2,377 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,053.5 people per square mile (1,562.5/km²). There were 4,434 housing units at an average density of 1,965.2/sq mi (757.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.54% White, 3.93% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.54% of the population.

There were 3,963 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,070, and the median income for a family was $28,105. Males had a median income of $28,942 versus $23,016 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,165. About 22.4% of families and 28.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.5% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.

History

During the French and Indian War, a British army commanded by General Edward Braddock approached Fort Duquesnemarker and crossed the Youghiogheny River at Stewart's Crossing, which is situated in the middle of what is now the City of Connellsville.

Connellsville was officially founded as a township in 1793 then as a borough on March 1, 1806 by Zachariah Connell, a militia captain during the American Revolution. In February 1909. Balloting in New Haven and Connellsville resulted in these two boroughs joining and becoming the first City in Fayette County on May 12, 1911.

Due to the city’s location in the center of the Connellsville coalfield, during the coke and coal mining days, Connellsville had at one time more millionaires per capita than any other place in the country and possibly the world. This was when Connellsville was king of coal and coke with beehive ovens lighting up the hillsides. Railroads crisscrossed the city; streetcars connected neighborhoods and other towns. When Connellsville became a city in 1909, estimates have the population at more than 22,000.

Coal mining and accompanying industries became the major source of employment and local revenue during the later half of the nineteenth century. It brought a great deal wealth to the Fayette county region. This prosperity, however, remained restricted to the wealthy elite. Many Italian and Slavic immigrants worked in the coal mines and coke ovens in a state of poverty.

When the demand for coke around the turn of the century pushed many other emerging industries out, the city along with Fayette County became almost entirely dependent on both coal and coke. When better heating processes were developed, Connellsville's coke was no longer needed and the industry went bust — along with the economy of Fayette County.

Connellsville was the home of two prominent athletes of the first half of the 20th century: University of Notre Damemarker quarterback and 1947 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack and 1936 Olympic 800 meter gold medalist John Woodruff. Displays honoring the two star athletes can be found in Connellsville Area High School. Each year, a 5-kilometer road race is held in Connellsville to honor Woodruff.

Education

Connellsville is served by the Connellsville Area School District.

Union Passenger Depot / P&LE (1913)

National Register of Historic Places


Media

The Daily Courier, a newspaper based in the city, has been in publication for over a century.

Public Services

  • Highlands Hospital, one of three hospitals in the county, is located in Connellsville.
  • The Connellsville Police Department serves the city with a full-time force.
  • The Connellsville Fire Department is headquartered within the city
  • New Haven Hose, another fire company, is headquartered on the city's west side.


Transportation

The main route through Connellsville is US 119. US 119 links Connellsville with nearby cities Uniontown and Greensburg, and provides access to many of the business on the outskirts of the city. PA 201 ends in Connellsville, and PA 711 serves as the main street through downtown before heading into the local mountains.

Amtrak's provides passenger rail service to Connellsville, with service to Chicagomarker, Pittsburghmarker, Washington, DCmarker, and other points in between.

Parks and Trails

The Youghiogheny River Trail, a 43-mile crushed limestone trail, runs through Connellsville.

Festivities

  • Saint Rita's Street Fair
  • Annual West Side Hill Italian Bash
  • Heritage Days
  • Timber Days
  • Geranium Festival
  • Braddock's Crossing
US Post Office (1913)

National Register of Historic Places


Trivia

  • Connellsville is the hometown of The Clarks, a popular Pittsburgh rock band.
  • Edwin S. Porter, director of the motion picture, The Great Train Robbery , is a native of the city.
  • Connellsville is the hometown of jazz trombonist Harold Betters, nicknamed "Mr. Trombone."
  • Connellsville's Little League team is a six-time winner of the Pennsylvania Little League State Championship (1963, 1964, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1993)
  • Connellsville is the hometown of Ryan Means (aka Destin), a MLG (Major League Gaming) Pro, who is a member of team Dynasty.


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