HISTORY OF PENN TOWNSHIP SNYDER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
PENN TOWNSHIP received its name from Penns Creek, a stream that has its beginning in Centre County and ends South of Selinsgrove where it flows into the Susquehanna River. Penns Creek was named after John Penn, the younger brother of William Penn.
A political unit by the name of PENN TOWNSHIP was known long before the organization of Snyder County. Due to its historical background, Penn Township can well be called the mother of Snyder County townships.
Records dating back to 1753 reveal Penn Township's existence in what was the northern part of Cumberland County. At that time, Penn Township was comprised of the territory now included in the townships of Union, Chapman, Perry, Washington, a portion of what now is Penn Township, as well as much of the townships of Monroe, Greenwood and Susquehanna in Juniata County.
When Northumberland County was organized in 1772 the territory of Penn Township was changed. It then included a portion of Brown Township and most of Armagh and Decatur Townships in Mifflin County, the southern part of Hartley and Lewis Townships in Union County and all of what is now Snyder County, with the exception of Monroe Township and a small part of Jackson Township. In 1787 nearly one-half of Penn Township was organized into a new township known as Beaver.
In 1805 Centre Township was formed out of a portion of Beaver and Penn Townships. As the population of the area increased, the territory of Penn Township was sub-divided into smaller and present townships now found in Snyder County. By 1885 the territory of Penn Township was reduced to its present size and location.
As of the census of 2010, there were 4324 people, 1,163 households, and 898 families residing in the township. The population density was 211.4 people per square mile (81.6/km²). There were 1,270 housing units at an average density of 71.0/sq mi (27.4/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 95.48% White, 2.59% African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.66% from other races, and 0.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.17% of the population.
There were 1,163 households out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.3% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.7% were non-families. 17.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the township the population was spread out with 21.0% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 30.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 110.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.4 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $44,630, and the median income for a family was $50,390. Males had a median income of $33,203 versus $22,111 for females. The per capita income for the township was $18,851. About 6.7% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.
Efforts of local business leaders to promote development were rewarded in 2005, with a $2.4 million grant and low-interest loan package to develop Pawling Station Business Park. It is a 48-acre (190,000 m2) shovel ready site along Route 522 in Penn Township, that feature three to 20-acre lots with public sewer, water, gas and storm water drainage. The task force included Pennsylvania Senator John Gordner and Rep Russ Fairchild, community leaders with a wide range of economic development experience and skills including an accountant, lawyer, land developer, engineer, surveyor, and two bankers – along with chairmen of the Snyder County Board of Commissioners, Penn Township Board of Supervisors, and Township Municipal Authority.
Major employers in the region include a significant number of housing related manufacturers, state facilities, as well as local government entities. A thirty year effort to develop a bypass of the rte 11& 15 commercial area, called the Central Susquehanna Thruway, has been delayed due to minimal funding from the state or federal government.
The Selinsgrove Community Library is a public library that is part of the Snyder County Library system. Patrons have free use of the PA Power Library and Access Pennsylvania which provide extensive online resources for children and adults. The library is on the corner of High Street and Pine Street, one block west of Market Street in downtown Selinsgrove. A small book exchange cart is hosted in the U.S. Post Office building on Rte 11&15, Shamokin Dam.
Snyder County Historical Society 30 East Market St., Middleburg, PA.17842 570-837-6191 10207|Museum and Library Research services are provided for a fee.
Degenstein Community Library 40 South Fifth Street, Sunbury, Northumberland County, PA 17801 570-286-2461
The State Library of Pennsylvania Commonwealth & Walnut Sts., Harrisburg, PA. This library provides information for State Government and citizens, collects and preserves Pennsylvania's written heritage through materials published for, by, and about Pennsylvania. Parks www.eastsnyderpark.com
The East Snyder Park is a multiuse facility which is under development using state grants and local donations. It is located along the upper end of University Ave. near Rt. 522, at the location of the existing Penn Township ball fields. The master plan of the park calls for nine professional grade horseshoe pits, baseball, softball, football, lacrosse and soccer fields, playground with age appropriate apparatus, a playground for older children, and a wetland conservation education area. The facilities are governed by the East Snyder Regional Recreation Association, a 501 (c) organization with a board made up of interested parties, local youth recreation organization representatives and area government officials.
Penn Township is located in the Susquehanna Valley in Northeast Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River.
Facts about Snyder County
When Europeans first began settling here in the early 1700's, several major Indian trails traversed the county. These paths were important during the settlement of western Pennsylvania and the Ohio country and strategic during both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Portions of present-day highways still follow parts of the old trails. At first, Penn's Woods was divided into just a few counties. In 1768, the territory presently Snyder County was known as Penn Township, Cumberland County. In 1772 it was Northumberland County and in 1813, Union County was created. Finally in 1855, it was divided off from Union County and the county seat was established in Middleburg. The county was named after Pennsylvania's third governor, Simon Snyder, who is buried here. The 1800's brought rapid development. The farmers, mostly of German ancestry, were industrious. In addition to agricultural commodities, lumber and iron ore were also transported from Snyder County by way of the Pennsylvania Canal, on the west shore of the Susquehanna River. Later, railroads moved the freight.
Snyder County is in the Appalachian Mountain Section of the Ridge and Valley Province. Two parallel mountain ridges run southwest to northeast and end at the county's eastern boundary, the Susquehanna River. Between the ridges are steep hills, gently rolling hills, and flat creek valleys. The agriculture is diverse and wisely matched to the topography and soil type. In terms of land area, Snyder County ranks 63rd of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. Yet, in terms of agricultural production, Snyder County ranks second in cantaloupes, fifth in broilers, fifth in swine, eighth in apples, ninth in peaches, and tenth in eggs. Dairy farming, however, is the leading agricultural enterprise with production valued at more than $20 million. Other important crops include Christmas trees, vegetables, hay, and corn. All of this is produced on 92,751 acres-roughly 44% of the total land area. Of the approximately 600 farms in the county, 416 are full time. Almost half of the county is forested; oak, hickory, white pine, and hemlock are the important species. The lumber and wood products industry, consisting of sawmills, pallet factories, millworks, and cabinet factories, provides half of the county's manufacturing jobs.