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Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Borough
Official logo of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Keystone Marker

Motto: A Good Place to Live!

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania Welcome Sign.png
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°12′44″N 77°00′22″W / 40.21222°N 77.00611°W / 40.21222; -77.00611Coordinates: 40°12′44″N 77°00′22″W / 40.21222°N 77.00611°W / 40.21222; -77.00611
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Cumberland
Settled 1806
Incorporated 1828
Government
 • Type Borough Council
 • Mayor Jack Ritter
 • Council President J. Matthew Seagrist
 • Council Vice-President John W. McDermott
 • Borough Manager Patrick Edward Dennis
 • Borough Solicitor Lisa M. Coyne, Esq.
Area
 • Total 2.6 sq mi (7 km2)
Elevation 446 ft (136 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,981
 • Density 3,378.1/sq mi (1,304.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip code 17055, 17050
Area code(s) 717
Website Mechanicsburg Borough

Mechanicsburg is a borough in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA, eight miles (13 km) west of Harrisburg. It is part of the Harrisburg–Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area. Mechanicsburg was settled in 1806 and incorporated as a borough on April 12, 1828. It is in a rich agricultural region known as the Cumberland Valley, a broad zone between South Mountain and the ridge-and-valley Appalachians. In 1900, 3,841 people lived here; in 1910, 4,469, which increased to 5,709 in 1940. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 8,981. Mechanicsburg is home of Jubilee Day, the largest and longest-running one-day street fair on the east coast. It is estimated as many as 60,000 people attend Jubilee Day annually.[1] Mechanicsburg lies in the center of a regional transportation crossroads, with Interstate 81, Interstate 76, Interstate 83, US Route 11, and US Route 15 passing in close proximity to the borough. Additionally, the Appalachian Trail passes through Pennsylvania a few miles from Mechanicsburg, in nearby Boiling Springs.

Geography[edit]

Mechanicsburg is located at 40°12′44″N 77°00′22″W / 40.212089°N 77.006143°W / 40.212089; -77.006143.[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), all of it land.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 888
1860 1,939 118.4%
1870 2,569 32.5%
1880 3,018 17.5%
1890 3,691 22.3%
1900 3,841 4.1%
1910 4,469 16.3%
1920 4,688 4.9%
1930 5,647 20.5%
1940 5,709 1.1%
1950 6,786 18.9%
1960 8,123 19.7%
1970 9,385 15.5%
1980 9,487 1.1%
1990 9,452 −0.4%
2000 9,042 −4.3%
2010 8,981 −0.7%
Est. 2012 8,968 −0.1%
Sources:[3][4][5]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 9,042 people, 4,023 households, and 2,466 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,494.6 people per square mile (1,347.9/km2). There were 4,169 housing units at an average density of 1,611.3 per square mile (621.5/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.97% White, 0.43% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.15% Asian, 0.28% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.

There were 4,024 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the borough the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $45,200, and the median income for a family was $54,228. Males had a median income of $37,130 versus $27,940 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $22,812. About 2.4% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.0% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.

History[edit]

Named for a settlement of mechanics who made and repaired Conestoga wagons in the early 19th century, Mechanicsburg's continued growth was also attributed to the Cumberland Valley Railroad (CVRR). Completing its line in 1837, Mechanicsburg was designated as a water station where workers could restock the locomotive's wood and pump water. The train became the town's link to the world of business and industry. Grain and feed companies, lumber yards and numerous factories were purposely built alongside the railroad tracks. Archives show that, at one time, there were twenty-five trains chugging through the town daily carrying travelers, coal, feathers, fruit, ice, mail and newspapers. During the American Civil War, the railroad was an invaluable method of transporting troops and supplies. Today, approximately six trains travel through Mechanicsburg each day, which has recently increased due to new operations on the local sub-line owned by Norfolk Southern. Another part of Mechanicsburg's growth occurred when the Naval Support Activity was built on 840 acres (3.4 km2) of land in Hampden Township, Pennsylvania. NSA Mechanicsburg continues to serve as one of the Defense Departments major logistics sites. Although automotive technology changed the town forever, today's residents cannot dismiss the vital role the railroad played in its development.[6]

Present-day Mechanicsburg is centered on 100 acres (0.40 km2) that Leonard Fisher purchased from Joseph Heynes tract (No. 1442 of an original grant of 267 acres (1.08 km2) from William Penn). Before becoming incorporated on April 12, 1828, the town went by several different names. First, Drytown, because of the extreme scarcity of water during the winter and summer. It was also known as Pinchgut, a German name used as a sign of amusement given to a small village of only a few people. Some also referred to the town as Staufferstown, in honor of Henry Stauffer, the owner of much of the land in the center of town. Briefly, referred to as Creekville during the Colonial Era, Mechanicsburg is home to many historic markers, such as Irving Female College (named for Washington Irving, a trustee), the first women's college in Pennsylvania to grant degrees in arts and sciences.[6]

On June 28, 1863, Confederate troops led by Brig. Gen. Albert G. Jenkins raided Mechanicsburg, and two days later, met with Union forces in the Skirmish of Sporting Hill, just east of town. It is known as the northern most engagement of the Civil War. Following the Skirmish of Sporting Hill, the Confederate forces retreated south into the little town of Gettysburg where the Battle of Gettysburg would be fought.[6]

The oldest building in Mechanicsburg is the Frankeberger Tavern. One of Mechanicsburg's first residents was George Frankeberger, who in 1801 applied for a license to open his newly built log home for the "convenience" of travelers. In exchange for a small fee, Mr. Frankeberger offered cattle drivers a warm meal and a place to sleep. This proved to be rather lucrative, as many people were making the two day trek between Harrisburg (the state capital) and Carlisle (Cumberland County's county seat). A local legend tells of a man who came into a good deal of money having just sold some cattle in Harrisburg. After boasting about it in front of many of the other travelers in the tavern, he retired for the night. Another man, having heard about the gold he was carrying, followed him to his room, cut off his head, and stole his money. Legend has it that a headless ghost can sometimes be seen sitting atop the roof of Frankeberger Tavern, looking out over the roofs of town, searching for the man who stole his gold.[6]

The Mechanicsburg Commercial Historic District, Irving Female College, Cumberland Valley Railroad Station and Station Master's House, Adam Orris House, and Simpson Street School are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[7]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has its headquarters in Hampden Township, Cumberland County, near Mechanicsburg.[8][9]

Notable people[edit]

Points of interest[edit]

Google for Civil War. Part of Gettysburg Campaign

In popular culture[edit]

  • Warren Zevon mentions Mechanicsburg in the song "Stop Rainin' Lord" on the album Preludes and in the song "The Factory" on the album Sentimental Hygiene[10]
  • The film Girl Interrupted features the drug store, Eckels, in a scene
  • Vampire Weekend mentions Mechanicsburg in the song "Step" on the album Modern Vampires of the City
  • The webcomic Girl Genius has one of the main settings in a steampunk-styled town named Mechanicsburg.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.mechanicsburgchamber.org
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Mechanicsburg Museum". Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  7. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  8. ^ "Contact Us." Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved on October 5, 2012. "Central Office: 1920 Technology Parkway, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050"
  9. ^ "Street Map." (Archive) Hampden Township. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.
  10. ^ http://www.warrenzevon.com/music/index.htm

External links[edit]


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5 news items

 
Bloomberg
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:24:03 -0700

Then, in July of 2010, O'Neill got lucky. One of those computer servers belonged to New Harrisburg Truck and Body in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. With permission from the shop's innocent owner, agents in August 2010 placed a “sniffer” on his computer.
 
Huffington Post
Mon, 17 Mar 2014 06:57:43 -0700

An 11th grade English teacher resigned last week after she was accused of having sexual relations with a student at a Pennsylvania high school. Emily Nesbit, 31, was charged with institutional sex assault, a third-degree felony, on Friday. Police said ...
 
Marketwired (press release)
Fri, 21 Mar 2014 05:45:00 -0700

MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA--(Marketwired - March 21, 2014) - Versatile Systems Inc. (TSX VENTURE:VV) ("Versatile" or the "Company") today announced that the Company successfully completed the offering of rights (the "Offering") previously ...
 
Targeted News Service (subscription)
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 17:52:59 -0700

The amendment investigation confirmed that workers of Manpower Group, working on-site at IBM Corporation, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania were separated due to the same acquisition of services that led to worker separations at the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania ...
 
Göteborgs-Posten
Sun, 06 Apr 2014 02:28:48 -0700

Fast då kom jag mer bakifrån – och spelade inte anfall med ryggen vänd mot mål, förklarar amerikanen från Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Hans anfallskamrat Jonsson har precis fyllt 19 – och är tillbaka efter ett riktigt skitår. Strul med höfterna, en ...
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