Schuylkill Haven was incorporated as a borough on June 11, 1840, from North Manheim Township. Schuylkill Haven's history was built upon the Schuylkill canal and railroad transportation of Anthracite coal from the coal Region. As one of the county's larger boroughs, and with the establishment of Penn State Schuylkill campus near its southern boundary, Schuylkill Haven is a key community in Schuylkill County.
Jacob Dreibelbis laid out the town in 1811, but the founding of the town is dated at 1750 by Martin Dreibelbis. Construction of the Schuylkill Canal began in 1816 and ran through the center of town. Commercial trade on the canal was eventually replaced by the railroads. Another key industry was textile factories such as Argo Mills, which closed in the 1960s, due to foreign competition.
PA Route 61 transverses the borough by way of Center Avenue. PA Route 443 (from west to east comes into the Borough on W. Columbia Street and turns left onto Parkway, then right onto W. Main Street and then leaves the borough's opposite end by way of East Main Street. Old Route 61 runs along E. Liberty Street.
The Schuylkill Canal once flowed where Parkway is now located.
There were 2,393 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the borough the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $32,442, and the median income for a family was $41,286. Males had a median income of $33,047 versus $20,582 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $16,804. About 7.1% of families and 8.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and 15.3% of those age 65 or over. Schuylkill Haven's nickname is "The little town that could" and their athletic teams are known as the "Hurricanes".