Elisha Kent Kane

Elisha Kent Kane

Kane, Elisha Kent, 1820-57, American physician and arctic explorer, b. Philadelphia. Seeking adventure after medical school, Kane entered naval service and before he was 30 had seen many parts of the world and had served in the Mexican War. As senior medical officer he sailed (1850) on the first Grinnell expedition in search of the lost Franklin party. Kane's U.S. Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin (1853; repr. in part as Adrift in the Arctic Ice Pack, 1915) stirred such interest that he was able to organize and lead the second Grinnell expedition (1853-55). This expedition, of which the American physician and arctic explorer I. I. Hayes was medical officer, passed northward through Smith Sound at the head of Baffin Bay, discovered and explored Kane Basin, and discovered Kennedy Channel beyond. Several sledging journeys were undertaken, on one of which a record of lat. 80°10'N was achieved. Humboldt Glacier was sighted, and scientific observations resulted in valuable new information on the Arctic regions. Frozen in at Rensselaer Bay, the party abandoned ship, and Kane led a difficult retreat by land to Upernavik, Greenland. Kane's expedition had contributed more knowledge of Greenland than that of anyone before him. His health, never robust, was weakened by the rigors of his adventurous life, and he lived only long enough to complete his narrative of the second expedition, Arctic Explorations (1856), which had tremendous sales. The spiritualist Margaret Fox (see Fox sisters) claimed after his death that she had been his wife. The Love Life of Dr. Kane (1866) contains many of his letters to Margaret Fox.

See studies by J. Mirsky (1954, repr. 1971), O. M. Villarejo (1965), and G. W. Corner (1972).

Kane is a borough in McKean County, Pennsylvania, 94 miles (151 km) east by south of Erie. It was founded in 1863 by Civil War general Thomas L. Kane at an elevated site 2210 feet (674 m) above sea level. In the early part of the twentieth century, Kane had large glassworks, bottle works, lumber mills, and manufactures of brush handles, saws, cutlery, screen doors and windows, etc. In 1900, 5,296 people lived here; in 1910, 6,626; and in 1940, 6,133 people made Kane their home. According to the 2000 census, the borough population was 4,126.

It is the home of the Kane Area School District, and they are known as the Kane Wolves.

Famous residents in the past include American Basketball coach Chuck Daly and Amy Rudolph, an Olympic runner.


Kane is located at (41.661712, -78.810328).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.0 km²), all of it land.

The above photo is an aerial view of Kane (looking north) taken on May 4, 2008. Below is an aerial shot of Kane looking north west. Click photo for a larger view.


In a recent census, Kane has a population of 3, 978 people. As of the census of 2000, there were 4,126 people, 1,766 households, and 1,091 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,643.8 people per square mile (1,021.2/km²). There were 1,993 housing units at an average density of 1,277.0/sq mi (493.3/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.91% White, 0.12% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.24% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.

There were 1,766 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the borough the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 86.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.5 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $30,460, and the median income for a family was $38,672. Males had a median income of $32,318 versus $20,907 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $16,167. About 11.1% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.7% of those under age 18 and 12.2% of those age 65 or over.

Recreation in Kane

Kane is a rural community which is rich with outdoor entertainment due to its location near the Allegheny National Forest. Hunting and fishing are very popular forms of entertainment for some people. Other people enjoy visiting such scenic areas as the Kinzua Dam, and the recently destroyed Kinzua Bridge (this railroad bridge was destroyed by a tornado in 2003). In the long winters, people enjoy cross-country skiing, sled riding, winter hiking, and snowmobiling.

For children, the local Evergreen Park has the Evergreen Enchanted Playland Creative Playground. People of all ages enjoy swimming at the high school public pool that is open various times of the year to give swimming lessons as well as holding recreational swim times.

Each summer, Kane is site of an outdoor drive-in theater playing current movies. It is home to "Art in the Wilds", an outdoor, juried fine arts show held each year in Evergreen Park on the fourth Saturday and Sunday of June, as well as "Kane Fest", an annual festival in July formerly known as the Black Cherry Festival.

Kane also holds Glennwood park, which is great for a nice outdoor family picnic, great time for the kids, playing catch at the baseball fields, or riding bicycles at the skatepark.


  • The Kane Republican -- One of two daily newspapers containing both local and national news in McKean County.
  • WLMI-FM -- Kane's country music station which went under new ownership in August 2006.
  • WQLE-AM -- Kane's first radio station, first signed on the air as WADP at 960 AM back in 1954.It was changed to WKZA in the 70's. It fell silent in 1993 and has not returned to the air since. Its tower and studio building, located south of Kane, were dismantled back in the late 1990s.

Kane's Nicknames

  • Kane is known as the Black Cherry Capital of the World because of its thick forest cover and strong logging industry.
  • Kane has also been known for many years as the "Ice Box of Pennsylvania" because of extremely cold temperatures reported during winter months.


Kane was founded by Major General Thomas L. Kane and his wife Elizabeth Denniston Wood Kane, M.D. Thomas L. Kane was the second son of Judge John Kintzing Kane of Philadelphia, a prominent associate of Presidents Jackson and Polk. In 1846, then Colonel Kane aided the Mormons on their flight west from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake; he arranged for them to winter on Indian lands near Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 1858, Colonel Kane prevented the "Mormon War" between 2500 US Army soldiers, under A.S. Johnston, and the Mormons, under Kane's personal friend, Brigham Young.

Thomas L. Kane was offered the Utah Territorial Governorship, but insisted that the position go to Brigham Young. Although never a religious convert to the Latter Day Saints, General Kane remained a personal, political, and legal adviser to Brigham Young until Young's death. General Kane's older brother was Elisha Kent Kane, America's most prominent Arctic explorer before the Civil War. The General's wife and three of their four children became physicians in Kane. Their oldest son, Evan O'Neil Kane, M.D., demonstrated the efficacy of local anesthesia on two occasions by performing surgery on himself--once repairing an inguinal hernia, and once removing his own appendix.

The Kane Tornado of 1985

On May 31 1985 a tornado destroyed many homes in Kane and neighboring East Kane. The F4 tornado passed through the town at approximately 8:15 PM. There were 3 deaths as a result of this tornado. This is the worst natural disaster in Kane's history.


The Holgate Toy Company was for many years based in Kane. One of the more famous toys they manufactured was Mister Rogers Trolley car, seen in every single episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The company has since relocated to Bradford, Pennsylvania.

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