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Olyphant, Pennsylvania

Olyphant is a borough in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, approximately five miles (8 km) northeast of Scranton on the Lackawanna River in the heart of the anthracite region of the State. Once engaged industriously in the shipping of coal as its main source of employment, Olyphant experienced a severe downturn in the twentieth century. Other industries of the past were the manufacturing of blasting powder, iron and steel goods, cigars, silks, etc. In 1900, the population stood at 6,180 people; in 1910, 8,305; in 1920, 10,326; and in 1940, 9,252. The population was 4,978 at the 2000 census.


Olyphant is located at (41.462630, -75.595617).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 5.4 square miles (14.1 km²), of which, 5.4 square miles (13.9 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (1.10%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 4,978 people, 2,197 households, and 1,348 families residing in the borough. The population density was 925.3 people per square mile (357.3/km²). There were 2,381 housing units at an average density of 442.6/sq mi (170.9/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.49% White, 0.46% African American, 0.02% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.54% of the population.

There were 2,197 households out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.9% 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 2.95.

In the borough the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.5 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $32,721, and the median income for a family was $45,091. Males had a median income of $30,647 versus $24,825 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $17,049. About 7.4% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.2% of those under age 18 and 24.2% of those age 65 or over.


Olyphant is part of the Mid Valley School District. Prior to the district's founding, the town had a series of public schools. Most of the Catholic churches in town also at one point had their own school as well as St. Cyril's Russian Orthodox church. Private schools in other towns though receive Olyphant students, among them La Salle Academy in Jessup (K-8), Bishop O'Hara High School in Dunmore and Scranton Preparatory School in Scranton.

Famous Residents

The borough was originally named Queen City but later the community was named after George Talbot Olyphant, president of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company.

Broadway actress Judy McLane (played Tania in Mama Mia!) was born in Olyphant, PA, though she proudly states in interviews that she was "raised near Scranton, Pennsylvania."

Mike Gazella was a utility infielder for the 1926-28 New York Yankees. He brought Babe Ruth for a visit to Olyphant during the Babe’s prime.

Nestor Chylak, American League umpire, and only the eighth umpire in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Actress Patricia Crowley.

Michael J. Metrinko, taken hostage in Tehran, Iran in 1979, held 444 days. Metrinko also was the hero (and dedicatee) of the book Razi Crossing, by Tom Burchill, when he saved a number of westerners' lives during a revolutionary uprising in Tabriz, Iran in 1978.


According to certain theorists, a legend exists that there is a hidden treasure, or alternately, some form of occult mystery, hidden within Olyphant. Hints are said to be encoded in the location of the town's many downtown churches, the positions of which, if plotted on a map, form roughly the same pattern as the stars in the constellation Orion. Others have made speculative hay of the town's elevation, which is supposedly twice the height of the Great Pyramid of Giza. A thorough discussion of this can be found here:


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