Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

Punxsutawney is a borough in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, 84 miles (129 km) northeast of Pittsburgh. In 1907, Punxsutawney and Claysville boroughs were consolidated and incorporated as Greater Punxsutawney. A high-grade soft coal was mined in the surrounding region. Formerly, the manufactories included glassworks, foundries, ironworks, machine shops, and planing, flour, feed, and silk mills. In 1900, 6,746 people lived there; in 1910, 9,058; in 1920, 10,311; and in 1940, 9,482 people lived there. The population was 6,271 at the 2000 census.

Punxsutawney's most famous resident is Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog said to predict the weather annually on Groundhog Day (February 2). Phil, and the town were the basis for the 1993 hit comedy film Groundhog Day (although nearly all of the movie itself was shot in Woodstock, Illinois).



Punxsutawney is located at (40.945454, -78.975175), roughly 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and 100 miles south of Erie.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.9 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 6,271 people, 2,748 households, and 1,602 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,836.2 people per square mile (708.0/km²). There were 3,042 housing units at an average density of 890.7/sq mi (343.4/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.79% White, 0.22% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.02% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.75% of the population.

There were 2,748 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.0% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 37.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the borough the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 22.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.2 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $26,250, and the median income for a family was $33,054. Males had a median income of $28,958 versus $19,076 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $14,802. About 13.3% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.


The Borough of Punxsutawney is governed by seven Council members, each elected to a four year term. The members are: Susan Glessner, President; Donna Lellock, Vice President; Lawrence Chenoga; Michael Porada; Robert Reesman; William Spencer and Roger Steele.
The Mayor, James Wehrle, is also elected to a four year term, and in addition to other duties, has oversight of the Borough Police Department.
Other elected offices include: one Tax Collector (four year term), six assessors (four year terms) and six constables (four year terms).
The Borough Manager position, held by Benjamin White, is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Borough, and reports to Borough Council.

Punxsutawney is the most populous incorporated municipality in Jefferson County.

Emergency Services

The Borough of Punxsutawney employs a full time police service made up of part time and full time police officers. The Chief of Police is Tom Fedigan, the Sergeant is William Foster. Dispatchers and wardens are also employed by the borough and work closely with police. The police station is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by both police officers and wardens.

The Punxsutawney Fire Department is made up of three volunteer stations, The Central Fire Dept. (Jefferson County Station 20), Elk Run Volunteer Fire Company (Jefferson County Station 30), and Lindsey Fire Company (Jefferson County Station 40). The president of the Punxsutawney Fire Department is Doug McAfoos. The Fire Department Chief is Paul Hense. In addition to department officers, each station elects its own officers. Scott Depp is the chief of Central Fire Dept., Bryan Smith the chief of Elk Run VFC, and Joe Defelice the chief of Lindsey Fire Co. The fire department responds to fires, vehicle accidents, Hazardous Materials incidents, and rescue situations in the borough of Punxsutawney, Bell Township, and Young Township. The Punxsutawney Fire Department also maintains an active water rescue team comprising scuba divers and a boat crew.

Jefferson County EMS operates the ambulance station in Punxsutawney. Station 50 is a full advanced life support service comprising Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians. Station 50 serves not only the borough of Punxsutawney, but also Southern Jefferson County and parts of Northern Indiana County.

Punxsutawney in fiction

The film Groundhog Day is set in Punxsutawney, although actual filming was done in Woodstock, Illinois.

In the Lost In Space television series, Captain Alonzo P. Tucker, a space pirate (appeared in two episodes), lived in Punxsutawney, a homeless person, until aliens abducted him and others for study, mostly keeping him in suspended animation.

Local Media

  • WECZ-AM and WPXZ-FM, two local radio stations.
  • The Punxsutawney Spirit, Jefferson County's only daily newspaper.


External links

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