Connellsville, PA

Information

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Connellsville, PA is a third class city of approximately 9,000 residents located in north central Fayette County, PA. Connellsville is situated on the Youghiogheny River at the western base of Chestnut Ridge.

The city's downtown, Downtown Connellsville, is a large cluster of brick buildings, many of which are empty and poorly maintained, left over from the city's heyday as a capital of the Coal and Coke Boom of the early 20th century. The splash of wealth from that time can be seen in the city's stately Victorian homes, and churches featuring elaborate architecture.

A steadfast element of Connellsville is the B & O Railroad that lines the eastern bank of the Youghiogheny River. A large rail yard is still in use near Arch Street. An Amtrak Station operates on the city's Water Street.

Connellsville, PA's population has been in free fall since the 1960s as manufacturing jobs have largely vanished from the city and surrounding area.

The Youghiogheny River Trail, a crushed limestone corridor of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, has brought hopes that tourism could spawn a rebirth for Connellsville, PA.

Route 119 is a four lane artery running through Connellsville, PA, connecting it with the Uniontown, PA area to the south, and the Scottdale, PA / Mount Pleasant, PA area to the north. Other routes into the city include Route 711 that travels east over Chestnut Ridge, and Route 201 that travels west through Vanderbilt, PA and northwestern Fayette County, PA.
Demographics
?} Connellsville, PA's largest employers are the Connellsville Area School District, and Highlands Hospital.
Geography
?} Communities bordering Connellsville, PA include Connellsville Township, PA, Dunbar Township, PA, and South Connellsville, PA.
?} Connellsville, PA straddles the Youghiogheny River and is at the western base of Chestnut Ridge, which is known locally as the start of the "mountains."
?} Connellsville, PA is located approximately 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, PA. Quickest route (approximately 1 hour) to Pittsburgh, PA from the Connellsville, PA is Route 119 north, I-76 west, and I-376 west to downtown Pittsburgh, PA.
History
?} Connellsville, PA was incorporated as a borough in 1806, but became a city after annexing the former borough of New Haven, PA in 1909. The former community of New Haven is now referred to as the "West Side of Connellsville", as it is west of the Youghiogheny River.
?} The first newspaper published in Connellsville, PA was "The Connellsville Herald" in 1815. That venture soon folded and a second attempt was made in 1855 with "The Connellsville Enterprise," which changed its name to "The Fayette Patriot" in 1859 before succumbing to failure. "The Fayette Monitor and Youghioghenian" became the first permanent paper in Connellsville, PA that started April 12, 1870, its operations were later absorbed by "The Connellsville News" in 1898. On July 17, 1879 "The Keystone Courier" appeared that later dropped the "Keystone" to become "The Courier."
?} Original roads for the 1806 Connellsville, PA borough were
Living
?} Public education for Connellsville, PA is provided by the Connellsville Area School District.
?} Utility companies serving Connellsville, PA include:
?} External Web Link: Official Web Site for Connellsville, PA (City Government)
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Contact Information
Connellsville, PA City Government
110 North Arch Street
Connellsville, PA 15425
Phone: 724-628-2020
Fax: 724-628-2020
Transportation
?} Connellsville, PA's major state roads are Route 119 (four lanes), Route 711 (Crawford Avenue), and Route 201. The city's main street is Pittsburgh Street. Other major roads include Arch Street, and Breakneck Road.

Mentions Connellsville, PA (less relevant)

Geography
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The Youghiogheny River, or "Yough" as many locals call it, begins in the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland before flowing into the Youghiogheny River Lake (reservoir). The Youghiogheny River emerges after a dam at Confluence, PA, where it is joined by water from the Casselman River and Laurel Hill Creek before flowing with class II and III whitewater rapids prior to Ohiopyle, PA, where the Youghiogheny River makes a dramatic 20 - 25 foot plunge at Ohiopyle State Park, PA's Ohiopyle Falls. Class III, IV and V rapids begin at Ohiopyle, PA and continue for nearly eight miles before the river begins to calm as it nears South Connellsville, PA. The Youghiogheny River's personality becomes gentler beginning at Connellsville, PA, after which it meanders until its confluence with the Monongahela River at McKeesport, PA.
History
?} Reconstructed Colonel William Crawford's Cabin
The Connellsville Area Historical Society and the Fayette County Commissioners reconstructed the log home of Colonel William Crawford in 1976. The cabin is 14 X 16 feet and contains one room. Even though the cabin was small for a family of six, their hospitality was legendary. George Washington, Lord Dunmore (the governor of Virginia), and many other passing travelers found a hospitable welcome there. Over the years, William Crawford played an important role in the life of the area. During an Indian scare, he helped plan the defense of the area by having the settlers build several forts to protect themselves. He recruited and led a battalion of southwestern Pennsylvanians to fight in the Revolution and served as a Justice of the Peace for many years. While leading an expedition against the Delaware Indians in Ohio, he was captured and burned at the stake in 1782.

The reconstructed home of Colonel William Crawford sits on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River in Connellsville, PA.
?} Connellsville's First Settler
The first white man in what is now Connellsville, PA was Colonel William Crawford. He was a farmer/surveyor/soldier who was a friend of George Washington and had served with him in the Virginia Militia. In the fall of 1765, he came over the mountains on horseback with his half-brother Hugh Stephenson. When they saw the beautiful meadow lands in the bend of the Youghiogheny River, Crawford decided to build his home there. The two men surveyed a tract of little over 376 acres and put up a log cabin (Crawford's Cabin). The next year, he moved his family into the cabin after a very hazardous trip over the mountains. Hannah Crawford, his wife, and their four children, had to follow what was little better than a path that was exceedingly rough and dangerous in places. As they had just pack horses to carry their possessions, only the essentials could be brought along.
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Contact Information
Connellsville Area Historical Society
299 S. Pittsburgh Street
Connellsville, PA 15425
724-628-5640
?} A lot in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery was purchased, and bodies were moved in 1900 to make way for the Carnegie Free Library. The school board obtained a $50,000 donation from Andrew Carnegie to fund the library's construction. J.A. Nixon of Titusville, PA was awarded the contract for construction as his bid of $39,850.00 (for the building alone) was the lowest of five bids. A ceremony was held July 31, 1901 for laying the corner stone. The buff sand stone and tiled roof two story Carnegie Free Library opened to the public on May 1, 1903.
?} Carnegie Free Library was erected on land that was formerly the Connell Grave Yard, which was an original cemetery serving Connellsville, PA.
?} Connellsville, PA's Crawford Avenue was originally called Spring Street.
Living
?} External Web Link: Official Carnegie Free Library (Connellsville, PA) Web Site