Connellsville, Pennsylvania

East Crawford Avenue
Official name: City of Connellsville
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Fayette
Coordinates 40°0′58″N 79°35′24″W / 40.01611°N 79.59°W / 40.01611; -79.59
Area 2.4 sq mi (6 km2)
 - land 2.3 sq mi (6 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 9,146 (2000)
Density 4,053.5 / sq mi (1,565 / km2)
Established 1806-03-01
 - Incorporated 1911-05-12
Mayor Charles Matthews
Timezone EST (UTC-4)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-5)
Area code 724
Location of Connellsville within Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States
Carnegie Free Library (1903)
National Register of Historic Places

Connellsville is a city in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA, 57 miles (92 km) southeast of Pittsburgh on the Youghiogheny River, a tributary of the Monongahela River. It is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. In 1890, 5,629 people lived in Connellsville, which was a borough at that time. 7,170 people lived in Connellsville in 1900; 12,845 in the new city of Connellsville in 1910; 13,804 in 1920; and 13,608 in 1940. The population was 9,146 at the 2000 census.



As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 9,146 people, 3,963 households, and 2,377 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,053.5 people per square mile (1,562.5/km²). There were 4,434 housing units at an average density of 1,965.2 per square mile (757.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.54% White, 3.93% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.54% of the population.

There were 3,963 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,070, and the median income for a family was $28,105. Males had a median income of $28,942 versus $23,016 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,165. About 22.4% of families and 28.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.5% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.


During the French and Indian War, a British army commanded by General Edward Braddock approached Fort Duquesne and crossed the Youghiogheny River at Stewart's Crossing, which is situated in the middle of what is now the City of Connellsville.

Connellsville was officially founded as a township in 1793 then as a borough on March 1, 1806 by Zachariah Connell, a militia captain during the American Revolution. In February 1909, balloting in New Haven and Connellsville resulted in these two boroughs joining and becoming the first city in Fayette County on May 12, 1911.

Due to the city’s location in the center of the Connellsville coalfield during the coke and coal mining days, Connellsville had at one time more millionaires per capita than any other place in the country and possibly the world. Connellsville at this time was king of coal and coke, with beehive ovens lighting up the hillsides. Railroads crisscrossed the city; streetcars connected neighborhoods and other towns. When Connellsville became a city in 1909, estimates have the population at more than 22,000.

In December 1903, the Connellsville train wreck killed 66 people as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Duquesne Limited ran into timber dropped from a freight train.

Coal mining and accompanying industries became the major source of employment and local revenue during the later half of the nineteenth century. It brought a great deal wealth to the Fayette county region. This prosperity, however, remained restricted to the wealthy elite. Many Italian and Slovak immigrants worked in the coal mines and coke ovens in a state of poverty.

When the demand for coke around the turn of the century pushed many other emerging industries out, the city along with Fayette County became almost entirely dependent on both coal and coke. When better heating processes were developed, Connellsville's coke was no longer needed and the industry went bust — along with the economy of Fayette County.


Connellsville is served by the Connellsville Area School District and Geibel Catholic Middle-High School.

Union Passenger Depot / P&LE (1913)
National Register of Historic Places


The Daily Courier, a newspaper based in the city, has been in publication for over a century.

Parks and Trails

The Youghiogheny River Trail, a 43-mile crushed limestone trail, runs through Connellsville.

Public Services

  • Highlands Hospital, one of three hospitals in the county, is located in Connellsville.
  • The Connellsville Police Department serves the city with a full-time force.
  • The Connellsville Fire Department is headquartered within the city
  • New Haven Hose, another fire company, is headquartered on the city's west side.


Connellsville has the distinction of being served at one time by 5 railroads: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Western Maryland Railroad, the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, and the Norfolk and Western Railroad.

The Bailtimore and Ohio Railroad (now CSX Transportation) entered Connellsville on the left side of the Youghiogheny River. This main line originated in Cumberland, MD and followed the river to Pittsburgh and eventually Chicago, Il.

The Pennsylvania Railroad's Southwest branch from Greensburg entered Connellsville from Connellsville Township crossing Route 119 and across the North End crossing the Youghiogheny on a tressle in the middle of the town as this line terminated in Uniontown, PA. This line has been severed and the tressle demolished in the late 80's. It remains as a coal loading facility behind the location of the former Back Creek Lumber Co where the line was severed. This line is now operated by the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad.

The Western Maryland Railroad's line crossed over the Alleghenies from Cumberland, MD and entered Connellsville on the right side of the Youghiogheny river and connected with two separate railroad companies. The first connection was with the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad's line from Pittsburgh which continued down the right side of the river to Pittsburgh. This was in direct competition with the B & O directly across the river. The second connection of the Western Maryland was to the Norfolk and Western railroad which crossed the river to the left side on the former Pittsburgh & West Virginia railroad bridge.

The Norfolk & Western branch was acquired by the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad which build a new connection on the left side of the river to CSX which severed the old line across the bridge. This historic bridge is now threatened with demolition. Several of these former railway lines have been abandoned and the right of way acquired for other uses. The former Western Maryland railroad, and Pittsburgh & Lake Erie lines are now the part of the Youghiogheny River Trail.

Amtrak's Capitol Limited provides passenger rail service to Connellsville, with service to Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and other points in between.


The main route through Connellsville is US 119. US 119 links Connellsville with nearby cities Uniontown and Greensburg, and provides access to many of the business on the outskirts of the city. PA 201 ends in Connellsville, and PA 711 serves as the main street through downtown before heading into the local mountains.

US Post Office (1913)
National Register of Historic Places

Notable natives and residents


External links

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