Watsontown, Pennsylvania

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Watsontown, Pennsylvania
Watsontown panorama.jpg
Panorama of part of Watsontown from the Watsontown Cemetery (view full size)
Town of The Brothers Kramer
Northumberland County Pennsylvania Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Watsontown Highlighted.svg
Location of Watsontown in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
USA Pennsylvania location map.svg
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Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
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Watsontown (the United States)
Coordinates: 41°05′07″N76°51′48″W / 41.08528°N 76.86333°W / 41.08528; -76.86333 Coordinates: 41°05′07″N76°51′48″W / 41.08528°N 76.86333°W / 41.08528; -76.86333
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Northumberland
Incorporated (borough)1858
  Total0.93 sq mi (2.40 km2)
  Land0.70 sq mi (1.82 km2)
  Water0.22 sq mi (0.58 km2)
481 ft (146 m)
(2017) [3]
  Density3,244.32/sq mi (1,253.11/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST)
  Summer (DST)EDT
Zip code
Area code(s) 570
FIPS code 42-81616
Website Watsontown

Watsontown is a borough in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,254 at the 2000 census. It was named for John Watson, an early settler.

Northumberland County, Pennsylvania County in the United States

Northumberland County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 94,528. Its county seat is Sunbury. The county was formed in 1772 from parts of Lancaster, Berks, Bedford, Cumberland, and Northampton Counties and named for the county of Northumberland in northern England. Northumberland County is a fifth class county according to the Pennsylvania's County Code.

Pennsylvania State of the United States of America

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.



Land in the Watsontown area was first purchased by John Watson in 1792. The borough's post office was opened in 1828. There was a racetrack in Watsontown from 1830 to 1840. Railroad tracks first reached the borough in 1854. A sawmill was built in the area in 1856. Watsontown was a part of Turbot Township until its incorporation in 1867. [4]

Turbot Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania Township in Pennsylvania, United States

Turbot Township is a township in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population at the 2010 Census was 1,806, up from 1,677 at the 2000 census.


Buildings along Pennsylvania Route 44/Pennsylvania Route 405 in Watsontown Watsontown main drag.jpg
Buildings along Pennsylvania Route 44/Pennsylvania Route 405 in Watsontown

Watsontown is located at 41°5′7″N76°51′48″W / 41.08528°N 76.86333°W / 41.08528; -76.86333 (41.085319, -76.863325). [5] According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2), of which, 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (24.47%) is water.

United States Census Bureau Bureau of the United States responsible for the census and related statistics

The United States Census Bureau is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States.

Watsontown's terrain is almost entirely flat except for a hill in the eastern part of the borough. The borough's land is mostly residential, with some forest and industrial areas. The West Branch Susquehanna River borders the western part of Watsontown. The borough is served by Pennsylvania Route 44 and Pennsylvania Route 405. [6]

Forest dense collection of trees covering a relatively large area

A forest is a large area dominated by trees. Hundreds of more precise definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing and ecological function. According to the widely used Food and Agriculture Organization definition, forests covered 4 billion hectares (9.9×109 acres) (15 million square miles) or approximately 30 percent of the world's land area in 2006.

West Branch Susquehanna River river in Pennsylvania, United States

The West Branch Susquehanna River is one of the two principal branches, along with the North Branch, of the Susquehanna River in the northeastern United States. The North Branch, which rises in upstate New York, is generally regarded as the extension of the main branch, with the shorter West Branch being its principal tributary. The West Branch, which is 243 miles (391 km) long, is entirely within the state of Pennsylvania, draining a large mountainous area within the Allegheny Plateau in the western part of the state. Along most of its course it meanders along mountain ridges and through water gaps, forming a large zigzag arc through central Pennsylvania around the north end of the Allegheny Ridge. In colonial times the river provided an important water route to the Ohio River valley. In the 18th century, its lower valley became a significant industrial heartland of Pennsylvania. In the 20th century, the upper reaches of the West Branch turned a yellow/orange color due to sulfurous drainage from nearby and abandoned deep bituminous coal mines.

Pennsylvania Route 44 highway in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Route 44 is a 149.24 mi (240.18 km)-long state highway in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The route is designated from Interstate 80 and Pennsylvania Route 42 in Buckhorn to the New York state line near New York State Route 417 in Ceres Township.


Watsontown has a rich history dating back to the late 18th century. Watsontown was an important part of a transportation network that included roads, railroads, and canals along the Susquehanna River. Additionally, Watsontown served as a stop along the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to Canada. Many businesses were located here because of this. Part of the old canal and the tow path used by mules at the time is still visible along the river.

The Watsontown River Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. [7]

Watsontown River Bridge United States national historic site

Watsontown River Bridge is a historic bridge in Watsontown, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and White Deer Township, Union County, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1927, and consists of nine open spandrel arches with a total length of 1,080-foot-long (330 m). It is constructed of concrete and crosses the Susquehanna River.

National Register of Historic Places Federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred in preserving the property.


Historical population
1870 1,181
1880 1,48125.4%
1890 2,15745.6%
1900 1,898−12.0%
1910 1,9502.7%
1920 2,15310.4%
1930 2,2484.4%
1940 2,2821.5%
1950 2,3272.0%
1960 2,4314.5%
1970 2,5143.4%
1980 2,366−5.9%
1990 2,310−2.4%
2000 2,255−2.4%
2010 2,3514.3%
Est. 20172,284 [3] −2.8%
Sources: [8] [9] [10]

As of the census [9] of 2000, there were 2,254 people, 967 households, and 591 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,161.9 people per square mile (1,226.3/km2). There were 1,017 housing units at an average density of 1,426.0 per square mile (553.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.66% White, 0.40% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 0.09% from other races, and 0.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.35% of the population. There are currently 8 registered sex offenders residing within the borough.

Census Acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population

A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. This term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common censuses include traditional culture, business, supplies, and traffic censuses. The United Nations defines the essential features of population and housing censuses as "individual enumeration, universality within a defined territory, simultaneity and defined periodicity", and recommends that population censuses be taken at least every 10 years. United Nations recommendations also cover census topics to be collected, official definitions, classifications and other useful information to co-ordinate international practices.

Population density A measurement of population numbers per unit area or volume

Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume; it is a quantity of type number density. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and most of the time to humans. It is a key geographical term. In simple terms population density refers to the number of people living in an area per kilometer square.

There were 967 households, out of which 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 21.1% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 79.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.6 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $31,094, and the median income for a family was $37,065. Males had a median income of $30,648 versus $20,972 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $16,110. About 8.4% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.

Historical Landmarks

Watsontown is home to The Watsontown Theater. This theater operated in the bourough for nearly 70 years. It opened on May 30, 1940 and closed in September 2009. The theatre is now undergoing maintenance and renovations. Owners of the theater, Shane and Kelly Erb plan to reopen the theatre. However, it will operate as a venue for bands, comedy shows, and conferences.

Related Research Articles


  1. "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  2. "Watsontown, Pennsylvania (PA 17777) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders" . Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  4. "Watsontown Borough, Northumberland County 17777" . Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  5. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  6. "Google Maps" . Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  7. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  8. "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  9. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  10. "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

The Dr. Van Fleet Climbing Rose was created in Watsontown by Dr. Walter Van Fleet, a resident botanist.

A growing online book of Watsontown history MyWatsontown.com invites contributors.