Shamokin, Pennsylvania

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Shamokin (pronounced /ʃəˈmoʊkɨn/; Saponi Algonquian “Shumounk” "place of the horn") is a city in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, at the western edge of the Anthracite Coal Region. (The original Saponi village of Shamokin was located near the current site of Sunbury, the seat of Northumberland County.) At the 2000 census the population was 8,009 residents. The city of Shamokin is bordered by its sister community, Coal Township, Pennsylvania, and by the world's largest man-made mountain, the Glen Burn Colliery Cameron Culm Bank.



Shamokin was incorporated as a borough on November 9, 1864, and as a city on February 21, 1949. In addition to anthracite coal-mining, it also had silk and knitting mills (the Eagle Silk Mill became the largest textile building under one roof in America), stocking and shirt factories, wagon shops, ironworks, and brickyards.

Most notably, Thomas Edison, briefly a resident of Sunbury, established the Edison Illuminating Company of Shamokin in the fall of 1882. Operation of the Shamokin station (located at the current Independence Street site of Jones Hardware Company) on September 22, 1883, at which time St. Edward's Catholic Church became the first church in the world to have electric lighting.[1]

In the 1877 Shamokin Uprising, starvation wages and miserable working conditions prompted railroad workers and miners to join the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. Vigilantes gathered by Mayor William Douty shot into a group of strikers, wounding twelve and killing two. Five strikers were jailed for up to eight months for their part in the uprising.

The National Ticket Company, located in Shamokin from 1907 until 1992, was at one time the largest ticket company in the United States. Their first production facility was built in 1911 at the corner of Pearl and Webster Streets; a 1942 fire gutted the plant, although the brick shell still stands. The replacement building at Pearl Street and Ticket Avenue was completed in 1950 and served as company headquarters for forty-two years.[2]

"Murder at Hickory Ridge" was a fictionalized account of an unsolved murder in the Shamokin area, written by William A. Conway and printed by his two brothers, Alphonsus E. and John J., in the garage that served as the Conway Print Shop.

With the profits from the sale of the novel, the Conway brothers started the Black Diamond Publishing Company in 1905 to disseminate news of the anthracite coal region through the printing of Black Diamond Magazine.

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