Mount Union, Pennsylvania

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Mount Union is a borough in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, 45 miles (72 km) southeast of Altoona, on the Juniata River. In the vicinity are found bituminous coal, ganister rock, fire clay, and some timber. A major Easter grass factory is located in the northern quadrant of the borough limits; until May 2007, the facility was owned by Bleyer Industries.[1] The population was 2,504 at the 2000 census.



Mount Union was largely influenced by industry. It was at one time the world's largest producer of refractory material (silica brick), with three plants - General Refractories, United States Refractories and Harbison Walker. The refractory business in Mount union lasted from 1899 to about 1972, with limited production into the early 1990's. Other industries included two tanneries, an tanning extract plant, coal yards, and foundry and machine shops.

Mount Union was the northern terminus for the narrow gauge East Broad Top Railroad, connecting to the Main Line of the Middle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad (nos Norfolk Southern). The EBT maintained a large dual-gauge yard and coal cleaning plant in Mount Union and supplied coal to the Refractory plants. The EBT ceased operations in 1956 but the track is still in place and owned by the railroad. From 1998-2010 the Mount Union Connecting Railroad attempted to reactivate the EBT main track through Mount Union and rehabilitated it, but only a couple cars were serviced and none moved over the EBT trackage.

Mount Union has a designated National Register Historic District with 300 significant historic structures, buildings, and homes. The population tally in 1900 was 1,086 which rose to 3,338 in 1910.


The population was 2,504 at the 2000 census. The culturally significant Thousand Steps of the Standing Stone Trail are located in the Jacks Narrows about 2 miles west of the town along U.S. Route 22. The annual Creation Festival is hosted locally (since 1984), drawing thousands of visitors in late June. Mount Union is the site of the PA Lions Beacon Lodge Camp, a summer camp for people with visual impairments and special needs, founded by Carl Shoemaker in 1948.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.0 km²), of which, 1.1 square miles (2.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (2.59%) is water.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 2,504 people, 1,166 households, and 684 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,221.6 people per square mile (855.6/km²). There were 1,288 housing units at an average density of 1,142.8/sq mi (440.1/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 86.50% White, 11.02% African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.32% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.20% of the population.

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