moving to Schuylkill County (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh: low income, fit in, for sale)
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My wife got a job offer w Penn State Schuylkill that she is most likely going to accept. We are currently living in Washington state so it would be quite a move. We both did grow up on the east coast and our families are there. My folks live near Scranton in the summer and my wife's folks live in Northeast, MD. Does anyone have any thoughts on that general area? My wife liked Orwigsberg (sp) and some other areas. I haven't lived in the east coast since the mid 90's and am a bit aprehensive about moving. I don't know if the job market is that great but I read that property is affordable. Any info would be helpful, thanks!!
I am in the process of moving back to PA (Pittsburgh area). My family is from southern Schuykill County. It is a truly stagnant and depressed area. Almost everyone in the town was born there and most will probably die there. Nothing has changed much in the 25 years since my family left.
There are some very reasonably priced homes in the area, but you will forever be an outsider. Try looking to the northern end of the county. Maybe you will find a more sophisticated community, or at least a place where you won't get glares at the grocery store.
QUICK NOTE: Look into "mine subsidence" in the area before buying a home. I just recently found out that it may be an issue in Pittsburgh and it is a more serious possibility in the area you are considering.
I live in northern Lebanon County (Lickdale) and I’m five minutes drive from Schuylkill County. I’m forty-one and currently a college student. I frequently visit the following towns in Schuylkill County, Pine Grove, Tremont, and Minersville. I simply like the area. The towns themselves aren’t “happening” and appear as some throw back to a1900 - 1950 coal-mining town, which is exactly what they are. I know for a fact that in the past fifteen years there has been much work in mine reclamation in southern Schuylkill County. It has vastly improved the water quality of the Swatara creek that runs through my county (Lebanon County). It’s improved so much that the creek is now full of crayfish. Crayfish are extremely sensitive to pollution. I’m from the area and I can tell you for a fact the Swatara creek never had fish in it twenty years ago like it does today. I don’t fish myself, but I frequently canoe on this creek. Local people call the Swatara creek the “Black Swatty” due to all the coal silt that was in it, today it’s pretty clear and really doesn't deserve it's old name.
I’ve personally met a lot of people from this area and they are genuinely friendly. They are a bit redneck, but not totally unsociable. If you’re not white I wouldn’t suggest moving into the area because it’s nearly 99 and 44/100% white within a thirty mile radius. I’ve noticed that the attitude in this area varies greatly from being open minded to out right hatred of anybody who isn’t white. Despite my forum name, I’m white (Pa. Dutch). Even though I’m white just like they are, everybody instantly knows that I’m not from the area by my attire, my accent, and the fact that they know everybody that lives in x-town. When I meet new people, I’m always asked where I’m from and why I came to their town. This isn’t because they are unfriendly, but because they don’t understand why anybody from my area would want to visit a small town like their own. Not that Lickdale is bigger than their town, but I'm just as close to Lebanon, Harrisburg, Hershey, and Reading as I am to their own towns.
I like the area very much. Due to the area being very depressed, land is cheap and the only people who remain in the area have deep family roots. I’ve been through Orwigsburg on several occasions and I frequently visit neighboring towns. Most homes in the towns of Schuylkill County are run down, modest, and or very old looking. The job market isn’t very good unless you have some type of skilled trade or a profession. Orwigsburg and the surrounding towns of Pottsville, St. Clair, and Schuylkill Haven are much more developed than the areas I’m speaking of ten or fifteen miles southwest. They are nonetheless larger examples of what I’m speaking about. This isn't to say that there aren't newer homes that are nice or that the area is completely lacking suburban type areas.
I plan to move into this area when I’m done with college. I am going to be a Registered Nurse and I don’t mind traveling up to forty-five minutes one-way to work. The small town life appeals to me, land prices are cheap, nobody wants to move there, the “coal crackers” are nice people, no low income housing projects, and one very great reason is that due to all of the above, the riffraff hasn’t spoiled this area. This area is family safe! I’m starting over and I’m going to have more children with a woman 14 years younger than myself. The largest nearby town, Pottsville population 15,500, has a crime index that’s four or five times lower than Harrisburg or Reading Pa. The small towns in and around Pottsville are many times safer than Pottsville itself. In the areas I frequently visit, there isn’t any crime to speak of, at least no violent crime. The area isn’t congested with traffic either! By the way, look into flooding! It never floods where I live, but areas within a mile of me are frequently under water. You only have to worry about it in the valleys, but for some reason out of town people move to the area and always want to live along the creeks in the valley. Most valleys are subject to frequently flooding. Thankfully most of the area is on high ground and never floods.
If you want small town life, safety, cheap property, and a half hour commute to work, Southern Schuylkill County is nice. Take a weeks vacation in the area and go out and mix it up with the locals. They will gladly answer any questions that you ask. When I first started visiting the area two years ago, I asked a lot of questions and learned about a lot of interesting places to visit.
Safe suburban areas surrounding cities in Berks, Lebanon, Dauphin, and Schuylkill Counties come at a premium and the traffic is horrible! The roadways are very old and were never designed for the amount of traffic that we currently have. All the cities in Lebanon, Dauphin, and Berks County are crime infested dumps crawling with crack heads.
Last edited by bolillo_loco; 07-10-2006 at 02:37 AM..
True the towns are depressed and jobs are low paying but most people are friendly. Yes outsiders are looked down upon but once you become friends with one it passes on and then everyone knows you .
I have seen some beautiful Big Bad Homes outside of Orwigsburg in the country ( a developement) can't think of the name. But I assume many people that own them work in Reading .
The writer maybe looking for a slower pace life which Schuylkil County has-but the down side is there really is not much to do. If you are a Hunter you'll fit in(yep the men are pretty bad looking) and the women are no better.
I left Schuylkill in the early 70's and going back now and seeing it makes me glad I left.
"Pittsburgh: America's Most Livable City"
(set 25 days ago)
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
23,756 posts, read 37,054,386 times
Schuylkill County is very economically-depressed. The area you described in Southeastern Schuylkill County (Orwigsburg, Deer Lake, Port Clinton) is a bit more desirable as some of the residents commute into Reading, a city of about 75,000 about a half-hour to the south via Route 61, and some of the people here have more of a "disposable" income as a result. Housing prices across the county are extremely inexpensive by national standards, but there isn't much to do on the weekends here.
Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Deer Lake and to the new Cabela's outlet in Hamburg, just over the Berks County line. Reading offers the AA affilliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, outlet shopping, and historic architecture, but the city overall is a drug-infested, impoverished slum. Pottsville, the county seat, has the Fairlane Village and Cressona Malls, (mostly home to dollar/variety stores), a Lowe's, Home Depot, etc., Schuylkill Haven has a Wal-Mart, and Frackville is home to the larger Schuylkill Mall.
I hate to have to be superficial, but "Sleepless" is right; Many of the people here honestly don't take pride in their appearance. Scruffy facial hair, baseball caps with Marlboro or Budweiser logos adorning them, tattered plaid shirts, and dirty jeans are the common looks for many in Schuylkill County. Most people work in trades, in retail, or in the forestry/mining sector, which doesn't lead to very much in the way of higher wages or disposable income. For the most part, couples are working two jobs each just to keep food on the table---Not because the county is "expensive", but because wages are so deplorable. If your wife has a decent salary lined up with the college, then you should be set.
Just don't expect to regularly be shopping at H&M, dining on French cuisine, or seeing a symphony orchestra in the Pottsville Area---The Yuengling Brewery is the county's biggest tourist draw, so be advised that sitting at the corner bar everyday after a 12-hour shift seems to be the "sport of choice" around here. Speaking of "sports", the residents also tend to exalt high school football over any form of arts enrichment programs, so expect to see many of the public school districts with multi-million dollar athletic facilities and fledgling music and arts programs. It seems as if most of the people here abhor culture, and the county's image suffers as a result---It's a laughing-stock to much of the rest of the region for still living in the 1950s.
The Coal towns and the people there(mostly life residence) do not know any better when it comes to culture. They never left!
My goodness you will never find a decent place to eat(upper Class that is) there!
The bar scene is a sad past time in most of the small towns. And high school football is the highlight in entertainment (certainly not for women- at least this one)!
But the poster could shop in Reading and Reading does have a Wachovia Arena(many concerts) and lots of outlet stores! I use to shop down there but since we have a 2nd home in Lancaster I find that more appealing.
Making a trip to the nearby cities without paying the high price of housing may be your ticket.
Lancaster has a great deal to do and see and I would suggest it to anyone.
I wish the writer luck.. I am just not one to wanting to go back in time- Once you visit Paris, and London serveral times there is no going to hickville.
I drove down there one day to look at a used computer that was for sale in "the paper shop," and on our way back, I almost ran over a turtle in the road. I could not believe it. We stopped and got the turtle as one of my kids loves turtles. I stopped in at an auto parts store to get some information on the turtle and to maybe get a box to put it in. The man inside was very nice and told me what kind of turtle it was and that they had all kinds of turtles around there (LOL) and he gave me a box. I thought that it seemed really nice. Also, when watching the news (in the Scranton area), there have been stories about a new school that was just built in that area (Pottsville & surrounding), and I noticed that all of the children that were in that news clip, from around that area, seemed to be happy and well adjusted and well spoken.
I am reading some of your responses and if you are so unhappy here move. I have lived here all my life (miners/potts) and I love it. I work in harrisburg and I am always glad to come home. Sure there isn't much to do...it is the coal region!!!!! It is laid back !!! We are in a great part of the state. We are not far from NY, the outlets in Hershey or Reading, amusement parks and all with the greatest part of all, you dont' live by all that traffic and trouble. I like going to football games on a Friday night. Not only small towns in the coal region have that for their entertainment.... at least is shows that we support our kids and are proud of them. Isn't it better to have the area children there supporting their school and friends then out on the streets causing trouble like you so called "City Slickers"... can your kids walk to the corner and get an ice cream? go with friends to the community pool??? I think coal region living is great. I like the close communities and the family traditions. There are differences I see each day at work in the city of harrisburg and our small town is so much better. Just in our block parties and church picnics... you don't have to be a drinker to have fun.. I'm not one, I enjoy all the sports my child is involved in during the year.
so to anyone who is looking into Sch. County to live, I say go for it. I know I won't be leaving anytime soon. I like the coal region!!! I know there are plenty others that do too!
Guers Ice Tea, Boilo in the winter time and ring bologna and cheese... now that is home to me!!! lol
"Pittsburgh: America's Most Livable City"
(set 25 days ago)
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
23,756 posts, read 37,054,386 times
This is exactly what I love about City-Data---People on both sides of an issue contributing their honest beliefts about an area in order for potential newcomers to weigh their pros and cons. I've recently been involved in some bickering on the NJ forum from some "sunshine and puppies" people who attack anyone with anything negative to say about NJ (Even if it's true, such as terrible traffic or high housing prices). It's good to have this balance to best help people in their quest for relocation!
I was intentionally harsh on Schuylkill County because I was hoping a county resident would speak up and challenge me in order to point out the POSITIVES of Schuylkill County (I've been in Tamaqua, Pottsville, Mahanoy City, and Frackville in the past year and have seen nothing but economic depression). I know very little about the "positive" side to the county, so I'm glad "CoalRegion" showed up to defend her beloved county. Now "gr8ful" can infer from BOTH of our posts whether or not the benefits outweigh the negatives of Schuylkill County.
I know what I said was a bit harsh, and I apologize sincerely for offending you, CoalDaughter! I'm actually from just up the road in Luzerne County (only marginally more progressive, in my opinion), so we needed an actual Schuykillian to give a better insight into county living. From both of our posts, "gr8ful" should infer the following:
Proximity to Reading and Harrisburg
Low crime rate
Low traffic congestion
Less snow than Scranton/W-B
That small-town "Mayberry" feel
Low educational attainment
Lack of culture beyond high school football
Lack of skilled employment
Not enough shopping opportunities
Mine-scarred land abounds
Many substandard rowhomes
I'd consider Schuylkill County an "average" place to live. It's not as great as "CoalDaughter" makes it out to seem, and it's not as deplorable as I initially coined it as. You should enjoy living here, but if you're coming from a larger, more diverse metropolitan area, then you're going to be slapped in the face terribly with boredom! (Especially if you're from the bustling Puget Sound area) Best of luck! ;o)
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