Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, USA
Described by its late mayor Marion 'Brud' Alexander1 as Your kind of town, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania was founded in 1762 by Frederick Hummel. Today is it exactly the type of traditional small town that demographers who live in the suburbs tell us no longer exists – which might be hard to explain to its roughly 4300 residents.
Hummelstown is a borough in Pennsylvania's often confusing system of political subdivision. Boroughs are typically small towns surrounded by more rural, agricultural areas. Hummelstown fits that description perfectly, though as the rural townships around it have begun to develop it has seen its role as market town replaced by becoming more of a cultural hub for the surrounding area.
The local high school and middle school both are within the town limits, serving 1100 and 1000 students from itself and the four surrounding townships. The county library system has a small branch in the town to serve the surrounding region, however plans are in the works for a larger library to be built in the near future.
The town also is home to a dance studio, a martial arts studio, an outstanding toy store, an equally outstanding candy store, art galleries, a photographer's studio, its very own newspaper, several churches, and a couple of banks and funeral homes.
But the vast bulk of the town is made up of private residences – close to XX percent of the town is made up of homes and most of its residents work outside the town and return at the end of the day creating what demographers call a 'bedroom community'. The town's residents are fairly well-off less than 10 percent of the population is classified by the government as being poor. Hummelstown residents are also invariably white Caucasians with 97 percent indicating so in the last census.
So why visit? Hummelstown has an impressive community spirit, resulting in an impressive number of parades, street fairs and get-togethers.
The town's Halloween Parade is in itself worth a visit. Nearly every community service group - from the Lions Club to the Rotary Club to the elementary school Parent-Teacher Organization - take to the street in costume and hand out candy as they march along the parade route.
For Memorial Day, the town's veterans take to the streets marching proudly past hundreds of flag-waving residents. Their route takes them through the heart of town until they reach the sprawling Hummelstown Cemetery for a solemn service to remember all who served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice.
The Hummelstown Arts Festival…
On New Year's Eve, the town gathers in the town square to ring in the new year together. The event features music, entertainment and at midnight a giant lollipop is lowered from the top of the town's tallest building. When a sponsor is available, the event culminates with a huge fireworks display.
History of Hummelstown
The land which makes up Hummelstown was originally deeded to Henry Chambers in 1744. Frederick Hummel bought the land around today's town square from Chambers for 200 pounds. The village was originally known as Frederickstown.
In 1774, a town meeting was held, led by Hummel himself which protested the British government's treatment of its colonies in America. While no residents of Hummelstown signed the Declaration of Independence, several town residents fought in the Revolutionary War.
Hummel's town was well located, sitting on an important early roadway which woule eventually become US Highway 322. The Swatara Creek and Union Canal borders the town to the north and west. A major line of the Reading Railroad passed through town with passenger service and freight haulage – today only freight service is still available. The short line Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad still exists as a short excursion line which stops on the outskirts of town.
These outstanding transportation linkages have always made Hummelstown a bedroom community. In the 1800s many of the town's residents worked in the nearby Brownstone Quarries…
As of the 2000 census, the borough had a total population of 4,360.
Hummelstown is located at 40°15'53" North, 76°42'40" West
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.4 square miles.