Nestled in the gently rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney is
approximately 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and 100 miles south of Erie,
accessible via Interstate 80, U.S.Route 119 and state Route 36. The borough,
which is located in Jefferson County, is home to approximately 6,800 residents
and one groundhog family (Phil, his wife, and a couple children). Approximately
10,500 people live in the surrounding townships.
The climate is moderate - generally, summers are pleasant and winters are not
excessively cold. Snowfall can range from almost none to quite a lot. Of course,
the length of winter is known for certain after Punxsutawney Phil makes his
prediction on February 2!
Punxsutawney was originally a Native American campsite halfway between the
Allegheny and Susquehanna rivers. It is located on the earliest known trail to
the east, the Shamokin path. Route 119 north of Punxsutawney follows a portion
of this path. The area was, at times, occupied by Shawnee or Delaware people and
sometimes by Senecas or Iroquois. The name of the town was derived from the
Native American word for sand flies, a gnat-like insect that was abundant in the
area. The word "ponkies" became Punxsutawney.
By the late 1790s, the first white settlers came to the area now known as
Jefferson County. Jacob Hoover was the first settler in the Punxsutawney area,
building the first log cabin and probably the first grist mill in 1814. The
Reverend David Barclay came to the area in 1816 and is considered the founder of
In 1850 Punxsutawney was officially incorporated as a borough. For more
information on Punxsutawney history or for help with genealogy, visit www.punxsyhistory.org
As a whole, the community is quiet, friendly, safe, and giving. Summer
evenings will find folks strolling through the town square or along the
sidewalks, even after dark. If you're a stranger in town, don't be surprised
when you pass residents on the street and they offer a friendly "hello."
Punxsutawney is home to several civic and fraternal organizations; volunteerism
The economy, which had been primarily based on coal mining, is now
reestablishing itself as industrial and service-based. With the lure of
Punxsutawney Phil and the beauty of the area, tourism has become a rapidly
If small town living appeals to you, Punxsutawney is just the place to call