Williamsport, Pennsylvania, lies 130 miles northwest of Philadelphia, on the west branch of the Susquehanna River. It was incorporated as a city in 1866 and is the county seat of Lycoming County.
The population of Williamsport is about 30,000, with 16 percent made up of African-Americans and other minorities. The median age is 32. Nearly 22 percent of adults hold a bachelor's or advanced degree.
Famous past and present residents of Williamsport include U.S. congressman James Hall Huling, still-life painter Severin Roesen and football player Bob Pellegrini.
A downtown revitalization project has succeeded in attracting both residents and visitors to the area. Amenities include a multiplex cinema and large new retail spaces. The city's "First Fridays" tradition brings the community together to celebrate art. On the first Friday of each month, restaurant and shop owners exhibit art pieces according to a predetermined theme, such as local photography or paintings by city residents.
Notable neighborhoods include the following:
Rich in timber, Williamsport was once known as "The Lumber Capital of the World." Since the decline of the lumber industry, however, Williamsport has seen growth in manufacturing, health care, education and pharmaceuticals.
The city's top employers include Susquehanna Health, a three-hospital system in north-central Pennsylvania; Textron, a manufacturer of Lycoming aircraft engines; and Williamsport Area School District, serving 5,600 students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Located in the Pennsylvania Wilds region, Williamsport has no shortage of outdoor activities for its residents and visitors. Camping, hunting and fishing are popular pastimes, as are biking on the Pine Creek Rail Trail and fly-fishing on Loyalsock Creek. A dam in the Susquehanna River at Hepburn Street has created a large lake that is used for canoeing and kayaking.
For sports enthusiasts, the city has a professional baseball team known as the Crosscutters and a semipro football team called the Williamsport Wildcats. The city is also the birthplace and current headquarters of Little League Baseball, and the Little League World Series is held every year in South Williamsport.
The local newspapers in Williamsport include Williamsport Sun Gazette, Webb Weekly (a free publication), and The Williamsport Guardian (a free monthly nonprofit, available regionally).
Williamsport is the home to five colleges and technical schools, with the largest being Pennsylvania College of Technology (more than 4,500 full-time students) and Lycoming College (nearly 1,400 full-time students).
An average of 5,500 students are enrolled each year in one of the schools of the Williamsport Area School District, which includes six elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school. There are also private schools to choose from, including Bishop Neumann High School, West Branch School and St. Joseph School.
Local and regional transportation services make it easy to get around. River Valley Transit operates bus services within Williamsport, while Susquehanna Trailways offers long-distance bus service to large cities in Pennsylvania and New York. Williamsport Regional Airport has flights each day to various cities across the country.
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