What is Slippery Rock so famous for?

The city Slippery Rock, PA has an exciting story to tell including from where it got its name. Slippery Rock is an actual slippery rock formation located within the borough. This natural geological feature is a massive underground rock that has been exposed over time, with a surface that becomes extremely slick when wet. The rock was an important landmark for Native Americans and early settlers, and it continues to be a popular visitor attraction today.

The top two things Slippery Rock is most famous for attracting 10,000 people annually growing by 2.5x times of its population, the festivals are the Pennsic War and the VillageFest.

The Pennsic War, an annual medieval re-enactment event by the Society for Creative Anachronism. It is held at Cooper’s Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. The event lasts for 17 days and is the single largest annual SCA event, with over 10,000 people attending each year.

The Pennsic War is a “war” between two large regional SCA groups: the Kingdom of the East and the Middle Kingdom. The event centers on pre-17th century history and culture, with all campers dressing in historically relevant clothing.

The winners of the battles and other activities receive war points, and the Kingdom with the most war points wins that Pennsic. The Pennsic War uses numbers to identify each war rather than the year it was held, so the 2024 event will be known as “Pennsic War 51”. The event features a variety of activities, including battles, classes, arts and sciences exhibitions, and a marketplace. The Pennsic War is so large that it has its own mayor and post office for the duration of the event.

The second annual event has been held annually since 2004 and features food trucks, concerts, art shows, and various activities for all ages. The festival takes place on Main Street in Slippery Rock and is a rain or shine event. The 20th annual Slippery Rock VillageFest was held on Saturday, September 16, 2023, and featured over 150 vendors, a cornhole tournament, live music, and a Kid’s Zone with face painting, a hula hoop contest, a balloon artist, a magician, and musical chairs for three different age groups. In honor of the 20th anniversary of VillageFest, local classic rock group 16 Eyes returned to provide live music 19 years after they performed at the very first event.

The group was followed by local country music band Hay Day. The festival is a one-day event that brings together the community and supports local businesses.

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Nestled in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock is a small town with a big personality. With a population of just over 3,000 people, it’s easy to overlook this hidden gem. However, once you discover all that Slippery Rock has to offer, you’ll wonder how you ever missed it.

Despite its small size, Slippery Rock is a city full of surprises. Visitors can explore the historic Old Stone House Museum, which was built in 1822 as a stagecoach stop and tavern. 

The museum offers a glimpse into rural life in the early 19th century and is a must-see for history buffs. For those who prefer the great outdoors, Slippery Rock Creek is a popular destination for hiking, fishing, and kayaking. The Frew Mill Falls Area of Slippery Rock Creek and Grant City Falls are also worth a visit for their stunning natural beauty.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet weekend getaway or an action-packed adventure, Slippery Rock has something for everyone. With its charming downtown area, friendly locals, and beautiful scenery, it’s no wonder that so many people are falling in love with this hidden gem of Pennsylvania.

Where is Slippery Rock located?

Slippery Rock is a borough located in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Slippery Rock’s zip code is 16057. It is situated in the western part of the state part of the Greater Pittsburgh Region (60 miles north) and 50 miles south of Erie, home to Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, which is attended by nearly three times the size of its citizens – 9,000 students. The population of Slippery Rock was 3,081 at the 2020 census.

The borough was settled in 1841 and was incorporated as a borough under the name Centreville in 1841, later changing its name to Slippery Rock in 1896. The post office for Slippery Rock Township was established in 1826 in the Ginger Hill area. 

Slippery Rock Township has a population of 7,276. The median age is 22.8, and the median household income is $50,492. The town is predominantly white, with a small percentage of Asian, Black or African American, and Hispanic residents.

The borough is situated just off Interstate 79, which runs north-south through western Pennsylvania. It’s also a short drive from Interstate 80, one of the major east-west highways crossing the northern part of the state.

41°3′49″N 80°3′18″W / 41.06361°N 80.05500°W

    Slippery Rock Township is a separate entity that surrounds the borough of Slippery Rock. The township has a total area of 25.69 square miles (66.54 km2), of which 25.68 square miles (66.50 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.04 km2), or 0.08%, is water.

    The township is located along the northwestern border of Butler County, with Mercer and Lawrence counties to the northwest.

    Community members gather on a sunny day for an outdoor event on a grassy field in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, with blankets and casual seating, enjoying each other's company amidst a backdrop of charming buildings
    Community members gather on a sunny day for an outdoor event on a grassy field in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, with blankets and casual seating, enjoying each other's company amidst a backdrop of charming buildings

    The town is surrounded by rural countryside and small communities typical of the region. Its location places it within easy driving distance of both Pittsburgh’s urban amenities and the outdoor recreation opportunities of northwestern Pennsylvania’s forests, lakes, and rivers.

    According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.3 km2), all land. Slippery Rock Creek, the borough’s namesake, runs through a valley 2 miles (3 km) south of the borough.

    The terrain around Slippery Rock is hilly, and the strip mining of coal has been a prominent commercial activity in the surrounding area, which is largely agricultural.

    • Low Crime Rates: Slippery Rock is considered a safe place to live, with crime rates lower than the national averages at 33.38 per 1,000 residents. Families can have peace of mind raising children in this secure community and feel very safe in the southeast parts of the city.
    • Quality Schools: The schools in Slippery Rock Area School District provide a solid education, with with above average focus on academic achievement and student development. Slippery Rock Area Elementary School and Slippery Rock Area Middle School are two of the top-rated public schools serving the township.
    • Family Recreation: Slippery Rock offers various family-friendly activities and amenities, such as parks, community events, and sports programs. Places like Slippery Rock Park provide options for outdoor recreation and quality family time.
    • Small Town Charm: The welcoming, tight-knit community atmosphere in Slippery Rock helps families feel at home. It offers the benefits of a suburban lifestyle with the charm of a small town.
    • Employment: Out of all residents only ~ 1640 a full-time employees, which is a slight decline from previous years at 1.88k employed. Slippery Rock University is a significant employer in the area, with over 950 employees, including 496 full-time faculty and a 20:1 faculty-to-student ratio.
    • Slippery Rock homes are generally more affordable compared to other towns in the region. The median home value in Slippery Rock Township across all of the 32 zip codes is $230 – 256,400, and the median rent is $852. The homeownership rate is 39.9% homeowners to 60.1% renters.
    • Location: Slippery Rock’s location provides easy access to the amenities and opportunities of nearby cities like Pittsburgh and Youngstown for weekend family trips and adventures.

    Early Settlements

    Slippery Rock, PA has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The area was originally settled by Native Americans, and later by European immigrants who were drawn to the area by its fertile land and abundant natural resources. The town was named after Slippery Rock Creek, which runs through the area, and was officially incorporated in 1837.

    Development of Slippery Rock

    In the late 1800s, Slippery Rock began to thrive as a center for agriculture and manufacturing. The town was home to several mills and factories, including a woolen mill, a sawmill, and a tannery. The arrival of the railroad in the early 1900s further fueled the town’s growth, making it a major transportation hub for the region.

    Today, Slippery Rock is a vibrant community with a rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the town’s history at the Old Stone House Museum, which was built in 1822 and served as a stagecoach stop and tavern. The museum offers a glimpse into rural life in the 19th century, with exhibits on everything from farming to blacksmithing.

    Butler and New Castle, two neighboring towns, also played important roles in the development of Slippery Rock. Butler, located just a few miles to the south, was a major center for iron production in the 19th century. New Castle, located to the north, was known for its manufacturing industry, particularly in the production of tinplate.

    Slippery Rock’s history and heritage are an important part of its identity as a community. From its early beginnings as a settlement to its growth as a center for agriculture and manufacturing, the town has a rich and fascinating story to tell.

    Geography and Natural Beauty

    Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania is a small borough located in northwest Butler County. The borough is situated on a hilly terrain, and the strip mining of coal has been a significant industry in the area. The borough is named after Slippery Rock Creek, which runs through a valley 2 miles south of the borough. The creek is a popular destination for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.

    A family wearing life jackets enjoys a peaceful boat ride on a calm lake in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, surrounded by greenery. Birds can be seen flying above the water in the distance.
    A family wearing life jackets enjoys a peaceful boat ride on a calm lake in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, surrounded by greenery. Birds can be seen flying above the water in the distance.

    Slippery Rock Creek

    Slippery Rock Creek is a beautiful waterway that runs through the Slippery Rock Gorge. The creek is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and is known for its clear water and scenic beauty. The creek is home to a variety of fish species, including smallmouth bass, rock bass, and brown trout. The Slippery Rock Creek Trail follows the creek for 13 miles and provides a scenic hike through the gorge.

    Outdoor Adventures, Parks and Recreation

    Slippery Rock is home to several parks and recreational areas (map), including McConnells Mill State Park and Jennings Environmental Education Center. McConnells Mill State Park is a popular destination for hiking, rock climbing, and fishing. The park is home to Slippery Rock Creek, and visitors can explore the park’s many trails and scenic overlooks. Jennings Environmental Education Center is a nature preserve that features several hiking trails and a visitor center. The center is home to several species of birds and wildlife, and visitors can learn about the area’s natural history and ecology.

    Moraine State Park: Large park surrounding Lake Arthur. Popular for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and its network of trails.

    Miller Woods Nature Preserve: Located on Slippery Rock University’s campus, this preserve offers easy to moderate forested trails.

    Slippery Rock Gorge Natural Area: Protected area featuring a scenic gorge and a short, steep trail with creek access.

    Slippery Rock Community Park: Offers playgrounds, ball fields, walking trails, picnic areas, a disc golf course, and more.

    Slippery Rock University Recreation Center: Available for university students and the public (with a membership) and features a pool, fitness center, and various sports courts.

    Trails

    North Country Trail: A long-distance hiking trail that passes through Slippery Rock and the region. Offers a chance for multi-day backpacking adventures.

     

    The park boundaries are well marked, and visitors are encouraged to stay on the designated trails to protect the natural environment. Slippery Rock is a beautiful and unique destination that offers visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of Pennsylvania.

    Kayaking and Water Sports

    Slippery Rock Creek is a popular destination for kayaking and other water sports. With its calm waters and stunning scenery, it’s a great place for beginners to learn and for advanced kayakers to challenge themselves. American Whitewater has designated Slippery Rock Creek as a Class II to III river which makes it an exciting option for kayaking enthusiasts. Visitors can rent kayaks from local outfitters or bring their own.

    Hiking Trails

    Slippery Rock is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Pennsylvania. The North Country Trail, which runs through the area, offers over 50 miles of trails that wind through forests, over hills, and along the creek. Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area is another great spot for hiking, with 243 acres of public land to explore. The area is primarily located on the eastern bank of Wolf Creek and offers a beautiful spot for a hike.

    Hell’s Hollow Trail (McConnells Mill State Park): A challenging and scenic loop through the park’s gorge.

    Breakneck Falls Trail (McConnells Mill State Park): Shorter but still challenging trail with views of waterfalls.

    Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the water or a challenging hike, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania has something for everyone. With its natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, it’s no wonder it’s becoming a popular destination for adventure seekers.

    Local Amenities and Attractions

    Slippery Rock, PA has a great downtown walk-able with sidewalks area known as the Central Business District.

    The downtown district has undergone revitalization efforts led by Slippery Rock Development (SRD), a group that came together in 1999 to develop a bold new vision of Slippery Rock’s future. The revitalization project has also resulted in a dramatic transformation of the downtown area, with downtown sidewalks now seeing pedestrian traffic in the evening and great interest in developing new businesses. Since 2001, private and public investments in new capital construction are estimated to total more than $252,900,000 within the borough, within the township, and at SRU.

    An evening scene of a bustling town street in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, with pedestrians, illuminated shop fronts, and a prominent clock tower in the background.
    An evening scene of a bustling town street in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, with pedestrians, illuminated shop fronts, and a prominent clock tower in the background.

    Shopping and Stores

    Slippery Rock offers a variety of shopping options. From small boutique stores to larger chain stores, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, be sure to check out the local farmers’ market. Here, you’ll find fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts.

    For those who prefer larger stores, there are several options available. Walmart, located on New Castle Rd, offers a wide variety of products at affordable prices. If you’re looking for outdoor gear, you can head to the Slippery Rock Outfitters. They offer a variety of outdoor gear, including kayaks, canoes, and camping equipment.

    Cultural Sites

    Slippery Rock is home to several cultural sites that are worth visiting. One of the most popular is the Old Stone House Museum. This historic inn and museum of rural life dates back to 1822 and was originally a stagecoach stop and tavern. Today, visitors can explore the exhibits and grounds and learn about life in western Pennsylvania in the 19th century.

    Another cultural site worth visiting is Slippery Rock University. The university offers a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and art exhibits. The Martha Gault Art Gallery, located on campus, features works by local and regional artists.

    If you’re interested in history, be sure to visit the Slippery Rock Area Historical Society. The society maintains a collection of artifacts and documents related to the history of the area. They also offer guided tours of local historical sites, including the Old Stone House Museum.

    Where to sleep in Slippery Rock?

    If you’re planning to stay in Slippery Rock, there are several hotel options available, but keep in mind there aren’t many hotels directly within Slippery Rock, PA itself. Below we’ve prepared 6 accommodation options in 3 categories.

    Including one within the city.

    One of the most popular is the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. The hotel offers comfortable rooms and a variety of amenities, including a fitness center and indoor pool.

     

    Budget-Friendly Options:

    Super 8 by Wyndham Grove City (Grove City, PA – about 15-20 min from Slippery Rock)

    • Clean and basic rooms
    • Free breakfast included

    Hampton Inn & Suites Grove City (Grove City, PA – about 15-20 min from Slippery Rock)

    • Reliable chain with comfortable rooms
    • Indoor pool and free hot breakfast.

    Mid-Range Options:

    Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Slippery Rock (Slippery Rock, PA)

    • Modern and well-kept hotel on the edge of town.
    • Offers an indoor pool and free breakfast.

    The Applebutter Inn (Slippery Rock, PA)

    • Bed and breakfast with charming rooms and a focus on hospitality.
    • Lovely grounds, may have a restaurant on-site (check their website)

    Luxury Options (within about 30-40 minutes):

    Nemacolin (Farmington, PA)

    • Upscale resort with multiple accommodation options, spa, golf courses, and various activities.

    The Omni William Penn Hotel (Pittsburgh, PA)

    • Historic, grand hotel in downtown Pittsburgh offering luxurious amenities and dining.

    Affordability in Slippery Rock Township

    Slippery Rock, PA, is known for its slightly higher cost of living compared to the national average, but it still offers an affordable lifestyle when considering factors such as median income and housing costs.

    Key points regarding the affordability of living in Slippery Rock, PA:

    1. Cost of living: Slippery Rock’s cost of living is 0.6% higher than the national average, with a score of 100.6/100 and 6.3% higher compared to other areas in Pennsylvania. The median household income in Slippery Rock Township is $52,655, and the per capita income is $21,776.
    2. Comfortable living: To live comfortably in Slippery Rock, a minimum annual income of $42,480 for a family of two which makes it around $116,38 per day and $32,800 or $89.86 per day for a single person is recommended.
    3. Median income: The median household income in Slippery Rock was $50,492 in 2021, which can help offset the slightly higher cost of living for many residents. However, there is a significant disparity between male ($37,188) and female ($30,104) median incomes.
    4. Slippery Rock Housing costs: A typical home in Slippery Rock costs $221,200-$256,400 which is 40.51% less expensive than the national average at $431,000 and 0.94% more expensive than $254,000 national than the average Pennsylvania home. Renting a two-bedroom unit costs $852-$980 per month, which is 49.94% cheaper than the national average at $1,702 for 1-2 bedroom apartment.
    5. Other expenses: Utility prices and transportation expenses are higher than the national average, at 31% and 3%, respectively. Grocery prices are also 8% higher than the national average. However, healthcare costs are 5% lower than the national average.
    6. Poverty: About 10.1% of families and 42.6% of the population were below the poverty line.

    In contrast to areas with a lower cost of living, Slippery Rock may have fewer financial advantages.

    The borough’s relatively affordable housing and lower healthcare costs can contribute to a better quality of life when compared to more expensive regions.

    Education and Institutions

    Slippery Rock University

    Slippery Rock University is a public university located in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. The university offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fields such as education, business, and healthcare. According to US News & World Report, Slippery Rock University is ranked #50 in the Regional Universities North category. The university has a student population of over 8,000 and is known for its strong commitment to student success.

    The university also has an active athletics program, with 17 NCAA Division II sports teams. The Slippery Rock University football team is particularly well-known, with a long history of success and a dedicated fan base. The university’s mascot is the Rock.

    Public Schools

    The Slippery Rock Area School District serves the community of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. The district consists of four schools: Slippery Rock Area High School, Slippery Rock Area Middle School, Slippery Rock Area Elementary School, and Moraine Elementary School. The district is committed to providing a high-quality education to all students and offers a range of programs and services to support student success.

    The high school offers a variety of Advanced Placement courses, as well as extracurricular activities such as music, drama, and athletics. The middle school and elementary schools also offer a range of programs and services to support student learning and development.

    Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania is a community that values education and is home to a variety of institutions that are committed to providing high-quality educational opportunities to students of all ages. Whether you are a student, parent, or community member, there are many resources available to support your educational goals.

    Economy and Employment

    Business Landscape

    Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania is a small borough located in Butler County. The local economy is primarily driven by small businesses, with a few larger companies also contributing to the job market. The main industries in Slippery Rock include education, healthcare, and retail. Slippery Rock University is the largest employer in the area, providing jobs for both faculty and staff. The university also has a significant impact on the local economy, with many businesses catering to the student population.

    Job Opportunities

    The job market in Slippery Rock has seen a slight increase in recent years, with a 0.3% growth rate over the last year. However, future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be lower than the US average at 25.4%. The median household income in Slippery Rock is $50,492, which is slightly higher than the national average. The unemployment rate in Slippery Rock is 3.8%, which is lower than the national average of 4.2%.

    Job opportunities in Slippery Rock are primarily focused on education, healthcare, and retail. The university is the largest employer in the area, providing jobs in a variety of fields, including administration, teaching, and research. Healthcare is also a significant industry in Slippery Rock, with Butler Health System providing jobs in the medical field. Retail jobs are also available in the area, with several local shops and restaurants providing employment opportunities.

    Getting to Slippery Rock

    Slippery Rock is a small village located in Butler County, Pennsylvania. The best way to get to Slippery Rock is by car. The village is easily accessible from the nearby cities of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Erie. The village is located just off of I-79, which runs north-south through western Pennsylvania. Visitors can take exit 105 and follow PA-108 west for about two miles to reach Slippery Rock.

    For those traveling from further away, the closest airport is Pittsburgh International Airport, which is about 50 miles south of Slippery Rock. From the airport, visitors can rent a car or take a taxi or ride-sharing service to get to Slippery Rock.

    Local Transportation

    Once in Slippery Rock, visitors can easily explore the village on foot. Most of the village’s main attractions, such as the Old Stone House Museum and the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge, are within walking distance of each other.

    For those who prefer not to walk, there are several local transportation options available. The Butler Transit Authority operates several bus routes that serve Slippery Rock and the surrounding areas. Visitors can also rent bicycles from several local shops to explore the village and surrounding areas.

    Visitors can also take advantage of the nearby Harmony Trail, which runs from Harris Bridge in Slippery Rock to Kennedy Mill in Harmony. The trail offers scenic views of the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge and passes by several historic landmarks, including the Kennedy Mill and the Harmony Inn.

    Slippery Rock is a small village that is easily accessible by car and offers several local transportation options for visitors to explore the area.

    Conclusion

    Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania is a small borough located in Butler County, Pennsylvania. It is a place that many people may have never heard of, but it is a hidden gem that is worth exploring. The town has a rich history, dating back to the early 1800s when it was one of the four original jurisdictions formed when Butler County was created from a portion of Allegheny County.

    Today, Slippery Rock is a vibrant community with a population of over 3,500 people. It is a great place to live, work, and visit. The town has a suburban feel, with tree-lined streets and charming homes. It is also home to Slippery Rock University, which is a major employer in the area and a hub of cultural and educational activity.

    One of the things that make Slippery Rock unique is its natural beauty. The town is surrounded by rolling hills, lush forests, and sparkling streams. Visitors can explore the Frew Mills Falls Area of Slippery Rock Creek and Grant City Falls, which offer stunning views of the area’s natural wonders.

    Slippery Rock is also home to several historic landmarks, including The Old Stone House Museum. Built in 1822 by John Brown, it was once a stagecoach stop and tavern that accommodated business from the newly-constructed Pittsburgh to Erie Pike. Today, it is a museum of rural life that offers visitors a glimpse into the area’s rich history.