Maybe it’s the sprawling landscape or the lack of red lights but the pace of life seems slower in Raccoon Township. While most folks in the township attended the Hopewell Area School District and have an Aliquippa mailing address, they are quick to point out that Raccoon Township is home. (Shout out to the small bunch with Hookstown addresses, you are not forgotten!)

I was born and raised in Raccoon but must admit that I made the move to Center Township three years ago. I still find myself explaining to outsiders that I did not grow up next door to Raccoon Creek State Park! How many times have you had that conversation?

Here are 10 signs that you might be from Raccoon Township:

1. Your heart breaks every time you drive past Raccoon Elementary.

All that remains of our beloved elementary school is a vacant, overgrown building. It has looked pretty sad since being stripped of its playground. Do you remember that awesome enclosed garden area by the library? How about practicing for your first talent show and parading around in your Halloween costume?

2. You hung out on the hill at Corner Scoop.

The Scoop was the place to go after Raccoon baseball and softball games. Today, most patrons sit at the pavilion but prior to the building addition, the grassy hillside was packed with teams celebrating their victory. Choosing between rainbow sprinkles or crunchies was a major decision. One of my coaches always awarded the game ball to someone while we were here, making it an important place to be!  (Bonus points if you ever worked here!)

3. You’ve been to a tractor pull.

Passing a tractor on the road is a common occurrence in Raccoon but tractor pull nights are something special. Many awkward middle school relationships started on the bleachers while the tractor pulls went by. Depending on your proximity to the fire hall, you might be able to hear them from your house.

4. You go to the Raccoon Firemen’s Fair every year.

As a kid, this place was a little slice of heaven. There was no question that you would stuff you face with gyros, spend all your quarters at the gambling booth and go home with a goldfish that wouldn’t last more than a week. Even though I no longer live in Raccoon, I still make a special trip to the fair each year just because. (Bonus points if you were ever in the parade!)

5. You have Choo Choo Charlie’s phone number memorized.

This place has amazing pizza, subs and chicken salads. Let’s not even talk about the pie-size cheesy breadsticks. They might be the only place that will deliver to your house but you wholeheartedly believe that it’s tastier than the pizza chains in “town.” (Bonus points if you refer to trips to Hopewell, Aliquippa, Monaca, etc. as “going to town.”)

6. You bought penny candy from Shivler’s Corner Store.

The days of penny candy are long gone but Shivler’s is still the place to stop for a ice cream sandwich or to grab a carton of iced tea to accompany your Choo Choo Charlie’s order.

7. If your family didn’t have a farm, one of your friends or neighbors did.

Their house was always the most fun place to hang out, especially if they had a barn. One of my neighbors had an awful goat named Sally that used to chase me around our yard.

8. You spent countless hours at Raccoon Township Municipal Park.

The ball fields were a hub of activity in Raccoon Township for just about everyone. How many times did you down a fun dip while playing on the rickety wooden bridge at the playground? You must remember Joe, who was the friendliest face at the park. He always had a boom box in his arms. (Bonus points if you still have a Raccoon baseball or softball shirt!)

9. You remember the tornado that touched down on Holt Road.

I was only 11 but I distinctly remember how the storm clouds were barreling through the sky. My older brother was lacing up his baseball cleats when a neighbor called to tell us that we should head to the basement instead of the ball fields.

10. You visited the Reservoir even though you weren’t supposed to.

It’s impossible to ignore the beauty right in your backyard, even if your Mom told you not to go down there. The Reservoir is simply one of the most peaceful spots around.

Honorable mentions:

  • You remember going to Hysong’s.
  • You were a Potter-Raccoon Red Devils football player or cheerleader.
  • You remember when the one-room school house on Holt Road was still standing.
  • You have voted at the fire hall and known every person standing in line with you.
  • You remember when the current Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church was built.
  • As a kid, you searched for the legendary Crail Hill cemetery.

There’s no way that this list includes all of the reasons that Raccoon Township is a great place to call home. If you’re from Raccoon, let me know what I missed!