Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Stryker's down on the little mountain town of Hyndman like a ton of bricks, describing their rally behind a convicted war criminal and shunning of the man who blew the whistle, both of them native sons to that corner of Bedford County. American Palestinians, to paraphrase Stryker's response. I got a little curious about this place, which I've never heard of before.

It's a little town on a rail line, the next valley over from the main north-south highway in those parts, south of Bedford proper. Judging from all the rail lines in that region, and its proximity to West Virginia, I'm guessing it's coal country.

This statistical abstract suggests that it's a German hilltown. Looks like its lost ten percent of it's population since the late Nineties. The economic abstract doesn't support the coal country theory - looks like a mill town, if a quarter of the population is working in manufacturing. Very small percentage of people with college degrees, only three foreign-born inhabitants. The average income is low, even for Appalachia, but the unemployment rate isn't bad at 5.6%. They're Methodists and Assembly of God folk.

I did some local spot-checking on my end of the state to check my assumptions, and Hyndman is isolated, uneducated, and insular even by Central Pennsylvania standards. There are poorer towns, and less educated towns, but Hyndman seems to represent a peculiarly unfortunate mix of both, with what looks like a nasty dash of religious uniformity to flavor the broth. Seems like the sort of place that makes towns like Bellefonte or Bedford look like civilization in comparison.

No comments: