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Carbon County, Pennsylvania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Carbon County
Blue Mountain near Palmerton, March 2007
Blue Mountain near Palmerton, March 2007
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Carbon County
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 40°55′N 75°42′W / 40.92°N 75.7°W / 40.92; -75.7
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
FoundedMarch 13, 1843 (Divided from Northampton County
Named forCoal deposits
SeatJim Thorpe
Largest boroughLehighton
 • Total387 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Land381 sq mi (990 km2)
 • Water5.9 sq mi (15 km2)  2%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density170/sq mi (70/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district9th
DesignatedJune 13, 1982[1]

Carbon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 64,749.[2] Its county seat is Jim Thorpe,[3] which was founded in 1818 as Mauch Chunk, a company town of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (LC&N) along a new nine mile long wagon train the company was constructing[4] to their coal mine in the area now known as Summit Hill.[5][6]

Carbon County comprises the northern part of the Lehigh Valley and is part of the state's Coal Region and the AllentownBethlehemEaston, PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In 1827, LC&N's wagon road, the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, became the nation's second operating railroad.[4][6]. The Beaver Meadow Railroad and Coal Company, also located in Carbon County, was the first railway to operate steam locomotives as traction engines and prime movers in the United States. The railway connected mines west of Beaver Meadows and Weatherly to the Lehigh Canal opposite Lehighton.


Moravian settlement

In 1745, the first settlement in Carbon County was established by a Moravian mission in Gnadenhutten, which is present day Lehighton. Deeply moved by the deplorable state of the Leni Lenape Indians in America, twelve Moravian missionaries left their home in Herrnhut, Germany and traveled by sea to the wilderness of Pennsylvania, a place known for religious tolerance under the auspices of Count Zinzendorf. Located where Lehighton now stands, Gnadenhutten exemplified communal simplicity. Home to hundreds of Lenape and Mohican Indians displaced by colonial settlements, predation, bigotry and subjugation to the Iroquois, the Delaware peoples were being squeezed out of the southern counties and New Jersey westwards and against the Blue Ridge escarpment. The mission was a scene of quiet, humble and unobtrusive heroism and the Indians' shelter. Although the wilderness of Carbon County was quite treacherous, the Moravians traveled in the wilds of Carbon County undaunted. By 1752, increased hostility put Gnadenhutten at risk for attack, but the missionaries' pious good works did not go unnoticed. The frankness and earnestness of the simple Moravians had won respect with the many tribes of Pennsylvania Indians, and they lived without incident until 1755.[7] At that point an Amerindian uprising drove settlements away from the Lehigh Gap, and whites didn't reenter the area before the late 1780.[4] In 1791, a homesteader, Phillip Ginter hunting on Sharp Mountain along Pisgah Ridge[8] found a black tone coal outcropping, and conveyed a chunk of it to Weissport.


Lehigh Coal Mine Company (LCMC) operations had managed to open up the mouth area of the Nesquehoning Creek by 1800. This area became known as Lausanne, or Lausanne Landing, after the Inn & Tavern built there called Landing Tavern. An Amerindian trail crossed the stream near the confluence with Jean's Run[9] and the camp grounds of their boat builders, climbing northwestwards along a traverse to the next water gap west, eroded into the southern flank of Broad Mountain in the Lehigh Valley. It connected across a barrier ridge whose waters originated in the saddle-pass in which Hazleton, Pennsylvania was built. The trail would become the Lehigh & Susquehanna Turnpike in 1804. Today, Pennsylvania Route 93 follows this route with the exception of where modern road building capabilities allowed improved positioning. This road cut off 90–100 miles (140–160 km) from a trip from Philadelphia to the Wyoming Valley and the northern sections of the Coal Region.

County's founding

Carbon County was created on March 13, 1843 from parts of Northampton and Monroe counties and was named for the extensive deposits of anthracite coal in the region, where it was first discovered in 1791. Early attempts were made to exploit the deposits by the Lehigh Coal Mine Company (1792), whose expeditions broke trail and pioneered river bank sites using mule powered technology to log, saw, and build arks to carry bags of coal to Philadelphia with only scant success.

Molly Maguires

In the 19th century, Carbon County was the location of trials and executions of the Molly Maguires, an Irish secret society that had been accused of terrorizing the region.


The Lehigh River flows past a parking lot in Lehigh Gorge State Park, April 2007
The Lehigh River flows past a parking lot in Lehigh Gorge State Park, April 2007

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 387 square miles (1,000 km2), of which 381 square miles (990 km2) is land and 5.9 square miles (15 km2) (1.5%) is water.[10] Blue Mountain forms the southern boundary of Carbon. The northeast area of the county is located in the Pocono Mountains and the northwest area includes portions of Broad and Spring mountains. It is drained by the Lehigh River except for a small area in western Packer Township and the borough of Lansford that are drained by the Still Creek and Panther Creek, respectively, into the Little Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill River, and the Audenried area in the northwest corner that drains into the Susquehanna River via the Catawissa Creek. The Lehigh cuts a gorge between Jim Thorpe and White Haven which hosts the Lehigh Gorge State Park.


Carbon County has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb) and is mostly in hardiness zone 6a, except for 6b in some southern lowlands and 5b in some northern highlands. Average monthly temperatures at Jake Arner Memorial Airport range from 27.8 °F in January to 72.5 °F in July, while at the Pocono interchange of the Turnpike they range from 22.9 °F in January to 68.3 °F in July. [1]

Adjacent counties


Major highways


Carbon Transit fixed-route bus service consists of Route 701 (Coaldale-Palmerton) and Route 702 (Nesquehoning-Palmerton), both connecting to the LANTA Route 325 bus in Palmerton. Carbon Transit also operates CT Flex service in Jim Thorpe, Penn Forest Township, and Kidder Township. Also, Hazleton Public Transit (HPT) bus route 30 serves northwestern Carbon County via Beaver Meadows and Junedale to Weatherly. Audenried is served by HPT route 20 (Hazleton-McAdoo/Kelayres). Fullington Trailways provides intercity service to Carbon County with stops in Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. Martz Trailways has a stop in Kidder Township near the Pocono interchange of Interstate 476 for service between Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, Quakertown, and Philadelphia. This is an Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach route, connecting to Amtrak trains at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Martz also operates casino bus routes to Atlantic City from the stop.


Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton provides general aviation. The nearest commercial passenger service is at Lehigh Valley International Airport or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2017[15]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 58,802 people, 23,701 households, and 16,424 families residing in the county. The population density was 154 people per square mile (60/km2). There were 30,492 housing units at an average density of 80 per square mile (31/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.82% White, 0.60% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 1.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.4% were of German, 10.1% Irish, 9.2% Italian, 7.9% American, 6.6% Slovak, 6.0% Polish and 5.8% Ukrainian ancestry.

There were 23,701 households, out of which 28.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.80% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.70% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.20% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 18.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 94.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.30 males.

Law and government

United States presidential election results for Carbon County, Pennsylvania[17][18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 21,984 65.26% 11,212 33.28% 493 1.46%
2016 18,743 64.65% 8,936 30.82% 1,314 4.53%
2012 13,504 52.56% 11,580 45.07% 610 2.37%
2008 12,957 47.90% 13,464 49.77% 629 2.33%
2004 12,519 49.99% 12,223 48.81% 301 1.20%
2000 9,717 45.67% 10,668 50.14% 892 4.19%
1996 7,193 36.28% 9,457 47.69% 3,179 16.03%
1992 7,243 33.44% 9,072 41.89% 5,344 24.67%
1988 10,232 52.35% 9,104 46.57% 211 1.08%
1984 10,701 54.41% 8,836 44.93% 131 0.67%
1980 10,042 51.95% 8,009 41.44% 1,278 6.61%
1976 8,883 44.48% 10,791 54.03% 299 1.50%
1972 11,639 59.05% 7,774 39.44% 299 1.52%
1968 9,954 46.13% 10,634 49.28% 991 4.59%
1964 7,309 32.00% 15,416 67.49% 116 0.51%
1960 12,586 50.28% 12,391 49.50% 55 0.22%
1956 13,150 57.27% 9,722 42.34% 89 0.39%
1952 12,283 53.43% 10,571 45.98% 134 0.58%
1948 9,744 49.77% 9,438 48.21% 396 2.02%
1944 9,837 46.91% 11,060 52.74% 73 0.35%
1940 10,618 45.27% 12,777 54.47% 60 0.26%
1936 11,298 43.77% 14,179 54.93% 334 1.29%
1932 9,918 48.52% 9,874 48.30% 649 3.17%
1928 15,047 64.98% 8,010 34.59% 98 0.42%
1924 10,236 55.55% 5,150 27.95% 3,041 16.50%
1920 7,900 59.19% 5,030 37.69% 416 3.12%
1916 4,275 49.18% 4,099 47.15% 319 3.67%
1912 1,246 13.95% 3,652 40.88% 4,036 45.18%
1908 4,486 49.23% 3,890 42.69% 737 8.09%
1904 4,505 53.93% 2,998 35.89% 850 10.18%
1900 4,222 48.81% 4,149 47.97% 278 3.21%
1896 4,534 53.93% 3,609 42.93% 264 3.14%
1892 3,179 45.68% 3,541 50.88% 239 3.43%
1888 3,279 45.69% 3,665 51.07% 233 3.25%

Carbon County has long been considered a bellwether county for Pennsylvania statewide elections. In gubernatorial elections, it was perfect from 1952 to 2014.[19][20][21] At the presidential level, Carbon County was also a bellwether for Pennsylvania (although not the nation) until recently, with only 1 miss (in 1960) from 1916 to 2000, and with a margin within 3.5 points of the statewide margin in every election from 1940 to 2000 except 1964 (5.3% more Democratic) and 1976 (6.9% more Democratic). However, since then the county has trended Republican relative to the state as a whole, with McCain outperforming in Carbon by 8.5% relative to the state and Romney outperforming by 12.9%. Republicans hold the commissioner majority while Democrats hold all county row offices. Al Gore carried it in 2000, and in 2004, Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry 49.99% to 48.81% or a margin of 296 votes.[22]

In 2020, Donald Trump won the county with 65.4% of the vote, the largest presidential victory any presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson's landslide in 1964.[17]

County commissioners

  • Wayne Nothstein, Chairman, Republican
  • Chris Lukasevich, Republican
  • Rocky Ahner, Democratic[23]

State Senate

State House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives

United States Senate


Community, junior and technical colleges

Public school districts

Career technical school

Carbon Career and Technical Institute, public school located in Jim Thorpe

Intermediate Unit

The public and private K-12 schools in Carbon County are served by Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21.[24]


Lehigh Gorge State Park in Carbon County, October 2006
Lehigh Gorge State Park in Carbon County, October 2006

Mauch Chunk Lake is a county-run park that offers swimming, camping, hiking and cross country skiing in the winter. There are three Pennsylvania state parks in Carbon County.


Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in the case of Bloomsburg, a town. The following boroughs and townships are located in Carbon County:



Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.

Former communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Carbon County.[25]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Lehighton Borough 5,500
2 Palmerton Borough 5,414
3 Jim Thorpe Borough 4,781
4 Indian Mountain Lake (partially in Monroe County) CDP 4,372
5 Lansford Borough 3,941
6 Nesquehoning Borough 3,349
7 Summit Hill Borough 3,034
8 Weatherly Borough 2,525
9 Towamensing Trails CDP 2,292
10 Weissport East CDP 1,624
11 Bowmanstown Borough 937
12 Tresckow CDP 880
13 Beaver Meadows Borough 869
14 Parryville Borough 525
15 Holiday Pocono CDP 476
16 Weissport Borough 412
17 East Side Borough 317
18 Albrightsville CDP 202

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Carbon County, Pennsylvania". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Fred Brenckman, Official Commonwealth Historian (1884). HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA (2nd (1913) ed.). Harrisburg, Pa., J.J. Nungesser.
  5. ^ When the LC&N began operations on the LCMC holdings, both Summit Hill and Mauch Chunk were part of the township of Lausanne. As the years went by, the township of Lausanne, Pennsylvania always seems to have kept the less settled and wilder lands to itself as home rule petitions under the Pennsylvania Constitution spawned new organized communities exercising self rule. Consequently, Lausanne's geographical center continually moved north, until today's small strip of land is all that is left of a township which covered the territory which was most of today's Carbon County.
  6. ^ a b Bartholomew, Ann M.; Metz, Lance E.; Kneis, Michael (1989). DELAWARE and LEHIGH CANALS (First ed.). Oak Printing Company, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Center for Canal History and Technology, Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museum, Inc., Easton, Pennsylvania. p. 4. ISBN 0930973097. LCCN 89-25150.
  7. ^ Rebecca M. Rabenold-Finsel, Carbon County: Postcard History (South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing 2004), 9.
  8. ^ The 'reasonably local Sharp Mountain of today is the same ridge, but is geographically limited by modern USGS conventions to the part west of the Little Schuylkill River's water gap. The Sharp Mountain SUMMIT, was a peak near Summit Hill, Pennsylvania, now leveled by mining activity.
  9. ^ Jean's Run is the first left bank tributary of Nesquehoning Creek, upstream from the latter's mouth on the Lehigh River. It has three falls and steep ravine sides, so was not a valley congenial to wagon travel, nor likely friendly to climbing with pack mules without great care and persuasion. The toll house for the turnpike, nonetheless was located nearby opposite the mouth of the Run, and PA 93 crosses today from an elevated bridge, so the Turnpike climbed from Jean's Run across the slope to the same level as the Broad Mountain side of today's bridge.
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  13. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  15. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ a b Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections".
  18. ^ The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 3,549 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 428 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 57 votes, and Socialist Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 2 votes.
  19. ^ "Carbon County New Bellwether for Governor". Pittsburgh Press. Press Harrisburg Bureau. November 6, 1978. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  20. ^ "The bellwethers: What do voters in eastern PA know that the rest don't?". PennLive. November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  21. ^ "2014 General Election Official Returns". Pennsylvania Department of State. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  22. ^[bare URL]
  23. ^ "Carbon County Commissioners". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  25. ^ "2010 U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 10, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 May 2022, at 01:38
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