Pennsylvania Counties
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Pennsylvania Counties

There are sixty-seven counties of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States of America. The city of Philadelphia is coterminous with Philadelphia County, and governmental functions have been consolidated since 1854.

Adams County, Pennsylvania

Adams County Education, Geography, and History

Adams County, Pennsylvania Courthouse

Adams County is a county in the state of Pennsylvania. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 101,407. Its county seat is Gettysburg. The county was created on January 22, 1800, from part of York County and named in honor of the second President of the United States, John Adams. On 1-3 July 1863, Gettysburg and its vicinity was the site of the pivotal battle of the American Civil War, and as a result is a center for Civil War tourism.

Adams County comprises the Gettysburg, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, PA Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Adams County Name

Named in honor of John Adams (October 30, 1735 - July 4, 1826), an American politician and the second President of the United States (1797-1801), after being the first Vice President (1789-1797) for two terms. He is regarded as one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Adams County History

Created on January 22, 1800 and named in honor of President John Adams. Gettysburg, the county seat was incorporated as a borough on March 10, 1806. It was named for James Gettys a local landowner.

Settled by migrants from both Maryland and eastern Pennsylvania, Adams has always had a strong German ethnic strain and a farm-based economy. Although it once led the state in wheat production, general farming eventually prevailed, and apples are now its most famous product. Even though John Studebaker's wagon works gave his name to a major Detroit car manufacturer, the county has never been industrialized until recent decades. As a result, the population has grown slowly- until the last decade. Farms cover 56 percent of the land, and Adams has long led the state in fruit production; currently it produces over 40 percent of Pennsylvania's harvest. It is also strong in wheat, barley, soybeans, and hay. Food processing businesses are very successful and this, with a strong publishing industry, wood products, and farmers' supplies, accounts for Adams's remarkable 59 percent increase in the value it has added to the nation's economy by manufacturing over the five years from 1987 to 1992.

The Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, an irreparable loss for the Confederacy, spawned a large tourism industry. Gettysburg College, at first named Pennsylvania College, was founded in 1832. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farm near Gettysburg was his private residence during and after his presidency.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 522 square miles (1,351 km2), of which, 520 square miles (1,347 km2) of it is land and 2 square miles (4 km2) of it (0.29%) is water. The Bourough of Gettysburg is located at the center of Adams County.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Cumberland County (north)
  • York County (east)
  • Carroll County, Maryland (southeast)
  • Frederick County, Maryland (southwest)
  • Franklin County (west)


Colleges and universities

Gettysburg College
Lutheran Theological Seminary

Community, junior and technical colleges

Harrisburg Area Community College

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