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.

Carbon County, Pennsylvania

Carbon County Education, Geography, and History

Carbon County, Pennsylvania Courthouse

Carbon County is a county located in the state of Pennsylvania. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 65,249. Its county seat is Jim Thorpe.

Carbon County is included in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area. It is considered part of the state's Coal Region, though the eastern and northeastern sections are considered part of the Pocono Mountains. Some consider lower Carbon County, including Palmerton and Lehighton areas, as part of the Lehigh Valley.

Etymology - Origin of Carbon County Name

Named for the extensive deposits of coal in the region.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Carbon County History

Created on March 13, 1843 from parts of Northampton and Monroe Counties. Its name alludes to its deposits of coal. Jim Thorpe, the county seat, was originally incorporated on January 26, 1850 as the borough of Mauch Chunk, an Indian named meaning Bear Mountain. It was renamed in 1954 for the famous Indian athlete, Jim Thorpe, who is buried there.

Consisting largely of land Pennsylvania obtained by the Walking Purchase from the Delaware Indians in 1737, it was the scene of Moravian missions to the Indians, frontier fighting during the French and Indian War, and Tory raids during the Revolution. The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, formed in 1822, built an economic base, and Mauch Chunk flourished. Wealthy canal boat builder Asa Packer led the movement to create the county. In 1851 he formed the Lehigh Valley Railroad and broke the Navigation Company's control, although it revived after another railroad opened the Lackawanna Valley as a route for transporting coal to New York. When New York tycoon J.P. Morgan bought the Lehigh Valley Railroad in the late 1890s, millionaires left Mauch Chunk and the area declined. Deep coal mining lasted until 1973. Always producing high quality anthracite, the county still is an area for surface mining. Zinc mining became important after 1898, and the forests produce good lumber. But this is not an agricultural county; only 9 percent of the land is farmed. The population peak, 63,380, occurred in 1930. The Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the thriving tourist attractions of Mauch Chunk sustain the present economy. Women's clothing is the largest manufacturing business. The value added to the economy by manufacturing in this county increased 67 percent between 1987 and 1992.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 387 square miles (1,003 km2), of which, 381 square miles (987 km2) of it is land and 6 square miles (16 km2) of it (1.60%) is water. 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 Mountain and Spring Mountain. 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.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Luzerne County (north)
  • Monroe County (east)
  • Northampton County (southeast)
  • Lehigh County (south)
  • Schuylkill County (southwest)


Community, junior and technical colleges

Lehigh Carbon Community College – Carbon Campus, Nesquehoning

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