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.

Centre County, Pennsylvania

Centre County Education, Geography, and History

Centre County, Pennsylvania Courthouse

Centre County is a county located in the state of Pennsylvania. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 153,990. Its county seat is Bellefonte.

Centre County comprises the State College, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Centre County Name

Its name, French for "beautiful spring," alludes to a large spring there and is said to have been suggested by a visitor, the famous French statesman Talleyrand.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Centre County History

Created on February 13, 1800, from parts of Huntingdon, Lycoming, Mifflin, and Northumberland Counties. Its name refers to its geographical location at the center of the state. Bellefonte, the county seat, was incorporated as a borough on March 28, 1806. Its name, French for "beautiful spring," alludes to a large spring there and is said to have been suggested by a visitor, the famous French statesman Talleyrand.

Early settlements at Bald Eagle's Nest and Penns Valley occurred around 1770, but the discovery of iron ore in 1784 led to iron manufacturing, and Bellefonte was laid out in 1795. Iron making flourished until it was eclipsed by the high quality of Lake Superior iron ore. Centre County's last furnace closed in 1921. Much bituminous coal has been produced, and the northern section of the county yielded abundant lumber that was used for charcoal and also floated southward. Because of the coal production railroads were constructed into the county. Paper manufacturing flourished in Bellefonte and Cerro Corporation opened a brass mill in 1915. Today lime and gypsum are produced. Agriculture has flourished, and Centre is now about fifteenth in the State in value of livestock and seventh in alfalfa production. Farms occupy 21 percent of the land. The Pennsylvania State University, which began as Farmer's High School in 1855, has influenced the character of the county in many ways.

Underground Railroad stations were at Bellefonte and Half Moon. Since 1912 the State Prison at Rockview has affected the county's economy. Publications and electronic, clay, and glass products are manufactured in Centre County, and the value added to the economy by manufacturing increased 46 percent between 1987 to 1992.

Governors Bigler, Packer, and Curtin were born here. Governor Beaver attended school in Pine Grove, and Governor Hastings taught school in Bellefonte.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,112 square miles (2,880 km2), of which, 1,108 square miles (2,868 km2) of it is land and 4 square miles (11 km2) of it (0.39%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Clinton County (north)
  • Union County (east)
  • Mifflin County (southeast)
  • Huntingdon County (south)
  • Blair County (south)
  • Clearfield County (west)


Colleges and universities

Pennsylvania State University

Community, junior, and technical colleges

South Hills School of Business and Technology
Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology

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