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.

Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

Cumberland County Education, Geography, and History

Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Courthouse

Cumberland County is a county located in the state of Pennsylvania. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 235,406. Its county seat is Carlisle.

Cumberland County is included in the Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area

Etymology - Origin of Cumberland County Name

Named for Cumberland County in England. Carlisle


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Cumberland County History

Created on January 27, 1750 from part of Lancaster County, and named for Cumberland County in England. Carlisle, the county seat since 1752, was incorporated as a borough on April 13, 1782. It was named for the county town of England's Cumberland County. Shippensburg was the county seat from 1750 to 1752.

First settlement was in a group of sheds at the site of Shippensburg, 1730. Title was acquired from Indians in 1736, but the area was contested with Maryland until 1737. Cumberland bore the brunt of Indian attacks from the west in 1756-1759 and 1763-1764. The sale of wheat to Baltimore was important to the early economy. The Cumberland Valley Railroad began in the 1830s. Iron works and paper mills sprang up, although iron production collapsed after 1900. Dickinson College was chartered in 1783. Carlisle Barracks began as a powder magazine in 1777, became the Army's cavalry school, the Indian School (1879- 1918), and since 1951 the Army War College. Until the 1960s Carlisle was known for manufacturing carpets, clothes, publications, and auto tires, and the county has had a strong lumber industry. After 1900 the population grew on the west shore of the Susquehanna because of railroad yards and state government. Because of public sector jobs the county has not been hurt badly by the national trend toward deindustrialization, although Cumberland no longer is a strong manufacturing area. Farms cover 44 percent of the county, and it is among the top ten counties in production of dairy products, corn, wheat, apples, hogs, and poultry. Famous residents have included James Wilson, Gov. Joseph Ritner, inventor Daniel Drawbaugh, athlete Jim Thorpe, and Molly Pitcher.

Carlisle produced several Revolutionary leaders, but it was a center of opposition to the US Constitution. A fugitive slave case, Oliver vs. Kauffman, in 1847, helped bring about the national Compromise of 1850. The Confederate army occupied Carlisle in 1863.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 551 square miles (1,427 km2), of which, 550 square miles (1,425 km2) of it is land and 1 square miles (3 km2) of it (0.18%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Perry County (north)
  • Dauphin County (east)
  • York County (southeast)
  • Adams County (southwest)
  • Franklin County (west)


Colleges and universities

Central Pennsylvania College
Dickinson College
Messiah College
Penn State Dickinson School of Law
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
US Army War College

Community, junior and technical colleges

ITT Technical Institute

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