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.

Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

Dauphin County Education, Geography, and History

Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Courthouse

Dauphin County is a county in the state of Pennsylvania. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 268,100. The county seat and the largest city is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's state capital and tenth largest city. The county was created/"erected" on March 4, 1785, from part of Lancaster County and was named after Louis-Joseph, Dauphin of France, the first son of Louis XVI.

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

Etymology - Origin of Dauphin County Name

Named for the Dauphin, the title of nobility given to the eldest sons of kings of France.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Dauphin County History

Created on March 4, 1785, from part of Lancaster County, and named for the Dauphin, the title of nobility given to the eldest sons of kings of France. Harrisburg, the county seat, was named for its founder, John Harris, and was incorporated as a borough on April 13, 1791. It was chartered as a city on March 19, 1860.

John Harris's trading post stood on the Susquehanna as early as 1720. Presbyterian groups at Paxton and Manada Gap were the earliest settlers, but German Lutherans formed the Hummelstown and Middletown communities in the 1760s. The Paxton Boys movement of 1763-1764 slaughtered helpless Indians and tried to intimidate the provincial government into providing more defense on the frontier and more legislative representation. The State's capitol was moved from Lancaster to Harrisburg in 1812, and the next year Lebanon County was created from Dauphin's eastern townships. In the mid-nineteenth century Dauphin was a canal and railroad center. Later, steel mills went up in Steelton. In Middletown, American Tube and Iron Co. flourished, and railroad cars were made there. Today, Milton Hershey's industrial legacy is still apparent and AMP is a national leader. Thirty percent of the land is farmed, and this is a leading county in sheep and poultry. In total value its farm products rank twenty-fifth among the state's sixty-seven counties.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 558 square miles (1,450 km2), of which, 525 square miles (1,360 km2) of it is land and 32 square miles (83 km2) of it (5.78%) is water. The county is bound to its western border by the Susquehanna River.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northumberland County (north)
  • Schuylkill County (northeast)
  • Lebanon County (east)
  • Lancaster County (south)
  • York County (southwest)
  • Cumberland County (west)
  • Perry County (west)


Colleges and universities

Dixon University Center
Harrisburg Area Community College
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Penn State Harrisburg
Penn State Hershey Medical Center
Temple University Harrisburg Campus
Widener University School of Law

Colleges and universities nearby Dauphin County

Central Pennsylvania College, located in Summerdale, Pennsylvania.
Dickinson College, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Duquesne University (Capital Region Campus), located in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania.
Elizabethtown College, located in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Elizabethtown College is a consortium member of the Dixon University Center, offering seven accelerated, undergraduate degree programs in the Harrisburg area.
Gettysburg College, located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Lebanon Valley College, located in Annville, Pennsylvania.
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Messiah College, located in Grantham, Pennsylvania.
Millersville University, located in Millersville, Pennsylvania.
Penn State Dickinson School of Law, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Penn State Hershey Medical Center, located in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Penn State Harrisburg (Main Campus), located nearby in Middletown, Pennsylvania.
Shippensburg University, located in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
United States Army War College, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
York College of Pennsylvania, located in York, Pennsylvania.

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