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.

Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

Schuylkill County Education, Geography, and History

Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania Courthouse

Schuylkill County is a county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 148,289. The county seat is Pottsville. The county was created on March 1, 1811 from parts of Berks, Northampton, and Northumberland Counties and named for the Schuylkill River.

Schuylkill County comprises the Pottsville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Schuylkill County Name

Named for the Schuylkill River. "Schuylkill" is Dutch for "hidden stream."


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Schuylkill County History

Created on March 1, 1811 from parts of Berks and Northampton Counties and named for the Schuylkill River. "Schuylkill" is Dutch for "hidden stream." Parts of Columbia and Luzerne Counties were added on March 3, 1818. Pottsville, the county seat after December 1, 1851, was incorporated as a borough on February 19, 1828 and became a city in 1910. It was named for the Pott family, early settlers. The original county seat was Orwigsburg.

Germans from Berks County arrived two years before the land was purchased from the Indians in 1749. This was the scene of Indian raids and frontier forts in the French and Indian and Pontiac Wars, and of brief Indian raids during the Revolution. Necho Allen in 1790 discovered that anthracite coal would burn, and Col. George Shoemaker proved in 1812 that it could fire a rolling mill. In 1822 the first shipment of anthracite on the Schuylkill Canal spurred mining. The county has some of both the Southern and Middle anthracite fields. From 1880 to 1940 it was second only to Luzerne in production. In 1842, the Reading Railroad arrived, but the canal carried coal also until 1881. A second generation began mining the northern area using inclined plains. The railroads owned the majority of the mines. Mining technology was first worked out in Schuylkill, also the scene of early mine labor troubles. Pottsville did not develop an anthracite elite comparable to Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, and Mauch Chunk, because most of its capital came in from Philadelphia. The coal strikes of 1902 and 1925-1926 destroyed consumer confidence and alternative heating fuels cut into anthracite's market. Despite a World War II revival, the industry collapsed. The population peaked at 235,505 in 1930. Strip mining began shortly after 1900. Bootleg coal operators prevailed between 1930 and 1940 due to the collapse of the old corporations. In the heyday of anthracite production, the county competed with Lackawanna as the state's second-most productive county. In 1990 Schuylkill produced half of Pennsylvania's 3.4 million tons. Other county products have included explosives, textiles, apparel, and shoes. One-fifth of the land is farmed, and the county has a strong position in the production of swine and potatoes.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 783 square miles (2,027 km2), of which, 778 square miles (2,016 km2) of it is land and 4 square miles (11 km2) of it (0.54%) is water.

The Schuylkill River headwaters are found in the county, starting in the Appalachian Mountains, and flows through many towns and the city of Reading, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia where it flows into the Delaware River. The Schuylkill drains the majority of the county while some western and northern areas of the county are drained by the Susquehanna River. The Swatara Creek, Wiconisco Creek, Mahantango Creek, Mahanoy Creek, and Catawissa Creek all start in Schuylkill County and are tributaries of the Susquehanna. Small areas of the eastern portion of the county drain into the Lehigh River via the Quakake Creek, Nesquehoning Creek, Mahoning Creek, and Lizard Creek, all of which also start in the county. To the south, southern Schuylkill county is home to Blue Mountain and the Appalachian Trail. Broad Mountain crosses the county from northeast to southwest.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Luzerne County (north)
  • Carbon County (northeast)
  • Lehigh County (southeast)
  • Berks County (south)
  • Lebanon County (southwest)
  • Dauphin County (southwest)
  • Northumberland County (northwest)
  • Columbia County (northwest)


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