Carbon County
Clockwise from top left: Beltzville State Park, Beltzville Lake, Bowmanstown, and Packerton
Clockwise from top left: Beltzville State Park, Beltzville Lake, Bowmanstown, and Packerton
Flag of Carbon County
Official seal of Carbon County
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Carbon County
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 40°55′N 75°42′W / 40.92°N 75.7°W / 40.92; -75.7
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
FoundedMarch 13, 1843 (Divided from Northampton County)
Named forCoal deposits
SeatJim Thorpe
Largest boroughPalmerton
Area
 • Total387 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Land381 sq mi (990 km2)
 • Water5.9 sq mi (15 km2)  2%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2020)
64,749
 • Density170/sq mi (70/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district7th
Websitecarboncounty.com
DesignatedJune 13, 1982[1]

Carbon County is a county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 64,749.[2] The county is part of the Northeast Pennsylvania region of the state.[a]

The county borders Lehigh and Northampton counties in the state's Lehigh Valley region to its south, Monroe County to its east, Luzerne County to its north, and Schuylkill County to its west. The county is approximately 33 miles (53 km) northwest of Allentown, the state's third-largest city, and 117 miles (188 km) west of New York City, the nation's largest city.

The county seat of Carbon County is Jim Thorpe,[3] which was founded in 1818 as Mauch Chunk. The Lehigh River, a 109-mile-long (175 km) tributary of the Delaware River, flows through Carbon County.

History

See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in Carbon County, Pennsylvania

Moravian settlement

In 1745, the first colonial settlement in Carbon County was established by a Moravian mission in Gnadenhutten, in present-day Lehighton. By 1752, increased hostility between colonialists and Native Americans put Gnadenhutten at risk for attack; in 1755, the community was attacked by Native Americans.[4]

In the late 1780s, the county's settlement at Lehigh Gap failed, and colonizers did not return for a decade, in the late 1780s.[5]

Coal

In 1791, a homesteader, Phillip Ginter, hunting on Sharp Mountain along Pisgah Mountain[6] discovered a black tone coal outcropping, and conveyed a chunk of it to Weissport.

Industrialization

Further information: Industrial Revolution in the United States

Corporate headquarters of Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company in Mauch Chunk, now Jim Thorpe; the company, which was founded in 1822 and dissolved in 1985, spearheaded the American Industrial Revolution, was founded in 1822 and dissolved in 1986.

Lehigh Coal Mine Company (LCMC) operations had managed to open up the mouth area of the Nesquehoning Creek by 1800. This area became known as Lausanne, or Lausanne Landing, after the inn and tavern built there called Landing Tavern. An Amerindian trail crossed the stream near the confluence with Jean's Run[7] and the camp grounds of their boat builders, climbing northwestwards along a traverse to the next water gap west, eroded into the southern flank of Broad Mountain in the Lehigh Valley. It connected across a barrier ridge whose waters originated in the saddle-pass where Hazleton was built. The trail became the Lehigh and Susquehanna Turnpike in 1804. PA Route 93 follows this route with the exception of where modern road building capabilities allowed improved positioning. This road cut 90–100 miles (140–160 km) off a trip from Philadelphia to the Wyoming Valley and the northern sections of the Coal Region.

Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company

Main article: Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company

In 1827, Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company, based in present-day Jim Thorpe, launched the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, the nation's second operating railroad.[5][8] The Beaver Meadow Railroad and Coal Company, also located in Carbon County, was the first railway to operate steam locomotives as traction engines and prime movers in the United States. The Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway connected mines west of Beaver Meadows and Weatherly to the Lehigh Canal opposite Lehighton.

County's founding

A state historical marker in Jim Thorpe

Carbon County was created on March 13, 1843, from parts of Northampton and Monroe counties and was named for the extensive deposits of anthracite coal in the region, where it was first discovered in 1791. Early attempts were made to exploit the deposits by Lehigh Coal Mine Company (1792), whose expeditions broke trail and pioneered river bank sites using mule powered technology to log, saw, and build arks to carry bags of coal to Philadelphia with only scant success.

Molly Maguires

Main article: Molly Maguires

In the 19th century, Carbon County was the location of trials and executions of the Molly Maguires, an Irish secret society that had been accused of terrorizing the region.

Geography

The Lehigh River flowing through Riverview Park in Palmerton in March 2010

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 387 square miles (1,000 km2), of which 381 square miles (990 km2) is land and 5.9 square miles (15 km2) (1.5%) is water.[9] Blue Mountain forms the southern boundary of Carbon County. The northeast area of the county is located in the Pocono Mountains and the northwest area includes portions of Broad and Spring mountains.

The county 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. The Lehigh River cuts a gorge between Jim Thorpe and White Haven, which hosts the Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Climate

Carbon County has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb) and is mostly in hardiness zone 6b except for the NE part of the county and higher NW areas where it is 6a. Average monthly temperatures at Jake Arner Memorial Airport range from 27.8 °F in January to 72.5 °F in July, while at the Pocono interchange of the Turnpike they range from 22.9 °F in January to 68.3 °F in July.[10]

Adjacent counties

Transportation

Major highways

I-476/Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension southbound in Carbon County

Buses

Carbon Transit fixed-route bus service consists of Route 701 (Coaldale-Palmerton) and Route 702 (Nesquehoning-Palmerton), both connecting to the LANta Route 325 bus in Palmerton. Carbon Transit also operates CT Flex service in Jim Thorpe, Penn Forest Township, and Kidder Township. Also, Hazleton Public Transit (HPT) bus route 30 serves northwestern Carbon County via Beaver Meadows and Junedale to Weatherly. Audenried is served by HPT route 20 (Hazleton-McAdoo/Kelayres).

Fullington Trailways provides intercity service to Carbon County with stops in Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. Martz Trailways has a stop in Kidder Township near the Pocono interchange of Interstate 476 for service between Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, Quakertown, and Philadelphia. This is an Amtrak Thruway route, connecting to Amtrak trains at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Martz also operates casino bus routes to Atlantic City from the stop.

Airports

Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton provides general aviation. The nearest commercial passenger service is at Lehigh Valley International Airport or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
185015,686
186021,03334.1%
187028,14433.8%
188031,92313.4%
189038,62421.0%
190044,51015.2%
191052,84618.7%
192062,56518.4%
193063,3801.3%
194061,735−2.6%
195057,558−6.8%
196052,889−8.1%
197050,573−4.4%
198053,2855.4%
199056,8466.7%
200058,8023.4%
201065,24911.0%
202064,749−0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2017[15]

As of the 2000 census,[16] there were 58,802 people, 23,701 households, and 16,424 families residing in the county. The population density was 154 people per square mile (59 people/km2). There were 30,492 housing units at an average density of 80 units per square mile (31/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.82% White, 0.60% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 1.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.4% were of German, 10.1% Irish, 9.2% Italian, 7.9% American, 6.6% Slovak, 6.0% Polish and 5.8% Ukrainian ancestry.

There were 23,701 households, out of which 28.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.80% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.70% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.20% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 18.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 94.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.30 males.

2020 census

Carbon County Racial Composition[17]
Race Num. Perc.
White (NH) 57,439 88.71%
Black or African American (NH) 1,070 1.65%
Native American (NH) 95 0.15%
Asian (NH) 327 0.51%
Pacific Islander (NH) 14 0.02%
Other/Mixed (NH) 2,162 3.33%
Hispanic or Latino 3,642 5.6%

Law and government

United States presidential election results for Carbon County, Pennsylvania[18][19]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 21,984 65.26% 11,212 33.28% 493 1.46%
2016 18,743 64.65% 8,936 30.82% 1,314 4.53%
2012 13,504 52.56% 11,580 45.07% 610 2.37%
2008 12,957 47.90% 13,464 49.77% 629 2.33%
2004 12,519 49.99% 12,223 48.81% 301 1.20%
2000 9,717 45.67% 10,668 50.14% 892 4.19%
1996 7,193 36.28% 9,457 47.69% 3,179 16.03%
1992 7,243 33.44% 9,072 41.89% 5,344 24.67%
1988 10,232 52.35% 9,104 46.57% 211 1.08%
1984 10,701 54.41% 8,836 44.93% 131 0.67%
1980 10,042 51.95% 8,009 41.44% 1,278 6.61%
1976 8,883 44.48% 10,791 54.03% 299 1.50%
1972 11,639 59.05% 7,774 39.44% 299 1.52%
1968 9,954 46.13% 10,634 49.28% 991 4.59%
1964 7,309 32.00% 15,416 67.49% 116 0.51%
1960 12,586 50.28% 12,391 49.50% 55 0.22%
1956 13,150 57.27% 9,722 42.34% 89 0.39%
1952 12,283 53.43% 10,571 45.98% 134 0.58%
1948 9,744 49.77% 9,438 48.21% 396 2.02%
1944 9,837 46.91% 11,060 52.74% 73 0.35%
1940 10,618 45.27% 12,777 54.47% 60 0.26%
1936 11,298 43.77% 14,179 54.93% 334 1.29%
1932 9,918 48.52% 9,874 48.30% 649 3.17%
1928 15,047 64.98% 8,010 34.59% 98 0.42%
1924 10,236 55.55% 5,150 27.95% 3,041 16.50%
1920 7,900 59.19% 5,030 37.69% 416 3.12%
1916 4,275 49.18% 4,099 47.15% 319 3.67%
1912 1,246 13.95% 3,652 40.88% 4,036 45.18%
1908 4,486 49.23% 3,890 42.69% 737 8.09%
1904 4,505 53.93% 2,998 35.89% 850 10.18%
1900 4,222 48.81% 4,149 47.97% 278 3.21%
1896 4,534 53.93% 3,609 42.93% 264 3.14%
1892 3,179 45.68% 3,541 50.88% 239 3.43%
1888 3,279 45.69% 3,665 51.07% 233 3.25%

Carbon County has long been considered a bellwether county for Pennsylvania statewide elections. In gubernatorial elections, it was perfect from 1952 to 2014.[20][21][22]

At the presidential level, Carbon County has also been a bellwether for Pennsylvania until recently with only one miss (the 1960 presidential election) between 1916 presidential election and the 2000 presidential election, and with a margin within 3.5 points of the statewide margin in every election from 1940 to 2000 except 1964 (5.3% more Democratic) and 1976 (6.9% more Democratic). Al Gore carried the county in 2000. George W. Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry 49.99% to 48.81%, or a margin of 296 votes, in 2004.[23]

Since then, Carbon County has trended Republican relative to the state as a whole; in the 2008 presidential election, John McCain outperformed in Carbon County by 8.5% relative to the state. In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney outperformed by 12.9% relative to the state.

In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump won the county overwhelmingly with 65.4% of the vote, the largest presidential victory in the county of any presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson's landslide in 1964 presidential election.[18]

Voter registration

As of February 7, 2024, there were 43,217 registered voters in the county. There are 21,871 (50.61%) registered Republicans, 14,592 (33.76%) registered Democrats, 4,723 (10.93%) voters registered non-affiliated voters, and 2,031 (4.70%) voters registered to other parties.[24]

Chart of Voter Registration

  Republican (50.61%)
  Democratic (33.76%)
  Independent (10.93%)
  Other Parties (4.70%)

County commissioners

State Senate

State House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives

United States Senate

Education

Community, junior and technical colleges

Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville in May 2014

Public school districts

Career technical school

Carbon Career and Technical Institute, public school located in Jim Thorpe

Intermediate Unit

The public and private K-12 schools in Carbon County are served by Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21.[26]

Recreation

Lehigh Gorge State Park in Carbon County in October 2006

Mauch Chunk Lake is a county-run park that offers swimming, camping, hiking and cross country skiing in the winter. There are three Pennsylvania state parks in Carbon County:

Municipalities

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in the case of Bloomsburg, a town. The following boroughs and townships are located in Carbon County:

Boroughs

Townships

Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.

Former communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Carbon County.[27]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Lehighton Borough 5,500
2 Palmerton Borough 5,414
3 Jim Thorpe Borough 4,781
4 Indian Mountain Lake (partially in Monroe County) CDP 4,372
5 Lansford Borough 3,941
6 Nesquehoning Borough 3,349
7 Summit Hill Borough 3,034
8 Weatherly Borough 2,525
9 Towamensing Trails CDP 2,292
10 Weissport East CDP 1,624
11 Bowmanstown Borough 937
12 Tresckow CDP 880
13 Beaver Meadows Borough 869
14 Parryville Borough 525
15 Holiday Pocono CDP 476
16 Weissport Borough 412
17 East Side Borough 317
18 Albrightsville CDP 202

See also

References

  1. ^ Includes Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Schuylkill, Carbon, Pike, Bradford, Wayne, Susquehanna, Wyoming and Sullivan Counties
  1. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search". Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original (Searchable database) on March 21, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Carbon County, Pennsylvania". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Rabenold-Finsel, Rebecca (2004). Carbon County. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 9–15. ISBN 978-0-7385-3613-2.
  5. ^ a b Fred Brenckman, Official Commonwealth Historian (1884). HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA (2nd (1913) ed.). Harrisburg, Pa., J.J. Nungesser.
  6. ^ The "reasonably local Sharp Mountain of today is the same ridge, but is geographically limited by modern USGS conventions to the part west of the Little Schuylkill River's water gap. The Sharp Mountain SUMMIT, was a peak near Summit Hill, Pennsylvania, now leveled by mining activity."
  7. ^ Jean's Run is the first left bank tributary of Nesquehoning Creek, upstream from Nesquehoning Creek's mouth on the Lehigh River. It has three falls and steep ravine sides, so was not a valley congenial to wagon travel, nor likely friendly to climbing with pack mules without great care and persuasion. The toll house for the turnpike was located nearby opposite the mouth of Jean's Run, and PA Route 93 crosses today from an elevated bridge, so the Turnpike climbed from Jean's Run across the slope to the same level as the Broad Mountain side of today's bridge.
  8. ^ Bartholomew, Ann M.; Metz, Lance E.; Kneis, Michael (1989). DELAWARE and LEHIGH CANALS (First ed.). Oak Printing Company, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Center for Canal History and Technology, Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museum, Inc., Easton, Pennsylvania. p. 4. ISBN 0930973097. LCCN 89-25150.
  9. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  10. ^ "PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University". prism.oregonstate.edu.
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  13. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  15. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Carbon County, Pennsylvania".
  18. ^ a b Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org.
  19. ^ The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 3,549 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 428 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 57 votes, and Socialist Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 2 votes.
  20. ^ "Carbon County New Bellwether for Governor". Pittsburgh Press. Press Harrisburg Bureau. November 6, 1978. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  21. ^ "The bellwethers: What do voters in eastern PA know that the rest don't?". PennLive. November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  22. ^ "2014 General Election Official Returns". Pennsylvania Department of State. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  23. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data".
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Department of State (February 5, 2024). "Voter registration statistics by county". dos.pa.gov. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  25. ^ "Carbon County Commissioners". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  26. ^ PDE (2016). "MAP OF PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND INTERMEDIATE UNITS".
  27. ^ "2010 U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 10, 2013.

40°55′N 75°42′W / 40.92°N 75.70°W / 40.92; -75.70