|Founded||September 26, 1783|
|Named for||Marquis de Lafayette|
|• Total||798 sq mi (2,070 km2)|
|• Land||790 sq mi (2,000 km2)|
|• Water||8.0 sq mi (21 km2) 1.0%|
|• Density||163/sq mi (63/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Fayette County is a county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, adjacent to Maryland and West Virginia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 128,804. Its county seat is Uniontown. The county was created on September 26, 1783, from part of Westmoreland County and named after the Marquis de Lafayette.
Fayette County is part of the Pittsburgh, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. The southern border of Fayette County is the southern border of Pennsylvania at both the Pennsylvania–Maryland state line (the Mason–Dixon line) and the Pennsylvania–West Virginia state line.
The first Europeans in Fayette County were explorers, who had used an ancient American Indian trail that bisected the county on their journey across the Appalachian Mountains. In 1754, when control of the area was still in dispute between France and Great Britain, 22-year-old George Washington fought against the French at the Battle of Jumonville Glen and Fort Necessity. British forces under Washington and General Edward Braddock improved roads throughout the region, making the future Fayette County an important supply route.
During the Revolutionary War, Fayette County was plagued by attacks from British-allied Indians and remained isolated as a frontier region. Also retarding settlement was a border dispute with Virginia; Virginia's District of West Augusta and Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County both claimed the area. In 1780 the dispute was settled by the federal government in favor of Pennsylvania, and Fayette County was formed from Westmoreland County in 1783.
Fayette County settlers provided the new United States government with an early test of authority in the 1793 Whiskey Rebellion, when farmers rebelled against tax collectors to protest a new liquor tax. President George Washington called out the militias to restore order. However, they were talked out of any violent action by owner of Friendship Hill and future Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin. Fayette County continued to be important to travelers in the early 1800s. The National Road provided a route through the mountains of the county for settlers heading west. The shipyards in Brownsville on the Monongahela River built ships for both the domestic and international trade.
As Pittsburgh developed its industries in the mid-19th century, Fayette County became a center of coal mining and coke production. From the 1880s to the early 1900s, the area's great expansion in steel production became nationally important, and labor unions shaped national policies. Both new European immigrants and African Americans in the Great Migration from the rural South were attracted to the Pittsburgh area for industrial jobs. The historic Scottish and German farming communities established in the earlier 19th century were soon overshadowed by the wave of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. The region's wealth has been concentrated largely among the old English and Scottish families who had established businesses and political power in Pittsburgh prior to and in the advent of industrialization, often building the new manufacturing concerns, as did Andrew Carnegie.
By World War II, Fayette County had a new unionized working class that enjoyed increased prosperity. In the 1950s, however, the coal industry fell into decline. In the 1970s, the restructuring and collapse of American steel resulted in a massive loss of industrial jobs and hard times in the area. The population has declined since the peak in 1940, as residents have had to move elsewhere for work. The loss of union jobs caused many working families to drop out of the middle class. Only a few mines are being worked in the 21st century, but natural resources remain crucial to the local economy. The region is slowly transitioning toward the service sector, with an increase in jobs in fields such as telemarketing.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 798 square miles (2,070 km2), of which 790 square miles (2,000 km2) is land and 8.0 square miles (21 km2) (1.0%) is water. The western portion of the county contains rolling foothills and two valleys along the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers. The eastern portion of the county is highly mountainous and forested. Many coal mines are located within the area.
Fayette has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb).
|Climate data for Uniontown, Pennsylvania (1981-2010; Extremes 1974-present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||79
|Average high °F (°C)||39
|Average low °F (°C)||20
|Record low °F (°C)||−22
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.8
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||8.4
As of the 2010 census, there were 136,606 people, 59,969 households, and 41,198 families residing in the county. The population density was 188 inhabitants per square mile (73/km2). There were 66,490 housing units at an average density of 84 units per square mile (32/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.30% White, 4.71% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.11% from other races, and 2.33% from two or more races. 1.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.8% were of German, 13.2% Italian, 11.4% Irish, 9.2% American, 8.4% Polish, 7.9% English and 6.6% Slovak ancestry.
There were 59,969 households, out of which 28.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.80% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families. 28.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.70% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 18.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.60 males.
|Black or African American (NH)||5,703||4.43%|
|Native American (NH)||166||0.13%|
|Pacific Islander (NH)||160||0.12%|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,578||1.23%|
The County of Fayette is governed by a three-member publicly elected commission. The three commissioners serve in both executive and legislative capacities. By state law, the commission must have a minority party member, guaranteeing a political split. Each member serves a four-year term. Current commissioners are Democrat Vince Vicites and Republicans David Lohr and Scott Dunn.
In October 2015, Sidney Bush, the first African-American elected to county office, was sworn in as controller. She served briefly before being replaced by Democrat Scott Abraham. Bush became Chief Deputy/Accounts Receivable for the county.
The Fayette County Court of Common Pleas serves as the primary judicial arm in the region. Judges are elected to ten-year terms in accordance with Commonwealth law. Additionally, district judges serve throughout the county and rule on minor offenses. Current judges are President Judge John F. Wagner Jr., Steve P. Leskinen, Nancy Vernon, Linda Cordaro, and Joseph M. George Jr.
Fayette County has grown more Republican each presidential cycle since 1992.
In August 2022, for the first time in county's history, the total number of registered Republican voters exceeded the number of registered Democrats.
As of May 15, 2023, there are 77,362 registered voters in Fayette County.
Historically, Fayette County tended to be strongly Democratic-leaning in statewide and national elections due to a strong union history, as county residents tend to be liberal on economic issues. At the presidential level, the Democratic candidate won by over 15 points in every election from 1932 through 2004 except 1972, usually winning by 25 points or more. However, similar to the rest of Western Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburgh and Erie, most residents tend to be socially conservative, and the county has been trending steadily towards the Republicans since 1996. In the past six presidential elections, the Republican party has continued to improve in each successive election, and the county was one of only 41 counties nationwide to flip from Democratic to Republican in 2008. Despite losing nationwide and statewide by a large margin, John McCain became the first Republican since 1972 and only the second Republican since 1928 to win Fayette County in 2008, and four years later, Mitt Romney became only the second Republican since 1928 to win a majority of the county's vote. In 2016, Republican Donald Trump won the county by a massive margin of 31 points, carrying the county 64–33 and becoming the first Republican to win the county by double digits since 1928, as well as the first Republican to receive over 60% of the county's vote in history. Four years later, he improved on his margin, winning 66.4-32.9. The county has also become solidly Republican in non-presidential races, with Republicans Lou Barletta and Scott Wagner carrying the county in the 2018 Senate and gubernatorial races, respectively, despite both losing statewide by landslide margins of over 10 points, although both won by narrow margins of less than 3 points in Fayette County.
Serve 2 year terms in Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Serves six year terms in U.S. Senate
Fayette County is served by Intermediate Unit #1 which provides a wide variety of services to public, charter and private schools in the region. Early screening, special educations services, speech and hearing therapy and driver education are available. Services for children during the preschool years are provided without cost to their families when the child is determined to meet eligibility requirements. The IU1 also provides the state mandated multiple background screenings for potential school employees. A variety of professional development services are also available to the schools' employees.
While Fayette County is a generally rural area and is not directly tied into the interstate system, it features four-lane access to the city of Pittsburgh and several of its major suburban areas. State highway plans call for the establishment of direct freeway connections with Pittsburgh to the north and Morgantown, West Virginia to the south.
The primary provider of mass transportation within the region is Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation, which features local bus routes as well as four times-daily commuter service to Pittsburgh. Amtrak rail service along the Chicago-to-Washington-via-Cleveland Capitol Limited route stops at Connellsville Station. General aviation services are also provided at the Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport.
Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Fayette County:
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.
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Fayette County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|9||Lynnwood-Pricedale (partially in Westmoreland County)||CDP||2,031|
|43||Seven Springs (mostly in Somerset County)||Borough||26|
In 1967 Uniontown was the birthplace of the McDonald's Big Mac sandwich.
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