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Carbon County, Pennsylvania
Flickr - Nicholas T - Rouge.jpg
Blue Mountain near Palmerton
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Carbon County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 13, 1843 (Divided from Northampton County
Named for Coal deposits
Seat Jim Thorpe
Largest borough Lehighton
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

387 sq mi (1,002 km²)
381 sq mi (987 km²)
5.9 sq mi (15 km²), 2%
 - (2020)
 - Density

168/sq mi (65/km²)
Congressional district 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Invalid designation
Designated: June 13, 1982[1]

Carbon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 64,749.[2] Its county seat is Jim Thorpe,[3] which was founded in 1818 as Mauch Chunk, a company town of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (LC&N) along a new nine mile long wagon train the company was constructing[4] to their coal mine in the area now known as Summit Hill.[5][6]

Carbon County comprises the northern part of the Lehigh Valley and is part of the state's Coal Region and the AllentownBethlehemEaston, PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In 1827, LC&N's wagon road, the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, became the nation's second operating railroad.[4][6]. 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 railway connected mines west of Beaver Meadows and Weatherly to the Lehigh Canal opposite Lehighton.


Moravian settlement[]

In 1745, the first settlement in Carbon County was established by a Moravian mission in Gnadenhutten, which is present day Lehighton. Deeply moved by the deplorable state of the Leni Lenape Indians in America, twelve Moravian missionaries left their home in Herrnhut, Germany and traveled by sea to the wilderness of Pennsylvania, a place known for religious tolerance under the auspices of Count Zinzendorf. Located where Lehighton now stands, Gnadenhutten exemplified communal simplicity. Home to hundreds of Lenape and Mohican Indians displaced by colonial settlements, predation, bigotry and subjugation to the Iroquois, the Delaware peoples were being squeezed out of the southern counties and New Jersey westwards and against the Blue Ridge escarpment. The mission was a scene of quiet, humble and unobtrusive heroism and the Indians' shelter. Although the wilderness of Carbon County was quite treacherous, the Moravians traveled in the wilds of Carbon County undaunted. By 1752, increased hostility put Gnadenhutten at risk for attack, but the missionaries' pious good works did not go unnoticed. The frankness and earnestness of the simple Moravians had won respect with the many tribes of Pennsylvania Indians, and they lived without incident until 1755.[7] At that point an Amerindian uprising drove settlements away from the Lehigh Gap, and whites didn't reenter the area before the late 1780.[4] In 1791, a homesteader, Phillip Ginter hunting on Sharp Mountain along Pisgah Ridge[8] found a black tone coal outcropping, and conveyed a chunk of it to Weissport.


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 & Tavern built there called Landing Tavern. An Amerindian trail crossed the stream near the confluence with Jean's Run[9] 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 in which Hazleton, Pennsylvania was built. The trail would become the Lehigh & Susquehanna Turnpike in 1804. Today, Pennsylvania Route 93 follows this route with the exception of where modern road building capabilities allowed improved positioning. This road cut off 90–100 miles (140–160 km) from a trip from Philadelphia to the Wyoming Valley and the northern sections of the Coal Region.

County's founding[]

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 the 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[]

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.


File:Lehigh Gorge State Park - April 21 2007.JPG

The Lehigh River and a parking lot in Lehigh Gorge State Park.

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.[10] Blue Mountain forms the southern boundary of Carbon. The northeast area of the county is located in the Pocono Mountains and the northwest area includes portions of Broad and Spring mountains. It 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 cuts a gorge between Jim Thorpe and White Haven which hosts the Lehigh Gorge State Park.


Carbon County has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb) and is mostly in hardiness zone 6a, except for 6b in some southern lowlands and 5b in some northern highlands. 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. [1]

Adjacent counties[]


Major highways[]

  • I-80
  • Template:Jct/2
  • US 209
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 54]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 93]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 248]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 309]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 443]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 534]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 895]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 902]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 903]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/PA/link PA|PA 940]]


Carbon County Community Transit fixed-route bus service consists of the Lynx 1 (Nesquehoning-Lehigh Valley Mall), Lynx 2 (Nesquehoning-Walnutport), and Lynx 3 (Nesquehoning-Tamaqua/Hometown). 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 Motorcoach route, connecting to Amtrak trains at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Martz also operates casino bus routes to Atlantic City from the stop.


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.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 15,686
1860 21,033 34.1%
1870 28,144 33.8%
1880 31,923 13.4%
1890 38,624 21.0%
1900 44,510 15.2%
1910 52,846 18.7%
1920 62,565 18.4%
1930 63,380 1.3%
1940 61,735 −2.6%
1950 57,558 −6.8%
1960 52,889 −8.1%
1970 50,573 −4.4%
1980 53,285 5.4%
1990 56,846 6.7%
2000 58,802 3.4%
2010 65,249 11.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2020[2]

As of the census[15] of 2000, 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 (60/km2). There were 30,492 housing units at an average density of 80 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.

Law and government[]

United States presidential election results for Carbon County, Pennsylvania[16]
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%
1884 3,250 47.69% 3,392 49.77% 173 2.54%
1880 2,857 44.47% 3,464 53.91% 104 1.62%


Carbon County has long been considered a bellwether county for Pennsylvania statewide elections. In gubernatorial elections, it was perfect from 1952 to 2014.[17][18][19] At the presidential level, Carbon County was also a bellwether for Pennsylvania (although not the nation) until recently, with only 1 miss (in 1960) from 1916 to 2000, 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). However, since then the county has trended Republican relative to the state as a whole, with McCain outperforming in Carbon by 8.5% relative to the state and Romney outperforming by 12.9%. Republicans hold the commissioner majority while Democrats hold all county row offices. Al Gore carried it in 2000, and in 2004, Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry 49.99% to 48.81% or a margin of 296 votes.[20]

In 2020, Donald Trump won the county with 65.4% of the vote, the largest presidential victory any presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson's landslide in 1964.[16]

County commissioners[]

  • Wayne Nothstein, Chairman, Republican
  • Chris Lukasevich, Republican
  • Rocky Ahner, Democratic[21]

State Senate[]

  • John Yudichak, Independent, Pennsylvania's 14th Senatorial District
  • Dave Argall, Republican, Pennsylvania's 29th Senatorial District

State House of Representatives[]

  • Doyle Heffley, Republican, Pennsylvania's 122nd Representative District
  • Jerry Knowles, Republican, Pennsylvania's 124th Representative District

United States House of Representatives[]

  • Dan Meuser, Republican, Pennsylvania's 9th congressional district

United States Senate[]

  • Pat Toomey, Republican
  • Bob Casey, Democrat


Map of Carbon County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Community, junior and technical colleges[]

  • Lehigh Carbon Community College – Carbon Campus, Jim Thorpe

Public school districts[]

  • Hazleton Area School District (also in Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties)
  • Jim Thorpe Area School District
  • Lehighton Area School District
  • Palmerton Area School District
  • Panther Valley School District (also in Schuylkill County)
  • Weatherly Area School District

Career Tech School[]

Carbon Career & 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.[22]


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.

  • Beltzville State Park
  • Lehigh Gorge State Park stretches along the Lehigh River in Luzerne County and into Carbon County.
  • Hickory Run State Park


Map of Carbon County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

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:


  • Beaver Meadows
  • Bowmanstown
  • East Side
  • Jim Thorpe (county seat)
  • Lansford
  • Lehighton
  • Nesquehoning
  • Palmerton
  • Parryville
  • Summit Hill
  • Weatherly
  • Weissport


  • Banks
  • East Penn
  • Franklin
  • Kidder
  • Lausanne
  • Lehigh
  • Lower Towamensing
  • Mahoning
  • Packer
  • Penn Forest
  • Towamensing

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.

  • Albrightsville
  • Holiday Pocono
  • Indian Mountain Lake
  • Towamensing Trails
  • Tresckow
  • Weissport East

Former communities[]

  • Lausanne Landing (Old Lausanne Township) – The original settlement above the Lehigh Gap at the mouth of the Nesquehoning Creek; terminus of the Lehigh & Susquehanna Turnpike founded in 1804.
  • Big Creek Valley
  • East Penn Township, Pennsylvania – the far eastern part of today's Jim Thorpe at the other end of Bear Mountain (Lehigh Valley).
  • Historic Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe, since 1952 merger)
  • East Mauch Chunk (now an eastern part of Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania

Population ranking[]

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Carbon County.[23]

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

Notable people[]

See also[]

  • Media in the Lehigh Valley
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Carbon County, Pennsylvania
  • Quakake Tunnel


  1. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. 
  4. ^ a b c Fred Brenckman, Official Commonwealth Historian (1884). HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA (2nd (1913) ed.). Harrisburg, Pa., J.J. Nungesser. 
  5. ^ When the LC&N began operations on the LCMC holdings, both Summit Hill and Mauch Chunk were part of the township of Lausanne. As the years went by, the township of Lausanne, Pennsylvania always seems to have kept the less settled and wilder lands to itself as home rule petitions under the Pennsylvania Constitution spawned new organized communities exercising self rule. Consequently, Lausanne's geographical center continually moved north, until today's small strip of land is all that is left of a township which covered the territory which was most of today's Carbon County.
  6. ^ a b 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. 
  7. ^ Rebecca M. Rabenold-Finsel, Carbon County: Postcard History (South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing 2004), 9.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Jean's Run is the first left bank tributary of Nesquehoning Creek, upstream from the latter'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, nonetheless was located nearby opposite the mouth of the Run, and PA 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.
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. 
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. 
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. 
  13. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. 
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. 
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. 
  16. ^ a b Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". 
  17. ^ "Carbon County New Bellwether for Governor". Pittsburgh Press. Press Harrisburg Bureau. 6 November 1978.,4440733. 
  18. ^ "The bellwethers: What do voters in eastern PA know that the rest don't?". PennLive. 3 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "2014 General Election Official Returns". Pennsylvania Department of State. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Carbon County Commissioners". 
  23. ^ "2010 U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. 

External links[]

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Coordinates: 40°55′N 75°42′W / 40.92, -75.70

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Carbon County, Pennsylvania. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.