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Washington County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 28, 1781
Seat Washington
Largest city Washington
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

861 sq mi (2,230 km²)
857 sq mi (2,220 km²)
4 sq mi (10 km²), 0.45%
 - (2010)
 - Density

242/sq mi (93.6/km²)

Washington County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. As of 2010, the population was 207,820. It was created on March 28, 1781, from part of Westmoreland County. Its county seat is Washington[1]. Both the county and the city were named for American Revolutionary War leader George Washington, later to become the first President of the United States. It was the first county in the United States to be named in his honor.[2][3] The county is home to Washington County Airport, located three miles (5 km) southwest of Washington, Pennsylvania.

In 2010, Washington County, Pennsylvania celebrated its bicentennial with a concert, speeches, war re-enactments and a street fair atmosphere with tents of vendors and artists.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 861 square miles (2,230 km²).857 square miles (2,220 km²) of it is land and 4 square miles (10 km²) of it (0.45%) is water.

Adjacent counties[]

Government and politics[]

As of November 2008, there are 152,534 registered voters in Washington County [7].

  • Democratic: 89,027 (58.37%)
  • Republican: 49,025 (32.14%)
  • Other Parties: 14,482 (9.49%)

View of the historic Washington County Courthouse on a snowy winter day

The County of Washington 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 guaranteeing a political split on the commission. Each term is for four years.

The three current commissioners for Washington County are J. Bracken Burns (Democrat), Lawrence Maggi (Democrat), and Diana Irey (Republican). Burns played a minor role as a doctor in the wrestling drama movie, Reversal.

Maggi once ran for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district against Republican incumbent Tim Murphy in 2002. Irey was the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district and lost to the popular Democratic incumbent John Murtha in the 2006 election.

The Washington County Court of Common Pleas, the Twenty-Seventh Judicial District of Pennsylvania, is the state trial court, sitting in and for Washington County. It serves as the court of original jurisdiction for the region. There are six judges, which the county's citizens elect to ten year terms, under the laws of the Commonwealth. The President Judge is The Honorable Debbie O'Dell-Seneca; she is the most senior member of the bench and is responsible for the assignment of cases, the court's budget, and the administration of court personnel. The Honorable Judges of the court are:

  • Debbie O'Dell-Seneca, P.J.
  • Katherine B. Emery, J.
  • Paul Pozonsky, J.
  • John F. DiSalle, J.
  • Janet Moschetta Bell, J.

Additionally, magisterial district judges (MDJs) serve throughout the county to hear traffic citations, issue warrants, and decide minor civil matters.

The Democratic Party has been historically dominant in county-level politics and national politics, however Washington has trended Republican at the national level in recent years. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won 53% of the vote and Republican George W. Bush won 44%. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry received 50.14% of the vote and Bush received 49.57% a difference of 552 votes. In 2008, Republican John McCain won 51% to Democrat Barack Obama's 46% and each of the three state row office winners carried Washington County.

Presidential election results since 1960[]

Year Democrat Republican
2008 Barack Obama 46,122 (46.8%) John McCain 50,752 (51.5%)
2004 John Kerry 48,225 (50.1%) George W. Bush 47,679 (49.6%)
2000 Al Gore 44,961 (54.2%) George W. Bush 37,339 (45.0%)
1996 Bill Clinton 40,952 (52.1%) Bob Dole 27,777 (35.3%)
1992 Bill Clinton 46,143 (54.6%) George H. W. Bush 21,977 (26.0%)
1988 Michael Dukakis 47, 527 (62.1%) George H. W. Bush 28,651 (37.8%)
1984 Walter Mondale 50,911 (59.2%) Ronald Reagan 34,782 (40.5%)
1980 Jimmy Carter 45,295 (55.2%) Ronald Reagan 32,532 (39.7%)
1976 Jimmy Carter 49,317 (59.2%) Gerald Ford 32,827 (39.4%)
1972 George McGovern 34,781 (44.1%) Richard Nixon 42,587 (54.0%)
1968 Hubert Humphrey 47,805 (56.3%) Richard Nixon 28,023 (33.0%)
1964 Lyndon B. Johnson 63,482 (72.3%) Barry Goldwater 24,127 (27.5%)
1960 John F. Kennedy 53,729 (58.3%) Richard Nixon 38,348 (41.6%)

Another sign of growing strength for the Republican party was the overwhelming victory of now District Attorney Steven Toprani in 2007. Toprani won by a nearly 2 to 1 margin over 24 year incumbent John Pettit, who was dogged by accusations of corruption.[8]

County row offices[]

  • Clerk of Courts, Barbara Gibbs, Democrat
  • Controller, Michael Namie, Democrat
  • Coroner, Timothy Warco, Democrat
  • District Attorney, Steven Toprani, Republican
  • Prothonotary, Phyllis Ranko-Matheny, Democrat
  • Recorder of Deeds, Deborah Bardella, Democrat
  • Register of Wills, Mary Jo Poknis, Democrat
  • Sheriff, Samuel Romano, Democrat
  • Treasurer, Francis L. King, Democrat

State Representatives[]

  • Richard Saccone, Republican, 39th district
  • John A. Maher, Republican, 40th district
  • Jesse J. White, Democrat, 46th district
  • Brandon P. Neuman, Democrat, 48th district
  • Peter Daley, Democrat, 49th district
  • H. William DeWeese, Democrat, 50th district

State Senators[]

  • Rich Kasunic, Democrat, 32nd district
  • Timothy Solobay, Democrat, 46th district

US Representatives[]

  • Mark Critz, Democrat, 12th district
  • Tim Murphy, Republican, 18th district


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 23,892
1800 28,298 18.4%
1810 36,289 28.2%
1820 40,038 10.3%
1830 42,784 6.9%
1840 41,279 −3.5%
1850 44,939 8.9%
1860 46,805 4.2%
1870 48,483 3.6%
1880 55,418 14.3%
1890 71,155 28.4%
1900 92,181 29.5%
1910 143,680 55.9%
1920 188,992 31.5%
1930 204,802 8.4%
1940 210,852 3.0%
1950 209,628 −0.6%
1960 217,271 3.6%
1970 210,876 −2.9%
1980 217,074 2.9%
1990 204,584 −5.8%
2000 202,897 −0.8%
2010 207,820 2.4%

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 202,897 people, 81,130 households, and 56,060 families residing in the county. The population density was 237 people per square mile (91/km²). There were 87,267 housing units at an average density of 102 per square mile (39/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.27% White, 3.26% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 0.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.3% were of German, 17.2% Italian, 10.6% Irish, 8.6% English, 7.9% Polish and 6.2% American ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 81,130 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.20% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.90% were non-families. 27.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.20% 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 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.20% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 25.00% from 45 to 64, and 17.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 92.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.00 males.

As of 1800, this county was largely settled by people of Scot-Irish religion because "prime lands" were already taken by the Germans and the Quakers.

Landmarks and events[]

The F. Julius LeMoyne House serves as the headquarters of the Washington County Historical Society.

Washington County is the home of the PONY Baseball and Softball International Headquarters [7] and is the home of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.[8] Washington County is also famous for its Rock Shelters at Meadowcroft Village, which are one of the best preserved and oldest Pre-Clovis Native American dwellings in the country.[9] The county has 21 covered bridges still standing.[10]

The Whiskey Rebellion culminated in Washington. The home of David Bradford, one of the rebellions leaders, is located in Washington and is a national landmark.[11] Just a couple blocks away is the F. Julius LeMoyne House, which serves as the headquarters of the Washington County Historical Society.

Washington County is the home of the first crematory in the United States.[12][13]


Map of Washington County, Pennsylvania with municipal labels showing cities and boroughs (red), townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

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 Washington County:



  • Allenport
  • Beallsville
  • Bentleyville
  • Burgettstown
  • California
  • Canonsburg
  • Centerville
  • Charleroi
  • Claysville
  • Coal Center
  • Cokeburg
  • Deemston
  • Donora
  • Dunlevy
  • East Washington
  • Elco
  • Ellsworth
  • Finleyville
  • Green Hills
  • Houston
  • Long Branch
  • Marianna
  • McDonald
  • Midway
  • New Eagle
  • North Charleroi
  • Roscoe
  • Speers
  • Stockdale
  • Twilight
  • West Brownsville
  • West Middletown


  • Amwell Township
  • Blaine Township
  • Buffalo Township
  • Canton Township
  • Carroll Township
  • Cecil Township
  • Chartiers Township
  • Cross Creek Township
  • Donegal Township
  • East Bethlehem Township
  • East Finley Township
  • Fallowfield Township
  • Hanover Township
  • Hopewell Township
  • Independence Township
  • Jefferson Township
  • Morris Township
  • Mount Pleasant Township
  • North Bethlehem Township
  • North Franklin Township
  • North Strabane Township
  • Nottingham Township
  • Peters Township
  • Robinson Township
  • Smith Township
  • Somerset Township
  • South Franklin Township
  • South Strabane Township
  • Union Township
  • West Bethlehem Township
  • West Finley Township
  • West Pike Run Township

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.

  • Baidland
  • Cecil-Bishop
  • Fredericktown-Millsboro
  • Gastonville
  • McGovern
  • McMurray
  • Thompsonville
  • Wickerham Manor-Fisher
  • Wolfdale

Other places[]

  • Bulger
  • Condit Crossing
  • Courtney
  • Eighty Four


Map of Washington County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Public school districts[]

  • Avella Area School District
  • Bentworth School District
  • Bethlehem-Center School District
  • Brownsville Area School District (also in Fayette County)
  • Burgettstown Area School District
  • California Area School District
  • Canon-McMillan School District
  • Charleroi School District
  • Chartiers-Houston School District
  • Fort Cherry School District (also in Allegheny County)
  • McGuffey School District
  • Peters Township School District
  • Ringgold School District
  • Trinity Area School District
  • Washington School District

Colleges and universities[]

  • California University of Pennsylvania in California Borough
  • Community College of Allegheny County Washington branch in North Franklin Township
  • Washington & Jefferson College in the City of Washington and East Washington Borough
  • Waynesburg University- Southpointe Center Campus in Canonsburg.[14]


  • Canonsburg General Hospital, part of West Penn Allegheny Health System in North Strabane Township
  • Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township
  • The Washington Hospital in the City of Washington

Notable people[]

  • John Alexander Anderson, born in Washington County, United States Congressman from Kansas[15]
  • Kurt Angle (1968–present), resided in Canonsburg, Olympic gold medalist and Professional wrestler
  • James G. Blaine (1830–1893), native of West Brownsville, United States Secretary of State, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and 1884 Republican presidential nominee
  • David Bradford, born in Maryland 1760 and resided in Washington, early deputy attorney-general for Washington County, became a leader in the Whiskey Rebellion challenging the nascent U.S. federal government [16]
  • Alexander G. Clark (1826–1891), born in Washington County, "The Colored Orator of the West", Minister to Liberia 1890-1891 [17][18]
  • William J. Carson (1840-1913), Civil War Medal of Honor recipient, 1863[19][20]
  • Perry Como (1912–2001), native of Canonsburg, recording artist and television performer
  • Mitch Daniels (1949–present), native of Monongahela, current Governor of Indiana
  • Justine Ezarik (1984-present), YouTube personality and actress
  • Alexander Fulton (unknown-died ca. 1818), founder of Alexandria, Louisiana[21]
  • Ken Griffey, Jr. (1969–present), native of Donora, Major League Baseball player
  • Ken Griffey, Sr. (1950–present), native of Donora, Major League Baseball player
  • Joseph Hardy (1924–present), former resident of Eighty Four, philanthropist, former CEO and founder of 84 Lumber
  • Pete Henry (1897–1952), NFL player/coach, member of Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • Shirley Jones (1934–present), native of Smithton, singer and actress, best known for her role as the mother of the Partridge Family and winning an Academy Award for an Actress in a Supporting Role in 1960 in Elmer Gantry.
  • Mario Lemieux (1965–present), former property owner in South Strabane Township, former National Hockey League player and part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Francis Julius LeMoyne (1798–1879) abolitionist and pioneer of cremation in the U.S.
  • Jonathan Letterman (1824–1872), native of Canonsburg, Father of Battlefield Medicine and Civil War surgeon
  • William Henry Letterman (1832–1881), native of Canonsburg, co-founder of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, surgeon, and brother of Jonathan Letterman
  • Jay Livingston (1915–2001), native of McDonald, Oscar-winning songwriter
  • William Holmes McGuffey (1800–1873), native of the western side of the county, famous educator and writer of McGuffey's Ecletic Readers - one of America's first text books
  • Joe Montana (1956–present), native of Monongahela, National Football League player
  • Stan Musial (1920–present), native of Donora, Major League Baseball player
  • Deborah Jeane Palfrey (1956–2008), native of Charleroi, "The D.C. Madam"
  • David Redick (died 1805), Vice-President (Lt. Governor) of Pennsylvania for three weeks in 1788; surveyor—laid out the town of Washington.
  • Paul Shannon (1909–1990), radio and television personality
  • Bobby Vinton (1935–present), native of Canonsburg, recording artist
  • Bud Yorkin (1926-present), American film and television producer, director, writer and actor.

See also[]

  • List of municipal authorities in Washington County, Pennsylvania


External links[]

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Coordinates: 40°11′N 80°15′W / 40.19, -80.25

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Washington 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.