“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Pennsylvania Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on November 30, 2020

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Pennsylvania ranks third among states and provinces with markers in this database. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a state in the United States of America located in the American Northeast. It is also in the Mid-Atlantic region. Pennsylvania is some 46 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 12.8 million people. The state is divided into 67 counties and all of them have entries in this database. In Pennsylvania we have discovered historical markers in 1,029 cities and towns lying in 923 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 7,772 historical markers in Pennsylvania, by our count. We have cataloged 7,753 historical markers and 928 war memorials—each individually presented on 8,573 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 5.5% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 19 historical markers in Pennsylvania that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Pennsylvania marker in the database, Col. Jacob Stroud, was added November 11, 2005 while the database was being designed and tested (the Historical Marker Database went live January 1, 2006). It was photographed in Stroudsburg in Monroe County and was erected in 1927. The last one added was submitted on November 29, 2020, and titled Veterans Memorial. It is in Mountville in Lancaster County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Pennsylvania was erected in 1817. It was this one: Paoli Massacre Monument, and one of our correspondents found it in Malvern in Chester County on November 9, 2008.

Pennsylvania Historical Topics
1,663 • Civil War
1,487 • Industry and Commerce
944 • Settlements and Settlers
734 • Patriots and Patriotism
729 • Colonial Era
719 • Churches and Religion
689 • Revolutionary War
652 • Education
574 • Waterways and Vessels
550 • Notable Buildings
    ... and others ...

Pennsylvanians don’t want to forget their Civil War history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Pennsylvania about the Civil War—1,663 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Industry and Commerce with 1,487 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Civil War topic was Burning of Chambersburg, added August 22, 2007. It had been erected in 1947 in Chambersburg in Franklin County. The last one submitted was submitted on November 28, 2020, and titled War Memorial. It had been erected in Gouldsboro in Wayne County. The earliest marker erected with the Civil War topic that we have listed was erected in 1861. It is Crooked Billet, found in Hatboro in Montgomery County on July 2, 2015.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Pennsylvania? What we know is that Confederate Soldiers is the most viewed entry in the database from Pennsylvania since it was added in 2010. It is located in McConnellsburg in Fulton County. It is also the most viewed entry so far this year.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Pennsylvania county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Adams County, with 1329 of them. It is followed by Philadelphia County with 708 markers. The Gettysburg area of Adams County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 1201. In Philadelphia County the area with the most markers, 708, is Philadelphia.

Historical Markers in These
Pennsylvania Counties
1,329 • Adams County
708 • Philadelphia County
471 • Allegheny County
346 • Cumberland County
323 • Lancaster County
285 • Lackawanna County
279 • Dauphin County
271 • York County
250 • Berks County
244 • Montgomery County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Pennsylvania with the most markers we again find Gettysburg at the top of the list with 1201 markers in or near it. And Philadelphia also shows up again in next place, with 708 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 17325 at the top of the list with 1243 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 17325 is assigned to Gettysburg PA including the Bonneauville, Fairplay, Heidlersburg, and Hunterstown delivery areas.) It is followed by ZIP Code 19106 with 275 markers. (19106 is assigned to Philadelphia PA including the William Penn Annex East delivery area.)

Historical Markers Near These
Pennsylvania Cities and Towns
1,201 • Gettysburg
708 • Philadelphia
316 • Pittsburgh
213 • Carlisle
190 • Harrisburg
162 • Scranton
157 • Erie
137 • Lancaster
108 • York
96 • Reading
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Adams County, the first marker added to the database from there, John Studebaker, was added March 19, 2006. It was erected in 1948 near Heidlersburg. The last one submitted was uploaded on November 12, 2020, and is titled Emanuel Bell Tower and was erected in 2014, in Gettysburg. The earliest marker erected in Adams County that we have listed was erected in 1867. It was First Minnesota Volunteers, found in Gettysburg on March 8, 2009.

Latest entry from Pennsylvania. Click to go there
By Devry Becker Jones, November 28, 2020
Latest Entry from Pennsylvania
“Veterans Memorial”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Philadelphia. The first: The Johnson House, was added March 2, 2008. It had been erected in 1995. The last: Park Directory added on November 20, 2020. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1883: Soldiers Monument at Germantown, added on September 14, 2014.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is currently in charge of official historical markers found all over the state. We have 2,075 of their markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Pennsylvania. Click to go there
By Mike Wintermantel, March 19, 2017
A Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Pennsylvania have been marked with history. Check out Montour County, Cameron County and Elk County. We've only found, respectively, 10, 9, and 6 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of Pennsylvania might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Nov. 30, 2020