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

Pennsylvania Facts and Figures

 

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database

 

on April 24, 2024

 
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 1,217 cities and towns lying in 1,075 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 11,161 historical markers in Pennsylvania, by our count. We have cataloged 11,108 historical markers and 2,600 war memorials—each individually presented on 12,998 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 5.3% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 53 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.

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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 April 23, 2024, and titled Veterans Memorial. It is in Fayette City in Fayette 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 1804. It was this one: William Penn, and one of our correspondents found it in Philadelphia in Philadelphia County on January 16, 2023.

Pennsylvania Historical Topics
2,331 • Industry and Commerce
1,955 • Civil War
1,559 • Settlements and Settlers
1,208 • Patriots and Patriotism
1,123 • Churches and Religion
1,095 • Colonial Era
999 • Education
996 • Revolutionary War
872 • Waterways and Vessels
771 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
    ... and others ...

Pennsylvanians don’t want to forget their Industry and Commerce history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Pennsylvania about Industry and Commerce—2,331 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by the Civil War with 1,955 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Industry and Commerce topic was McMichaels Creek, added November 13, 2005. It had been erected in 1982 in Stroudsburg in Monroe County. The last one submitted was submitted on April 20, 2024, and titled Penn's View Hotel. It had been erected in Philadelphia in Philadelphia County. The earliest marker erected with the Industry and Commerce topic that we have listed was erected in 1839. It is Newkirk Viaduct Monument, found in Philadelphia in Philadelphia County on January 16, 2023.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Pennsylvania? What we know is that American Icon is the most viewed entry in the database from Pennsylvania since it was added in 2014. It is located near King of Prussia in Montgomery 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 Philadelphia County, with 1659 of them. It is followed by Adams County with 1,436 markers. The Philadelphia area of Philadelphia County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 1659. In Adams County the area with the most markers, 1189, is Gettysburg.

Historical Markers in These
Pennsylvania Counties
1,659 • Philadelphia County
1,436 • Adams County
674 • Allegheny County
547 • Lancaster County
459 • Chester County
438 • York County
428 • Cumberland County
377 • Washington County
335 • Lackawanna County
318 • Dauphin County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Pennsylvania with the most markers we again find Philadelphia at the top of the list with 1659 markers in or near it. And Gettysburg also shows up again in next place, with 1,189 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 17325 at the top of the list with 1328 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 528 markers. (19106 is assigned to Philadelphia PA including the William Penn Annex East delivery area.)

Historical Markers Near These
Pennsylvania Cities and Towns
1,659 • Philadelphia
1,189 • Gettysburg
405 • Pittsburgh
265 • Carlisle
224 • Harrisburg
187 • Scranton
181 • York
173 • Lancaster
150 • Erie
144 • Phoenixville
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Philadelphia County, the first marker added to the database from there, The Johnson House, was added March 2, 2008. It was erected in 1995 in Philadelphia. The last one submitted was uploaded on April 20, 2024, and is titled Site of the Second Presbyterian Church and was erected in 1988, in Philadelphia. The earliest marker erected in Philadelphia County that we have listed was erected in 1804. It was William Penn, found in Philadelphia on January 16, 2023.

Latest entry from Pennsylvania. Click to go there
By Bradley Owen, April 22, 2024
Latest Entry from Pennsylvania
“Veterans Memorial”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Gettysburg. The first: Dobbin House, was added August 21, 2007. It had been erected in 1947. The last: Touring the Battlefield added on March 1, 2024. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1867: First Minnesota Volunteers, added on March 8, 2009.

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 2,188 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 Forest County, Elk County and Cameron County. We've only found, respectively, 16, 15, and 11 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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Apr. 24, 2024