“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 December 8, 2021

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Pennsylvania ranks fourth 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 1,144 cities and towns lying in 953 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 8,394 historical markers in Pennsylvania, by our count. We have cataloged 8,360 historical markers and 1,672 war memorials—each individually presented on 9,536 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 5.1% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 34 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 December 6, 2021, and titled Downtown Williamsport. It is in Williamsport in Lycoming 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
1,713 • Civil War
1,709 • Industry and Commerce
1,066 • Settlements and Settlers
799 • Churches and Religion
773 • Colonial Era
753 • Patriots and Patriotism
714 • Revolutionary War
713 • Education
644 • Waterways and Vessels
496 • World War II
    ... 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—1,713 of them—than about any other historical topic. A close second is Industry and Commerce with 1,709 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 December 6, 2021, and titled Dixmont State Hospital Cemetery. It had been erected in Pittsburgh in Allegheny 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. This year so far, the most viewed Pennsylvanian entry is located near Cresson in Cambria County. It is Cresson Tuberculosis Sanatorium.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Pennsylvania county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Adams County, with 1338 of them. It is followed by Philadelphia County with 712 markers. The Cumberland Township area of Adams County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 859. In Philadelphia County the area with the most markers, 712, is Philadelphia.

Historical Markers in These
Pennsylvania Counties
1,338 • Adams County
712 • Philadelphia County
528 • Allegheny County
377 • Lancaster County
356 • Cumberland County
311 • York County
300 • Lackawanna County
287 • Dauphin County
257 • Berks County
254 • Chester County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Pennsylvania with the most markers we again find Cumberland Township at the top of the list with 859 markers in or near it. And Philadelphia also shows up again in next place, with 712 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 17325 at the top of the list with 1249 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 278 markers. (19106 is assigned to Philadelphia PA including the William Penn Annex East delivery area.)

Historical Markers Near These
Pennsylvania Cities and Towns
859 • Cumberland Township
712 • Philadelphia
356 • Pittsburgh
287 • Gettysburg
186 • Harrisburg
167 • Scranton
131 • Lancaster
109 • Erie
103 • Carlisle
102 • Williamsport
    ... 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 in Tyrone Township. The last one submitted was uploaded on September 20, 2021, and is titled A Dedication, in Cumberland Township. 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 Cosmos Mariner, June 7, 2021
Latest Entry from Pennsylvania
“Downtown Williamsport”

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: The First Society of Unitarian Christians in Philadelphia added on June 25, 2021. It had been erected in 1908. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1827: Treaty Ground of William Penn, added on January 10, 2021.

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 2,095 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 Clarion County, Cameron County and Elk County. We've only found, respectively, 15, 10, and 7 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!

Dec. 8, 2021