Pennsylvania: Pike County

Pike County (pop. 57,369) is south of Wayne County, across the Delaware River from New York and New Jersey.

Pike County in 1911

It’s one of 10 Pike counties, all of them named for Zebulon Pike (1779-1813), brigadier general and explorer.

Pikes Peak, Iowa, was also named for him.

Pike County has been Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing county in recent years, thanks to its relative proximity to New York City.

It’s in the NYC metro area.

The county seat of Pike County is the borough of Milford (pop. 1,021), fourth-smallest county seat in Pennsylvania.

Pike County Courthouse (1873)

The Columns Museum in Milford features the bloody flag on which Abraham Lincoln laid his head after he was shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

The Pike County Historical Society’s museum

The Hotel Fauchere in Milford dates from 1880.

Italianate style

Grey Towers National Historic Site was the family home of Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946), first director of the U.S. Forest Service and two-time governor of Pennsylvania.

Built in 1886

A few miles east of Milford is the borough of Matamoras (pop. 2,469), the easternmost municipality in Pennsylvania, located at the point where Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey meet.

Northwest of Milford is the Zane Grey Museum, former residence of the Western writer Zane Grey (1872-1939). The museum is operated by the National Park Service.

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where the Delaware River cuts through a ridge of the Appalachian Mountains.

Dingmans Falls

Camp Tamiment (1921-2005), a resort in the Pocono Mountains, was founded by Socialists. Later, its Tamiment Playhouse nurtured the early careers of Danny Kaye, Jerome Robbins, Carol Burnett, Neil Simon, and Woody Allen.

“A progressive version of the Catskills”

NEXT: MONROE COUNTY

Pennsylvania: Wayne County

Wayne County (pop. 52,822) is east of Susquehanna County, in the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania. It’s one of 16 Wayne counties in the U.S.

The county was named for General “Mad Anthony” Wayne (1745-1796).

Wayne County has about 30 summer camps, hosting some 28,000 children every year.

Two hours from New York City

The highest point in Wayne County is Mount Ararat (elev. 2,638). Its western and northern sides drain into Chesapeake Bay, and its eastern side drains into Delaware Bay.

Noah’s Ark was not found here.

The county seat of Wayne County is the borough of Honesdale (pop. 4,480).

300-foot Irving Cliff

The Wayne County Courthouse dates from 1880.

Second Empire style

Honesdale has been called “The Birthplace of American Railroading,” because it had the first commercial steam locomotive run on rails – the “Stourbridge Lion” in 1829.

Today there’s a 25-mile excursion line.

The children’s magazine “Highlights for Children” was founded in Honesdale in 1946, and its editorial offices are still there.

The Claws “N” Paws Wild Animal Park is in the village of Lake Ariel.

Sculpted Ice Works in the village of Lakeville has a tour and museum.

In the community of Hawley (pop. 1,211), the Bellemonte Silk Mill dates from 1894. It has been called the largest bluestone building in the world.

Now the Shops at Hawley Silk Mill

The Ritz Theater in Hawley has hosted the Ritz Company Playhouse since 1973.

NEXT: PIKE COUNTY

Pennsylvania: Susquehanna County

Susquehanna County (pop. 43,356) is east of Bradford County. It’s the only Susquehanna County in the U.S.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, coal mining was the major industry in mountainous Susquehanna County. Today, the county is a center of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

The county seat of Susquehanna County is the borough of Montrose (pop. 1,617).

Susquehanna County Courthouse (1855)

The Montrose Theater has been showing movies for more than 90 years.

The community of Susquehanna Depot (pop. 1,643), on the Susquehanna River, was once a center for the construction of railroad locomotives and railroad cars. Its peak population was 3,872 in 1890.

The 3-story Erie Railroad Station had a hotel in it.

B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) was born in Susquehanna Depot. He was a philosopher, author, and professor of psychology at Harvard University.

The stone-arch Starrucca Viaduct, near Susquehanna Depot, opened in 1848 and is still in use. It was considered the world’s most expensive railroad bridge at the time of its construction.

Over Starrucca Creek

Susquehanna County has a community named Hop Bottom (pop. 337). It was named for the hop vines (hops are used for brewing beer) found in the bottom of the valley.

The highest peak in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains is North Knob of Elk Mountain (elev. 2,693 feet). The Elk Mountain Ski Area opened in 1959.

Salt Springs State Park has 500-year-old hemlock trees, three waterfalls, and Penny Rock – into which people hammer pennies for good luck.

Bad luck if you remove one.

NEXT: WAYNE COUNTY

 

 

Pennsylvania: Bradford County

Bradford County (pop. 62,622) is east of Tioga County. It is Pennsylvania’s second-largest county in square miles.

Bradford County in 1911

The only other Bradford County is in Florida. This one was named for William Bradford (1755-1795), attorney general of Pennsylvania and later of the United States.

Bradford County Courthouse (1898)

The county seat of Bradford County is not the city of Bradford – which is in McKean County, three counties to the west. Bradford County’s seat is the borough of Towanda (pop. 2,919), on the Susquehanna River.

Towanda in the 1960s

The name “Towanda” means “burial ground” in the Algonquian language.

The Keystone Theatre in Towanda opened more than 100 years ago as Hale’s Opera House. It now has both movies and live events.

Film director Gregory La Cava (1892-1952) was born in Towanda.

He directed this screwball comedy in 1936.

Bradford County has communities named Rome, Milan, Athens, and Troy.

Dinosaur tree stump, MIlan

The Spalding Memorial Library (1898) in Athens (pop. 3,367) is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Still a library

Troy Public High School (1924) in Troy (pop. 1,354) is also on the National Register.

Colonial Revival style

The community of Wysox (pop. 1,721) has a utility pole that looks like a giant pencil.

Mt. Pisgah State Park features the 75-acre, man-made Stephen Foster Lake. It’s one of three Mount Pisgahs in Pennsylvania, and one of at least 11 in the U.S.

This one is just outside Cripple Creek, Colorado.

NEXT: SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY

Pennsylvania: Tioga County

Tioga County (pop. 41,981) is east of Potter County. It is Pennsylvania’s fourth-largest county in square miles.

The county reached its peak population of 52,313 in 1890, but has been growing since 1930. It was named for the Tioga River, whose waters eventually flow into the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.

Susquehanna River Basin

The county seat of Tioga County is the borough of Wellsboro (pop. 3,264).

Tioga County Courthouse (1835)

The Arcadia Theatre in Wellsboro dates from 1921. It was remodeled, with four screens, in 1997.

Still showing first-run movies

The Tioga Central Railroad runs a 24-mile railroad for visitors (summer and fall only), going north from Wellsboro, on a portion of the Wellsboro and Corning Railroad.

Weekly dinner trains too

West of Wellsboro is “The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” also known as Pine Creek Gorge. The deepest point on the 47-mile gorge is 1,450 feet from the rim.

State parks on both sides

A private, 100-foot overlook tower is located on the east side of the canyon. Visitors pay $3 (credit card only) for admittance.

The borough of Mansfield (pop. 3,625) is the home of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, a public liberal-arts university with about 2,700 students.

Founded in 1857

Mansfield was the birthplace of night football, hosting the first game with electric lights in 1892 (Mansfield Normal School vs. Wyoming Seminary).

Tom McMillen (born 1952) played high school basketball in Mansfield before starring at the University of Maryland and in the NBA. He was later a Congressman from Maryland. In college, he majored in chemistry and was a Rhodes Scholar.

At 6’11”, the tallest Congressman ever

NEXT: BRADFORD COUNTY

Pennsylvania: Potter County

Potter County (pop. 17,457), east of McKean County, is Pennsylvania’s fifth-least-populous county. The only other Potter counties are in Texas and South Dakota.

The county was named for James Potter (1729-1789), an Irish immigrant and Pennsylvanian who was a brigadier general in the Revolutionary War.

With the Pennsylvania Militia

The heavily wooded county contains eight state parks. The five-acre Prouty Place State Park is the state’s second-smallest.

Prouty Run

Cherry Springs State Park is popular with astronomers and stargazers because it has some of the darkest night skies on the East Coast.

Pennsylvania’s first “dark sky park”

Cherry Springs also has Pennsylvania’s largest picnic pavilion constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (1939).

The county seat of Potter County is the borough of Coudersport (pop. 2,546), at the intersection of the Allegheny River and Mill Creek.

Potter County Courthouse (1853)

The Coudersport Theatre dates from 1923. It’s still showing movies.

The world’s only Coudersport Theatre

The annual God’s Country Marathon goes from Galeton to Coudersport.

Elliot Ness (1903-1957),  the legendary Prohibition agent who was credited with the downfall of Al Capone, died at his home in Coudersport.

As portrayed by Robert Stack

A major tourist attraction in Potter County is the Coudersport Ice Mine, with large icicles in the summer that melt in the winter. The cave was discovered in 1894.

Closed in winter, when there’s no ice

The Scottish Rite Consistory of Coudersport is one of Potter County’s largest buildings. The Consistory has about 3,000 members – more than the population of Coudersport.

Originally a private home

The Austin Dam Burst Site commemorates the site of the Austin Dam, which burst in 1911, resulting in the deaths of 78 people.

The dam served a paper mill.

NEXT: TIOGA COUNTY

Pennsylvania: McKean County

McKean County (pop. 43,450) is east of Warren County. It’s the only McKean County – named for Thomas McKean, Pennsylvania governor from 1799 to 1808.

McKean County in 1895

The county seat of McKean County is the borough of Smethport (pop. 1,655).

McKean County Courthouse (1942)

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Pennsylvania was -42 degrees in 1904 in Smethport.

Smethport’s elevation is 1,488 feet.

Smethport had America’s’ first year-round Christmas shop. It opened in 1935 and closed in 2005.

The athletic teams at Smethport Area High School are known as the “Hubbers,” because Smethport is the “hub” in the center of the county.

The Smethport Specialty Company began manufacturing the Wooly Willy magnetic toy in 1955.

The largest community in McKean County is the city of Bradford (pop. 8,870). The former oil boomtown reached its peak population of 19,306 in 1930.

Old City Hall (1897)

The Main Street Movie House is in the eight-story Art Deco Hooker-Fulton Building (1931).

Showing first-run movies

Bradford is the home of the Zippo Manufacturing Company, founded in 1932. Zippo is best known for its reusable metal lighters.

The Zippo museum

Bradford has a campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Established in 1963, it has about 1,500 students.

Opera star Marilyn Horne was born in Bradford in 1934. A Marilyn Horne Museum recently opened in Bradford.

The community of Eldred (pop. 825) has had a World War Two Museum since 1996. During the war, Eldred was the site of a munitions factory that employed 1,500 people.

The Kinzua Bridge (1882) was the fourth-tallest railroad bridge in the U.S., until it collapsed after being struck by a tornado in 2003. It was 301 feet high and 2,000 feet long.

Today, Kinzua Bridge State Park has a Sky Walk with a pedestrian walkway to a glass-floored observation deck.

225 feet up

NEXT: POTTER COUNTY

Pennsylvania: Warren County

Warren County (pop. 41,815) is east of Erie and Crawford counties, on the border with New York. It’s one of 14 Warren counties.

All 14 Warren counties were named for Gen. Joseph Warren (1741-1775), who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Much of the county is in the Allegheny National Forest, established in 1923 after most of the original forest (mostly Eastern hemlock and American beech)  had been logged. It’s now known for black cherry and walnut trees.

Hector Falls

The county seat of Warren County is the city of Warren (pop. 9,710). Warren’s population has been declining each decade since 1940, when the Census reported 14,891 residents.

On the Allegheny River

The Warren County Courthouse was built in 1877, in Second Empire style.

Statue of Justice on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil was discovered in Warren in 1875, and the oil industry dominated the city’s economy for many years.

National City Bank Building (1891)

The Struthers Library Theatre dates from 1883. It originally was a library, opera house, and Masonic hall.  Now, it hosts concerts, community theater, and a film series.

Renovated in 1983

Most of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was fabricated at the Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel Company plant in Warren in the early 1960s. A small replica stands in front of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry.

Gudrun Ensslin (1940-1977), one of the founders of the West Germany’s group the Baader-Meinhof Group, spent a year in high school (1958-59) in Warren. She died in a German prison.

Kinzua Dam was built 1960-65 on the Allegheny River, east of Warren. Construction required the forced relocation of 600 Seneca Indians, who lived on the Allegany Reservation in New York.

The reservoir extends 25 miles behind the dam.

Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” and the Johnny Cash recording “As Long As the Grass Shall Grow” both commemorate the Seneca who were uprooted by the dam.

The borough of Tidioute (pop. 792), southwest of Warren, is home of both the Pennsylvania State Championship Fishing Tournament and an annual reenactment of the WWII battle at the Bridge at Remagen.

Over the Allegheny River

NEXT: MCKEAN COUNTY

Pennsylvania: Crawford County

Crawford County (pop. 88,765) is south of Erie County, on the border with Ohio.

Crawford County in 1895

It is one of 11 Crawford counties, which were named for three different men named Crawford. This one was named for Col. William Crawford (1722-1782).

Crawford’s death

The county seat of Crawford County is the city of Meadville (pop. 13,388), which was the first permanent settlement in northwestern Pennsylvania.

The zipper, as we know it, was invented in Meadville. Talon Zipper, founded in 1893 in Chicago, began mass-producing zippers in Meadville in the 1920s.

No longer in Meadville

The Academy Theatre in Meadville opened in 1886 as an opera house called the Academy of Music. It was later a movie theater, and now hosts a variety of performing arts.

Restored in the 1990s

Meadville is the home of Allegheny College, a private liberal arts college founded in 1815. It has about 1,900 students.

Bentley Hall (1835)

Meadville is also the home of the PennDot (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) Road Sign Sculpture Garden.

Murals and sculptures made of road signs

The Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum in Meadville was the home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Henry Baldwin (1780-1844). It had Meadville’s first indoor plumbing.

Built in 1843

The city of Titusville (pop. 5,601), east of Meadville, has a campus of the University of Pittsburgh, established in 1963.

Primarily a two-year campus

The Drake Well Museum, south of Titusville, covers the birth of the oil industry by Edwin Drake in 1859.

Established in 1934

The Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad, a 16-mile tourist railroad, has a Caboose Motel.

21 caboose units

In the community of Linesville (pop. 1,040), it is popular to throw bread at the carp at the Spillway adjacent to Pymatuning Lake. It’s been called “Pennsylvania’s 2nd-Most Popular Tourist Attraction.”

NEXT: WARREN COUNTY

Pennsylvania: Erie County

We begin our tour of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in Erie County (pop. 280,566), in the state’s northwestern corner. It is the state’s only county on Lake Erie, and the only Pennsylvania county that borders Canada (across the lake).

The county was named for the lake, which was named by the Erie people, an Iroquoian group who lived along the southern shore. The only other Erie counties are in New York and Ohio.

The county seat of Erie County is Erie (pop. 101,786), Pennsylvania’s fourth-largest city. Erie reached its peak population of 138,440 in 1960.

Erie Land Light (1867)

The 14-story Renaissance Center (1928), formerly the Erie Trust Company Building, dominates the downtown Erie skyline.

Renovated in the 1990s

The Old Customshouse (1839) is now part of the Erie Art Museum.

The museum has five connected buildings.

The Warner Theatre (1931) closed as a movie theater in 1976. It’s now the home of the Erie Philharmonic and a variety of other concerts and touring shows.

The Grand Lobby

The Lawrence Park Dinor (a northwestern Pennsylvania variation of “diner”) has been in operation since 1948. It was manufactured by Silk City Diners of Paterson, N.J.

Known for “Greek sauce” on French fries

Erie is the northern terminus of the 343-mile Interstate 79. The southern terminus is Charleston, W.V. Amtrak’s “Lake Shore Limited” (Chicago to Boston and New York City) stops in Erie.

Union Station (1927)

The Erie SeaWolves, Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, play at UPMC Park (1995) in downtown Erie. UPMC is the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Formerly Jerry Uht Park

Actress Ann B. Davis (1926-2014) grew up in Erie. She graduated from the University of Michigan.

On “The Brady Bunch”

The Bicentennial Tower, built in 1996 to commemorate the city’s 200th birthday, has a 187-foot-high observation deck.

Views of Lake Erie, Presque Isle, and downtown Erie

Presque Isle State Park, on a long peninsula near Erie, is Pennsylvania’s most-visited state park. It has a marina and 13 beaches for swimming.

The borough of Edinboro (pop. 6,438), south of Erie, is the home of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a public university with about 6,000 students. It was founded in 1857 as a teachers’ college.

NEXT: CRAWFORD COUNTY