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.