kids encyclopedia robot

Carbon County, Pennsylvania facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Carbon County
Blue Mountain near Palmerton
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Carbon County
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Pennsylvania
Founded March 13, 1843 (Divided from Northampton County
Named for Coal deposits
Seat Jim Thorpe
Largest borough Lehighton
 • Total 387 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Land 381 sq mi (990 km2)
 • Water 5.9 sq mi (15 km2)  2%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 170/sq mi (70/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 9th
Pennsylvania Historical Marker
Designated: June 13, 1982

Carbon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 64,749. Its county seat is Jim Thorpe, which was founded in 1818 as Mauch Chunk, a company town of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (LC&N) along a new nine mile long wagon train the company was constructing to their coal mine in the area now known as Summit Hill.

Carbon County comprises the northern part of the Lehigh Valley and is part of the state's Coal Region and the AllentownBethlehemEaston, PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In 1827, LC&N's wagon road, the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, became the nation's second operating railroad.. The Beaver Meadow Railroad and Coal Company, also located in Carbon County, was the first railway to operate steam locomotives as traction engines and prime movers in the United States. The railway connected mines west of Beaver Meadows and Weatherly to the Lehigh Canal opposite Lehighton.


Lehigh Gorge State Park - April 21 2007
The Lehigh River and a parking lot in Lehigh Gorge State Park.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 387 square miles (1,000 km2), of which 381 square miles (990 km2) is land and 5.9 square miles (15 km2) (1.5%) is water. Blue Mountain forms the southern boundary of Carbon. The northeast area of the county is located in the Pocono Mountains and the northwest area includes portions of Broad Mountain and Spring Mountain. It is drained by the Lehigh River except for a small area in western Packer Township and the borough of Lansford that are drained by the Still Creek and Panther Creek, respectively, into the Little Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill River, and the Audenried area in the northwest corner that drains into the Susquehanna River via the Catawissa Creek. The Lehigh cuts a gorge between Jim Thorpe and White Haven which hosts the Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Adjacent counties

Major Highways

  • I-80
  • I-476 / Penna Turnpike NE Extension
  • US 209
  • PA 248
  • PA 309
  • PA 903


Carbon County was created on March 13, 1843 from parts of Northampton and Monroe Counties and was named for the extensive deposits of anthracite coal in the region, where it was first discovered (1791) and early attempts were made to exploit the deposits by the Lehigh Coal Mine Company (1792), whose expeditions broke trail and pioneered river bank sites using mule animal powered technology to log, saw, and build ‹See Tfd›arks to carry bags of coal to Philadelphia, with only scant success.

The first settlement in Carbon County was the Moravian mission Gnadenhutten, established in 1745 in the ‹See Tfd›Northampton County of the day. Deeply moved by the deplorable state of the Leni Lenape Indians in America, twelve Moravian missionaries left their home in Herrnhut Germany and traveled by sea to the wilderness of Pennsylvania, a place known for religious tolerance under the auspices of Count Zinzendorf. Located where Lehighton now stands, Gnadenhutten exemplified communal simplicity. Home to hundreds of Lenni Lenape (Delaware) and Mahican Indians displaced by white settlements, predation, bigotry and subjegation to the Iroquois, the Delaware peoples were being squeezed out of the southern counties and New Jersey westwards and against the Blue Ridge escarpment. The mission was a scene of quiet, humble and unobtrusive heroism and the Indians' shelter. Although the wilderness of Carbon County was quite treacherous, the Moravians traveled in the wilds of Carbon County undaunted. By 1752, increased hostility put Gnadenhutten at risk for attack, but the missionaries' pious good works did not go unnoticed. The frankness and earnestness of the simple Moravians had won respect with the many tribes of Pennsylvania Indians, and they lived without incident until 1755. At that point an Amerindian uprising drove settlements away from the Lehigh Gap, and whites didn't re-enter the area before the late 1780s according to Brenckman. In 1791, a homesteader, Phillip Ginter hunting on 'Sharp Mountain' along Pisgah Ridge found a black 'stone coal' outcropping, and conveyed a chunk of it to Weissport, PA. (For a more complete set of details & events, see Lehigh Canal and Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company articles.)

Lehigh Coal Mine Company (LCMC) operations had managed to fell many trees and open up the mouth area of the Nesquehoning Creek by 1800. This area became known as Lausanne, or Lausanne Landing, after the Inn & Tavern built there called the "Landing Tavern". An Amerindian trail, crossed the stream near the confluence with Jean's Run and the camp grounds of their boat builders, climbing northwestwards along a traverse to the next water gap west, eroded into the southern flank of ‹See Tfd›Broad Mountain. Connecting across the barrier ridge it had just climbed to another valley whose waters originated in the ‹See Tfd›saddle-pass in which Hazleton, Pennsylvania was built, the trail would become the 'Lausanne-Nescopeck road' (mule trail), then the Lehigh & Susquehanna Turnpike in 1804. Today, PA 93 follows this route in the main, save where modern road building capabilities allowed improved positioning. This road cut off 90–100 miles (140–160 km) from a trip from Philadelphia to the Wyoming Valley and the northern sections of the Coal Region.

Carbon County is the location of the trials and executions of the controversial Molly Maguires, an Irish secret society that had been accused of terrorizing the region.

Carbon County has a rich history. Some interesting people have passed through her mountains, including the Moravian mystic Count Zinzendorf, Benjamin Gilbert, John James Audubon, Benjamin Franklin, and many more.

Blessed with a unique geography, Carbon County dazzled the adventurous travelers of the Victorian era, just as it attracts adventurers today. Aesthetically not much has changed of this unique landscape; written in 1877, the following passage is still valid today: "Such rough and tumble experience, climbing mountains, falling over rocks, exploring wild ravines, diving into coal mines, and riding on every description of conveyance which it has entered into the mind of man to run on." Home of the Lehigh Gorge State Park, Carbon County is an ideal place for hikers, cyclists, history buffs and adventurers.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 15,686
1860 21,033 34.1%
1870 28,144 33.8%
1880 31,923 13.4%
1890 38,624 21.0%
1900 44,510 15.2%
1910 52,846 18.7%
1920 62,565 18.4%
1930 63,380 1.3%
1940 61,735 −2.6%
1950 57,558 −6.8%
1960 52,889 −8.1%
1970 50,573 −4.4%
1980 53,285 5.4%
1990 56,846 6.7%
2000 58,802 3.4%
2010 65,249 11.0%
2020 64,749 −0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2017

As of the census of 2000, there were 58,802 people, 23,701 households, and 16,424 families residing in the county. The population density was 154 people per square mile (60/km2). There were 30,492 housing units at an average density of 80 per square mile (31/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.82% White, 0.60% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 1.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.4% were of German, 10.1% Irish, 9.2% Italian, 7.9% American, 6.6% Slovak, 6.0% Polish and 5.8% Ukrainian ancestry.

There were 23,701 households, out of which 28.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.80% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.70% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.20% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 18.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 94.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.30 males.


Mauch Chunk Lake is a county-run park that offers swimming, camping, hiking and cross country skiing in the winter. There are three Pennsylvania state parks in Carbon County.


Map of Carbon County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Carbon County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in the case of Bloomsburg, a town. The following boroughs and townships are located in Carbon County:



  • Banks
  • East Penn
  • Franklin
  • Kidder
  • Lausanne
  • Lehigh
  • Lower Towamensing
  • Mahoning
  • Packer
  • Penn Forest
  • Towamensing

Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.

Former communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Carbon County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Lehighton Borough 5,500
2 Palmerton Borough 5,414
3 Jim Thorpe Borough 4,781
4 Indian Mountain Lake (partially in Monroe County) CDP 4,372
5 Lansford Borough 3,941
6 Nesquehoning Borough 3,349
7 Summit Hill Borough 3,034
8 Weatherly Borough 2,525
9 Towamensing Trails CDP 2,292
10 Weissport East CDP 1,624
11 Bowmanstown Borough 937
12 Tresckow CDP 880
13 Beaver Meadows Borough 869
14 Parryville Borough 525
15 Holiday Pocono CDP 476
16 Weissport Borough 412
17 East Side Borough 317
18 Albrightsville CDP 202

PennEast Pipeline

The proposed PennEast Pipeline will pass through the county adversely impacting many property owners and community tax revenues. Unlike other states, under Pennsylvania state tax policy, natural gas and oil pipelines are exempted from property taxes. Pipeline companies prohibit development within the 100 foot wide right-of-way, there by limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the school district, by constraining future land development. Located in the marcellus shale region, Carbon County is adversely impacted this way.

The Carbon County Planning Commission and Carbon County Commissioners have stated opposition to the pipeline project. The pipeline adversely impacts: Penn Forest Township, Kidder Township, Towamensing Township and Lower Towamensing Township. The Township Supervisors in all four townships passed resolutions opposing the pipeline.


Map of Carbon County Pennsylvania School Districts
Map of Carbon County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

Community, junior and technical colleges

  • Lehigh Carbon Community College – Carbon Campus, Jim Thorpe

Public school districts

  • Hazleton Area School District (also in Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties)
  • Jim Thorpe Area School District
  • Lehighton Area School District
  • Palmerton Area School District
  • Panther Valley School District (also in Schuylkill County)
  • Weatherly Area School District

Career Tech School

Carbon Career & Technical Institute, public school located in Jim Thorpe

Intermediate Unit

The public and private K-12 schools in Carbon County are served by Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21.


Major highways

  • I-80
  • I-476 / Penna Turnpike NE Extension
  • US 209
  • PA 54
  • PA 93
  • PA 248
  • PA 309
  • PA 443
  • PA 534
  • PA 895
  • PA 902
  • PA 903
  • PA 940


Carbon County Community Transit fixed-route bus service consists of the Lynx 1 (Nesquehoning-Lehigh Valley Mall), Lynx 2 (Nesquehoning-Walnutport), and Lynx 3 (Nesquehoning-Tamaqua/Hometown). Also, Hazleton Public Transit (HPT) bus route 30 serves northwestern Carbon County via Beaver Meadows and Junedale to Weatherly. Audenried is served by HPT route 20 (Hazleton-McAdoo/Kelayres). Fullington Trailways provides intercity service to Carbon County with stops in Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. Martz Trailways has a stop in Kidder Township near the Pocono interchange of Interstate 476 for service between Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, Quakertown, and Philadelphia. This is an Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach route, connecting to Amtrak trains at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Martz also operates casino bus routes to Atlantic City from the stop.


Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton provides general aviation. The nearest commercial passenger service is at Lehigh Valley International Airport or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Carbon (Pensilvania) para niños

kids search engine
Carbon County, Pennsylvania Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.