Fayette County, Pennsylvania facts for kids

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Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Seal of Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the USA highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded September 26, 1783
Seat Uniontown
Largest City Uniontown
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

798 sq mi (2,067 km²)
790 sq mi (2,046 km²)
8.0 sq mi (21 km²), 1.0%
PopulationEst.
 - (2015)
 - Density

133,628
169/sq mi (65/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.co.fayette.pa.us
Named for: Marquis de Lafayette

Fayette County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Fayette County is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, adjacent to Maryland and West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 136,606. Its county seat is Uniontown. The county was created on September 26, 1783, from part of Westmoreland County and named after the Marquis de Lafayette.

Fayette County is part of the Pittsburgh, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

The first Europeans in Fayette County were explorers, who had used an ancient American Indian trail that bisected the county on their journey across the Appalachian Mountains. In 1754, when control of the area was still in dispute between France and Great Britain (both disregarding the indigenous tribes who had long occupied the territory), 22-year-old George Washington fought against the French at Jumonville Glen and Fort Necessity. British forces under Washington and General Edward Braddock improved roads throughout the region, making the future Fayette County an important supply route.

During the American Revolution, Fayette County was plagued by attacks from British-allied Indians and remained isolated as a frontier region. Also retarding settlement was a border dispute with Virginia; Virginia's District of West Augusta and Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County both claimed the area. In 1780 the dispute was settled by the federal government in favor of Pennsylvania, and Fayette County was formed from Westmoreland County in 1783.

Fayette County settlers provided the new United States government with an early test of authority in the 1793 Whiskey Rebellion, when farmers rebelled against tax collectors to protest a new liquor tax. President George Washington called out the militias to restore order. Fayette County continued to be important to travelers in the early 1800s. The National Road provided a route through the mountains of the county for settlers heading west. The shipyards in Brownsville on the Monongahela River built ships for both the domestic and international trade.

As Pittsburgh developed its industries in the mid-19th century, Fayette County become a center of coal mining and coke production. From the 1880s to the early 1900s, the area's great expansion in steel production became nationally important, and labor unions shaped national policies. Both new European immigrants and African Americans in the Great Migration from the rural South were attracted to the Pittsburgh area for industrial jobs. The historic Scottish and German farming communities established in the earlier 19th century were soon overshadowed by the wave of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. The region's wealth has been concentrated largely among the old English and Scottish families who had established businesses and political power in Pittsburgh prior to and in the advent of industrialization, often building the new manufacturing concerns, as did Andrew Carnegie.

By World War II, Fayette County had a new unionized working class that enjoyed increased prosperity. In the 1950s, however, the coal industry fell into decline. In the 1970s, the restructuring and collapse of American steel resulted in a massive loss of industrial jobs and hard times in the area. The population has declined since the peak in 1940, as residents have had to move elsewhere for work. The loss of union jobs caused many working families to drop out of the middle class. Only a few mines are being worked in the 21st century, but natural resources remain crucial to the local economy. The region is slowly transitioning toward the service sector, with an increase in jobs in fields such as telemarketing.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 798 square miles (2,070 km2), of which 790 square miles (2,000 km2) is land and 8.0 square miles (21 km2) (1.0%) is water. The western portion of the county contains rolling foothills and two valleys along the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers. The eastern portion of the county is highly mountainous and forested. Many coal mines are located within the area.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

  • Fort Necessity National Battlefield
  • Friendship Hill National Historic Site

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 13,318
1800 20,159 51.4%
1810 24,714 22.6%
1820 27,285 10.4%
1830 29,172 6.9%
1840 33,574 15.1%
1850 39,112 16.5%
1860 39,909 2.0%
1870 43,284 8.5%
1880 58,842 35.9%
1890 80,006 36.0%
1900 110,412 38.0%
1910 167,449 51.7%
1920 188,104 12.3%
1930 198,542 5.5%
1940 200,999 1.2%
1950 189,899 −5.5%
1960 169,340 −10.8%
1970 154,667 −8.7%
1980 159,417 3.1%
1990 145,351 −8.8%
2000 148,645 2.3%
2010 136,606 −8.1%
Est. 2015 133,628 −2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2010, there were 136,606 people, 59,969 households, and 41,198 families residing in the county. The population density was 188 people per square mile (73/km²). There were 66,490 housing units at an average density of 84 per square mile (32/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.30% White, 4.71% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.11% from other races, and 2.33% from two or more races. 1.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.8% were of German, 13.2% Italian, 11.4% Irish, 9.2% American, 8.4% Polish, 7.9% English and 6.6% Slovak ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 59,969 households out of which 28.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.80% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families. 28.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.70% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 18.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 91.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.60 males.

A study released in 2009 by PathWays PA, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, found that 35% of families in Fayette County were economically distressed, that is, failing to earn a wage that would adequately provide food, shelter, child care, health care, and other basic necessities.

County poverty demographics

According to research by The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, which is a legislative Agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the poverty rate for Fayette County was 20.2% in 2014. The statewide poverty rate was 13.6% in 2014. The 2012 childhood poverty rate by school district was: Albert Gallatin Area School District – 61.4%, Brownsville Area School District – 64.7%, Connellsville Area School District – 55.7%, Frazier School District – 40.5%, Laurel Highlands School District – 59.9% and Uniontown Area School District – 55.1% of pupils living at 185% or below than the Federal Poverty Level.

Fayette County's live birth rate was 1,877 births in 1990. The Fayette County's live birth rate in 2000 was 1,538 births, while in 2011 it had declined to 1,366 babies. Over the past 50 years (1960 to 2010), rural Pennsylvania saw a steady decline in both the number and proportion of residents under 18 years old. In 1960, 1.06 million rural residents, or 35 percent of the rural population, were children. While Fayette is included in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, 47.9% of the population in 2010 was designated as rural by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Transportation

While Fayette County is a generally rural area and is not directly tied into the interstate system, it features four-lane access to the city of Pittsburgh and several of its major suburban areas. State highway plans call for the establishment of direct freeway connections with Pittsburgh to the north and Morgantown, West Virginia to the south.

Major highways

  • PA-21.svg Pennsylvania Route 21 – designated as the Roy E. Furman Highway, it serves as one of the main routes through Greene County, then crosses the Monongahela River in Masontown and terminates in Uniontown
  • US 40.svg U.S. Route 40 – a portion of the famous National Road, it connects in the west with Washington County and provides access to the Pittsburgh edge suburb of Washington; after forming part of a freeway bypass of Uniontown, it becomes a major two-lane mountain highway heading toward Maryland
  • Turnpike-43.svgPA-43.svg Pennsylvania Route 43 – part of the Mon-Fayette Expressway, it serves as a toll freeway connecting Uniontown to the southern Pittsburgh suburb of Jefferson Hills, with plans to extend the route to the city limits; to the south, it provides high-speed freeway access to Morgantown, West Virginia
  • PA-51.svg Pennsylvania Route 51 – provides the major connection between Uniontown and Pittsburgh city limits, which functions as a four-lane route except during its final mile as a major Uniontown city street
  • US 119.svg U.S. Route 119 – provides access to Morgantown in the south as a rolling two-lane highway, before becoming Fayette County's main street; serves as part of a freeway bypass of Uniontown, then functions as a four-lane route through Connellsville, before traveling toward the Pittsburgh edge suburb of Greensburg
  • PA-201.svg Pennsylvania Route 201 – its trajectory shaped in almost the figure of an arch, this route provides access between Connellsville and southwestern Westmoreland County, and serves as a major cross-county truck route
  • PA-711.svg Pennsylvania Route 711 – mountain highway terminating in Connellsville and connecting with Westmoreland County, this route is the backbone of the Laurel Highlands
  • PA-982.svg Pennsylvania Route 982 – two-lane access route connecting Bullskin Township with the city of Latrobe in Westmoreland County

Public transportation

The primary provider of mass transportation within the region is Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation, which features local bus routes as well as four times-daily commuter service to Pittsburgh. Amtrak rail service along the Chicago-to-Washington-via-Cleveland Capitol Limited route stops at Connellsville Station. General aviation services are also provided at the Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport.

Municipalities

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

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Fayette County:

Cities

Boroughs

Townships

  • Brownsville
  • Bullskin
  • Connellsville
  • Dunbar
  • Franklin
  • Georges
  • German
  • Henry Clay
  • Jefferson
  • Lower Tyrone
  • Luzerne
  • Menallen
  • Nicholson
  • North Union
  • Perry
  • Redstone
  • Saltlick
  • South Union
  • Springfield
  • Springhill
  • Stewart
  • Upper Tyrone
  • Washington
  • Wharton

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.

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Uniontown City 10,372
2 Connellsville City 7,637
3 Masontown Borough 3,450
4 Leith-Hatfield CDP 2,546
5 Oliver CDP 2,535
6 East Uniontown CDP 2,419
7 Brownsville Borough 2,331
8 Hopwood CDP 2,090
9 Lynnwood-Pricedale (partially in Westmoreland County) CDP 2,031
10 Fairchance Borough 1,975
11 South Connellsville Borough 1,970
12 Perryopolis Borough 1,784
13 South Uniontown CDP 1,360
14 Point Marion Borough 1,159
15 Hiller CDP 1,155
16 Fairhope CDP 1,151
17 Republic CDP 1,096
18 Belle Vernon Borough 1,093
19 Bear Rocks CDP 1,048
20 Dunbar Borough 1,042
21 Smithfield Borough 875
22 Lemont Furnace CDP 827
23 Everson Borough 793
24 Farmington CDP 767
25 Allison CDP 625
26 Star Junction CDP 616
27 Fayette City Borough 596
28 Smock CDP 583
29 New Salem CDP 579
30 Rowes Run CDP 564
31 Newell Borough 541
T-32 Arnold City CDP 498
T-32 Grindstone CDP 498
33 Deer Lake CDP 495
34 Vanderbilt Borough 476
35 Dawson Borough 367
36 Edenborn CDP 294
37 Buffington CDP 292
38 Markleysburg Borough 284
39 Ronco CDP 256
40 Chalkhill CDP 141
41 Naomi CDP 69
42 Ohiopyle Borough 59
43 Seven Springs (mostly in Somerset County) Borough 26

Fixtures

  • Fort Necessity is a reconstructed historic stockade that was originally built by George Washington to defend against an attack during the French and Indian War. Located in Wharton Township, it is now operated as a national battlefield.
    • General Edward Braddock's Grave is across the highway from Fort Necessity. He was mortally wounded while attacking Fort Duquesne (at the "forks of the Ohio River" in present-day Downtown Pittsburgh) during the French and Indian War. It is a unit of the national battlefield. Under an agreement with British government, the site of Braddock's grave is officially considered British soil.
  • The National Road (also known as the Cumberland Road) bisects Fayette County. It was the first significant roadway to be paid for by the federal government, connecting Baltimore, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois. US 40 follows the path of this historic toll road.
    • Two historic fixtures from the National Road exist within Fayette County's borders. Searights Toll House in Menallen Township is one of few remaining toll collection stops along the old route. The Washington Tavern, a unit of Fort Necessity National Battlefield, is a classic example of an early 19th-century inn.
  • The town of Perryopolis was designed by George Washington during his career as a surveyor. It includes a restored grist mill that once served as an (unsuccessful) business venture for the future president.
  • Fallingwater, architect Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous home, is located atop a flowing waterfall in Stewart Township. His lesser known Kentuck Knob is also located within the same municipality.
  • Friendship Hill, the home of the little-known but highly influential early-19th-century political figure Albert Gallatin, is maintained as a National Historic Site. It is located in Springhill Township.
  • Fayette County's southern border is adorned with plaques that mark its significance as part of the Mason–Dixon line
  • A collection of waterfalls surrounding the Youghiogheny River Gorge are protected as part of Ohiopyle State Park.
  • Laurel Ridge State Park contains an extensive hiking trail that traverses much of Pennsylvania's Appalachian foothills.
  • The county contains the largest cave in Pennsylvania, Laurel Caverns, which is popular as both a tour and spelunking destination.
  • A historic trading post that eventually was turned into a spectacular mansion is featured in Nemacolin Castle. The structure is well known for its connections to the Underground Railroad.
  • The prestigious Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is located in Wharton Township. It features a five star hotel and has received a license for a slots casino.
  • Mountainous Eastern Fayette County is home to the Seven Springs Mountain Resort, which is the premier skiing destination for Greater Pittsburgh.

In popular culture

In 1967 Uniontown was the birthplace of the McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich.

Marcellus shale impact fee

In 2014, Fayette County received an impact fee disbursement of $1,327,202.57. The top county recipient statewide was Washington County which received $6,512,570.65 in 2014. In 2014, there were 207 marcellus shale wells in Fayette County.

  • 2013 – 205 shale wells, impact fee revenues to Fayette County – $1,461,228.49.
  • 2012 – 187 shale wells, impact fee revenues to Fayette County – $1,346,604.97.
  • 2011 – 151 shale wells, impact fee revenues to Fayette County – $1,448,563.45.

Fayette County is also crisscrossed (both north-south and east-west) by several major gas transmission pipelines operated by Texas Eastern. 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, thereby limiting future development options for the landowner. This limits future potential property tax revenues for the local taxing entities including the county, the boroughs and the school districts, by constraining future land development.

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