Fayette County, Pennsylvania

Fayette County, Pennsylvania

Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Fayette County Courthouse
Seal of Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Seal
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded September 26, 1783
Named for Marquis de Lafayette
Seat Uniontown
Largest city Uniontown
Area
 • Total 798 sq mi (2,067 km2)
 • Land 790 sq mi (2,046 km2)
 • Water 8.0 sq mi (21 km2), 1.0%
Population
 • (2010) 136,606
 • Density 173/sq mi (67/km²)
Congressional district 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website .us.pa.fayette.cowww

Fayette County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 136,606.[1] Its county seat is Uniontown.[2] The county was created on September 26, 1783, from part of Westmoreland County and named after the Marquis de Lafayette.[3]

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

Contents

  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Adjacent counties 2.1
    • National protected areas 2.2
  • Demographics 3
  • Government 4
  • Politics 5
    • State Representatives 5.1
    • State Senator 5.2
    • US Representatives 5.3
  • Education 6
    • Colleges and universities 6.1
    • Public school districts 6.2
    • Private schools 6.3
  • Transportation 7
    • Major highways 7.1
    • Public transportation 7.2
  • Municipalities 8
    • Cities 8.1
    • Boroughs 8.2
    • Townships 8.3
    • Census-designated places 8.4
    • Unincorporated communities 8.5
  • Fixtures 9
  • Notable residents 10
  • In popular culture 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14

History

The first Europeans in Fayette County were explorers, who used an ancient 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 an isolated 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 in favor of Pennsylvania, and Fayette County was formed from Westmoreland County in 1783.

Fayette County settlers provided the new United States government with first test in the 1793 National Road provided a route through the mountains for settlers heading west. The shipyards in Brownsville on the Monongahela River built ships for both the domestic and international trade.

As Pittsburgh developed in the mid-19th century, Fayette County become a center of coal mining and coke production. From the 1880s to the early 1900s, an explosion in steel production became nationally important. New immigrants were attracted to Fayette County to seek jobs. The Scottish and German farming communities were soon overshadowed by new populations from Southern and Eastern Europe. The region's wealth nevertheless remained concentrated in the old English and Scottish families with connections to Pittsburgh.

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, and in the 1970s, the collapse of American steel brought hard times to the area. Industrial restructuring meant the loss of the union jobs which had brought so many families to the middle class. Only a few mines now remain, but natural resources remain crucial to the local economy. The region is slowly transitioning itself toward the service sector, with 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.[4] The western portion of the county contains rolling foothills and two valleys along the Monongahela River and Youghiogheny Rivers. The eastern portion of the county is highly mountainous and forested. Many coal mines are located within the area.[5]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

As of the census of 2010,[11] 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.[12]

Government

The County of Fayette is governed by a three-member publicly elected commission. The three commissioners serve in both executive and legislative capacities. By state law, the commission must have a minority party, guaranteeing a political split. Each member serves a four-year term.

The three current commissioners for Fayette County are Democrats Al Ambrosini and Vince Zapotosky and Republican Angela Zimmerlink.

The Fayette County Court of Common Pleas serves as the primary judicial arm in the region. Judges are elected to ten-year terms in accordance with Commonwealth law. Additionally, district judges serve throughout the county and rule on minor offenses. Current judges are President Judge Gerald R. Solomon, John F. Wagner, Jr., Ralph C. Warman, Steve P. Leskinen, and Nancy Vernon.

Politics

As of November 2008, there are 91,386 registered voters in Fayette County.[13]

Fayette County tends to be Democratic-leaning in statewide and national elections. While Democratic politics are entrenched because of a strong union history, the county is generally socially conservative. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won 57% of the vote and Republican George W. Bush won 40%. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry won 53% of the vote and Republican John McCain 49.62% over Democrat Barack Obama 49.21%, a difference of 215 votes. In 2010, Republican Governor Tom Corbett and Senator Pat Toomey won 55% and 50.19% of the vote. Also, in 2012, Republican Mitt Romney received 53.6% of the vote, compared to Democrat Barack Obama's 45.3%.

State Representatives

State Senator

US Representatives

Education

Map of Fayette County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Colleges and universities

Public school districts

Private schools

  • All Saints Regional School - Masontown
  • Apostolic Christian Academy - Dunbar
  • Bible Baptist Academy - Uniontown
  • Champion Christian School - Champion
  • Chestnut Ridge Christian Academy - Uniontown
  • Connellsville Area Catholic School - Connellsville
  • Geibel Catholic High School - Connellsville
  • Mount Carmel Christian School - Mount Pleasant
  • Mount Moriah Christian School - Smithfield
  • Mount Zion Christian Academy - Acme
  • New Meadow Run Parochial School - Farmington
  • Spring Valley School - Farmington
  • St John Evangelist School - Uniontown
  • Verna Montessori School - Prittstown

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 Morgantown, West Virginia to the south.

Major highways

  • 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
  • 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
  • Morgantown, West Virginia
  • 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
  • Connellsville, before traveling toward the Pittsburgh edge suburb of Greensburg
  • 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
  • Pennsylvania Route 711- mountain highway terminating in Connellsville and connecting with Westmoreland County, this route is the backbone of the Laurel Highlands
  • 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 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

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

Fixtures

  • French and Indian War. Located in Wharton Township, it is now operated as a national battlefield.[15]
    • 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.[16]
  • 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.[17] The Washington Tavern, a unit of Fort Necessity National Battlefield, is a classic example of an early 19th-century inn.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.[21]
  • 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 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.

Notable residents

In popular culture

In 1967 Uniontown was the birthplace of the McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich.[22][23]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Coal Miners Memorial Echo Mine, Fayette City, Fayette Co., PA, U.S.A. Patheoldminer.rootsweb.ancestry.com (2009-12-17). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Running for Office. Dos.state.pa.us. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  14. ^ http://geonames.usgs.gov/apex/f?p=136:3:0::NO:3:P3_FID,P3_TITLE:1201600,New%20Haven
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ McDonald's Celebrates 40 Years PR Newswire, Official McDonald’s News release, August 22, 2007
  23. ^ [1] Big Mac History

External links

  • Official website
  • Coalfields of the Appalachian Mountains - Connellsville Coal Field