Luzerne County: Wikis


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Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Seal of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Seat Wilkes-Barre
Largest city Wilkes-Barre
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

907 sq mi (2,349 km²)
891 sq mi (2,308 km²)
16 sq mi (41 km²), 1.80%
 - (2000)
 - Density

357/sq mi (138/km²)
Founded September 25, 1786
Luzerne County Heads of State
 - Commissioner Chairperson Maryanne Petrilla (D)
 - Commissioner Thomas Cooney (D)
 - Commissioner Stephen A. Urban (R)

Luzerne County is the most populated county in northeastern Pennsylvania, with a total population of 319,250 (as of the 2000 census). It is located in the northern Anthracite area called "The Coal Region". Its county seat is Wilkes-Barre.



The Luzerne County Historical Society maintains the storehouse for the collective memory of Luzerne County and its environs. It records and interprets the history, traditions, events, people and cultures that have directed and molded life within the region.[1]


18th century

A depiction of the Battle of Wyoming

19th century

Mine workers began their protest march near Harwood and many were eventually killed by the Luzerne County sheriff in Lattimer in 1897.

20th century

Remnants of Agnes over Pennsylvania. This resulted in major flooding

21st century

  • May 21, 2000: A plane crash in Bear Creek Township, PA near the intersection of Bear Creek Boulevard (PA-Route 115) and the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike killed the pilot as well as all 19 passengers.
  • December 1, 2006: The first December tornado in Pennsylvania history left a path of destruction approximately 15 miles (24 km) long (this included parts of Mountain Top).


Lehigh Gorge State Park in Luzerne County during the fall

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 907 square miles (2,349 km²), of which, 891 square miles (2,307 km²) of it is land and 16 square miles (42 km²) of it (1.80%) is water. The Wyoming Valley in the North and Mid part of the county is flat at the Susquehanna Basin and rises from 700 feet to 2000 feet in some places. Bear Creek, on the eastern side of the valley, has a mean elevation of about 2000 feet, while Pittston, on the Susquehanna Basin, is about 700 feet. The Valley goes as north as Exeter Township-Dallas Township to as on the west side from Plymouth Township-Bear Creek Township and as on the east side from Duryea to Bear Creek Township; South as Hanover Township to Bear Creek Township. The county is crossed by a series of east-to-west mountains. The Susquehanna River drains most of the county while the Lehigh River drains some eastern and southeastern portions and forms part of its southeast boundary.

Adjacent counties


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 257,121
1910 343,186 33.5%
1920 390,991 13.9%
1930 445,109 13.8%
1940 441,518 −0.8%
1950 392,241 −11.2%
1960 346,972 −11.5%
1970 342,301 −1.3%
1980 343,079 0.2%
1990 328,149 −4.4%
2000 319,255 −2.7%
Est. 2008 311,983 −2.3%

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 319,250 people, 130,687 households, and 84,293 families residing in the county. The population density was 358 people per square mile (138/km²). There were 144,686 housing units at an average density of 162 per square mile (63/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.63% White, 1.69% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.43% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. 1.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.2% were of Polish, 15.6% Italian, 13.8% Irish, 12.1% German and 5.3% Slovak ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 130,687 households out of which 26.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.80% were married couples living together, 11.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.50% were non-families. 31.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county, the population was spread out with 21.00% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 19.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 93.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.50 males.

Luzerne Country is the only county in the United States with a plurality of citizens reporting Polish as their primary ancestry; the majority of Pennsylvanians report German or Pennsylvania Dutch.


Luzerne County Courthouse

As of November 2008, there are 187,849 registered voters in Luzerne County [5].

While the Democratic Party has been historically dominant in county-level politics, on the statewide and national levels Luzerne County leans toward the Democratic Party but only slightly. In 2000 Democrat Al Gore won 52% of the vote and Republican George W. Bush won 43%. In 2004 it was much closer with Democrat John Kerry winning 51% to Republican George Bush's 47%. In 2006 both Democrats Governor Ed Rendell and now Senator Bob Casey Jr. won 67.5% and 60.6% of the vote in Luzerne County, respectively. In 2008 all four statewide winners carried it, with Barack Obama receiving 53.6% of the county vote to 45.2% for John McCain.

Luzerne County is represented by three County Commissioners [6] and all county row offices have been held by Democrats since the 2007 election [7], when Republican incumbents Recorder of Deeds Mary Dysleski and Sheriff Barry Stankus lost re-election.

County commissioners

Other county offices

  • Clerk of Courts, Robert F. Reilly
  • Controller, Walter L. Griffith, Jr.
  • Coroner, John P. Corcoran
  • District Attorney, Jacqueline Musto Carroll
  • Prothnotary, Carolee Medico Olenginski
  • Recorder of Deeds, James O'Brien
  • Register of Wills, Dorothy Stankovic
  • Acting Sheriff, Charles Guarnieri
  • Treasurer, Michael L. Morreale

United States Senate

United States House of Representatives

Pennsylvania State Senate

Pennsylvania House of Representatives


Wilkes-Barre, the county seat and largest city of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Hazleton, the second largest city in Luzerne County
Map of Luzerne 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 one case Bloomsburg, the only town, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Luzerne County:




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.


There are four Pennsylvania state parks in Luzerne County:


Public School Districts

Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Public Vo-Tech Schools

Private Schools

Colleges and Universities

See also


  1. ^ Luzerne County Historical Society
  2. ^ "Twin Shaft Disaster Marker". 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  3. ^ Pittston, PA Twin Shaft Mine Cave In, June 1896
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ Current voter statistics
  6. ^ Luzerne County Commissioners
  7. ^ "Luzerne County Municipal Election Results - November 2007". Archived from the original on 2009-07-21. 

External links

Coordinates: 41°11′N 75°59′W / 41.18°N 75.99°W / 41.18; -75.99


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