Open main menu

PENNSYLVANIA, a State in the North Atlantic Division of the United States, bounded by New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, and Lake Erie; one of the original 13 States; capital, Harrisburg; counties, 67; area, 45,126 square miles; pop. (1890) 5,258,014; (1900) 6,302,115; (1910) 7,665,111; (1920) 8,720,017.

Topography.—The State presents three well defined physical divisions, the E. plain, middle hills, and W. highlands. A number of parallel ridges cross it from N. to S. with a maximum altitude of 2,500 feet. The Appalachian system in Pennsylvania, aside from its general division in two ranges, the Blue or Kittatinny, and the Allegheny, is subdivided into a great number of smaller ranges, intersected by numerous broad and fertile valleys. The W. table-land, occupying one-half the area of the State, is a broad rolling plateau, gradually descending toward Lake Erie on the N. W., and has several isolated peaks. There are six distinct water basins draining the State; the Delaware, the Susquehanna, the Genesee, the Potomac, and the Ohio rivers, and Lake Erie. The Ohio is formed by the union of the Monongahela and Allegheny at Pittsburgh. The Susquehanna, though rising in New York, is a Pennsylvania river. The Delaware forms the entire E. boundary and passes through the Delaware Water Gap, a narrow gorge, whose sides rise perpendicularly to a height of 1,200 feet. The Lehigh river joins the Delaware at Easton. This river rises in the coal regions and flows through a region of magnificent scenery. Lake Erie forms 45 miles of the N. boundary of the State and has an excellent harbor at Erie.

Geology.—The geological formations of the State are of the Azoic, Mesozoic, and Palæozoic periods. The first is situated in the S. E. and is crossed by a narrow belt of the Mesozoic. The Palæozoic formations cover the remainder of the State. Drift deposits in the shape of sand and gravel occur in the N. and N. W. counties. The Lower Silurian occurs in Lancaster, Berks, and Lehigh counties.

Mineral Production.—Pennsylvania exceeds any other States in the value of the mineral products. This is due chiefly to the production of coal. The production of anthracite coal in the State in 1919 was 86,200,000 tons, and the bituminous coal, 145,300,000 tons. Both of these figures show a considerable decrease from 1918. The bituminous coal production reached the lowest level since 1915. Over 150,000 men are employed in and about the anthracite coal mines, with about 185,000 men in and about the bituminous coal mines. Pennsylvania ranks first in the production of petroleum, but of late years the production has fallen off, while that in other States has greatly increased. The production of crude petroleum in 1918 was 7,407,812 barrels, valued at $29,606,079. The State is a large producer of natural gas. The value of the production in 1918 was $24,344,324. The production of iron ore was 515,845 tons, valued at $982,173. The pig iron produced was 14,701,252 long tons. In addition the other more important mineral products are cement, clay products, and coke. The production of the latter in 1918 was 26,723,645 short tons, valued at $160,357,274.

Agriculture.—As an agricultural State, Pennsylvania stands high. It ranks first in the United States in the production of rye, and has large crops of other cereals. The S. E. counties are remarkably fertile, Chester being noted for its nurseries, and Lancaster for its tobacco crop. The acreage, production and value of the principal crops in 1919 were as follows: corn, 1,536,000 acres, production 72,192,000 bushels, value $106,122,000; buckwheat, 256,000 acres, production 5,530,000 bushels, value, $7,742,000; oats, 1,189,000 acres, production 36,859,000 bushels, value $29,487,000; wheat, 1,664,000 acres, production 29,055,000 bushels, value $62,758,000; rye, 228,000 acres, production, 3,648,000 bushels, value $5,727,000; tobacco, 41,000 acres, production 54,120,000 pounds, value $9,200,000; hay, 2,978,000 acres, production 4,318,000 tons, value $103,632,000; potatoes, 254,000 acres, production 25,400,000 bushels, value $39,116,000. The natural forest trees include pine, poplar, beech, sugar maple, chestnut, birch, wild cherry, walnut, oak, hickory, ash, cherry, elm, sycamore, and hemlock. Considerable attention is paid to stock raising, and dairying is becoming one of the leading industries.

Manufactures.—Pennsylvania ranks second in the United States in the value of her manufactures. Besides the leading industries of coal mining, coke, iron and steel manufacture, and the production of petroleum, the State has extensive manufactures of plate and bottle glass, paper bags, rag carpets, woolen goods, glue, railroad cars, drugs and chemicals, gunpowder, leather, and lumber. Pittsburgh, Homestead, Johnstown, and Bethlehem are noted for their extensive iron works, Pittsburgh, for glass; Pittston, Hazleton, Wilkesbarre, Shenandoah, Ashland, Pottstown, and Scranton, for their anthracite coal; Monongahela City, Irwin, Mercer, Towanda, Connellsville, Johnstown, Idlewood and Philipsburg for their bituminous coal; Philadelphia for general manufactures, locomotives and ship building; Connellsville, for coke; Altoona and Reading for railroad cars and repair shops; and Scranton for its collieries and steel works. Other important manufacturing centers are Erie, Lancaster, Easton, Allentown, Chester, York, Oil City, Norristown, Carbondale, Pottsville, Harrisburg, Corry, Phœnixville, Bristol, and Titusville. In 1914 there were 27,521 manufacturing establishments, employing 924,478 wage earners. The capital invested was $8,149,411,000, and the value of the finished product $1,688,921,000.

Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 838 National banks in operation, having $120,569,000 in capital, $85,072,000 in outstanding circulation, and $444,621,000 in United States bonds. There were also 224 State banks, with $19,076,000 capital, and $328,536,000 resources; 315 loan and trust companies, with $108,987,000 capital, and $152,804,000 surplus. The exchange at the United States Clearing Houses at Philadelphia, for the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, aggregated $21,320,246,000.

Education.—School attendance is compulsory for children from 8 to 14 years, of age. In 1919 there were 42,749 public elementary schools, with 44,992 teachers and 1,741,143 pupils. There were 911 public high schools, with 5,155 teachers and 124,015 pupils. There were 13 State normal schools, with 4,331 pupils and 282 teachers. The total expenditure for education in 1919 was about $70,000,000. The principal colleges include the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia; Lehigh University, at South Bethlehem; Lafayette College, Easton; Bucknell University at Lewisburg; Haverford College, at Haverford; Swarthmore College, at Swarthmore; Pennsylvania State College, at State College; Dickinson College, at Carlisle; Franklin and Marshall College, at Lancaster; Washington and Jefferson College, at Washington; and the Carlisle Indian Training School, at Carlisle. The women's colleges include Wilson College, at Chambersburg; Pennsylvania College for Women, at Pittsburgh; Irving Female College, at Mechanicsburg; and the Moravian College and Seminary for Women, at Bethlehem.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Roman Catholic; Methodist Episcopal; Presbyterian; Lutheran, General Council; Reformed; Regular Baptist; Lutheran, General Synod; Protestant Episcopal; Evangelical Association; United Presbyterian; United Brethren in Christ; and Dunkards, Conservative.

Railways.—The total railway mileage in 1919 was 13,139. The roads having the longest mileage are the Pennsylvania, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western, and the Erie.

Finances.—The total receipts for the year ending Nov. 1, 1919, amounted to $41,656,169, and the expenditures to $46,382,701. There was a balance on Nov. 1, 1918, of $9,513,436, and on Nov. 1, 1919, of $4,786,904. The assessed value of real property in 1917 was $6,141,384,210.

State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of four years. Legislative sessions are held biennially in odd years, beginning on the first Tuesday in January, and are unlimited in length. The Legislature has 50 members in the Senate and 207 members in the House. There are 36 Representatives in Congress.

History.—The country about Delaware Bay was first settled by the Swedes, but they made comparatively little progress in the occupation of the country. and passed under the English jurisdiction generally established in 1664. In 1681 the territory W. of the Delaware was granted by royal charter to William Penn who colonized it; and, by the industry and high character of the Society of Friends, by cultivating peace with the Indians, and encouraging emigration, founded a flourishing State, which, long before the Revolution, became the seat of learning, wealth, and refinement. Under the charter granted to William Penn, the region forming the present State of Delaware was included, and the two colonies continued to be so joined till the Revolution of 1776. During the War of the Revolution, Philadelphia was the chief city and capital of the Federation, and Brandywine, Germantown, Valley Forge, and other points, were the scenes of memorable events, which belong to the National history. Independence was first proclaimed here, and the whole colony took a decided part in the final establishment of American liberty. In the Civil War, too, they were not less distinguished, the commonwealth sending to the National army 270 regiments and several unattached companies of volunteers, numbering in all 387,284 men. Pennsylvania was also the scene of one of the most important and most sanguinary battles of the Civil War, that of Gettysburg, the field of which has been converted into a National park, and abundantly adorned with statues and monuments. Next to the Friends, the most important immigrations were those of the Germans, who have peopled almost entirely several counties adjoining Philadelphia, and still speak the patois known as “Pennsylvania Dutch,” and the Scotch-Irish, who settled in the Cumberland county region, and in many of the counties W. of the Allegheny range, and who have played a most important part in the history of the development of the State.

Collier's 1921 Pennsylvania.jpg
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921

Collier's 1921 Pennsylvania - Scranton.jpg
Photo by Ewing Galloway