Perry County, Pennsylvania
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
|Founded||22 March 1820|
|Named for||Oliver Hazard Perry|
|• Total||556 sq mi (1,440 km2)|
|• Land||551 sq mi (1,430 km2)|
|• Water||4.1 sq mi (11 km2) 0.7%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||83.7/sq mi (32.3/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Perry County is a county in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 45,969. The county seat is New Bloomfield. The county was created on March 22, 1820, and was named for Oliver Hazard Perry, a hero of the War of 1812, who had recently died. It was originally part of Cumberland County and was created in part because residents did not want to travel over the mountain to Carlisle (the county seat of Cumberland County), and thus the temporary county seat became Landisburg (before New Bloomfield was chosen.)
In 2010, the center of population of Pennsylvania was located in the eastern end of Perry County. Green Park, an incorporated village located in northeastern Tyrone Township, serves as Perry County's midpoint between the Conococheague Mountain in the west and the Susquehanna River to the east.
The county terrain is formed by the folded Appalachian Mountain ridges which run from southwest to northeast across the county. The terrain slopes to the northeast, with its highest point on the Blue Mountain Ridge, which delineates the border between Perry and Cumberland counties. The ridge peaks at 0.83 mile (1.33 km) NE from Perry County's southmost corner; it measures 2,269' (692m) ASL. The county is drained by the south-flowing Susquehanna River, which forms almost all of its eastern boundary. The Juniata River enters Perry County from Juniata County near Millerstown, and flows southeast to its confluence with the Susquehanna River near Duncannon. The county also contains several creeks, runs, and lakes, which provide recreational and fishing opportunities, formerly powered mills throughout the county and provided transport venues. To this day, canoeing and kayaking are forms of recreation which utilise the Sherman Creek and other waters in the county.
The county has a total area of 556 square miles (1,440 km2), of which 551 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 4.1 square miles (11 km2) (0.7%) is water.
Perry County has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) and average monthly temperatures in New Bloomfield range from 28.5 °F in January to 73.2 °F in July.  The hardiness zone is 6b except in Marysville where it is 7a.  Common trees include red maple, Virginia pine, oak, eastern white pine, eastern hemlock, birch, shagbark hickory, and juniper, though American sycamore, ironwood, sugar maple, black walnut, elm, alder, and sassafras are also fairly common. Mosses of various species are common sights, especially on fallen tree logs, along streams, on tree trunks, and in sidewalk cracks, usually growing in shaded areas. Ferns also grow along streams and in shaded areas, and are also commonly seen in Perry County woodlands.
- Big Spring State Forest Picnic Area
- Fowlers Hollow State Park
- Little Buffalo State Park
- Colonel Denning State Park (part)
- Hoverter and Sholl Box Huckleberry Natural Area
- State Game Lands Number 88
- State Game Lands Number 170
- State Game Lands Number 256
- State Game Lands Number 281
- Tuscarora State Forest (part)
|US Decennial Census|
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 43,602 people, 16,695 households, and 12,320 families in the county. The population density was 79.1/sqmi (30.6/km2). There were 18,941 housing units at an average density of 34.4/sqmi (13.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.54% White, 0.43% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. 0.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 45.8% were of German, 16.4% American, 7.8% Irish and 5.0% English ancestry. 96.8% spoke English and 1.2% Spanish as their first language.
There were 16,695 households, out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.20% were non-families. 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.01. There is also a high population of Anabaptist communities, such as Amish and Mennonites.
The county population contained 25.5% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.
- Birth rate
Perry County's live birth rate was 609 births in 1990. The county's live birth rate in 2000 was 512 births, while in 2011 it rose to 555 babies. From 1960 to 2010, rural Pennsylvania has experienced an ongoing decline in the number of residents under 18 years old.
- Teen Pregnancy rate
Perry County had 34 babies born to teens (age 15-19) in 2011. In 2016, the number of teen births in Perry County was 32.
Metropolitan Statistical Area
The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Perry County as the Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2010 census the metropolitan area ranked 6th most populous in the State of Pennsylvania and the 96th most populous in the United States, with its population of 549,475. Perry County is also a part of the larger Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, PA Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which combines the populations of Perry County as well as Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon and York Counties in Pennsylvania. The Combined Statistical Area ranked 5th in the State of Pennsylvania and 43rd most populous in the United States with a population of 1,219,422.
- Brian S. Allen, Chair (R)
- Gary R. Eby, Vice Chair (R)
- Brenda L. Watson, Secretary (D)
(as of January 2020)
- David Hammar, Republican
(as of January 2020)
United States House of Representatives
United States Senate
Perry County 911, located in the basement of the Perry County Courthouse, is the county's public-safety answering point (PSAP). The 911 center's coverage area includes almost all of Perry County and portions of Juniata and Dauphin County.
In 2016, Donald J. Trump received 73.07% of the presidential vote, compared to 21.67% to Hillary Clinton, and 5.26% for candidates Gary Johnson, write-ins, Jill Stein, and Darrell L. Castle, respectively. The county has voted for the Republican in every presidential election since 1964. In 2006, Lynn Swann received 9,998 votes (69%) to 4,477 votes (31%) for Ed Rendell, making it Swann's strongest county in his defeat. Rick Santorum also received more than 60% of the Perry County vote in his defeat.
Public School Districts
- Greenwood School District (also covers parts of Juniata County).
- Newport School District
- Susquenita School District (also covers parts of Dauphin County).
- West Perry School District
- Fannett-Metal School District (located in Franklin County, but covers parts of Perry County).
The Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15 is a state approved education agency that offers to Perry County school districts, charter schools, private schools, and home school students, a variety of services including: a completely developed K-12 curriculum that is mapped and aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards (available online), shared services, a joint purchasing program and a wide variety of special education and special needs services.
As reported on EdNA (ED Names and Addresses) by the Pennsylvania Department of Education:
- Blue Goose Children's Learning Center, Inc – Newport
- Carson Long Military Institute
- Clarks Run Parochial School – Blain
- Community Christian Academy – Newport
- Farm Lane School – Ickesburg
- Fowlers Hollow School – Blain
- Heritage Christian School – West Perry
- Honeysuckle Ridge School – Elliotsburg
- Kuddly Bear Child Care Center Inc. – Duncannon
- Loysville Youth Development Center – Loysville
- Manassa School – Blain
- Messiah Day Care Center – Elliottsburg
- Mountain View Parochial School – Ickesburg
- Perry View Parochial School – Landisburg
- Raccoon Valley Amish School – Millerstown
- Shermans View School – Loysville
- Stony Point School – Loysville
- Sunset Valley School – Millerstown
- Central Pennsylvania Diesel Institute – Liverpool
- New Bloomfield Public Library
- Community Library of Western Perry County
- Marysville-Rye Public Library
- Newport Public Library
The county is home to four weekly newspapers, three published by Advance Publications of Perry and Juniata Counties, Inc. associated with The Patriot-News of Harrisburg: Duncannon Record, The News-Sun, and Perry County Times. The Perry County Weekly is published by The Sentinel in Carlisle, Cumberland County, by Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa.
There are numerous historical books written about the county, available at the Council of the Arts in Newport as well as other establishments. They cover various topics of the county's past, including an historical overview of the Blain area; an account of the life of the early settlers along the Shermans Creek in three townships; and an account of a Civil War battle on Sterrett's Gap.
Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following boroughs and townships are located in Perry County:
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|4||† New Bloomfield||Borough||1,247|
Perry County's economy is primarily agricultural. Various farmers markets, roadside stands, farm produce stands, food festivals, resale farm stands, meat stores, and plant nurseries are present throughout the county. Two farms in Perry County are particularly well known, which are Spiral Path Farm and Yeehaw Farm, with the latter having been spotlighted by the Washington Post. The county's area is 38.3% farmland, of which 11.09% (thus 4.24% of all land in the county) is pastureland.
Perry County also hosts a wide range of non-agricultural businesses. Historically, mills were prevalent, and the county currently has 21 known non-operational mills still standing. Settlement was not allowed until 1755, and when settlement was allowed, it was not safe: in June 1755, Native Americans chased nearly all of the pioneers out, until it was considered safe to return in 1762. The first mill was taxed in 1763, though the exact date of its completion is not known.
Nearly every stream's basin hosted a sawmill, providing wood for early buildings and boardwalks.
Marcellus shale impact fee
Act 13 of 2012, which levied a Marcellus Shale Impact Fee, was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett on February 14, 2012. The top county recipient was Washington County which received $6,512,570.65 in 2014. All Pennsylvania counties receive a marcellus shale fee disbursement, including those counties that have no shale wells.
- 2013 – no shale wells, impact fee revenues to Perry County – $43,793.65
- 2014 – no shale wells, Perry County received an impact fee disbursement of $43,677.42.
- 2015 – no shale wells, impact fee revenues to Perry County – $35,957.82. The funds were used for rehabilitation of greenways.
The county has a variety of recreation facilities. There are three state parks: Fowlers Hollow State Park, Little Buffalo State Park, and Big Spring State Forest Picnic Area. The Hoverter and Sholl Box Huckleberry Natural Area is found near New Bloomfield along Huckleberry Road. Carroll Township Park also offers a wide variety of athletic facilities.
Trails: Hawk Rock Trail and Iron Horse Trail
State Game Lands: #170 Dellville, #254 New Buffalo, #256-Mecks Corner and #281 Miller Township. Hunting requires licenses from the PA Game Commission.
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