"To maintain the virtues of this County by providing a stable and accessible government, preserving its agricultural and manufacturing heritage, upholding its rich history, and perpetuating its peoples' fervent spirit."
AT A GLANCE
The County of Crawford lies in northwestern Pennsylvania. Originally it was inhabited by the Iroquiois Indians and other tribes and nations. In later years, the land was acquired by a group of Dutch investors under title of the Holland Land Company and resold to settlers. The Commonwealth allocated land to its Revolutionary War soldiers as a bonus settlement. The county was formed in 1800 from a portion of Allegheny County and named after Colonel William Crawford, an early military hero and close friend of George Washington.
Crawford County is shaped in the form of a rectangle, with the southeast corner missing. It is approximately 50 miles in length and 26 miles in width with a total area of 1,012 square miles. It is bordered by the following counties: on the north by Erie, on the east by Warren, on the south by Mercer and Venango, and on the west by Ashtabula and Trumbull Counties in Ohio. The entire county lies in the Appalachian Plateau. Elevation varies from slightly less than 850 feet at the Erie County line to more than 1,900 feet above sea level in Sparta Township in the northeast corner.
Crawford County consists of several small, nearly extinct lakes. It is also home to three major natural lakes: Conneaut, the largest natural lake in Pennsylvania, Canadohta, and Sugar. Pymatuning, the largest artificial lake in Pennsylvania, is also located here. The two principal streams are French Creek and Oil Creek, both flowing south into the Allegheny system. Conneaut Creek in the northwest drains into Lake Erie.
The county has grown from a population of 2,346 in 1800 to 90,366 in 2000. It is divided into 35 townships, 14 boroughs, and two major cities.
Famous citizens of the past who were born or resided in Crawford County include Colonel Edwin Drake, driller of the first oil well; John Brown, slavery abolitionist; Ida Tarbell, Lincoln historian; Maxwell Anderson, playwright; W.H. Andrews, former New Mexico governor; Henry Baldwin, U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Harm Jan Huidekoper, Holland Land Company agent; Amos Densmore, developer of the typewriter; Clark Gable, movie actor; General Mark Clark, World War II fame; Alfred Landon, presidential candidate in 1936; James Thoburn, Methodist Bishop to India; Reverend Timothy Alden, Allegheny College founder; General George Cullum, military engineer of the Civil War; Raymond Shafer, first Commonwealth governor from northwestern Pennsylvania; Clarence Darrow, famed trial lawyer; and William McKinley, U.S. President.
Crawford County originated The Pennsylvania Farmer publication, the first northern newspaper west of the Allegheny Mountains in 1805, and the Chatauquan Magazine in later years; the invention of straw paper; and the eradication of Bangs disease and Bovine Tuberculosis. Meadville, the largest city in the county, organized one of the first U.S. Chambers of Commerce in 1807 and the Ancient Order of United Workmen in 1865. The second training school for nurses in Pennsylvania was established at City Hospital in 1888. Meadville was also the first city after New York City to use the arc light to illuminate its streets. Most notably, it was also in Meadville that John Wilkes Booth allegedly forecast the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by scratching words on his hotel window. The primary election now in general use was invented and first used in Crawford County in 1842. Odd Fellows established the first fraternal orphanage here in 1874.