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The Hershey Company, one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world, was founded in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in 1894.
Mercer County, PA has a rich and diverse history that spans centuries. The area was initially inhabited by various Indigenous peoples, including the Iroquois and Delaware tribes. In the late 18th century, European settlers began to arrive, drawn by the fertile land and abundance of natural resources. The county was named after General Hugh Mercer, a Revolutionary War hero.

During the early years of settlement, agriculture became the backbone of Mercer County's economy. The fertile soil supported the growth of crops such as wheat and corn, and the county became known as the "Breadbasket of the Frontier." The construction of canals and railroads in the mid-19th century further stimulated economic growth, allowing farmers to transport their goods more efficiently and making Mercer County a major supplier of agricultural products to nearby cities.

The industrial revolution brought about significant changes to Mercer County in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The discovery of oil and natural gas deposits led to a boom in the petroleum industry, attracting companies like Standard Oil to the region. This, in turn, brought jobs and prosperity to the county. Additionally, limestone and coal mining became major industries, contributing to the county's economic growth.

In the modern era, Mercer County has diversified its economy. While agriculture remains important, the county has also become a hub for manufacturing, healthcare, and education. The presence of several colleges and universities, including Grove City College and Thiel College, has helped to establish Mercer County as an educational center. Today, the county continues to grow and thrive, preserving its rich history while embracing new opportunities for economic development and community enrichment.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

  • 1800 - Mercer County is officially established on March 12
  • 1803 - The first courthouse in Mercer is constructed
  • 1845 - Mercer County's first railroad is completed
  • 1861-1865 - The American Civil War impacts the region, with many Mercer County residents serving in Union regiments
  • 1874 - The county seat is moved from Mercer to Sharon
  • 1890 - The discovery of oil in the county leads to an oil boom
  • 1894 - The Mercer County Courthouse in Sharon is completed
  • 1926 - The Mercer County Courthouse in Sharon undergoes renovations and additions
  • 1940-1945 - Mercer County contributes to the war effort during World War II
  • 1958 - Mercer County's first major shopping center, the Shenango Valley Mall, opens in Hermitage
  • 1985 - The Mercer County Historical Society is established
  • 1995 - The opening of the Grove City Premium Outlets boosts tourism and shopping in the county
  • 2010 - Mercer County celebrates its bicentennial