Counties with the oldest homes in Pennsylvania

Written by:
September 12, 2021
Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in Pennsylvania

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Pennsylvania with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built, with ties broken by the most homes before 1939.

The country’s domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Pennsylvania have the oldest homes.

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Ruhrfisch (talk) // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Columbia County

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #596 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.7%
--- #410 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 30,175
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Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Crawford County

- Median year homes built: 1965
--- #565 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.3%
--- #564 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 44,914
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Canadian2006 // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Somerset County

- Median year homes built: 1965
--- #559 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.5%
--- #461 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 38,459
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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Clearfield County

- Median year homes built: 1965
--- #558 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.9%
--- #445 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 39,248
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#26. Westmoreland County

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #485 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.9%
--- #871 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 170,442
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Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Washington County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #434 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.7%
--- #552 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 95,934
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Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Jefferson County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #419 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.0%
--- #315 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 22,686
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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Mifflin County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #384 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.2%
--- #569 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 21,854
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#22. Erie County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #383 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.1%
--- #531 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 121,362
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#21. Mercer County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #343 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.8%
--- #595 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 52,262
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#20. Elk County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #337 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.2%
--- #482 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 17,790
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Greene County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #327 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.2%
--- #342 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 16,745
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User:Ruhrfisch // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Lycoming County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #323 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.1%
--- #305 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 53,428
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Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Armstrong County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #293 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.1%
--- #393 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 32,853
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Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Warren County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #292 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.3%
--- #382 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 23,629
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Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Cameron County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #270 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.5%
--- #778 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,429
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Beaver County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #269 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.4%
--- #669 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 79,463
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#13. Blair County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #257 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.4%
--- #295 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 56,847
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Finetooth // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Venango County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #252 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.4%
--- #226 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 27,620
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#11. Fayette County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #225 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.2%
--- #303 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 63,795
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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Delaware County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #203 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.0%
--- #812 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 224,417
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ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#9. Allegheny County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #198 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.1%
--- #438 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 600,399
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Lawrence County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #196 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.9%
--- #360 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 41,259
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#7. Luzerne County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #184 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.9%
--- #212 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 150,090
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#6. Lackawanna County

- Median year homes built: 1954
--- #123 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.7%
--- #118 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 100,262
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Publichall // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Cambria County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #113 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.5%
--- #289 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 65,951
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Publichall // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Northumberland County

- Median year homes built: 1952
--- #81 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.3%
--- #85 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 45,465
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Nicholas from Pennsylvania, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#3. McKean County

- Median year homes built: 1949
--- #39 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 39.8%
--- #90 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 21,275
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Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Philadelphia County

- Median year homes built: 1947
--- #28 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 41.7%
--- #64 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 685,956
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Jakec // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Schuylkill County

- Median year homes built: 1943
--- #12 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 47.8%
--- #13 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 69,870

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