(pop. 3,263) is the seat of Tioga County (pop. 41,981) in north-central Pennsylvania. Wellsboro is connected to the rest of the Northern Tier via scenic U.S. Route 6, and is one hour north of Williamsport, PA and one hour southwest of Elmira, NY.
Wellsboro is located in the glaciated plateau region, which is more suitable for agriculture than the more rugged unglaciated regions immediately west and south. Founded in 1806 and incorporated in 1830, Wellsboro was one of my lumber boomtowns in late 1800s Northern Pennsylvania. The town developed a host of manufacturing concerns, such as light bulbs, furniture and powdered metals.
A remarkably elegant and well-preserved town, Wellsboro has seized upon its proximity to stunning natural beauty and outdoors activities to become a tourism hub in the newly branded "Pennsylvania Wilds". The most famous natural asset is the Pine Creek Gorge, or Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, about 10 miles west of Wellsboro. Located in the Tioga State Forest, this 47-mile long gorge is Pennsylvania's deepest at 800 feet.
Like many other Northern Tier towns, Wellsboro owes its urban layout to the New England / Upstate New York cultural hearth moreso than the Pennsylvanian. The two primary streets in town are boulevards featuring grass medians adorned with authentic Victorian gas lamps. The gaslight imparts a unique soft glow on the town... especially when blanketed with snow. The boulevards intersect at the town green and courthouse.
In the past couple years, life in tranquil Wellsboro has been transformed. Tioga County is the epicenter of Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale gas drilling activity, with hundreds of wells throughout the county. White trucks adorned with Texas plates are ubiquitous in the area. The area has seen a population and economic surge recently, but questions remain about the long-term impacts of this extractive industry on bucolic Tioga County. The hydraulic fracturing practice is controversial, and Pennsylvania has been very lax on regulation. Dusty, noisy trucks clog the streets of tiny Wellsboro and housing is in short supply.
The Tioga County Courthouse was built in 1835
a statue inspired by a Dutch lullabye in the middle of Wellsboro's green across from the courthouse
small church on the way to the Grand Canyon
Leonard Harrison State Park overlooks the Grand Canyon from the east rim
Colton Point State Park overlooks from the west rim
(pop. 3,625) is located 13 miles east of Wellsboro and has an urban cluster population of 4,152. The town is located at the intersection of US 6 and US 15, which has undergone upgrades recently and may be designated as part of I-99 in the future... connecting I-80 to Rochester, NY. Mansfield is home to Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, a state school with an enrollment of 3,360.
Mansfield is one of the smallest towns in PA to host a state university. Its downtown is only two blocks long.
North Hall, built in 1878, dominates the Mansfield cityscape. It was closed in 1975 and slated for demolition. Thankfully, public pressure put a stop to those plans and North Hall was renovated.