From top, left to right: Cornell Road in Lehman Township, boats on Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania Route 415 in Dallas, scenery of the Dallas area, a church in the Dallas area, scenery of the Back Mountain Region
|• Total||117.59 sq mi (304.6 km2)|
|• Density||290/sq mi (110/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
The Back Mountain is a region and former census-designated place (CDP) in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is near the cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. The population was 33,551 as of 2016. The region has a total area of 117.59 square miles (304.6 km2). The area was not delineated as a CDP for the 2010 census. The name "Back Mountain" refers to the area's location behind the mountain ridge forming the northwest side of the Wyoming Valley. The area includes the townships of Dallas, Franklin, Jackson, Kingston, Lake, and Lehman. The region also includes the boroughs of Dallas and Harveys Lake. Each township and borough is independently governed.
The townships of Dallas, Franklin, Jackson, Kingston, Lake, and Lehman were formed in the early days of the Back Mountain. The area now known as Dallas was first settled in 1797. It was later incorporated as a borough on April 21, 1879. It was created from a section of Dallas Township. The township had been formed in 1817 and was named for Alexander J. Dallas, who was the 6th United States Secretary of the Treasury and the father of George M. Dallas (the vice president of James Polk). The Borough of Dallas has been described by some as the “Pride” of the Back Mountain.
The second borough in the Back Mountain region is Harveys Lake. The lake was named after Benjamin Harvey, who inadvertently discovered the lake in 1781. He was a member of the Sons of Liberty, an eminent colonial-era group that eventually defeated the notion of Great Britain's Stamp Act. The first resident in the vicinity of the lake was Matthew Scouten, who arrived in the early 1790s, but the first settlers were the Worthingtons, who arrived in 1806.
Historically the area offered many forms of recreation and entertainment, which brought tourists from all over the Northeast. Harveys Lake became a major resort destination in the early 20th century. Hotels, boathouses, a casino, and even an amusement park were all constructed around Harveys Lake. Grand Hotel Oneonta was especially prominent in the early 1900s, and former United States President Theodore Roosevelt visited the hotel in August 1912. Harveys Lake was not officially incorporated as a borough until 1968.
Frances Slocum State Park is the only state park in the Back Mountain. In 1968, the lake, which is the centerpiece of the park, was built to control flooding in the North Branch Susquehanna River. In 1972, the park became a temporary home to 280 families who were displaced by the Agnes floods. The park was closed to the public; it was not reopened until 1974 when all the families were relocated.
Population and geography
As of 2016, 33,551 people lived in the Back Mountain. It consists of six townships and two boroughs. The Back Mountain is located at  The region has a total area of 117.59 square miles (304.6 km2). It is home to Frances Slocum State Park, Lake Louise, and Harveys Lake.(41.320230, -75.972645).
|Name of community||Population as of 2016||Total area|
|Dallas Borough||2,768||2.42 sq mi (6.25 km²)|
|Dallas Township||9,216||18.7 sq mi (48.5 km²)|
|Franklin Township||1,745||13.1 sq mi (33.8 km²)|
|Harveys Lake Borough||2,773||6.17 sq mi (15.99 km²)|
|Jackson Township||4,633||13.4 sq mi (34.6 km²)|
|Kingston Township||6,935||13.9 sq mi (36.0 km²)|
|Lake Township||2,025||26.7 sq mi (69.1 km²)|
|Lehman Township||3,456||23.2 sq mi (60.1 km²)|
|Total||33,551||117.59 sq mi (304.34 km²)|
Demographics when it was a CDP
As of the census of 2000, there were 26,690 people, 9,267 households, and 6,894 families residing in the census-designated place (CDP). The population density was 249.5 people per square mile (96.3/km2). There were 9,997 housing units at an average density of 93.5/sq mi (36.1/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 94.45% White, 4.30% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 0.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.05% of the population.
There were 9,267 households, out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.1% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.6% were non-families. 21.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the CDP the population was spread out, with 21.5% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 26.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 107.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.7 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $49,298, and the median income for a family was $57,342. Males had a median income of $39,566 versus $27,202 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $23,105. About 4.8% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.6% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.
Public school districts
Colleges and universities
- Back Mountain Memorial Library
- Lisa Baker, State Senator from Pennsylvania
- Raye Hollitt, an American actress, female bodybuilder, and one of the original cast members of American Gladiators
- Mitchell Jenkins, a former Republican U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania; he lived in Shavertown toward the end of his life
- Greg Manusky, professional football player
- Francis T. McAndrew, Psychologist/Professor/Author
- Jay McCarroll, the winning designer of Season 1 of Project Runway; he grew up in Lehman and attended Lake Lehman High School
- Paige Selenski, field hockey player for the US Olympic Team
- Greg Skrepenak, former NFL player, Luzerne County Commissioner, and convicted felon
- Bradsby, Henry C., History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 1893
- Harrison Wick (2009), Pennsylvania's Back Mountain, Arcadia Publishing, pp. 116–119, ISBN 9780738562780
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.