Talk:County seat

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What places have a seat that is not in some sort of town or city? –radiojon 02:53, 2004 Jun 29 (UTC)

Well, that depends on whether you consider "town" or "city" to refer to incorporated municipalities or rather colloquially as roughly synonymous with an urbanized area. If the later, then yes, county seats are always in some sort of named urban area, but not necessarily in an incorporated municipality. There are places in the U.S. where the county seat is in a place that is not incorporated and thus is not formally recognized as a city, town or village. olderwiser 03:02, 29 Jun 2004 (UTC)


I found only one inaccuracy in the county seat page. New York City, technically, is not the county seat of Queens County. Jamaica, which is one of four communities in Queens (along with Flushing, Far-Rockaway, and Long Island City)is the county seat of Queens. Just thought I would point that out.

I find this dubious. Is there any reference for this? Either each borough or no borough has its own county seat. They are not full-fledged counties anyway. Nelson Ricardo 01:06, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
I find this dubious as well. The "four communities in Queens" are merely postal districts and are no more separate from New York City than Brooklyn is. 22:23, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
As a matter of fact, The Bronx (Bronx County); Brooklyn (Kings County); Manhattan (New York County); Queens (Queens County) and Staten Island (Richmond County) are still officially "Counties" as well as "Boroughs", and that is officially as well as colloquially. The chief Executive of the Borough is the Borough President, which title was created from the County Supervisor. The first Borough President were elected in November of 1897, as the boroughs became part of a consolidated New York City. The borough president is an advocate for the entire Borough and all its residents, who represents the borough's interests within city government and presents the borough's priorities to the state and federal governments as well. He works with the mayor in preparing the annual executive budget presented to the City Council, and also communicates Brooklyn's budget priorities directly to the council.
The borough president reviews major land use decisions and proposes sites for city facilities within the borough. As chair of the Borough Service Cabinet, he convenes hearings to receive city agencies' testimony on issues of public concern.
As chair of the Borough Board, the borough president leads the borough's City Council delegation and the borough's Community Board chairs in the review and approval process for transfer of public properties in the borough to private use, and the review of uniform land use applications.
The borough president monitors the delivery of city services in Brooklyn, intervening where problems arise. He appoints one member to the Panel for Educational Policy and one member to the City Planning Commission, as well as the members to the borough community boards. The community boards, in turn, assess the needs of their delivery of city services in their districts, hold public meetings on issues of concern to district residents, and review uniform land use applications. Community boards may also initiate a community-planning process for their districts under §197-a of the New York City Charter.
Each of the County/Boroughs have a full brace of courts, including a Supreme court, Civil Court, Criminal Court, Family Court, Surrogate's Court, and Drug treatment Court, just like the other 57 Counties. In addition, they have County Clerks, County District Attourneys, and County Sheriffs. The five County Sheriffs run the County Corrections Departments, as well as other Law Enforcement aspects that are NOT the jurisdiction of the New York City Police Department. I could go on and on, but I do have other things to do.SSG Cornelius Seon (Retired) 08:51, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, thanks for all this information. But what are the official county seats of each of these boroughs/counties? The page lists New York City as the county seat for each of them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Atlanta & Fulton County[edit]

It's my understanding that in addition to the entirety of Fulton County, Atlanta GA has incorporated areas in as many as five other counties. Is this significant enough for inclusion on this page? --KHill-LTown 00:36, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

There are portions of Fulton County outside of Atlanta. There is nothing especially significant about the city having incorporated land outside of the county as well. olderwiser 03:28, Mar 26, 2005 (UTC)

How much of this information belongs in this article?[edit]

Much of the article discusses the variations on county government in the United States. County government organization is a different topic from county seats, and county government organization in the United States is still more different from county seats in general. Therefore, I believe that much of this article could be moved to County (United States). 01:54, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Arlington County, Virginia[edit]

The article currently includes the following:

Uniquely, because it was formerly part of the District of Columbia, Arlington County, Virginia, has no county seat - because it has no muncipalities within its boundaries. Prior to their retrocession to Virginia during the nineteenth century, Arlington and the neighboring independent city of Arlington were, respectively, Arlington County and Alexandria County - two of the three counties of the District of Columbia. The District as currently drawn was coextensive with the County of Washington, which disappeared in the twentieth century following the amalgamation of Tenley, Anacostia and the other rural and semi-rural towns and villages of Washington County, D.C., to the City of Washington.

The first sentence is wrong. Many counties have no incorporated municipalities and thus have their county seats in unincorporated areas; Baltimore County, Maryland, is an example. It has nothing to do with the fact that Arlington County used to be part of D.C.; Baltimore County obviously never was. The rest of the paragraph, besides containing further inaccuracies, does not concern county seats, but instead concerns subject matter that is much better handled in other articles. Therefore, I'm going to take out the entire paragraph. Thanks. Doctor Whom 01:07, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Garbled sentences[edit]

The second sentence makes no sense:

"In the U.S., New England states (excluding Connecticut and Rhode Island, since they don't have any county governments), and in Canada, the Maritime Provinces, use the term "shire town", although only Vermont uses it officially."

Does anyone know what this is supposed to say? -- Mwalcoff 02:59, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Someone mistakenly trying to be helpful inserted a comma after U.S. -- the U.S. is supposed to modify New England, not be a part of a series. Similarly, what had been "the Canadian Maritime Provinces" was changed to "in Canada, the Maritime Provinces,". I think it began as an observation that some places in New England use the term "shire town" instead of "county seat". Then at some point the Canadian Maritime Provinces were included and Connecticut and RI were excluded from the New England group and the usage in Vermont specifically identified as "official". Even as it was written before the mistaken transformation into a false comma series, the sentence was pretty densely packed and without any citations for any of it. olderwiser 03:25, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

This makes no sense: As the county seat of Ingham County, Michigan, Mason is the only city in the U.S. that serves as the county seat ahead of the state capital (Lansing).

What does it mean to serve as "county seat ahead of the state capital"? That all other state capitals serve as the county seat for their respective counties?

Generally the city that is the state capital is also the county seat. That ill-constructed sentence is trying to say that Mason, Michigan, is anomalous in the fact that it is the seat of Ingham county, as opposed to Lansing. --JD79 (talk) 15:41, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Missing Lists[edit]

Some of the states' lists are missing. I just finished creating List of New York county seats, I'll work on the other ones as well.

Update:I am adding a to do list for this page, mainly for my own use, as I add the missing pages. J. Finkelstein 17:44, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Looks like everybody filled up those redlinks, nice. J. Finkelstein 19:10, 10 May 2006 (UTC)


Should mention that during much of the 19th-century in the U.S., county sizes and the locations of county seats were ideally chosen so that outlying farmers could hitch up the horses in the morning, ride into the county seat and attend to business there, and arrive back at the farm the same evening. AnonMoos (talk) 06:44, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


This page is a mess. It's impossible to follow. It should be organized like the Town page-- geographically by country, then by state within the US. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:22, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Philadelphia County[edit]

I found that Philadelphia was absent from existing mentions of consolidated government. I updated the page to add a reference before viewing this talk page. I agree that organizational details ought to be moved off to another page, leaving behind only a quick mention that some counties have seats in cities with the same name (I believe this mention is already present). So my new update should be moved along with San Francisco, making the destination page more complete. Dtvjho (talk) 05:33, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Merge County seat and County town?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result was do not merge into County town -- Royalbroil 02:38, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Should County seat (US) and County town (UK) be merged? They have almost identical usage. Andrew Oakley (talk) 10:29, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

I would argue they should remain separate... County seat is already a double of Parish seat. While the usages are similar, I don't think they are identical. I had actually been considering tearing out Parish Seat as a separate article, but as Louisiana kills off more of the old vestiges of the Napoleonic code, I see less need for THAT. Just an opinion. If they were merged I would not have a fit... I just think they are well enough off as-is, for now.sinneed (talk) 04:22, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

I too think the two articles should remain unmerged. County town deals with current and historic county towns in the UK and Republic of Ireland. County seat deals primarily with uS and Canadian uses. Although they both deal with settlements that are administrative centres for a county, in the US the settlements are seemingly almost always the actual administrative and centres. In the UK the county town can be the actual, nominal or historic administrative or ceremonial centre due to, amongst other things, the complex changes to local government in the UK on several occasions within the past centuries.
To merge the articles would result in something of a mess with two disparate topics running the risk of overwhelming the other. Indeed I think the County seat article currently has too much about British county towns in it. Imo both articles should contain at most two paragraphs (preferably shorter) in the lead section outlining the differences between the British Isles County town and the North American County sea and a note about the Maritime Canadian practice of using the term "County town" to mean what is a "County seat" in the rest of the continent. That Louisiana uses "Parish seat" be mentioned at all in the "County town" article.
Most of the distinguishing could be done by hatnotes - e.g. "This article is about county towns in the British Isles. For equivalent settlments in the United States and Canada, see County seat" and vice versa. Thryduulf (talk) 23:19, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
Don't merge them. Here in Ireland "county town" is used, but never "county seat". The latter is also a bit of a misnomer as "seat" comes from situs, the Latin for "place". I suppose in the US a new county often had a designated administrative place before that place became a town.Red Hurley (talk) 08:06, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Campbell County, Kentucky[edit]

Campbell County is another county with 2 seats: Newport and Alexandria. I'm surprised this list includes Kenton County, but not Campbell County! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:26, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Cities within multiple counties[edit]

What is the significance of the Cities within multiple counties section in an article on county seats? RJFJR (talk) 20:06, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Cities within multiple counties[edit]

Moved to talk of County Seat, how is this significant to understanding County seat? (Would make sense if all of these were county seats and it were renamed 'County seats within multiple counties' but the entries at the bottom aren't county seats.) RJFJR (talk) 19:47, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Partial list of major US cities that extend into multiple counties:

City-counties and independent cities[edit]

Moved to talk of County Seat, how is this significant to understanding County seat? RJFJR (talk) 19:47, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

In Virginia, there are 39 independent cities (as of 2001), which are legally distinct from the counties that surround them. An independent city interacts with the state government directly whereas towns, the only other type of municipal government authority in Virginia, do so through the county government apparatus. In many of Virginia's counties, the county government offices are located within the independent cities of their neighboring counties. Also, for certain statistical purposes, some independent cities are considered part of the county from which they separated. For example, although the City of Fairfax is separate from Fairfax County, the county's offices lie within the city, and the city is combined with Fairfax County statistically.

Similarly, the city of Baltimore, Maryland is also an independent city, and much like Fairfax, is surrounded by a county of the same name. However, unlike Fairfax, "Baltimore City", as it is officially known, is not politically or statistically connected with surrounding Baltimore County. Besides Baltimore City and the independent cities of Virginia, there are only two other independent cities in the United States: St. Louis, Missouri; and Carson City, Nevada. Several other cities, among them San Francisco, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;[1] Denver, Colorado; Louisvile, Kentucky; Honolulu, Hawaii; Indianapolis, Indiana; Augusta, Georgia; and New Orleans, Louisiana, are all a city and a county (or in the case of Louisiana, a parish), with a consolidated government. In all of the named cities except for Augusta, Indianapolis, Louisville, and New Orleans, the city and county names are identical; Augusta is coextensive with Richmond County, as are Indianapolis with Marion County, Louisville with Jefferson County, and New Orleans with Orleans Parish.

Similar to Virginia, the Canadian province of Ontario has 17 separated municipalities which are municipalities that interact directly with the province without an intermediary county. Although administratively and legally separate from the county, many of these cities still serve as the seat of the county that surrounds them. Ontario also has several single-tier municipalities, many of which serve as a single county government with no lower municipal governments below it. In these cases, the county effectively is the local government in these areas, with a community in the county assigned as the seat, even though it has no municipal government of its own.


After movign the above two sections to talk, and some other cleanup, I'm removing the cleanup tag. (If you put it back please indicate what further cleanup is needed.) RJFJR (talk) 19:52, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Guilford County, NC[edit]

Guilford County, as far as I know, only has one county seat: Greensboro. Just because there is an auxiliary C.H. doesn't make it a county seat, as well. Lots of counties have those.

Kochamanita (talk) 03:55, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Also, here is a citation:, where all addresses are in Greensboro. Kochamanita (talk) 03:58, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Shire town[edit]

How many states use Shire Town In the Northeast United States, the statutory term may be shire town,[1] but colloquially "county seat" is the term in use there. This statement seems to me to be incorrect. Nitpyck (talk) 04:09, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

More than one seat?[edit]

The section on counties with "multiple" seats is poorly explained. On the one hand it says counties may have more than two but then says that none have more than two. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Term for county government with two seats?[edit]

A head librarian once told me that our county (Orange County, NY) was technically designated as having 2 seats, though not done in current practice. This was some years ago and I no longer remember the specific term he used that meant that. Do any of the editors here know? I don't see that term mentioned under the multiple county seat section, either. Thank you, Wordreader (talk) 07:23, 16 October 2015 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Multiple districts, boroughs, and townships located within Philadelphia County, PA were merged into the existing City of Philadelphia by the Act of Consolidation of 1854. The County itself was later merged into the City by the 1952 Home Rule Charter, forming one legal entity.