The first settler, George Orwig, built a house here in 1747; his sons laid out the town with its central market square in 1796. When the county was formed in 1811, it became the first county seat, a role that ended in 1851 when county government moved to the more central Pottsville. With that removal, Orwigsburg focused its economy on manufacturing rather than government. Remnants of the commercial center are still in evidence in buildings that span the nineteenth century, but the original courthouse with an octagonal cupola that stood on the market square was demolished for a parking lot.
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