For those of you who don't know,
PennDOT is divided into 11 engineering districts covering the state. These districts are numbered from one to 12, but there is no District 7. Why? Where did it go? Most PennDOT employees don't even know.
Recently, an old newsletter article was discovered that sheds some light on the mystery.
The article – written by J.T. Whaley in 2003 – begins with a little history.
"A State Highway Department was created by the legislature in 1903 to distribute road building funds to local municipalities and was placed under the leadership of State Highway Commissioner Joseph W. Hunter."
He explains there were originally eight regions named divisions rather than districts. Division 7 was included, and consisted of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lancaster, Franklin, Cumberland, Adams, and York counties.
"During 1931, the Department of Highways took over 20,156 miles of rural farm-to-market dirt roads and started a paving program to take the farmer out of the mud. The Department of Highways was also divided in that year into 12 new Divisions, and Division 7-0 encompassed Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lancaster counties."
After that, things get a little fuzzy.
"Sometime between June and August of 1939, Division 7-0 disappeared from the state division identification maps that are included on the title sheets of Construction Right-of-Way Plans. The Divisions were also re-named Districts and Division 7-0 was incorporated into District 8-0. The why of this decision is lost to history."
Since then, the district boundaries have been tweaked slightly, and the Department of Highways became the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in 1970. As part of that transition, PennDOT took over transportation-related functions from several other state agencies, including Revenue, Commerce, Community Affairs, and Military Affairs.