Alternative History
Provisional Government of Pennsylvania in State College
State College
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Central Pennsylvania
Flag Coat of Arms
Flag Coat of Arms
Location of Provisional Government of Pennsylvania in State College
Provisional Pennsylvania in Red
Virtue, Liberty, and Independence
(and largest city)
State College
Other cities Altoona, Johnstown, Lock Haven, Williamsport
Language English
Governor Rick Santorum
Lieutenant Governor Glenn Thompson
Area 46,055 (de jure); 11,407 (de facto) sq. mi.
Population 911,651 (2020 Census)
Independence July 4th, 1985
Currency Pennsylvania Dollar, Barter

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in State College is the claimed sole legal successor state to the pre-Doomsday Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. While the state is officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is frequently referred to as State College by non-citizens. Additionally, while the Commonwealth claims jurisdiction over the entire state, in practice it maintains authority over the central and north-central region of the former state, with the Susquehanna River serving as a major eastern border, the Allegheny Forest as a western border, and the former Pennsylvania Turnpike as a rough southern border.



Pennsylvania was originally inhabited by the Arandiqiouia, Erie, Iroquois, Lenape, Shawnee, and Susquehannocks tribes, though many were decimated by smallpox prior to official European settlement of what would become the state. Initial colonization was done by the Swedish, followed closely by the Dutch, however the English gave a royal charter to William Penn in 1681 to settle a debt owed by Charles II of England who owed money to William Penn’s father.

The Mason-Dixon Line served as the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania and also was considered the unofficial divide between the North and South in the United States.

Pennsylvania hosted the ratification of the Constitution, was the second state, after Delaware to ratify the constitution and its largest city served as the capital of the United States from 1790 until 1800, when it was relocated to Washington, DC.

It was also the site of one of first major challenges to the federal government, with the Whiskey Rebellion seeing farmers attempt to prevent federal authorities from collecting a tax on distillation of spirits. Ultimately it was put down with minimal bloodshed by George Washington.

The state also saw a major battle on Lake Erie during the War of 1812 with Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry commanding a fleet of ships constructed in Erie which destroyed a British task force in the Battle of Lake Erie.

Harrisburg was named the new capital of the state in 1812, as it was centrally located between Philadelphia in the east and growing settlements in the western and northern part of the state. The state saw major industrial development as Pittsburgh became the heart of the American iron industry and canals linked the eastern, western, and northern parts of the state together.

Pennsylvania hosted one of the largest battles of the Civil War in Gettysburg, which was considered to be the high water mark of the Confederacy.

Politically, between 1860 and 1930 the state was dominated by Republicans, only voting for Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive candidate, in the 1912 Presidential election and Robert E. Pattison, a Democrat, in 1883 and again in 1891.

In the latter half of the 1900’s, the state saw major industrialization with steel mills around the state, oil in the northwest, and coal mines. The state also saw several major inventions including air brakes, metal wire, and t-rails as well as contributions to airplanes, aluminum, radio, and televisions.

Pennsylvania suffered severely during the Great Depression with high unemployment due to funding from the Works Progress Administration being deemed in violation of the state constitution. However, World War II saw the state rank sixth in arms production and the Philadelphia shipyards churned out cargo vessels and warships.


Pennsylvania was hard hit on Doomsday with at least twelve to fifteen nuclear weapons striking various targets across the state. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were both hit multiple times, while Bethlehem, Erie, Harrisburg, Scranton, and Wilkes-Barre were each targeted by a single warhead. Heavy fallout also impacted the state from strikes on Baltimore, Cleveland, New York City, Washington DC, and Wheeling.

Governor Dick Thornburgh was alerted to the threat by the federal government and immediately issued a statewide mandatory evacuation from all major metropolitan areas, as impacts were expected. While Harrisburg was only a small city, given the proximity to Washington DC and its status as state legislature, authorities expected the Soviets to target the city. The members of the General Assembly were in the city on the 25th, preparing for a meeting the next morning.

The governor ordered the State Police to alert members and to evacuate as many as possible away from the city. He also ordered the limited civil defense resources available to activate and assist in evacuating densely populated regions.

However, much of these efforts were futile as the first two Soviet nuclear weapons detonated over the United States mainland, frying communication networks. Governor Thornburgh managed to escape the city, heading north to Duncannon. Around a dozen members of the General Assembly travelled with him, as did the Attorney General, LeRoy Zimmerman; Secretary of Labor, Inspector General, and Secretary of Education. While Lieutenant Governor William Scranton III survived, as he was in Fort Indiantown Gap at the Lieutenant Governor’s residence, it would take a month before he, along with several military leaders would regroup with the Governor.

In Duncannon the rump government attempted to restore order in the vicinity of the borough, however a steady stream of refugees from Baltimore and Harrisburg had followed the officials to the region and overwhelmed the small borough government. After discussions with local leaders, the governor decided to relocate further north while attempting to regain control of the state. It was realized that there would be the requirement to simply abandon parts of the state until it could secure part of the state and use it as a platform to launch relief efforts in the far reaches.

1984 to 1989[]

As the winter settled in, state officials decided to attempt to make contact with the home rule municipality of State College and ascertain the situation. Governor Thornburgh believe it might be the largest surviving municipality in the state and its rural position would protect it from refugees fleeing the destroyed cities. Communications confirmed the borough’s survival however county and local officials were struggling with stabilization as looting and theft were rampant as were crimes against the students at Penn State.

The local and state governments agreed to relocate to State College and utilize the resources at Penn State to try and stabilize the region. In March, the arrival of state authorities helped calm the region, as did the presence of several hundred National Guard and State Police members. Even so, the government was limited to controlling Centre and Clinton counties, fringe communities in Blair, Clearfield, Huntingdon, Lycoming, Mifflin, and Union counties as well as a string of communities to Duncannon in Perry County.

In early October of 1983, Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh, Lieutenant Governor William Scranton III, Attorney General LeRoy S. Zimmerman and a handful of state senators and representatives along with a few other officials who had escaped the destruction of Harrisburg, arrived at State College whereupon control of the area was transferred from the mayor to the state government.

Scouts were sent down US Highways 322 and 220 to investigate reports of another survivor group in Altoona. The scouts were overjoyed when they found Altoona with a functioning government with a fairly successful city-state. The two city-states formed a union declaring themselves the "Provisional Government of Pennsylvania at State College" with the idea that when the federal government returned the area they would be under its jurisdiction as the state of Pennsylvania.

Throughout the late 1980's and 1990's the area was plagued with raids from cannibalistic gangs and rogue army units. The State college militia was able to subdue most of these attackers but at a great cost in lives. State College also attempted to exert it's control over the surrounding areas. While initially successful in persuading many small towns and villages to join their Union including Williamsport and a few Southern New York state counties to the north and Brookville, Punxsutawney and Du Bois to the west, their luck soon came to an end.

A city-state centered around the St. Mary's area violently repulsed an attempt to send scouts, killing 53 of the 56 member team in cold blood. The three survivors were able to stagger back to safe territory and reported the massacre to State College's leaders who were shocked that their "fellow Americans" would commit such a horrid act.

The events in St. Mary also proved that State College could not enforce the rule of law wherever they wish. Many people soon became cynical about trying to reach out to anyone else. A strong isolationist movement began to form in the late 1980's in which State College governed it's own affairs without giving a thought towards helping or attempting to annex any other city states.

Even in relative isolation, the provisional government set about working to restore civilian infrastructure, maintaining roads between the major communities, and repairing power plants. While gang attacks plagued the border regions, the interior of State College was relatively safe, a rarity in the post-Doomsday world. Trade between border communities continued with other nations and while not sanctioned by the state government, was permitted, keeping loose informal ties.


In the early 1990’s, with a change in government, the authorities in State College began to consider a middle of the road stance towards expansion, working for a diplomatic outcome for annexation but refusing to commit military actions to regain territory. While elements of the government advocated for both total isolation and an aggressive military campaign, the majority of the population approved.

This new approach saw moderate successes as Clinton County and Lycoming County were reincorporated in 1992 and 1993 respectively and the communities between the borders of Centre County and Duncannon reorganized as Juniata County in 1991 and Mifflin County in 1993. However, these efforts failed when attempting to convince Huntingdon County, in 1991, to reunify, which had declined, though it did agree to increase trade with State College.

In 1995 after almost a decade of isolation State College‘s scouts made formal contact with what was an open secret, that most of Pennsylvania had thriving survivor states, namely North Pennsylvania, Reading, and Susquehanna. While contact with Reading caused tension due to the competing claims of legal successor, and the small size and relative disorganization in Susquehanna did not provide much tangible benefit to State College, safe communication with North Pennsylvania finally gave the two nations the ability to destroy or at least curtail operations by the self dubbed "Keystone Raiders" located in Saint Mary’s, Elk County, which had contributed to the two nations barely interacting for over a decade.

As one of the largest gangs in the former state, and likely the largest operating in the northwestern region, neutralizing the threat was seen as a top priority and while reunification was a hard conversation, the two governments signed a military pact in 1996 to overthrow the gangs.

Despite many casualties, the gangs in St. Mary’s were handed a crushing defeat (See Northwestern Pennsylvania Counter-Raider Operations). While the destruction of one of the largest gangs did not end the raider problem, it did destroy the raiders’ leadership, causing an already uneasy alliance amongst the gangs to fall apart into a bloody power struggle. Between 1996 and 1998 the allies simply committed policing actions to prevent raids on the surrounding communities as the infighting destroyed the gangs from within.

After the remaining gangs collapsed and abandoned the region in 1998, North Pennsylvania and State College agreed to split the county between the two nations.

Access to the North Pennsylvanian ports helped boost the economy in State College, as trade with nations on the Great Lakes gave the state access to raw materials from London, Sudbury, and other nations as well as tooling to repair and restore facilities which had laid dormant since Doomsday.

The economic boost and improved regional security convinced several counties that had previously resisted annexation to apply for reunification. Cameron County applied in 1998 only weeks after Elk County was annexed while Cambria and Huntington counties both agreed to accept the authorities in State College in 1999.






The Provisional Government of Pennsylvania considers itself to be a continuation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with a stated goal of regaining statehood in the United States. However, in practice the state government operates with complete autonomy given the length of time without contact with American authorities. The governor, while still legally subordinate to the federal government, acts in a similar function to the president or prime minister of official independent nations.


Pennsylvania Constitution

Pennsylvania is governed by the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1968. Several amendments have been proposed to declare full independence, force a referendum on the matter, or require reunification, however none have passed and the document remains unchanged from the 1968 revision.

Executive Branch[]

The Governor is the head of the executive branch of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is both the head of state and head of government. They have the duty to enforce state laws, approve or veto bills, and convene the legislature. Additionally, they may pardon criminals only with the advice and consent of the Board of Pardons and not in cases of impeachment.

The Lieutenant Governor is the president of the Senate and the first in line of succession to the Governor in the case of death or incapacitation. They also chair the Board of Pardons and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council. Since 2007 the Lieutenant Governor has taken an active role in foreign relations, frequently visiting foreign nations and some commentators have indicated they are serving heavily in a role as the head of state compared to the Governor.

An executive cabinet supports the Governor and is composed of the directors of the various Commonwealth agencies.

Commonwealth Agencies[]

  • Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)
  • Department of Aging
  • Office of General Counsel (OGC)
  • Department of Insurance
  • Department of Corrections (DOC)
  • Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
  • Department of State (DOS)
  • Department of General Services (DGS)
  • Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
  • Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS)
  • Office of the Budget
  • Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
  • Pennsylvania State Police (PSP)
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG)
  • Department of Public Welfare (DPW)
  • Department of Labor & Industry (L&I)
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Revenue
  • Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA)
  • Office of Administration (OA)
  • Department of Education (PDE)
  • Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP)

Legislative Branch[]

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is the state legislature, split into an upper house, the Senate, and a lower house, the House of Representatives. The Constitution of Pennsylvania authorizes 50 senators and 203 representatives.

Senators may be elected to an unlimited number of terms, with each term running four years, while Representatives serve for two year terms without a term limit.

Due to the loss in population and area, while 253 members of the General Assembly have been authorized, the Senate typically seats thirty members and the House around 138 members. As the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in State College expands its territory, it has added additional senators and representatives to ensure fair representation.

Judicial Branch[]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has several tiers in the judiciary with the Supreme Court being the highest operational court in the state. Lower statewide courts include the Superior and Commonwealth courts and local courts are composed of courts of common pleas as well as municipal district courts.

Supreme Court[]

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the highest court in the state with seven justices. The justice with the highest seniority is the Senior Justice and heads the court. The Supreme Court oversees appeals from lower courts as well as challenges to the constitutionality of statewide laws enacted by the executive branch, legislature, or lower judiciary.

Supreme Court justices are elected to a ten year term with a retention vote at the end of that period. If the retention vote is successful, the justice may serve until they are 75, at which point they are required to retire. The Supreme Court frequently hears cases in State College, however can meet in Altoona and Williamsport for important cases.

Commonwealth Court[]

The Commonwealth Court is one of two appellate courts in Pennsylvania, alongside the Superior Court. The Commonwealth Court rules on cases regarding final orders from state agencies and cases from the Courts of Common Pleas related to public sector legal questions and government regulations. It also rules on cases regarding elections or civil action both in favor and against the state government.

Nine justices are seated with three each in Altoona, State College, and Williamsport, respectively.

Superior Court[]

The Superior Court is one of two appellate courts in Pennsylvania, alongside the Commonwealth Court. The Superior Court oversees most civil and criminal cases from the Courts of Common Pleas as well as matters involving children and families. Nine justices are seated with three each in Altoona, State College, and Williamsport, respectively.

Court of Common Pleas[]

The Court of Common Pleas oversees civil cases with significant public controversy and trials for serious crimes. Additional cases not assigned to other appeals courts and judgement over lower courts also fall within its jurisdiction. Most counties are covered by a single Court of Common Plea, however sparsely populated counties frequently share jurisdiction with a neighboring county while larger, more populated counties may be split into two courts.

District Court[]

District Courts are considered inferior courts with minor jurisdiction, handling landlord-tenant disputes, small civil claims, summary offenses, violations of municipal ordinances, and preliminary hearings. District Courts follow the same lines as the Court of Common Pleas.


Pennsylvania has two major political parties and one minor party. However, in practice the Democratic and Republican parties dominate politics.

  • Democratic Party
  • Libertarian Party
  • Republican Party

Political Divisions[]

Legally, Provisional Pennsylvania still declares its authority over the sixty-seven counties in the state. However, in practice it retains control over fourteen counties and control over part of three more.

County County Seat Largest City Population (2020 Census) Area (sq. mi.) Foundation Reorganization Jurisdiction
Blair County Hollidaysburg Altoona 124,146 527 February 26, 1846 July 4, 1985 All of OTL Blair County
Cambria County Ebensburg Johnstown 169,978 694 November 2, 1807 All of OTL Cambria County
Cameron County Emporium Emporium 4,978 398 March 29, 1860 November 12th, 1998 All of OTL Cameron County
Centre County Bellefonte State College 131,849 1,113 February 13, 1800 July 4, 1985 All of OTL Centre County
Clearfield County Clearfield DuBois 69,124 1,154 January 29, 1822 All of OTL Clearfield County
Clinton County Lock Haven Lock Haven 46,193 897 June 21, 1839 June 21, 1992 All of OTL Clinton County
Elk County Saint Marys Saint Marys 26,496 349 April 18, 1843 June 4, 1998 Eastern half of Elk County
Huntingdon County Huntingdon Huntingdon 49,027 889 September 20, 1787 All of OTL Huntingdon County
Juniata County Mifflintown Port Royal 22,718 394 March 2, 1831 July 4, 1991 All of OTL Juniata County
Lycoming County Williamsport Williamsport 127,928 1,244 April 13, 1795 January 1, 1993 All of OTL Lycoming County
Mifflin County Lewistown Lewistown 53,266 415 September 19, 1789 May 31, 1993 All of OTL Mifflin County
Potter County Coudersport Coudersport 18,015 1,082 September 1, 1826 All of OTL Potter County
Snyder County Middleburg Selinsgrove 34,751 332 March 2, 1855 All of OTL Snyder County
Tioga County Wellsboro Mansfield 39,214 1,137 October 13, 1812 All of OTL Tioga County
Union County Lewisburg Lewisburg 38,161 318 March 22, 1813 All of OTL Union County


State College has a diverse economy primarily consisting of agriculture with strong backing in manufacturing, mining, logging, education, and tertiary services. The city of State College has become a major economic hub both in the nation and in the former state of Pennsylvania.


Agriculture has long been a major part of both State College and its predecessor, Pennsylvania’s economies. Major farming operations exist in Clearfield, Centre, Clinton, Huntington, and Lycoming counties.


While still a predominantly rural state, Pennsylvania has industrial facilities near several of its largest communities.

Altoona has a major rail yard, the Altoona Works that manufactures locomotives, railroad cars, and other equipment. It also is capable of repairing existing equipment. The works are also capable of manufacturing armored vehicles for the Army National Guard.

Johnstown’s main industrial base has been the former Bethlehem Steel plant, Cambria Works. Steel produced is frequently utilized in domestic production, however recently the state has begun exporting small quantities to New York and Toledo.

Lock Haven has a paper mill and a Piper Aircraft manufacturing facility. While the loss of parts and the EMP on Doomsday shut the facility down, in 2011 the facility reopened with support from Penn State, the state government, and Canada. Since it’s reopening the facility has begun repairing aircraft in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and plans to begin production of new light aircraft are in motion.

Williamsport had several major manufacturing facilities including a Lycoming engine facility, wire rope complex, and a pharmaceutical plant that produced chemicals used in oil extraction and industrial applications.



State College has major logging operations in the northern part of the state with processing facilities in Lock Haven and Williamsport. Logs processed into boards, paper, and rail ties that have been used to repair and expand the existing rail network.

Tertiary Industries[]

State College operates a robust financial system with a hybrid of state run and privately owned banks and credit unions. The largest bank in the nation is First National Bank headquartered in State College. Other major banks include Altoona First Savings and Jersey Shore State Bank.

Before Doomsday AccuWeather was the world's largest private weather forecasting service in the world. Their network of stations had been crippled outside of the immediate State College area. However, bureaus have been established in Virginia, Kentucky, Blue Ridge and East Tennessee. By 2012 AccuWeather expanded into Republic of West Texas, Vermont, Canada, Aroostook, Utah and the United States. By 2017 its network had extended to across North America and Brazil, with bureaus in the ANZC, Argentina, Celtic Alliance and the Alpine Confederation opened in 2020.


Altoona is soon becoming a critical city because of the rail lines that are being restored and extended with the hope of linking Kentucky and Virginia with State College with the possibility of one day linking up to Vermont.

Foreign Relations[]

State College has only recently had contact with survivors outside of the state of Pennsylvania. However, they have established strong relations with Kentucky, Keene, Vermont and Virginia and have sent an application to the League of Nations. In 2000, the nation came in contact with the Commonwealth of Susquehanna, and currently enjoys positive relations and trade.


Governor Santorum Announcing a Trade Agreement With Kentucky

Local Relations[]

State College has diplomatic exchanges with all of the Pennsylvanian survivor states, except Lehigh which is accredited through Reading. However, State College refuses to declare the missions embassies or recognize other Pennsylvanian survivor states exchanges as such, due to concerns it would negate the state government’s claim as the sole successor state.

State College maintains missions in

However there have been disputes over the validity of State College’s claim to be the successor state of Pennsylvania, with Reading also claiming this status and Gettysburg, North Pennsylvania, and Susquehanna all claiming independence.

Regional Relations[]

State College has exchanged embassies with Aroostook, Canada, Delmarva, Kentucky, London, Niagara Falls, Saguenay, Superior, Toledo, Vermont, and Virginia.

International Relations[]

While State College still is reaching connections on the international stage, it is aware of the existence of the United States in Torrington and has unofficially met with federal officials in Canada. The government in State College has indicated an interest in long term reunification of some sort, whether statehood or a political union. However the poor condition of air, rail, and road infrastructure to link the two nations will hamper this for many more decades.

Ambassadors from State College have also met with delegates from the Celtic Alliance and Victoria as well as both the League of Nations and the Atlantic Defense Community. There is interest in joining both bodies in some capacity, however this will likely not happen until any decision is made on a union with the United States.

American Spring[]



The presence of Pennsylvania State University in State College proved to be a boon for the nascent nation and has helped keep the population relatively well educated. The Pennsylvania state government continues to operate school districts in the pre-Doomsday configuration as much is practical.

Primary and Secondary Education[]

Pennsylvania continues to operate school districts, with many following the pre-Doomsday lines, while a handful have been expanded or modified to adjust for population and geography. Education is mandatory between the ages of five and eighteen, however in practice many students exit education between the age of 14 and 16 for apprenticeships. In 2016, the General Assembly passed a bill with the approval of the Governor to recognize apprenticeships as a continuation of secondary education.

Colleges and Universities[]

Pennsylvania managed to retain a major boost to the survival and improvement of the higher education system with Penn State University being based in the capital. Penn State now serves as the main university serving the entire country, with a satellite campus in Altoona. Virtually all the active higher education campuses are located in the central and southern part of the nation.

While Penn State provided the foundation of the higher education system in Pennsylvania, other local universities and colleges survived with students supporting community efforts to collaborate after Doomsday.

Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, survived and served as a hub for survivors in the region, with the town cutting off the eastern communities for years due to instability.

Lycoming College, in Williamsport,

Mansfield University


State College National Guard

State College operates one of the largest standing military forces in former Pennsylvania. The National Guard is a direct descendent of surviving elements of the Pennsylvania National Guard that managed to escape with the Governor and other leaders from Harrisburg, local National Guard units, and civilian militias that formed in the wake of Doomsday.