Ashland is a borough in Schuylkill County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Pottsville. A small part of the borough also lies in Columbia County, although all of the population resided in the Schuylkill County portion as of the 2020 census. The borough lies in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania. Settled in 1850, Ashland was incorporated in 1857, and was named for Henry Clay’s estate near Lexington, Kentucky. The population in 1900 was 6,438, and in 1940, 7,045, but had dropped to 2,471 at the 2020 census.
For a long time after southern Pennsylvania was settled, the area that is now Ashland was mostly wilderness except for a hotel in the area in 1820. A prominent citizen of the county, Burd S. Patterson, however, predicted that the area would eventually become a prominent mining town. In 1845, John P. Brock and James Hart joined Patterson in buying 800 acres (320 ha) of land in the Ashland area. In 1846, a group of miners led by Patrick Devine developed coal seams in veins in the area. However, the town progressed little over the next three years. By 1857, though, the town had 3,500 people, and Ashland became a borough, detaching itself from Butler Township. The first post office was built in 1853, and the first church was built in 1855.