Information on Lancaster County
Lancaster County, known as the Garden Spot of America, is a county
located in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in
the United States. The county also promotes tourist visits to the county's
numerous historic and picturesque covered bridges by publishing driving
tours of the bridges. At over 200 bridges still in existence, Pennsylvania
has more covered bridges than anywhere else in the world, and at 29 covered
bridges, Lancaster County has the largest share.
This 'Amish Country' is far more than just the Amish. Visitors are surprised
to find out how diverse this area really is. There are attractions and
entertainment for all ages and interests. Nestled in among the Amish farms
and country villages are activities just waiting to be discovered!
Due to the agricultural productivity of this area, one of the most popular
attractions here is the food. The local restaurants and markets offer foods
that have that fresh-from-the-farm goodness.
Be sure to savor delicious Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, whether it's
smorgasbord, family style, or menu dining.
Lancaster County is the leading
non-irrigated county in the country, and has been called the 'garden spot of
the nation'. Farmers markets here offer a pleasurable, down-home flavor of
the Dutch Country.
Throughout this area you'll also find many roadside stands offering a
variety of home grown vegetables, freshly baked pastries and desserts, and
handmade craft items.
Lancaster County also features one of the largest concentrations of
antiques in the country. Antique shops abound throughout the county.
Adamstown is known as the "Sunday Antiques Capital of the United States".
Over 3000 antique dealers gather here to display and sell their merchandise.
Lancaster County has been called America's quilt capital. Many Amish
quilts are passed down from generation to generation as family heirlooms.
Here you'll find hundreds of quilts, wall-hangings, and pillows at our many
gift and craft shops. Sometimes the Amish sell quilts and homemade craft
items right in their homes.
Some more information on Lancaster County can be found at the
Lancaster County is a beautiful place, but if you wanted to go
more inland and Appalachia you could visit the Hocking Hills in Ohio.
The Hocking Hills are surrounded by state parks and forests. There are
plenty of activities to do including: hiking, fishing, rock climbing, zip
lining, horseback riding, camping, atv riding, and canoeing. For more
information on the area and where to stay, visit
A Brief History
The first known residents of Lancaster County were American Indians, making
little change in the woodlands that had stood for centuries, but inhabiting
villages and leaving some examples of their civilization in their burial
One of the principal Indian Stages was south of what is now Lancaster City
-, early settlers called it Indian Town, and it became a site for
conferences between representatives of William Penn and Indian chieftains.
William Penn was granted Pennsylvania -"Penns Woods" in 1681. The first
persons to live in this particular part of the New World were fur traders.
John Kennerly was the first person to receive a Penn deed for land that is
now in Lancaster County. This was in the eastern section, in 1691.
The first permanent settlement, in 1710, was made by a group of Mennonites
fleeing from persecution to find the religious freedom which Penn had
promised them. They settled trading posts east of Willow Street, near the
Conestoga Indian Town. Hans Herr was the bishop who led this group. His
home, built in 1719, is still standing. It is the oldest building in the
county, on Hans Herr Road, near Route 222.
Lancaster County Formed
Penn originally set up three counties - Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester, but
residents in the western section of Chester County, away from the seaboard,
made formal protest. They were not getting enough protection from
lawbreakers, and it took too long to get to courts upland. Hence in 1729 the
provincial government set up the County of Lancaster, fourth in the state,
taking the land from Chester. Lancaster was much bigger then than it is now,
for it was later whittled away for formation of other counties. The county
was given its name by John Wright, a leading citizen, in honor of his home
in England. The county seat was also named Lancaster. It was placed in 1730
at what had formerly been known as Gibsons Pasture, or Hickorytown.
By the time of the French and lndian War, 1754, Lancaster was a thriving
center of trade, but residents in outlying areas still lived under threat of
Indian attacks. The farmlands were being busily tilled, and Lancaster's
crops were well known. The villages around the city were growing and
Benjamin Franklin was no stranger to Lancaster. As he later recalled in his
autobiography, he was requested to muster wagons for General Braddock's
expedition, and obtained these in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. Lancaster
County waggoners made the trek with Braddock's ill-fated troops, and
conducted themselves well.
Active in The Revolution
Lancaster held another distinction during the Revolution. When Lord Howe
entered Philadelphia, which had until then been the capital of the young
nation, many notable residents fled westward for haven in Lancaster, which
became state capital.
Capital of the Nation
Continental Congress also vacated Philadelphia, on the day Howe entered. The
Congressmen, all with prices on their heads, made their first stop at
Lancaster, where they held a session in the old Court House on September 27,
1777. This made Lancaster capital of the United States for a day. The
Congressmen could find no lodging in refugee-crowded Lancaster, and left the
next day for York.