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The History of Lancaster County

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Indeed, the history of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania runs deep. Both locals and tourists can understand why those born here are so proud to call it home. From British royalty to hard-working Mennonite and Amish communities, Lancaster’s history has a lot to say.

Lancaster County was once a part of Chester County, as a part of the William Penn Charter. It dates back to the Revolutionary era, as the King of England granted it in the beginning part of the 18th century. The county was named for the name Lancaster in England, the House of Lancaster, which was represented by a red rose. Lancaster was a British royal home that went against York in the War of the Roses.

In 1818, Lancaster became an official city, having simply been a borough for nearly 70 years. In the late 18th century, the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike which then helped Lancaster to grow and evolve into the bustling city it is today.

Primarily, Lancaster was settled by German and Swiss immigrants. They were Mennonite and Amish communities: the Plain people and German Lutheran and Reformed sects. Mennonites and Amish, although often confused, are separate groups with separate beliefs and lifestyles. The Amish have been more adverse in adapting to modern times, while the Mennonites can range from living without electricity to living like most normal residents.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania is primarily known for the lush farms and culture offered by these humbled religious communities. Tourists and locals alike often see the horse and buggy on roads, pie stands and Amish cafes, and even tourist spots such as Dutch Wonderland and Amish farms, stores, and tours.

Still, while these communities are a hallmark of Lancaster’s history, there is much more to offer tourists than what is known as agrotourism. The Fulton Opera House, also commonly known as the Fulton Theatre, is the oldest continuously running theatre in the country. It is located on historic Queen Street, which is home to other classic storefronts such as Kellogg’s, R.R. Donnelly and Sons and others. Other nightlife, museums, and high-end restaurants are also located in Lancaster.

Lancaster County has much to offer its visitors and a deep history for its loyal residents. From Amish farms to incredible nightlife, this Central Pennsylvania county is overflowing with things to do, whether they be free, kid-friendly, or something more on the rural side. Lancaster, Pennsylvania truly has something for everyone.

Latest Activity: Aug 24, 2017 at 2:29 PM

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