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Lancaster is a city in the South Central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvaniamarker and is the county seat of Lancaster Countymarker. With a population of 55,351, it is the eighth largest city in Pennsylvania, behind Philadelphiamarker, Pittsburghmarker, Allentownmarker, Eriemarker, Readingmarker, Bethlehemmarker, and Scrantonmarker. The metropolitan area population stands at 494,486 making it the 101st largest metropolitan area in the US.

Locally, Lancaster is (LANK-ister), like the city in Englandmarker for which it was named, rather than the wider American pronunciation .


Originally called Hickory Town, the city was renamed after the English city of Lancastermarker by native John Wright. Its symbol, the red rose, is from the House of Lancaster. Lancaster was part of the 1681 Penn's Woods Charter of William Penn, and was laid out by in 1734. It was incorporated as a borough in 1742 and incorporated as a city in 1818. During the American Revolution, it was briefly the capital of the colonies on September 27, 1777, when the Continental Congress fled Philadelphiamarker, which had been captured by the British. After meeting one day, they moved still farther away, to York, Pennsylvaniamarker. Lancaster was capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1812, after which the capital was moved to Harrisburgmarker.

In 1737, the Lancaster County Prisonmarker was built in the city, styled after Lancaster Castlemarker in Englandmarker. The prison remains in use, and was used for public hangings until 1912.

The first paved road in the United States was the former Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpikemarker, which makes up part of the present-day U.S. Route 30. Opened in 1795, the Turnpike connected the cities of Lancaster and Philadelphia, and was designed by a Scottish engineer named John Loudon MacAdam. Lancaster residents are known to use the word, "macadam", in lieu of pavement or asphalt. This name is a reference to the paving process named by MacAdam.

The city of Lancaster was home to several important figures in American history. Wheatlandmarker, the estate of James Buchanan, the fifteenth President of the United States, is one of Lancaster's most popular attractions. Thaddeus Stevens, considered among the most powerful members of the United States House of Representatives, lived in Lancaster as an attorney. Stevens gained notoriety as a Radical Republican and for his abolitionism. The Fulton Opera Housemarker in the city was named for Lancaster native Robert Fulton, a renaissance man who created the first fully functional steamboat. All of these individuals have had local schools named after them.

After the American Revolution, the city of Lancaster became an iron-foundry center. Two of the most common products needed by pioneers to settle the Frontier were manufactured in Lancaster: the Conestoga wagon and the Pennsylvania long rifle. The Conestoga wagon was named after the Conestoga River, which runs through the city.

In 1803, Meriwether Lewis visited Lancaster to be educated in survey methods by the well-known surveyor Andrew Ellicott. During his visit, Lewis learned to plot latitude and longitude as part of his overall training needed to lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

In 1879, Franklin Winfield Woolworth opened his first successful "five and dime" store in the city of Lancaster. The F. W. Woolworth Company is succeeded by Foot Locker.

Lancaster was one of the winning communities for the All-America City award in 2000.


Lancaster is located at 40°02'23" North, 76°18'16" West (40.039860, -76.304366), and is above sea level.

The city is located about southeast of Harrisburgmarker, west of Philadelphiamarker, north-northeast of Baltimoremarker and north of Washington, D.C.marker

The nearest towns and boroughs are Millersvillemarker (4.0 miles), Willow Streetmarker (4.8 miles), East Petersburgmarker (5.3 miles), Lititzmarker (7.9 miles), Landisvillemarker (8.6 miles), Mountvillemarker (8.8 miles), Rothsvillemarker (8.9 miles), and Leolamarker (8.9 miles).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19.2 km²), of which, 7.4 square miles (19.2 km²) of it is land and 0.14% is water.

City Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 56,348 people, 20,933 households, and 12,162 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,616.5 people per square mile (2,940.0/km²). There were 23,024 housing units at an average density of 3,112.1/sq mi (1,201.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.55% White, 14.09% African American, 0.44% Native American, 2.46% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 17.44% from other races, and 3.94% from two or more races. 30.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000, 24.34% of Lancaster residents were of Puerto Rican ancestry. The city has the highest concentration of Puerto Ricans in Pennsylvania. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the "Spanish Rose." Lancaster celebrates its Hispanic heritage once every year with the Puerto Rican Festival.

There were 20,933 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 13.9% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 17.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,770, and the median income for a family was $34,623. Males had a median income of $27,833 versus $21,862 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,955. 21.2% of the population and 17.9% of families were below the poverty line. 29.2% of those under the age of 18 and 12.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line. Poverty in Lancaster is twice the state's average, and public school records list more than 900 children as homeless.


Lancaster operates under a Mayor / Council form of Government. The City has a full range of services including Public Safety, Health, Housing, Parks, Streets & Highways, Water operations and Sewer operations.
Rick Gray is the 43rd mayor of Lancaster city

The City Council is composed of seven members: President Louise B.

Williams, Patricia A.

Coller, Joseph R.

Morales, Nelson M.

Polite, Sr., Tim J.

Roschel, Kendra J.

Saunders, and Jose E.



Lancaster tends to be a Democratic Party stronghold in a county that otherwise favors the Republican Party in most elections. Registered Democrats hold a 13,000 voter registration advantage over regstered Republicans, as of June 2009. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama easily won the city of Lancaster, receiving 76% of the vote during the 2008 presidential election.


In 2008, 3,638 felony crimes were committed in Lancaster, which authorities blame on gangs that use the city as a stopping point to traffic narcotics and other drugs along the Eastern Seaboard. Four murders were committed in Lancaster in 2008.


A nonprofit group, the Lancaster Community Safety Coalition (LCSC), was created in 2003 to explore the deployment of a $2.7 million privately operated, citywide video surveillance system. The LCSC currently monitors 70 closed-circuit TV cameras in the city of Lancaster, and will soon complete the installation of 165 more cameras to provide live, 24-hour video of nearly every street, park, and public space within the city. With 165 cameras for the city's 55,000 residents, Lancaster will have installed more outdoor cameras than many major cities, including San Francisco and Boston.

The efforts of the LCSC attracted national attention, including a front page Los Angeles Times article called "Lancaster, Pa., keeps a close eye on itself". The article quoted city police chief Keith Sadler as saying "Years ago, there's no way we could do this...It brings to mind Big Brother, George Orwell and 1984. It's just funny how Americans have softened on these issues."

Prior to the publication of the Los Angeles Times article, there had been little public outcry in response to the expanding surveillance system, which had contributed to the resolution or prevention of several crimes. However, the national attention led to an immediate backlash and "mobilized opponents aimed at turning off the cameras, possibly for good." MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann used the story in his 'Worst Person in the World' segment, "calling out the 'citizen patriots of Lancaster, Pennsylvania' and criticizing them for spying on each other", and the surveillance system was also featured on ABC's "Nightline" and "CBS Evening News."


Lancaster suffers from high unemployment, especially in the southeastern quadrant. In 1999, this area, which includes census tracts 8, 9, 15, and 16, had unemployment rates of 10.9%, 10.1%, 3.5%, and 9.0% respectively, while the rate for the rest of the county was 4.9%. The Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board sees a persistent problem in underemployment: "People are working but surviving just on the edge of poverty." Outside the city, however, employment has increased 18% by adding 34,900 jobs between the years 1999 and 2002.

Lancaster City has been in the process of recreating itself recently with an explosion of specialty shops, boutiques, bars, clubs, and reinvestment in downtown institutions and locations.
Lancaster streetscape.
Since 1999,[12450] the Lancaster County Convention Centermarker Authority, Penn Square Partners and the City's Redevelopment Authority have pursued a controversial plan to build a 300-room Marriott Hotel and a convention center, funded by a hotel tax and taxpayer-backed bonds, in and near the space formerly occupied by the Watt & Shand department store, preserving only the building's façade. The project's supporters believe it would promote the revitalization of the city's center. Its opponents, however, feel it poses a significant risk to taxpayers. This plan also includes the demolition of significant portions of other historic sites, including Thaddeus Stevens' home.

There are also plans to convert an area of unused polluted industrial grounds (i.e., Brownfields), which were once occupied by Armstrong World Industries, into playing fields for Franklin & Marshall Collegemarker. This action is expected to take up most of the former industrial site. The Northwest Corridor will be developed with funds from Lancaster General Hospital. The hospital plans to create a mixed-use development which will add several city blocks to Lancaster’s grid. F&M's president, John Fry, has also orchestrated the construction of new dormitories and apartments for Franklin & Marshall students along Harrisburg Pike.

Another Brownfields site is Burle Business Park, the City's only commercial and industrial park. Devoted to adaptive re-use, this facility originally opened in 1942 as a U.S. Navy electronics research, development and manufacturing plant that was operated by RCA. The Navy facility was purchased after World War II by RCA. Burle Business Park was originally occupied by Burle Industries, the successor company to the RCA New Products Division following the 1986 acquisition of RCA by General Electric Company (GE). The GE acquisition of RCA resulted in the divestiture of this facility and the electronic business, but GE retained certain environmental liabilities that were subdivided into a separate parcel. Burle Industries is a major manufacturer of vacuum tube products, including photomultiplier tubes, power tubes, and imaging tubes. and is the largest U.S. manufacturer of photomultiplier tubes. Burle Industries has completed a voluntary clean-up under the Pennsylvania Land Recycling Program ("Act 2").


In addition to Lancaster's plethora of urban boutiques and shops, there is the Park City Centermarker, the largest enclosed shopping center in South Central Pennsylvania. The mall includes an excess of 150 stores and is anchored by The Bon-Ton, Boscov's, JCPenney, Kohl's, and Sears.

A unique shopping experience can be found at the historic Central Marketmarker. Built in 1889, the market is the oldest, continuously operated farmers market in the United States, and many tourists come to purchase the handmade Amish goods that are not common elsewhere. Central Market is also the center of the city's growing 'green' movement, allowing people to purchase organic and/or locally grown foods. Central Market is listed with the National Register of Historic Places, and its towers are of the Romanesque Revival style.

Fire Department

The City of Lancaster is protected by the Lancaster City Bureau of Fire. It employs over eighty members and responds to an average of 3,250 dispatched emergency calls per year. The Bureau operates three city-wide firehouses and one storage facility and has an apparatus fleet of six engine companies(two of which reserve engines and one of which is a foam/hazmat reserve engine), two truck companies, one command vehicle, one maintenance unit, and support units.

Fire Station Locations

  • Fire Station # 1-Center City/Downtown
425 West King Street

Truck 2(Quint)Engine 1(Rescue Engine)Support Units

  • Fire Station # 3-Center City/Downtown
333 East King Street

Truck 1(Quint)Engine 3(Rescue Engine)Engine 6(Reserve)Support Units

  • Fire Station # 4-North Side-Inactive-Storage Only
New Holland Avenue

Engine 5(Reserve/Foam Engine)

  • Fire Station # 6-Cabbage Hill
843 Fremont Street

Engine 2(Rescue/Foam Engine)Engine 4(Reserve)


The Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA) provides local bus transit to Lancaster City as well as surrounding areas in Lancaster County. RRTA is headquartered outside the City of Lancaster.

Capitol Trailways provides intercity bus transit from the Lancaster train station to King of Prussiamarker, Philadelphiamarker, and New York Citymarker.

Amtrak also serves the Lancaster train station, located on the northernmost edge of the city at 53 McGovern Avenue. The Pennsylvanian, with service between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, as well as the Keystone, with service between Harrisburg and New York, both serve Lancaster.The city is served by the Lancaster Airportmarker, located six miles (10 km) north of downtown and just south of Lititzmarker.

Historical landmarks

Rock Ford plantation
Many of Lancaster's landmarks were relevant places in local, state, and national history.

  • Hamilton Watch Company- introduced the world's first battery-powered watch, the Hamilton Electric 500 in 1957.

Art and museums

The city of Lancaster hosts several museums that preserve its important contributions to society. The Demuth Museummarker is located in the former home of a well-known Lancaster painter named Charles Demuth. Additional art museums include the Lancaster Museum of Art and the Philips Museum of Art on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College. Art students at the state-of-the-art Pennsylvania College of Art and Designmarker present their works at the academy's gallery that is open to the public. Another newly constructed museum, completed in 2007, is the Lancaster County Quilts and Textile Museum that celebrates the hand-sewn quilts and other textile items produced by the region's Amish community. Lancaster also possesses two other museums that pay homage to its unique Pennsylvania Dutch heritage with the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society Museum and the Heritage Center Museum. Children can have a hands-on experience with educational learning at the Hands-on House, also known as Children's Museum of Lancaster. Nature and geology-minded visitors can view the more earthly exhibits of the Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretummarker and the North Museum of Natural History and Science. Upon completion, the Lancaster County Convention Centermarker will incorporate the Stevens and Smith Historic Site, a museum that will include the preserved home of Thaddeus Stevens and his confidante Lydia Hamilton Smith. In addition to its exhibits, the underground portion of the site will feature a recently discovered Underground Railroad feature: a converted water cistern utilized in the nineteenth century to hide runaway slaves escaping to freedom. In the surrounding county, the Landis Valley Museummarker contains exhibits that illustrate Lancaster County's history and culture.


Club League Venue Established Championships
Lancaster Barnstormers ALPB Baseball Clipper Magazine Stadiummarker 2005 1
Lancaster Liberty GPBL Basketball Student Life Center 2009  


Clipper Magazine Stadium
After 44 years without professional baseball, the Lancaster Barnstormers arrived to fill the void left by the departed Red Roses. The Barnstormers are named after the barnstorm baseball players who played exhibition games in the surrounding county, as well as a reference to the county's many farms. The Barnstormers continue a couple of traditions of the old Red Roses, as their official colors are red, navy blue, and khaki, the same colors used by the Red Roses. More importantly, the Barnstormers continue the old "War of the Roses" rivalry between Lancaster and the nearby city of Yorkmarker, contending with the York Revolution.

The city of Lancaster is the hometown of Major League alumnus, Tom Herr. Herr played for the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets, the San Francisco Giants, and finally with the St. Louis Cardinals. After his time in the Majors, he coached the Black Knights baseball team of Hempfield High Schoolmarker for several years. Herr joined the Lancaster Barnstormers for their inaugural season in 2005 as the manager. After a dismal 2005 season, he led the Barnstormers to their first-ever championship in 2006, against the Bridgeport Bluefish. Two of Tom's sons, Aaron and Jordan, both play professional baseball on Major League-affiliated clubs. Aaron is a member of the Louisville Bats, the AAA-level affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Jordan joined his hometown Barnstormers for the 2008 season in lieu of completing his senior year at the University of Pittsburghmarker. Following the completion of the Barnstormers' 2008 season, Jordan piqued the interest of the Chicago White Sox, who allocated him to their Rookie-level Great Falls Voyagers.


Professional basketball returned to Lancaster in 2009 with the Liberty. The team will participate in the Global Professional Basketball League, a minor league organization that will play its inaugural season in 2010. The "Liberty" name refers to September 27, 1777, when the Continental Congress designated Lancaster as the national capital of the Thirteen Colonies for one day. The move to Lancaster was necessary after Philadelphiamarker, the former capital, was captured by British forces.


Professional golf is well-represented by the Professional Golf Association's Jim Furyk. He placed 4th in the 1998 and 2003 Masters tournament, won the 2003 U.S. Open, placed 4th in the 1997, 1998, and 2006 British Open, and placed 6th in the 1997 PGA championship. Furyk also won the Vardon Trophy in 2006. He is an alumnus of Manheim Township High School, located in the immediate suburb of Manheim Townshipmarker.

The 2015 U.S. Women's Open will be held at the Lancaster Country Club.


The Women's Premier Soccer League added the Lancaster Inferno in the 2008 season. The WPSL is a FIFAmarker-recognized Division IV league, and is also included in the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid. The Inferno is owned by the Pennsylvania Classics organization and play their home games at the Hempfield High School stadium in Landisvillemarker. The Inferno's colors are orange, black, and white.

A Lancaster native named Julian Valentin plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. He is also a member of the Under-20 United States men's national soccer team, and played in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Valentin made his professional debut on October 26, 2008 versus FC Dallas.

Amateur sports in Lancaster

Lancaster's suburban area hosts several amateur sports teams. Ice hockey is represented by the Central Penn Panthers, a member of the junior-level Atlantic Metropolitan Hockey League, and the Lancaster Firebirds, a youth amateur ice hockey organization of the USA Hockey's Atlantic District. American football is represented by the Lancaster Lightning, a member of the semi-professional North American Football League, that plays in nearby Kinzers. A close cousin of American football, rugby, is represented by the Roses Rugby Football Club of the Mid Atlantic Rugby Football Union, of which the Roses RFC are the 2005 champion. Roller derby is represented by the Dutchland Derby Rollers, an all-female roller derby team which plays to raise money for various charities.

Historical Lancaster teams

All of Lancaster's defunct teams either were members of a professional baseball or basketball league. The most well-known of the city's former teams were the Lancaster Red Roses of the Eastern Professional Baseball League that played from 1906 to 1909, and from 1940 to their last season in 1961. The Red Roses were known as the Lancaster Maroons from 1896 to 1899 and the Lancaster Red Sox in 1932.

The most well-known of Lancaster's former basketball teams were the Lancaster Red Roses of the Continental Basketball Association from 1946 to 1949, and from 1953 to 1955. The Continental Basketball Association later hosted another Lancaster team called the Lightning from 1981-1985. The Lightning later moved to Rockford, Illinoismarker, where they played until the 2007 season. The most recent basketball team to play in Lancaster was the Storm of the Eastern Basketball Alliance from 1997 to 2000. This team won the league championship in 1999.

Lancaster Classic

The city of Lancaster hosts the Tom Bamford Lancaster Classic, a professional bicycle racing event held each June since 1992. It is part of the 2006-2007 UCI America Tour and the 2007 USA Cycling Professional Tour.


Hamilton pocketwatch

  • The first battery-powered watch, the Hamilton Electric 500, was released in 1957 by the Hamilton Watch Company.
  • Peeps, an Easter confection shaped as marshmallow chicks covered with yellow sugar, were invented by the Rodda Candy Company of Lancaster in the 1920s. In 1953, Rodda was purchased by Sam Born, the Russian immigrant who invented ice cream "jimmies", and production was moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvaniamarker.


Education in Lancaster is provided by many private and public institutions. The School District of Lancaster runs the city's public schools. The local high school campuses are McCaskey and McCaskey East. Established in 1836, it is the second oldest school district in Pennsylvania. Lancaster Catholic High Schoolmarker has a long history in the county; it was founded in 1926. It currently falls under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Harrisburg.

The Lancaster area hosts several colleges and universities including: Consolidated School of Business, Franklin & Marshall Collegemarker, Elizabethtown Collegemarker Lancaster Center, Lancaster General College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Lancaster Theological Seminarymarker, Lancaster Bible Collegemarker, Pennsylvania College of Art and Designmarker, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technologymarker, Millersville University of Pennsylvaniamarker, Central Pennsylvania Collegemarker,and the Harrisburg Area Community College.

Sister cities

Sano, Tochigi, Japanmarker




Radio & Television

TV stations
call letters channel network location Owner
WGALmarker 8 / 58 NBC Lancaster Hearst~Argyle Television
WGAL - DT HD 8.2 TH!S Movie Network Lancaster Hearst~Argyle Television
FM stations
call letters frequency format location Owner
WFNMmarker 89.1 College Lancaster Franklin and Marshall College
WJTLmarker 90.3 Christian Contemporary Lancaster Creative Ministries, Inc.
WLCHmarker 91.3 Spanish Lancaster Spanish American Civic Association For Equality
WIXQmarker 91.7 College Millersville Millersville University
WLRI 92.9 Oldies Gap Octorara Communications Association / MyLRI Networks, Inc.
WDACmarker 94.5 Religious Lancaster WDAC Radio Company
WLAN-FMmarker 96.9 Top 40 Lancaster Clear Channel
W259AA 99.7 Public Radio Lancaster (Harrisburg) WITF, Inc. (translator for 89.5)
WROZ 101.3 Adult Contemporary Lancaster Hall Communications
WIOV-FM 105.1 Country Ephrata Citadel Broadcasting
WRTY 90.7 Jazz/Classical Ephrata (Philadelphia) Temple University (translator for WRTI 90.1)
AM stations
call letters frequency format location Owner
WLAN marker 1390 Nostalgia Lancaster Clear Channel
WLPA 1490 Sports Lancaster Hall Communications

Local businesses

The businesses that are based in the vicinity of Lancaster include: Armstrong World Industries, Auntie Anne's, Fulton Bank, Fulton Financial Corporation, Herley Industries, Isaac's Restaurant & Deli, Kunzler & Company, Inc., Lancaster Brewing Companymarker, Lancaster Laboratories, MapQuest, Opening Day Partners, Y&S Candies division of The Hershey Company, and the Lancaster Caramel Company (the original parent company of Hershey Chocolate Company).

See also


Further reading

External links

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