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Lancaster County, known as the Garden Spot of America, is a county located in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvaniamarker, in the United Statesmarker. With an estimated 2005 population of 490,562, Lancaster County forms the Lancaster Metropolitan Statistical Area, the 99th largest of 361 MSAs in the U.S. The city of Lancastermarker is the county seat.

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

Lancaster County is a popular tourist destination, due mostly to the many plain sect residents, known as the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch. The term 'Pennsylvania Dutch' comes from the earlier use of "Dutch" to apply to all immigrants from middle Europe. They are the descendants of Germanmarker ("Deutsch") who immigrated in the 18th and 19th centuries for the freedom of religion offered by William Penn, and were attracted by the rich soil and mild climate of the area. Also attracted to promises of religious freedom, French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution settled this area in 1710.


Indigenous Peoples

The first recorded inhabitants of the Susquehanna River valley were the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannocks, whose name meant "people of the muddy river" in Algonquin. They were also known as the Conestoga, from their principal village, Kanestoge, known to the English as Indiantown. They were viewed by European settlers as a friendly tribe, converted to Christianity, who made brooms and baskets for sale, and named children after their favorite neighbors.

However, the outbreak of Pontiac's War in the summer of 1763, coupled with the conciliatory but militarily ineffective policies of the provincial government, aroused widespread suspicion and hatred against all Indians in the frontier counties of the state. Rumors spread that the Conestoga were harboring strange and hostile Indians in their village. On December 14, 1763, the Paxton Boys, led by Matthew Smith and Capt. Lazarus Stewart, descended upon the village, slaughtered the six Indians present at the time, and burned their houses. The fourteen survivors of the tribe were placed in protective custody in the county workhouse, but the Paxton Boys returned on December 27, broke into the workhouse, and butchered the remaining Susquehannocks. The widespread sympathy in the frontier counties for the perpetrators of these acts made their discovery and arrest futile.

Other tribes in the area included the Shawnee, Gawanese, Lenape (or Delaware), and Nanticokes.


The area that became Lancaster County was part of William Penn's 1681 charter, and John Kennerly received the first recorded deed from Penn in 1691. Although Matthias Kreider was said to have been in the area as early as 1691, there is no evidence that anyone actually settled in Lancaster County before 1710.

Lancaster County was part of Chester County, Pennsylvaniamarker until May 10, 1729, when it became the fourth county in the state. Lancaster County was named after the city of Lancastermarker in the county of Lancashiremarker in England, the native home of John Wright, one of the early settlers. Six other counties were subsequently formed from territory directly taken, in all or in part, from Lancaster County: Berksmarker (1752), Cumberlandmarker (1750), Dauphinmarker (1785), Lebanonmarker (1813), Northumberlandmarker (1772), and Yorkmarker (1749). Many other counties were in turn formed from these six.

The southern boundary of Pennsylvania, and thus of Lancaster County, was in dispute for years. Lord Baltimore believed that his grant to Maryland extended to the 40th parallel — about halfway between Lancaster and Willow Streetmarker. Starting in 1730, Thomas Cresap started Cresap's War by confiscating farms near Peach Bottommarker and Wrightsvillemarker, establishing ferries there. He started vandalizing farms, killing livestock and driving away settlers in southern York and Lancaster counties, giving those lands to his followers. When a follower was arrested, the Marylanders broke him out of the Lancaster lockup. Lord Baltimore negotiated a compromise in 1733, but Cresap ignored it, and continued his raids. When an attempt was made to arrest him in 1734, he killed a deputy at his door. The Pennsylvania governor demanded Maryland arrest Cresap for murder; the Maryland governor named him a captain in their militia instead. In 1736, he was finally arrested, and jailed until 1737 when the King intervened. In 1750, a court decided that Lord Baltimore had forfeited his rights to a twenty-mile (32 km) swath of land. The new Pennsylvania-Maryland border was properly established by the Mason-Dixon linemarker in 1767.

The names of the original Lancaster County townships reflect the diverse array of settlers in the new county: two had Welsh names (Caernarvonmarker and Lampetermarker), three had Native American names (Cocalicomarker, Conestogamarker and Peshtank or Paxton), six were English (Warwickmarker, Lancastermarker, Marticmarker, Sadsburymarker, Salisburymarker and Hempfieldmarker); four were Irish (Donegalmarker, Drumoremarker, Derrymarker, and Leacockmarker), Manheimmarker was German, Lebanonmarker came from the Bible, and Earlmarker the anglicization of the German surname of Graf or Groff.

Lithograph of Thaddeus Stevens

19th century statesmen

Lancaster County's native son James Buchanan, a Democrat, was elected as the 15th President of the United States in 1856, the only Pennsylvanian to hold the presidency. His home, Wheatlandmarker, is now a museum in Lancaster. Thaddeus Stevens, the noted Radical Republican, served Lancaster County in the United States House of Representatives from 1849-1853 and from 1859 until his death in 1868. Stevens left a $50,000 bequest to start an orphanage that eventually became the state-owned Thaddeus Stevens College of Technologymarker. Both men are buried in Lancaster.

Slavery and the Christiana incident

Pennsylvania abolished slavery in 1780, although in a slow manner. The existing 6000 slaves in Pennsylvania remained slaves, and the registered children of those slaves were slaves until their 28th birthday. The last slave child registered in Pennsylvania was Haley, born in 1811, and a freedman no later than 1839. Thus Pennsylvania was legally a free state when the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was passed as part of the Compromise of 1850.

Being immediately north of the Mason-Dixon line, Lancaster County was an important stop on the Underground Railway. Charles Spotts found 17 stations; including ones with trap doors, hidden vaults, an underground cave and one with a brick tunnel leading to Octorara Creek.

As slaveowners go, 51-year-old Edward Gorsuch was probably one of the best. He did not beat his slaves, and as a rich Maryland wheat farmer, he could afford to manumit slaves in their 20s. He allowed his slaves to work for cash elsewhere during the slow season. There was wheat missing, though, sold to a local farmer by his slaves, and he thought a former slave was responsible for this dishonesty. As he had a bad temper, slaves Noah Buley, Nelson Ford, George Ford, and Joshua Hammond became afraid, and fled to the farm of William Parker, a mulatto who lived in Christiana, Pennsylvaniamarker. Parker, 29, was a member of the Lancaster Black Self-Protection Society, and known to use violence to defend himself and the slaves who sought refuge in the area.

Honor was at stake. Having slaves run away made him look disreputable, so Gorsuch obtained four warrants, and organized four parties which set out separately to recover his property. He died in the attempt, though, and others were wounded. Although Gorsuch was legally entitled to recover his slaves, it is not clear who precipitated the violence. The incident — variously called the "Christiana Riot", "Christiana Resistance", the "Christiana Outrage", and the "Christiana Tragedy", depending on one's political and religious leanings — became a national controversy.In September, 1851, the grand jury returned a "true bill" (indictment) against 38 individuals who were then held in Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia to await trial. The only one who was ever tried was Castner Hanway.

It is not clear that Castner Hanway was responsible in any way for what happened. He was a white man, one of the first on the scene. On the other hand, Hanway and his horse provided cover for Joshua Gorsuch and Dr. Pearce, who were wounded. Hanway was tried in federal court in Philadelphia on November 15, 1851 for liberating slaves taken into custody by U.S. Marshal Kline, for resisting arrest, for conspiracy, and for treason. The jury returned a Not Guilty verdict in only 15 minutes. Among the five defense lawyers was congressman Thaddeus Stevens.

(For further reading, see Resistance at Christiana: The Fugitive Slave Rebellion, Christiana, Pennsylvania, 1851, by Jonathan Ned Katz, T.Y. Crowell, New York, 1974.) also Treason at Christiana: September 11, 1851 by L.D. "Bud" Rettew, 2006

Religious history

Not only did religious differences spur early growth of Pennsylvania and Lancaster County, but Lancaster County gave birth to many religious bodies as well. The oldest surviving dwelling for European immigrants in the county is that of Bishop Hans Herr, a Mennonite. In 1989, Donald Kraybill counted 37 distinct religious bodies/organizations, with 289 congregations and 41,600 baptized members, among the plain sects who are descendants of the Anabaptist Mennonite immigrants to Lancaster County. The Mennonite Central Committee in Akronmarker is often among the first to arrive at a disaster scene, quietly providing manpower and material to local organizations that better understand where relief should be directed.

The town of Lititz is a planned community built by members of the Moravian Church beginning in the 1740s. Linden Hallmarker school there is one of the earliest educational institutions for girls in the country.

In addition to the Ephrata Cloister, the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) trace their beginnings to a 1767 meeting at the Isaac Long barn, near the hamlet of Oregon, in West Lampeter Townshipmarker. The EUB, a German Methodist church, merged with the traditionally-English Methodist church to become the United Methodist Church in 1968,

The first Jewish resident was Isaac Miranda, who owned property there before the town and county were organized in 1730. Ten years later there were several Jewish families in the town; on Feb. 3, 1747, there was recorded a deed to Isaac Nunus Ricus (Henriques) and Joseph Simon, conveying half an acre of land "in trust for the society of Jews settled in and about Lancaster," to be used as a place of burial. Today, this cemetery is still in use by , and is considered the fourth oldest Jewish cemetery in America.

Today, Lancaster County is home to three synagogues, the Orthodox Degel Israel, the Conservative Beth El, and the Reform Shaarai Shomayim. The larger community enjoys a Jewish Community Center. Degel Israel has a mikveh, and a kosher stand is operated at Dutch Wonderlandmarker, a seasonal amusement park. Chabad Lubavitch has a Jewish outreach operation that serves Jewish students of Franklin and Marshall Collegemarker and Millersville Universitymarker.

This area was also settled by French Huguenots. Among its very first resident was Isaac LeFevre. In 1685, King Louis XIV signed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes signaling the end of a period of nearly 70 years of toleration, leading to acts of violence across France. One such incident in 1685 resulted in the death of Abraham LeFevre, his wife, three of his sons and three of his daughters. The sole survivor of this massacre was one of Abraham's sons, Isaac LeFevre. Isaac managed to rescue his family's Bible from the ruins of his childhood home and fled to Holland. Anne of Great Britain offered Huguenot survivors shelter in England and the opportunity to settle in newly colonized lands across the Atlantic. Seizing this opportunity to practice their religion in peace, a group of Huguenot's settled in the area of the Pequea Creek about fifty-five miles west of Philadelphia. Isaac's family Bible survived the ravages of the journey and is currently in the possession of the Lancaster County Historical Society.


A Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur baptismal certificate from 1788
Lancaster County's innovators have given the world:
  • Fraktur, the artistic and elaborate 18th century and 19th century hand-illuminated folk art inspired by German blackface type, originated at Johann Conrad Beissel's cloister of German 7th-day Baptists in Ephratamarker.
  • The first battery-powered watch, the Hamilton Electric 500, was released in 1957 by the Hamilton Watch Company.
  • The Pennsylvania Long Rifle, sometimes mistakenly called the Kentucky Long Rifle.
  • The Conestoga wagon, which started the practice of driving right-of-center.
  • The Stogie cigar The word Stogie is a shortened form of Conestoga.
  • The Amish quilt, a highly utilitarian art form, dates to 1849 in Lancaster County.

Government and Politics

Republicans control the vast majority of state, county and municipal elected offices in Lancaster County.

In September 2008, the Democratic Party of Lancaster County reached the benchmark of 100,000 registered voters for the first time in the county's history. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of registered Democrats in Lancaster County surged by over 32,000 people. The party had just 82,171 registered Democrats in 2004. As of 2008, the ratio of Republicans to Democrats in Lancaster County now stands at 1.8 Republicans to 1 Democrat, down from a 3-1 advantage for the Republicans in the late 1990s.

Elected officials

Lancaster County is represented nationally by U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D) and Bob Casey, Jr. (D), and by U.S. Congressman Joe Pitts (R) of Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district.

State Senator Lloyd Smucker 13th District, Michael W. Brubaker 36th District, and Mike Folmer, 48th District are all Republican.
Presidential Election results in Lancaster County
Democrats Republicans
Registration Votes Registration Votes
1980 40505 29.86% 30026 27.30% 95124 70.14% 79963 72.70%
1984 47235 29.31% 31308 24.01% 113906 70.69% 99090 75.99%
1988 41919 26.91% 38982 28.67% 113843 73.09% 96979 71.33%
1992 47206 28.03% 44255 33.35% 121190 71.97% 88447 66.65%
1996 56036 28.27% 49120 34.59% 142170 71.73% 92875 65.41%
2000 67932 29.01% 54968 32.17% 166272 70.99% 115900 67.83%
2004 74328 33.59% 145591 65.80%
2008 99586 43.44% 126568 55.21%
Source: The Committee of Seventy
With the exception of P. Michael Sturla 96th District, a Democrat, all local state Representatives are Republican: Thomas C. Creighton 37th District, Katie True 41st District, Scott W. Boyd 43rd District, John C. Bear 97th District, David S. Hickernell 98th District, Gordon Denlinger 99th District and Bryan Cutler 100th District.

With the exception of County Commissioner Craig Lehman and Jury Commissioner Judith A. Saylor, who are both Democrats, all county officials are members of the Republican Party. The other county officials are County Commissioners Dennis Stuckey and Scott Martin, Coroner Stephen Diamantoni, MD, Sheriff Terry A. Bergman,, Register of Wills Mary Ann Gerber, Clerk of Common Pleas Court Ryan Aument, Treasurer Craig Ebersole, Prothonotary Randall O. Wenger, Acting Controller Walt Rogers, and Jury Commissioner Linda Schwanger.


Lancaster County has a total area of 984 square miles (2,548 km²). 949 square miles (2,458 km²) of which is land and 35 square miles (90 km²) of it (3.53%) is water.


Almost all of Lancaster County is in the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin, via the Susquehanna River watershed (the exception is a small unnamed tributary of the West Branch of Brandywine Creek that rises in far eastern Salisbury Township and is part of the Delaware River watershed). The major streams in the county (with percent area drained) are: Conestoga River and Little Conestoga Creek (31.42%); Pequea Creek (15.02%); Chiques Creek (or Chickies Creek, 12.07%); Cocalico Creek (11.25%); Octoraro Creek (10.74%); and Conowingo Creek (3.73%).

Protected areas

Lancaster County is home to Susquehannock State Parkmarker, located on overlooking the Susquehanna River in Drumore Townshipmarker. One of the three tracts comprising William Penn State Forestmarker, the Cornwall fire tower site, is located in northern Penn Townshipmarker near the Lebanon County border. The site, with its 1923 fire tower, was acquired by the state in January, 1935.

There are also six Pennsylvania State Game Lands for hunting, trapping, and fishing located in Lancaster County. They are numbers (with location and area): 46 (near Hopelandmarker, ), 52 (near Morgantown, ), 136 (near Kirkwood, ), 156 (near Poplar Grove, ), 220 (near Reinholds, ), and 288 (near Martic Forge, ).

The southern border of Lancaster county has some protected serpentine barrens, a rare ecosystem where toxic metals in the soil inhibit the growth of plants and lead to the formation of natural grassland and savanna. These barrens include the New Texas Serpentine Barrens, privately-owned land managed by The Nature Conservancy, and Rock Springs Nature Preserve, a publicly-accessible preserve with hiking trails owned and managed by the Lancaster County Conservancy.


The area falls along the general track of the Appalachian Mountainsmarker along the east coast of the North America. As such, residual seismic activity from ancient faulting occasionally produces minor earthquakes of magnitude 3 to 4. For example, on December 27, 2008, shortly after midnight, Lancaster County had a 3.3 magnitude earthquake which was widely felt in the Susquehanna Valley but caused no damage to structures.

Adjoining counties

Lancaster County is bounded to the north by Lebanon Countymarker, to the northeast by Berks Countymarker, and to the east by Chester Countymarker (the southeastern boundary with Chester County is formed by Octoraro Creek). To the south are Cecilmarker and Harford Countiesmarker, Marylandmarker (across the Mason-Dixon linemarker). To the west is York Countymarker (the boundary is the western shore of the Susquehanna River). To the northwest is Dauphin Countymarker (the boundary is formed by Conewago Creek).


Lying on the natural route from Philadelphia to the western part of Pennsylvania, Lancaster County has given rise to many improvements in transportation, among them the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpikemarker, later part of the Lincoln Highway, in 1794, a canal in 1820 and the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroadmarker in 1834.


Lancaster County's highways include the Pennsylvania Turnpike (or Interstate 76), U.S. Route 30 (or the Lincoln Highway), U.S. Route 222, and U.S. Route 322. Pennsylvania State Routes in the county include: 10, 23, 41, 72, 230, 241, 272, 283, 324, 340, 372, 441, 462, 472, 501, 625, 741, 743, 772, 896, 897, and 999.

Current railroads

As of 2006, passenger service in Lancaster County is provided by Amtrak, whose Keystone Corridor passes through the county, with stops at Lancastermarker, Mount Joymarker and Elizabethtownmarker. A station is planned at Paradisemarker to provide connecting service with the Strasburg Railroadmarker, which runs passenger excursions from nearby Leaman Placemarker to Strasburgmarker.

The principal freight operator in the county is Norfolk Southern Railway (NS). The NS main line follows the Susquehanna River (with trackage rights for Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR)), and leaves the county by crossing the river on Shocks Mills Bridgemarker near Mariettamarker. NS also has trackage rights over the Keystone Corridor, to which it is connected by the Royalton Branch, which runs north along the river from the main line at Marietta, and the Columbia Branch, which runs from the Corridor at Dillervillemarker to the main line at Columbiamarker. Two other NS branches originate on the Corridor: the Lititz Secondary, which runs from Dillerville to Manheimmarker and ends at Lititzmarker, and the New Holland Industrial, which leaves the Corridor around the east end of Lancaster to run east to New Hollandmarker and ends at East Earlmarker.

Several shortlines also operate in the county. With the exception of the Strasburg Railroad, all are freight railroads. Penn Eastern Rail Lines (PRL) operates on a spur off the NS branch to Manheim, and on a longer line in the northeast corner of Lancaster County into Berks County. Landisville Terminal and Transfer Company (LNTV) operates on a spur off the Amtrak line at Landisville. The Tyburn Railroad operates some trackage around Dillerville. Frank Sahd Salvage, Inc., of Columbia, has received state funds to repair of track there for operation, probably by the Penn Eastern, but this has not yet been returned to service.
Population & Growth
Population Growth Rate
Decade County U.S. County U.S.
1790 36,081 3,929,214
1800 43,403 5,308,483 20.29% 35.10%
1810 53,927 7,239,881 24.25% 36.38%
1820 68,336 9,638,453 26.72% 33.13%
1830 76,631 12,866,020 12.14% 33.49%
1840 84,203 17,069,453 9.88% 32.67%
1850 98,944 23,191,876 17.51% 35.87%
1860 116,314 31,443,321 17.56% 35.58%
1870 121,340 38,558,371 4.32% 22.63%
1880 139,447 50,189,209 14.92% 30.16%
1890 149,095 62,979,766 6.92% 25.48%
1900 159,241 76,212,168 6.81% 21.01%
1910 167,029 92,228,496 4.89% 21.02%
1920 173,797 106,021,537 4.05% 14.96%
1930 196,882 123,202,624 13.28% 16.21%
1940 212,504 132,164,569 7.93% 7.27%
1950 234,717 151,325,798 10.45% 14.50%
1960 278,359 179,323,175 18.59% 18.50%
1970 319,693 203,302,031 14.85% 13.37%
1980 362,346 226,542,199 13.34% 11.43%
1990 422,822 248,709,873 16.69% 9.79%
2000 470,658 281,421,906 11.31% 13.15%
Growth rate of Lancaster County population (dark blue) lagged the growth rate of the U.S. population (magenta) until the second half of the 20th century.
Chart shows population growth as a percentage of the previous decennial census.
Lancaster County Demographics
2004 County State U.S.
White 93.6% 86.2% 80.4%
African American 3.4% 10.5% 12.8%
Native American 0.2% 0.2% 1.0%
Asian 1.6% 2.2% 4.2%
Pacific Islander 0.1% 0.0% 0.2%
Two or more races 1.1% 0.9% 1.5%
Hispanic/Latino of any race 6.5% 3.8% 14.1%

Lancaster Airportmarker is the only airport in the county with scheduled service, though Smoketown Airportmarker also serves general aviation.

Flora and Fauna

The bog turtle was first discovered and identified in Lancaster County by botanist Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg. Muhlenberg discovered the turtle species accidentally while he was conducting a survey of the flora in Lancaster County. The species was named Muhlenberg's tortoise in 1801, but renamed bog turtle, its present common name, in 1956.


As of the census of 2000, there were 470,658 people, 172,560 households, and 124,070 families residing in the county. The population density was 496 people per square mile (191/km²). There were 179,990 housing units at an average density of 190 per square mile (73/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.46% White, 2.76% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.90% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.68% of the population.

There were 172,560 households out of which 33.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.90% were married couples living together, 8.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 23.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.60% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 21.90% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.60 males.

5.58% of the population reported speaking Pennsylvania German, German, or Dutch at home, while a further 4.97% spoke Spanish. 39.8% were of German, 11.8% United Statesmarker or American, 7.2% Irish and 5.7% English ancestry according to the United States Census, 2000.

According to official Census Bureau estimates, the county's population had grown to 490,562 by 2005.


The inhabitants of Lancaster County speak with the Susquehanna dialect. The Susquehanna dialect is most commonly used in the Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg areas, and incorporates influences from the Philadelphia accent and that of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Here is a list of common words and phrases unique to the Susquehanna dialect:

  • ..awhile- used at the end of a sentence, (Can I get you a glass of tea, awhile?)

  • Dippy eggs- A fried egg with a runny yolk

  • Furhuddled- disheveled, (Patrick appeared furhuddled at his job interview.) May also be heard as Fushuddled.

  • It's all- it is all gone, (the coffee is all.)

  • Macadam- asphalt, influenced by the original macadam roads in Pennsylvania, (Jason scraped his knee on the macadam.)

  • Outen the lights- turning the lights off, (You need to outen the lights, John.)

  • Redd up- to straighten up, (I redd up the house yesterday.) (This is an old English term which persists in legal terminology - leases call for the tenant to leave the property void and redd upon vacating the premises.)


In 2004, the county had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $30,790, only 93% of the national average. This reflects a growth of 4.5% from the prior year, versus a 5.0% growth for the nation as a whole. Despite the lower income, the county poverty rate in 2003 was just 8.3% compared to a national rate of 12.5%. In 2004, federal spending in Lancaster County was $4,199 per resident, versus a national average of $7,232.

In 2005, Lancaster County was 10th of all counties in Pennsylvania with 17.7% of its workforce employed in manufacturing; the state averages 13.7%, and the leader, Crawford Countymarker, has only 25.1%.

Lancaster County lags in information workers, despite being the corporate headquarters of MapQuest. It ranks 31st in the state with only 1.3% of the workforce; the state as a whole employs 2.1% in information technology.

The county ranks 11th in the state in managerial and financial workers, despite having only 12.5% of the workforce in those occupations (versus the state average of 12.8%). The state leaders are Chester Countymarker with 20.5% and Montgomery Countymarker with 18.5%.

With only 17.3% working in the professions, Lancaster County is 31st in Pennsylvania,compared to a state average of 21.5%. Centre Countymarker leads with 31.8%, undoubtedly due to Penn Statemarker's giant footprint in an otherwise rural county, but the upscale Philadelphia suburbs of Montgomery Countymarker give them 27.2%.

Lancaster County ranks even lower, 34th, in service workers, with 13.3% of the workforce, compared to a state average of 15.8%. Philadelphia Countymarker, leads with 20.5%.

There are 11,000 companies in Lancaster County. The county's largest manufacturing and distributing employers at the end of 2003 were Acme Markets, Alumax Mill Products, Anvil International, Armstrong World Industries, Bollman Hat, CNH Global, Conestoga Wood Specialties, Dart Container, High Industries, Lancaster Laboratories, Pepperidge Farm, R R Donnelley & Sons, The Hershey Company, Tyco Electronics, Tyson Foods, Warner-Lambert, and Yellow Transportation.

Auntie Anne's, Clipper Magazine, Lancaster Farming, MapQuest, Turkey Hill Dairy, and Wilbur Chocolate Company are Lancaster County-based organizations with an economic footprint of regional or national significance.

Herley Industries is the third local defense contractor to face federal fraud charges in 20 years.

A typical Lancaster County farm with a horse-drawn farm implement and a corn field behind


With some of the most fertile soil in the U.S., Lancaster County has a strong farming industry. Lancaster County's 5293 farms, generating $800 million in food, feed and fiber, are responsible for nearly a fifth of the state's agricultural output. Chester County, with their high-value mushroom farms, is second, with $375 million.

Livestock-raising is responsible for $710 million of that $800 million, with dairy accounting for $266 million, poultry and egg accounting for $258 million. Cattle and swine each account for about $90 million.

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Agriculture is likely to remain an important part of Lancaster County: almost exactly half of Lancaster County's land - - is zoned for agriculture, and of those, are "effective agricultural zoning", requiring at least per residence.


Tourism is a significant industry in Lancaster County, employing 47,000.
"I break for Shoofly Pie" is the state tourism slogan.
In the 1860s, articles in the Atlantic Monthly and Lippincott’s Magazine started tourism in Lancaster County right after the Civil War, but it didn't really take off until the 1920s, when the Lincoln Highway was built. A New York Times travel article in 1952 brought 25,000 visitors, and the 1955 Broadway musicalmarker Plain and Fancy brought even more, but tourism tapered off, after the 1974 gas rationing and the Three Mile Islandmarker incident led to five years of stagnation.

Local tourism officials viewed it as deus ex machina when Hollywoodmarker stepped in to rescue their industry. Harrison Ford, in the popular 1985 movie Witness, played John Book, a Philadelphia detective who in turn played "Plain" in order to protect Samuel Lapp, an Old Order Amish boy who has witnessed a murder. Predictably, John Book falls in love with Rachel Lapp, the boy's widowed mother; the movie is less a thriller than a romance about the difficulties faced by an English man in love with a Plain widow. The film was nominated for eight Oscars, and won two. However, the real winner was Lancaster County tourism, as movie-goers found themselves intrigued by the Plain.

Once again, especially after the 9/11 attacks, tourism in Lancaster County has shifted. Instead of families arriving for a 3-4 day stay for a general visit, now tourists arrive for a specific event, whether it be the rhubarb festival, the "maize maze", to see Thomas the Tank Engine, for Sertoma's annual "World's Largest Chicken Barbecue" or for the latest show at Sight & Sound Theatres. The tourism industry is discouraged by this change, but not despondent:

[[Image:Jackson's Sawmill Covered Bridge Three Quarters View 3264px.jpg|thumb|right|One ofthe 29 covered bridges in Lancaster County.]]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.

The Lancaster County Convention Center Authority[12429] is building a controversial $170 million[12430] convention center in downtown Lancaster on the site of the former Watt & Shand building. The project's supporters believe it would promote the revitalization of the city's center. Its opponents, however, feel it poses an unacceptable risk to taxpayers[12431].

Other tourist attractions include the American Music Theatre, Dutch Wonderlandmarker, Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata Fair, Hans Herr House, Landis Valley Museummarker, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire (one of the largest Renaissance fairs in the world), Railroad Museum of Pennsylvaniamarker, Rock Ford plantationmarker, Robert Fulton Birthplace, Sight & Sound Theatres, Strasburg Railroadmarker, and Sturgis Pretzel House. There are many tours of this historic area including the Downtown Lancaster Walking Tour[12432].


Map of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Lanacster County:




Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the United States Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law.

Other communities

Many communities are neither incorporated nor treated as census-designated places.


The colleges of Lancaster County are Elizabethtown Collegemarker, Franklin & Marshall Collegemarker, Harrisburg Area Community College, Lancaster Bible Collegemarker, Lancaster Theological Seminarymarker, Millersville University of Pennsylvaniamarker, Pennsylvania College of Art and Designmarker, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technologymarker and Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciencesmarker.

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There are 16 public school districts in the county:

There is also one charter school, the La Academia Charter School.

Additionally, Lancaster County has a federated library system with 14 member libraries, three branches and a bookmobile. The Library System of Lancaster County was established in April 1987 to provide well-coordinated countywide services and cooperative programs to assist member libraries in meeting the diverse needs of its community residents. The Board of Lancaster County Commissioners appoints the Library System of Lancaster County's seven-member board of directors. The System is an agent of the Commonwealth which supported Pennsylvania and The County of Lancaster.


Before the Barnstormers, Lancaster was the home of the Lancaster Red Roses, which played from 1906 to about 1930, and from 1932 to 1961. In 2005, the Lancaster Barnstormers joined the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Barnstormers are named after the "barnstorming" players who played exhibition games in the county. Their official colors are red, navy blue, and khaki, the same as those of the Red Roses. This franchise won their first league championship in 2006, only their second season. They have revived the old baseball rivalry between Lancaster and nearby Yorkmarker, called the War of the Roses, when the York Revolution started their inaugural season in 2007.

The Women's Premier Soccer League expanded to Lancaster for the 2008 season, with the Lancaster Inferno. The WPSL is a FIFA-recognized women's league. 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.

Amateur teams

Since 2004, the amateur Lancaster Lightning football team of the North American Football League has played at Pequea Valley High School's football stadium in Kinzers.

Former teams

From 1946 to 1980, a professional basketball team known as the Lancaster Red Roses (as well as the Lancaster Rockets and the Lancaster Lightning). played in the Continental Basketball Association.

See also


External links

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