Lancaster City


Lancaster City, PA

Lancaster City may be small, but it has a charming feel that marries a historic urban setting with the small town atmosphere that permeates all of Lancaster County. It is seven square miles in size and has around 60,000 people that call it home. That makes it the state’s 8th most populous city. Lancaster City is the county seat and it bustles with life and vibrancy.

It is difficult to visit Lancaster City and not see the significance and ambiance born of this old American city nestled in a beautiful country landscape. The city prides itself on being a convergence of historic preservation and a lively and hip art scene. Its neighboods are quaint and residents will make you feel welcome there. The city also actively communicates encouragement of business and values the diversity of its population.

Historically, Lancaster City was the home of the nation’s 15th president, James Buchanan and abolitionist, Thaddeus Stevens. It is possible to visit Buchanan’s estate, named Wheatland. Lancaster City was originally named Hickory Town but was later renamed by resident, John Wright. It’s symbol is the red rose, significant as the flower of the House of Lancaster.

The city was incorporated in 1818 and holds an important role in the state’s history. So important, in fact, that the city was even the state capital from 1799 to 1812 before Harrisburg landed that distinction. Far beyond that local significance, Lancaster City stands as very historic in American history at large. For one day in 1777, Lancaster City was the nation’s capital when war with the British drove the Continental Congress from Philadelphia and they set up governance in Lancaster City. It was there that Benjamin Franklin was elected commissioner to attempt to negotiate a treaty with France to assist the nation. Afterwards, the Congress quickly moved on to York, still evading the British.

Another interesting fact for visitors may be that the prison in Lancaster was fashioned after the English Lancaster Castle. As you can see, the city’s history stretches far and wide and is inclusive of our nation’s ties and struggles with England. Perhaps this is why the city has such a palpable feeling of timelessness.

If you are looking for a slightly more fast paced visit to the Lancaster area, Lancaster City is the perfect stop for you. There is always something to do in the city and you will find activities ranging from local music to baseball games. This is a city particularly proud of its art scene and you will easily feel the support and promotion that the city itself lends its creative community. Lancaster City is the home of the impressive Fulton Opera House. Be sure to stop by the Park City Center for some mall browsing.

The city’s website boasts over 200 unique shops where you are sure to find the perfect gift or item for your wardrobe or home. This is fitting for an area that housed Mr. Woolworth’s very first five and dime store in 1879. Restaurants are also plentiful and vary from casual to fine dining.


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