Lancaster is probably best known for the population of Christian Anabaptist communities around it known collectively as the Amish. Lancaster City itself contains very few Amish, and an unusually large concentration of Vietnamese citizens, as well as Hispanic, Black, and Caucasian citizens.
Important note to visitors! As a former long-time resident of Lancaster City and the surrounding area, I feel an obligation to point out that the Amish community does NOT particularly like visitors, tourists, or sightseers. They are an intensely private religious community doing their best to go about living according to the ways of their religion and culture, and very much wish to be left alone unless you are invited. Do NOT take photos without permission, do NOT harass or otherwise pester them about their way of living, and above all else, do NOT trespass on private property!
There are official tourist exhibits set up by the local government and various private enterprises that will allow you to learn about the Amish in a way that is respectful and positive for everyone involved.
Lancaster is the oldest inland city in the United States of America. It is 71 miles west of Philadelphia and is snuggled along the north and west by the mighty Susquehanna River.
German immigrants, known as Pennsylvania Dutch (from "Deutsch" meaning German), were the first to settle in the area in 1709. At that time it was known as "Hickory Town". The Honorable James Hamilton laid it out in building lots and out lots, and in May 10, 1729, it became the county seat. John Wright, a prominent citizen, gave it the name "Lancaster" after Lancaster, England where he formerly lived. The city is known as the "Red Rose City" due to its link to Lancaster, England. Lancaster became a borough in 1742, a charted city on March 10, 1818, and surrendered its ancient city charter and became a Third Class City under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on May 27, 1924.
Lancaster was an important munitions center during the Revolutionary war. It was National Capital of the American colonies on September 27, 1777, when the Continental Congress was fleeing British forces (who had captured Philadelphia). From 1799 to 1812, Lancaster was the capital of Pennsylvania.
- source: Lancaster City web site
Christopher S. Penn resided in Lancaster, Pennsylvania from 1993-1997.