Red Rose City

While many people come to the Amish Country to "get away" from the city, Downtown Lancaster is not at all like a big metropolis. Often overlooked by visitors, the historic district has unique shops, restaurants, galleries, and attractions for the discerning traveler.

Begin at the Downtown Visitor Information Center in the Chamber of Commerce. It is located in the restored Southern Market building, just one block south of the square. Here a helpful staff will orient you, and a walking tour with a costumed guide can be obtained. Most places of interest are located just a few blocks from the square, so you can park and explore on foot.

Over 200 years old, Lancaster has produced many colorful characters and fascinating stories. Herewith, some interesting tidbits from its past...

* Some of borough’s first laws of 1742 prohibited riding horses on sidewalks and allowing pigs to run loose.

* After being punished, thieves had to wear a large "T" on their coat for six months.

* During the French and Indian war, Benjamin Franklin came to town to buy wagons and horses, reputed to be "the best of any that had been supplied."

* In a despicable moment from history, a gang broke into the town jail in 1763, and massacred the last remaining Indians in the county, who were being held in the jail for their "safety." * Scotch-Irish patriot Archibald Steele walked from Lancaster to Boston to join the cause when the Revolutionary War broke out.

* Lancaster was the capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 until 1812. When the capital was moved to Harrisburg, locals accused the State government of stealing the stove from the Lancaster Court House.

* When the railroad came in 1834, the first cars were drawn by horses.

* The first mayor of the city was John Passmore. He was one of the first violators of the no smoking ordinance, and was fined twenty shillings. Passmore weighed 480 pounds. Legend has it that when he died, no hearse was large enough, and his casket was carried in a wagon.

Well, I promised you colorful characters, didn’t I? To read more about the "Red Rose City" visit our Downtown Lancaster page.

Amish Country News Publisher's Message by Brad Igou (July 2000) Return to the Publisher's Messages page.


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