Lancaster City is the eighth-largest city in Pennsylania at nearly 60,000 residents, and the seat of government for Lancaster County. While there are several zip codes that use the name “Lancaster” only a portion of them rest within the “city limits”. The Lancaster PA metro area ranks 2nd in the state for population at 507,000 residents.
Lancaster City is one of the oldest American cities, and the first major inland city established prior to the American Revolution. Originally named “Hickory Town”, local luminary John Wright (who had the first viable cross-Susquehanna River ferry and for who nearby Wrightsville is named after) renamed it Lancaster after the English city. The city appeared as early as 1681 on publicly-available plans, and the city design was laid out by a relative Alexander Hamilton in 1734. From 1799 to 1812 the city was home to the Pennsylvania State capital, until that was moved to Harrisburg.
DID YOU KNOW? On October 13th, 2011, Lancaster's City Council officially recognized September 27th as Capital Day, a holiday recognizing Lancaster's time as capital of the nation.
Lancaster City was home to Thaddeus Stevens, a virulent abolitionist leading up the American Civil War. The Stevens residence is now a preserved site alongside the new Lancaster County Convention Center & Hotel, which was opened in 2010. One of Steven’s contemporaries, James Buchanan, made Lancaster his home and lived at Wheatland, his estate on the west side of town, following the Civil War until his death. Wheatland is one of the area’s most popular attractions.
Today, Lancaster City enjoys a robust economy & downtown scene, with community groups emphasizing the arts and music cultures. The “First Friday” monthly event, where galleries and restaurants stay open late and hold open houses, consistently draw crowds of pedestrians to the city’s “downtown district”.
Lancaster City is also home to the region’s Lancaster General Hospital, with a large campus on North Duke Street. Franklin & Marshall College’s campus also plays a major role in city life in Lancaster, with Buchanan Park a popular spot for relaxing, sledding and a dog park.