German immigrants known as the Pennsylvania Dutch (from "Deutsch" meaning German) were the first to settle the Lancaster area in 1709. At that time, the area was known as "Hickory Town." Lancaster remained an important munitions center up to and throughout the Revolutionary War.
By 1730, the city had become the county seat. John Wright, a prominent citizen, gave it the name "Lancaster" after his hometown in England. It was designated as the capital of the American colonies on September 27, 1777, when the Continental Congress was fleeing British forces (who had captured Philadelphia). Lancaster was incorporated in 1818.
Some historic Lancaster notables include James Buchanan, the Fifteenth President of the United States; Abolitionist congressman Thaddeus Stevens; and Robert Fulton, inventor and engineer. The city was also the birthplace of the Pennsylvania rifle and Conestoga wagon.
The development of diverse industries helped to establish economic balance and self-sufficiency for the growing county. In addition to supporting a thriving agricultural industry, Lancaster County emerged as a center for commerce and transportation. The area became known for its quality craftsmanship in wood, leather and textile goods, grain production and milling, handicrafts and iron making.
Outside the historic walls of the Central Market, the city of Lancaster is looking toward a bright and successful future. Over the past several years, developers, historians, entrepreneurs, visionaries, city officials and a cast of hundreds have joined forces to breath new life into the downtown economy. Venerable buildings with such names as Watt & Shand, Brunswick, Tremellen and Armstrong have risen from the ashes of age and neglect to begin new lives as offices, residences, and entertainment complexes.
Educational opportunities abound in and around Lancaster. Local primary and secondary students are served by the School District of Lancaster. Those seeking post-secondary education have access to a number of institutions, both public and private. Some examples include Eastern Menonnite University (EMU), Elizabethtown College, Franklin & Marshall College, Harrisburg Area Community College - Lancaster, and Millersville University.
Whether you are searching for your next home in Lancaster, or looking to invest in real estate, browse current real estate listings, residential Lancaster homes for sale, single - family houses, condominiums, townhouses, or investment opportunities, to find your perfect home. View other relocation resources such as real estate market trends, sold property values in your neighborhood, mortgage financing options and professional real estate agent assistance.