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Ephrata ( EF-rə-tə; Pennsylvania German: Effridaa) is a borough in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States, 38 miles (61 km) south east of Harrisburg and about 57 miles (92 km) west by north of Philadelphia. It is named after Ephrath, a biblical town in what is now Israel. Ephrata's sister city is Eberbach, Germany, the city where its founders originated. In its early history, Ephrata was a pleasure resort and an agricultural community.
Ephrata's population has steadily grown over the last century. In 1900, 2,452 people lived there, in 1910, 3,192, and by 1940, the population had increased to 6,199. The population was 13,394 at the 2010 census. Ephrata is the most populous borough in Lancaster County.
Ephrata is noteworthy for having been the former seat of the Mystic Order of the Solitary, a semimonastic order of Seventh-Day Dunkers. The community, which contained both men and women, was founded by Johann Conrad Beissel in 1732.
Many of the members were well-educated; Peter Miller, second prior of the monastery, translated the Declaration of Independence into seven languages, at the request of Congress. At the period of its greatest prosperity the community contained nearly 300 persons.
The Ephrata Commercial Historic District, Ephrata Cloister, Eby Shoe Corporation buildings, Connell Mansion, Mentzer Building, and Mountain Springs Hotel are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ephrata is located at 40°10′51″N 76°10′57″W (40.17870, -76.17744).
Like the rest of the county, it is mostly flat land suitable for farming.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2), of which, 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) of it is land and 0.28% is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,213 people, 5,477 households, and 3,565 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,672.7 people per square mile (1,417.1/km²). There were 5,672 housing units at an average density of 1,576.6 per square mile (608.3/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.10% White, 0.64% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.06% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 0.82% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. 2.75% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 5,477 households, out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $41,550, and the median income for a family was $48,213. Males had a median income of $35,095 versus $22,782 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $19,659. About 3.7% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.
The Borough of Ephrata own and operate the Ephrata Community Pool which is located at 418 Vine Street. Currently, the pool is the oldest continuously operated swimming pool in Lancaster County, finishing its 84th year of operation in September 2015. A newly remodeled pool opened on May 26, 2012. This pool contains zero-depth entries, flume slides, and climbing walls among other things.
Schools in Ephrata are part of the Ephrata Area School District.
In August 2011 a luxury rehab opened adding over 175 new jobs
Ephrata has a mix of large and small businesses of many types.
Ephrata has a diverse mix of churches and faith groups, primarily Christian. The countryside surrounding Ephrata is home to a large number of Amish and Old Order Mennonite families.
The Ephrata Public Library, located on South Reading Road, is a member of the Library System of Lancaster County.
The U.S. Route 222 freeway passes to the east of Ephrata, heading southwest to Lancaster and northeast to Reading. US 222 meets the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) at the Reading interchange to the northeast of Ephrata. U.S. Route 322 passes northwest-southeast through Ephrata along Main Street, with an interchange at US 222 east of the borough. Pennsylvania Route 272 passes southwest-northeast through Ephrata along Reading Road, heading through the western part of the borough. The Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA) provides bus service to Ephrata along Route 11, which operates from the Walmart in Ephrata through the downtown area and south to downtown Lancaster. There is a park and ride lot at the Kmart in Ephrata that is served by RRTA.
The Borough of Ephrata Electric Division provides electricity to most of Ephrata, with PPL Electric Utilities providing electricity to part of the borough. The Borough of Ephrata Electric Division dates back to 1902, when the borough purchased it from the Lancaster Valley Electric Company for $7,000. The borough operated a small generating plant on South State Street before the Ephrata Borough Electric Plant was built on Church Avenue in 1924. The electric plant operated until 1965 when increased demand for electricity led the borough to purchase power from outside sources. The Borough of Ephrata Electric Division provides 140 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and has $18.6 million in sales. The Ephrata Area Joint Authority (EAJA) provides water to Ephrata along with Ephrata Township and Clay Township, serving 8,222 customers. The agency provides 700 million gallons of water annually, with water coming from the Cocalico Creek and groundwater wells. The EAJA operates a filtration treatment plant and has three wells and four storage tanks to store water. Trash and recycling collection in Ephrata is provided by the borough through a contract with Eagle Disposal or residents may choose to have a contract with another trash hauler. Natural gas service in Ephrata is provided by UGI Utilities.
WellSpan Health operates the WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital in Ephrata, which serves the borough and surrounding areas in northern Lancaster County. The hospital has 122 acute care beds and 8 acute rehabilitation beds and offers an emergency room, a cancer center, and a maternity unit among other inpatient and outpatient services.
Ephrata is a borough. The current mayor of Ephrata is Mayor Ralph Mowen. His term expires in December 2017.
The name 'Ephrata' is also used to refer to the surrounding Ephrata Township, Pennsylvania.
Ephrata has one sister city, as designated by Sister Cities International:
On Sunday, 29 March 2009, a strong storm briefly swept through Ephrata. On 31 March, the National Weather Service confirmed that it was an EF1 tornado. Strong hail came with it. Although there were no fatalities, 30 homes were damaged and 8 mobile homes were destroyed. Many vehicles could be seen on their side afterwards, and holes were put in houses from the hail.
Media related to Ephrata, Pennsylvania at Wikimedia Commons
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