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Lancaster ( LANG-kə-stər) is a city located in South Central Pennsylvania which serves as the seat of Pennsylvania's Lancaster County and one of the oldest inland towns in the United States. With a population of 59,322, it ranks eighth in population among Pennsylvania's cities. The Lancaster metropolitan area population is 507,766, making it the 101st largest metropolitan area in the U.S. and second largest in the South Central Pennsylvania area.
The city's primary industries include healthcare, tourism, public administration, manufacturing, and both professional and semi-professional services. Lancaster hosts more electronic public CCTV outdoor cameras per capita than cities such as Boston or San Francisco, despite controversy among residents. Lancaster was home to James Buchanan, the nation's 15th president, and to congressman and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens.
Originally called Hickory Town, the city was renamed after the English city of Lancaster by native John Wright. Its symbol, the red rose, is from the House of Lancaster. Lancaster was part of the 1681 Penn's Woods Charter of William Penn, and was laid out by James Hamilton in 1734. It was incorporated as a borough in 1742 and incorporated as a city in 1818.
During the American Revolution, Lancaster was the capital of the United States for one day, on September 27, 1777, after the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, which had been captured by the British. The revolutionary government then moved still farther away to York, Pennsylvania.
Lancaster was capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1812, after which the capital was moved to Harrisburg.
In 1851, the current Lancaster County Prison was built in the city, styled after Lancaster Castle in England. The prison remains in use, and was used for public hangings until 1912. It replaced a 1737 structure on a different site.
The first paved road in the United States was the former Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, which makes up part of the present-day U.S. Route 30. Opened in 1795, the Turnpike connected the cities of Lancaster and Philadelphia, and was designed by a Scottish engineer named John Loudon McAdam. Lancaster residents are known to use the word "macadam" in lieu of pavement or asphalt. This name is a reference to the paving process named for McAdam.
The city of Lancaster was home to several important figures in American history. Wheatland, the estate of James Buchanan, the fifteenth President of the United States, is one of Lancaster's most popular attractions. Thaddeus Stevens, considered among the most powerful members of the United States House of Representatives, lived in Lancaster as an attorney. Stevens gained notoriety as a Radical Republican and for his abolitionism. The Fulton Opera House in the city was named for Lancaster native Robert Fulton, a renaissance man who created the first fully functional steamboat. All of these individuals have had local schools named after them.
After the American Revolution, the city of Lancaster became an iron-foundry center. Two of the most common products needed by pioneers to settle the Frontier were manufactured in Lancaster: the Conestoga wagon and the Pennsylvania long rifle. The Conestoga wagon was named after the Conestoga River, which runs through the city. The innovative gunsmith William Henry lived in Lancaster and was a U.S. congressman and leader during and after the American Revolution.
In 1803, Meriwether Lewis visited Lancaster to be educated in survey methods by the well-known surveyor Andrew Ellicott. During his visit, Lewis learned to plot latitude and longitude as part of his overall training needed to lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
In 1879, Franklin Winfield Woolworth opened his first successful "five and dime" store in the city of Lancaster, the F. W. Woolworth Company.
Lancaster was one of the winning communities for the All-America City award in 2000.
On October 13, 2011, Lancaster's City Council officially recognized September 27 as Capital Day, a holiday recognizing Lancaster's one day as capital of the United States in 1777.
Lancaster is located at 40°02'23" North, 76°18'16" West (40.039860, −76.304366), and is 368 feet (112 m) above sea level.
The city is located about 34 miles (55 km) southeast of Harrisburg, 70 miles (110 km) west of Philadelphia, 55 miles (89 km) north-northeast of Baltimore and 87 miles (140 km) northeast of Washington, D.C.
The nearest towns and boroughs are Millersville (4.0 miles), Willow Street (4.8 miles), East Petersburg (5.3 miles), Lititz (7.9 miles), Landisville (8.6 miles), Mountville (8.8 miles), Rothsville (8.9 miles), and Leola (8.9 miles).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2), of which, 7.4 square miles (19 km2) of it is land and 0.14% is water.
Lancaster has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) with hot or very warm summers.
As of the 2010 census, the city was 55.2% White, 16.3% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 3.0% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian, and 5.8% were two or more races. 39.3% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.
As of the census of 2000, there were 56,348 people, 20,933 households, and 12,162 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,616.5 people per square mile (2,940.0/km²). There were 23,024 housing units at an average density of 3,112.1 per square mile (1,201.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.55% White, 14.09% African American, 0.44% Native American, 2.46% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 17.44% from other races, and 3.94% from two or more races. 30.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino people of any race.
The largest ethnic groups in Lancaster as of recent estimates are:
In 2010, 29.2% of Lancaster residents were of Puerto Rican ancestry. The city has the second highest concentration of Puerto Ricans in Pennsylvania after Reading. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the "Spanish Rose." Lancaster celebrates its Puerto Rican heritage once every year with the Puerto Rican Festival.
There were 20,933 households, out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.5% under the age of 18, 13.9% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 17.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,770, and the median income for a family was $34,623. Males had a median income of $27,833 versus $21,862 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,955. 21.2% of the population and 17.9% of families were below the poverty line. 29.2% of those under the age of 18 and 12.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line. Poverty in Lancaster is twice the state's average, and public school records list more than 900 children as homeless. Although there are many Amish people from this area, not everyone from Lancaster is Amish, contrary to popular belief.
Lancaster City has been in the process of recreating itself, particularly since 2010, and there has been a growth of specialty shops, boutiques, bars, clubs, and reinvestment in downtown institutions and locations. In 2005 the creation of "Gallery Row" solidified the status of Lancaster as an arts destination. The art community continues to thrive and expand.
There are also plans to convert an area of unused polluted industrial grounds (i.e., brownfields), which were once occupied by Armstrong World Industries, into playing fields for Franklin & Marshall College. This action is expected to take up most of the former industrial site. The Northwest Corridor will be developed with funds from Lancaster General Hospital. The hospital plans to create a mixed-use development which will add several city blocks to Lancaster’s grid.
Another brownfield site is Burle Business Park, the City's only commercial and industrial park. Devoted to adaptive re-use, this facility originally opened in 1942 as a U.S. Navy electronics research, development and manufacturing plant that was operated by RCA. The Navy facility was purchased after World War II by RCA. Burle Business Park was originally occupied by Burle Industries, the successor company to the RCA New Products Division following the 1986 acquisition of RCA by General Electric Company (GE). The GE acquisition of RCA resulted in the divestiture of this facility and the electronic business, but GE retained certain environmental liabilities that were subdivided into a separate parcel. Burle Industries is a major manufacturer of vacuum tube products, including photomultiplier tubes, power tubes, and imaging tubes. and is the largest U.S. manufacturer of photomultiplier tubes. Burle Industries has completed a voluntary clean-up under the Pennsylvania Land Recycling Program ("Act 2").
In addition to Lancaster's boutiques, vintage shops, and art galleries (Gallery Row), Park City Center is the largest enclosed shopping center in South Central Pennsylvania. The mall includes more than 150 stores and is anchored by The Bon-Ton, Boscov's, JCPenney, Kohl's, and Sears. Park City opened in September 1971.
Built in 1889, the Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continuously operated farmers market in the United States, and many tourists come to purchase the handmade Amish goods that are not commonly found elsewhere. Central Market is listed with the National Register of Historic Places, and its towers are of the Romanesque Revival style. The market underwent renovations beginning in July 2010, during which certain sections were closed off; though it remained in operation during this time.
Lancaster also has two outlet shopping centers, both of which are located in East Lampeter township on U.S. Route 30. Tanger Outlets is home to about 65 stores. Rockvale Outlets contains over 100 stores and restaurants.
According to Lancaster's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
Lancaster operates under a mayor / council form of government. Rick Gray is the 42nd mayor of Lancaster city. The City Council is composed of seven members: President John Graupera, Vice President Barbara J. Wilson, James Reichenbach, Tim Roschel, Danene Sorace, Pete Soto, and Louise B. Williams. On November 7, 2017, Councilwoman Danene Sorace was elected Lancaster's 43rd mayor.
The city has a full range of services including public safety, health, housing, parks, streets & highways, Water operations and sewer operations.
The Lancaster City Bureau of Fire has a staff of 75. The City Bureau of Fire operates out of three fire stations, located throughout the city, as well as a maintenance facility. The Bureau operates a fire apparatus fleet of three engines, one truck, and a shift commander, as well as numerous special, support, and reserve units. The Bureau responds to approximately 3,250 emergency calls annually.
The city of Lancaster is protected by the City of Lancaster Bureau of Police. Founded in 1865, the Bureau of Police is located at 39 W. Chestnut Street in downtown Lancaster, and consists of approximately 147 sworn officers and 46 civilian employees. The Bureau of Police operates out of twelve sectors, or districts, and operates in four divisions, including Patrol, Criminal Investigative, Administrative Services, and Contracted Services. The Bureau also remains the largest law enforcement agency in Lancaster County.
Not long after a police officer was wounded in a February 17, 2000 daytime shootout near the center of Lancaster's Penn Square, community residents, law enforcement, and elected officials sought viable solutions to rising crime in downtown. Addressing issues of public safety was a goal when the Lancaster County Crime Commission convened in August 2000. Public meetings and discussions were held over a two-year period. Among the seventeen recommendations in the Crime Commission's 2003 report was to explore the feasibility of a civilian-driven system of security cameras to support law enforcement and first responders.
Largely due to concerns over a government- or police-operated system of cameras, the Lancaster Community Safety Coalition (LCSC) organized and was registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a nonprofit in 2004. Its goals included operating a video surveillance system, but it also developed to work on safety by design and community mobilization. Paid LCSC staff are background-checked by the FBI and trained to monitor the network of 164 closed-circuit TV cameras in the city of Lancaster. The community organization is also interested in stimulating economic development in downtown by creating a safe environment.
In 2009, the LCSC's expansion from a 70 to a 165-camera network attracted national attention, including a front-page article in the Los Angeles Times: "Lancaster, Pa., keeps a close eye on itself". The article quoted city police chief Keith Sadler as saying, "Years ago, there's no way we could do this... It brings to mind Big Brother, George Orwell and 1984. It's just funny how Americans have softened on these issues."
Prior to the Los Angeles Times article, there had been little public opposition to the CCTV camera system. Data showed it had contributed to the prosecution or prevention of several crimes. However, in response to the national coverage, a small but vocal group of opponents developed, who wanted to turn off the cameras, "possibly for good." The MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann highlighted the issue in his 'Worst Person in the World' segment, criticizing the citizens for "spying on each other." ABC's Nightline and CBS Evening News also covered the citizen-operated surveillance system.
While Lancaster County as a whole tilts heavily Republican, the city of Lancaster is much friendlier to Democrats. Registered Democrats held a 13,000 voter registration advantage over registered Republicans in the city as of June 2009. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama easily won the city of Lancaster, receiving 76% of the vote during the 2008 presidential election.
Federally, Lancaster is part of Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district, represented by Republican Lloyd Smucker of nearby West Lampeter Township, who succeeded 20-year incumbent Republican Joe Pitts in 2016.
The state's senior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Bob Casey, elected in 2006. The state's junior member of the United States Senate is Republican Pat Toomey, elected in 2010. The Governor of Pennsylvania is Democrat Tom Wolf of neighboring York County, elected in 2014. Additionally, the city of Lancaster is the headquarters of the Constitution Party.
Lancaster was home to Democrat James Buchanan, the fifteenth president of the United States. Buchanan arrived in Lancaster in 1809 to practice law. He took up residence near the courthouse on N. Duke Street. In 1848 he purchased Wheatland, a Federal style mansion in the suburbs. He was elected President in 1856.
The Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA) provides local bus transit to Lancaster City and surrounding areas in Lancaster County. RRTA is headquartered outside the City of Lancaster.
Bieber Transportation Group (formerly Capitol Trailways) formerly provided intercity bus transit from the Lancaster Train and Bus Station to Reading, Norristown, Philadelphia, and New York City to the east, and York to the west; service was discontinued on April 1, 2018.
Amtrak also serves the Lancaster Train and Bus Station, located on the northernmost edge of the city at 53 East McGovern Avenue. The Pennsylvanian, with service between Pittsburgh and New York via Philadelphia, as well as the Keystone Service, which runs from Harrisburg to New York via Philadelphia, both serve Lancaster. The city is served by the Lancaster Airport, located six miles (10 km) north of downtown and just south of Lititz.
Lancaster is also a hub for automobile traffic, with many major roadways passing through or around the city, including US-30, US-222, PA-283, PA-72, and PA-272.
Many of Lancaster's landmarks are significant in local, state, and national history.
The city of Lancaster has art, craft and historical museums. The Demuth Museum is located in the former home of the well-known painter Charles Demuth, who had a national reputation in the 20th century. Additional museums include the Lancaster Museum of Art and the Philips Museum of Art on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College. Art students at the state-of-the-art Pennsylvania College of Art and Design present their works at the academy's gallery, which is open to the public. LancasterARTS, a non-profit organization founded in 2002, promotes contemporary arts and crafts.
Lancaster city has a thriving art community. Gallery Row on the 100 block of North Prince St. features a block of art galleries, and the city proper has over 40 galleries and artists' studios. The galleries host a "First Friday" each month, extending their business hours to exhibit new artwork and new artists to the public.
The Lancaster County Quilts and Textile Museum, completed in 2007, celebrates the art of the hand-sewn quilts and other textile items produced by women of the region's Amish and Mennonite communities. The Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society Museum and the Heritage Center Museum display artifacts and interpret the region's unique history. Children can have a hands-on experience with educational learning at the Hands-on House, also known as the Children's Museum of Lancaster. Nature and geology-minded visitors can view the exhibits of the Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretum and the North Museum of Natural History and Science.
Stevens and Smith Historic Site is located within the Vine Street lobby of the Lancaster County Convention Center. The site includes the preserved home of U.S. Senator Thaddeus Stevens and his companion Lydia Hamilton Smith. The underground portion of the site includes a recently discovered Underground Railroad feature: a converted water cistern used in the antebellum years to hide fugitive slaves on their way to freedom.
In Lancaster County, the Landis Valley Museum in Manheim Township has exhibits that interpret the county's history and culture, especially as a center of ethnic German Amish and Mennonite culture.
There is a rich history of theater and music in Lancaster. The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra has been performing since 1947. The Fulton Opera House is one of the oldest working theaters in the United States. The Ware Center (owned by Millersville University) and The Trust Performing Arts Center (operated by Lancaster Bible College) both regularly host live theater, concerts, and performances. Tellus360 and the Chameleon Club are rock and event venues in downtown Lancaster.
The Barnstormers played their inaugural season in 2005, filling Lancaster's 44-year period without professional baseball since the demise of the Red Roses. Their main Atlantic League rival is the Revolution from nearby York.
Lancaster is the hometown of Major League Baseball alumnus Tom Herr. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets, and the San Francisco Giants before ending his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Herr subsequently coached the Hempfield High School Black Knights baseball team for several years. He also managed the Lancaster Barnstormers in their first season. In 2006, Herr led the club to their first-ever Atlantic League championship over the Bridgeport Bluefish.
The Lancaster Bicycle Club hosts an annual Covered Bridge Metric Century bicycle race. In 2010, more than 2,500 riders participated.
The city of Lancaster hosted the Tom Bamford Lancaster Classic, an international, professional bicycle racing event held each June since 1992. It was part of the 2006–2007 UCI America Tour and the 2007 USA Cycling Professional Tour.
Professional golf is well represented by the Professional Golf Association's Jim Furyk. He placed 4th in the 1998 and 2003 Masters tournament, won the 2003 U.S. Open, placed 4th in the 1997, 1998, and 2006 British Open, and placed 6th in the 1997 PGA championship. Furyk also won the Vardon Trophy in 2006. He is an alumnus of Manheim Township High School, located in the immediate suburb of Manheim Township.
The 2015 U.S. Women's Open was held at the Lancaster Country Club.
The Women's Premier Soccer League added the Lancaster Inferno in the 2008 season. The WPSL is a FIFA-recognized Division IV league, and is also included in the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid. The Inferno is owned by the Pennsylvania Classics organization and plays home games at the Hempfield High School stadium in Landisville. The Inferno's colors are black and white.
In 2013, USA Field Hockey announced their intentions to move their national training center for the United States women's national field hockey team to Lancaster County. They signed with Spooky Nook Sports through 2022 after searching for many years for a northeastern site.
Lancaster's suburban area hosts several amateur sports teams. Ice hockey is represented by the Central Penn Panthers, a member of the junior-level Atlantic Metropolitan Hockey League, and both the Lancaster Firebirds, and Regency Panthers youth amateur ice hockey organization of the USA Hockey's Atlantic District. American football is represented by the Lancaster Lightning, a member of the semi-professional North American Football League, that plays in nearby Kinzers. A close cousin of American football, rugby, is represented by the Roses Rugby Football Club of the Mid Atlantic Rugby Football Union, of which the Roses RFC were the 2005 champion. Roller derby is represented by the Dutchland Derby Rollers, an all-female roller derby team which plays to raise money for various charities, and is currently ranked #23 in the world by Derby News Network.
The Lancaster Red Roses of the Eastern Professional Baseball League are the most well-known of Lancaster's defunct teams. They played from 1906 to 1909, and from 1940 to their last season in 1961. The Red Roses were called the "Lancaster Maroons" from 1896 to 1899 and the "Lancaster Red Sox" in 1932.
The "Lancaster Red Roses" was also the name of a basketball franchise in the Continental Basketball Association (at that time, the Eastern Professional Basketball League) from 1946 to 1949, and from 1953 to 1955. The CBA later hosted another Lancaster team called the Lightning from 1981 to 1985. The Lightning later moved to Rockford, Illinois, where they played until the 2007 season. The Storm of the Eastern Basketball Alliance played from 1997 to 2000, winning the league championship in 1999. The last professional basketball team to call Lancaster home was the Liberty, who played as a member of the now-defunct Global Professional Basketball League in 2009.
Education in Lancaster is provided by many private and public institutions. The School District of Lancaster runs the city's public schools. Established in 1836, it is the second oldest school district in Pennsylvania.
The local high school campuses are McCaskey and McCaskey East. Lancaster Catholic High School has a long history in the county; it was founded in 1926. It currently falls under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Harrisburg. With a P-12 enrollment of more than 500 students, Lancaster Country Day School is one of the region's largest independent nonsectarian schools. Founded in 1908 as the Shippen School for Girls, the school became coeducational and relocated from downtown Lancaster to its Hamilton Road address in 1949. La Academia Partnership Charter School, opened in 1998, serves grades 6-12. It is the only public charter school in Lancaster County, and is open to any student residing in the county. Manheim Township School District is a four-year public high school located in Lancaster. It is the only high school in the Manheim Township School District. It is supported by a 7th and 8th grade middle school, a 5th and 6th grade intermediate school, and five elementary schools.
In 2008, Manheim Township High School was named one of the top 505 high schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. It is also known for graduating professional golfer Jim Furyk.
On May 13, 2015, Lancaster City was named by GoodCall as the number one best city in the country to be a teacher. The top 10 list was based on average annual teacher salary, available teaching jobs, teaching jobs per capita, high school graduation rates, cost of living and amenities. Data was gathered from the U.S. Census, Indeed.com, the National Center for Education Statistics, and WalkScore.com.
The Lancaster area hosts several colleges and universities, including Consolidated School of Business, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster General College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania College, and the Harrisburg Area Community College.
Lancaster is part of the Harrisburg-Lancaster-York market. In addition to WGAL and TeleCentro TV, the city is served by CBS/MyNetworkTV/CW affiliate WHP-TV, ABC affiliate WHTM-TV, PBS member station WITF-TV, and Fox affiliate WPMT. WPMT is based in York, while the other major stations are based in Harrisburg.
Businesses based in the vicinity of Lancaster include Armstrong World Industries, Auntie Anne's, Fulton Bank, Fulton Financial Corporation, Herley Industries, Isaac's Restaurant & Deli, Kunzler & Company, Inc., Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster Laboratories, Opening Day Partners, Y&S Candies (a division of The Hershey Company), and the Lancaster Caramel Company (the original parent company of the Hershey Company). Notable nonprofit organizations include Hope International and Water Street Ministries.
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