The history of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is rich and varied, dating back to the earliest parts of modern American history. It was originally called Hickory Town, but was renamed after the English city of Lancaster. The city was laid out by James Hamilton in 1734 and incorporated as a borough in 1742 and as a city in 1818.
During the Revolutionary War, Lancaster was actually the capital of the United States for one day—September 27, 1777—when the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia on their way to York, Pennsylvania.
Lancaster can also claim to be home to the first paved road in the country, the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, which is part of U.S. Route 30 today. Several notable early Americans called Lancaster home including Thaddeus Stevens, Robert Fulton, and President James Buchanan’s Wheatland estate is located here.
As America was expanding, Lancaster played an important role by producing the famous Conestoga wagon that many pioneers used to settle the American frontier. In 1803, Lancaster native Andrew Ellicott also helped train Meriwether Lewis in surveying techniques before Lewis headed out on the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Today, Lancaster is a great place to live, work, and visit and celebrates its rich history and culture every day.