Highlights of Lancaster’s History
By DR. H. M. J. KLEIN
Oftimes referred to as “Mr. Lancaster,” Dr. H. M. J. Klein has made a contribution to virtually every facet of public life. Teacher, minister of the Gospel, and counselor in affairs of City and State.
Lancaster County soil was fertile Indian territory long before the discovery of America. Before the coming of William Penn, French traders bartered with the native Shawanese. In the later days when there was trouble between the French and the English in America, the governor of the province, John Evans, visited these Indian settlements in order to establish their loyalty to Queen Anne.
As early as 1709 a colony of Mennonites came from Switzerland under the leadership of Hans Herr—whose house is still standing, the oldest in the County—and began to make this district the richest agricultural region in the United States. Then came the French Huguenots, the Scotch-Irish, the Quakers, the Welsh, the Palatines.
At the time when Pennsylvania had only three counties, Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester, from the last-named county a section was separated, to which John Wright, a native of Lancaster, England, one of the first settlers in this region, gave the name of Lancaster County. This separation took place in 1729. Out of the original Lancaster County, York, Cumberland, Berks, Northumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon counties have since been taken, leaving Lancaster County today an area of 928 square miles of territory which for beauty, fertility and picturesqueness is unexcelled.
On a plot of ground owned by Andrew Hamilton, and divided by him into town lots, there sprang up two hundred and thirty years ago an embryo village called “Hickory Town” or “Gibson’s Pasture” which was the beginning of what is now known as Lancaster City. When Andrew Hamilton laid out this village in 1730 on the 500-acre tract of land he owned, there were less than two hundred inhabitants in the town. It was through his son, James Hamilton, that the village was turned into a borough in 1742. The first Burgess of Lancaster was Thomas Cookson, an Englishman, whose remains are interred in the church yard of St. James Episcopal Church.
A number of important Indian treaties were made at Lancaster in 1744 between the chiefs of the Six Nations and the rulers of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. In the formulation of these treaties, all the disputes between the whites and the Indians came up for discussion.
During the French and Indian War, through the influence of Benjamin Franklin, hundreds of wagons and pack horses were sent from Lancaster to General Braddock. Many officers and soldiers from this section served in the battalions which marched with Forbes and Bouquet to the Ohio. In this list of Lancaster County men who served in the French and Indian Wars are found the names of Shippen, Grubb, Atlee, Hambright, Reynolds and a roll of five Presbyterian clergymen serving as chaplains.
The Indian history of Lancaster County ends in 1763, when a band of sixty men called the Paxton boys came to this city, stormed the jail and workhouse, then located at the northwest corner of West King and Prince Streets, and massacred all the Indians confined there for protection.
In the days of the American Revolution, Lancaster was an important center of patriotic activities. After the closing of Boston Port, a meeting of protest was held in the Lancaster Court House. Her deputies attended the Pennsylvania Convention in Philadelphia and joined in a call for a Colonial Congress. After Lexington, the citizens at a public meeting pledged their lives and fortunes to the cause of all the Colonies, and companies of expert riflemen were organized. William Simpson of Captain Smith’s Lancaster company, was the first Pennsylvania soldier who fell in the Revolutionary War. Many British prisoners were brought to Lancaster, among them being Major Andre, kept for a time at the Cope House, corner of Grant and North Lime Streets.
When the British were on the point of occupying Philadelphia, Continental Congress and the Executive Council of Pennsylvania were removed to Lancaster. The members of Continental Congress arrived here on September 27, 1777, the very day on which General Howe entered Philadelphia. The records and treasury were removed to Lancaster by way of Reading. One session of Congress was held here; but the members, believing that they might be interrupted by the enemy, resolved to remove Congress to York.
The Executive Council of Pennsylvania met here on October 1, 1777 and its sessions continued to be held in this city for nearly nine months, during which time the President of the Council, the Hon. Thomas J. Wharton, Jr., died, and was interred in Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Lancaster furnished a signer of the Declaration of Independence in the person of George Ross. Another son of Lancaster, who brought 5distinction to his native soil, was David Ramsay, the historian of the Revolution. William Henry conducted a gun factory to manufacture and repair arms for the Continental army. His son, John Joseph Henry, took part in the expedition against Quebec and immortalized the campaign by his accurate and interesting account of the hardships and sufferings of that band of heroes who traversed the wilderness in an attempt to take Canada for the Colonial cause.
Restored Home of General Edward Hand
Open to Visitors Built 1796
The greatest military hero of Lancaster during the Revolution was General Edward Hand, one of Washington’s most trusted aides, who fought in the battles of Trenton and Long Island, succeeded Stark in command at Albany, and accompanied Sullivan’s Expedition against the Six Nations in 1779. His home “Rock Ford” still stands along the Conestoga River in the southeastern part of the city. Under the roof of this hospitable mansion, General Washington, Lady Washington and many soldiers and civilians famous in the early annals of our nation found shelter and congenial companionship.
In Revolutionary days the Moravian brethren at Lititz cared for many wounded soldiers, Continental, British, and Hessian, in a building that is still standing. Peter Miller among the Brothers and Sisters in the Ephrata Cloister translated the Declaration of Independence into many foreign tongues.
Lancaster is the home of Franklin and Marshall College. This institution developed out of what was originally Franklin College, 6founded at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin. The Legislature of Pennsylvania granted the College its first charter in 1787. Among the first trustees were four signers of the Declaration of Independence and seven officers of the Revolutionary Army.
George Washington visited Lancaster on several occasions, the most notable of which fell on the fifteenth anniversary of American Independence, July 4, 1791.
Lancaster was the capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1812, when the state capital was removed to Harrisburg. The State Legislature met in the Court House, which at that time was known as the State House, and stood in the center of the square, where the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument now stands.
Old Lancaster, with its Conestoga wagons, its story-and-a-half buildings, its colonial architecture, its historic associations, was the largest inland town in the colonies up to the time of the formation of the nation. It had 678 houses and 4,200 inhabitants in 1786. On its streets Robert Fulton played as a boy. The original Fulton birthplace is still standing in southern Lancaster County. The oldest continuous business firm in the county was the Steinman Hardware Company established in 1744 and closing in 1964. It was the oldest hardware store in the United States. The Demuth Tobacco Shop on East King Street, established in 1770, is the oldest tobacco shop in the United States. The Hager store is the oldest department store in America continuing on the same site and operated by the Hager family throughout the whole period of its history. One of Lancaster’s daily newspapers has been in existence for over a hundred and sixty-nine years.
Old Lancaster became New Lancaster when, after a period of seventy-six years under burgess rule, the town was incorporated as a city by a charter granted in 1818. John Passmore became the first Mayor of the city.
In the hundred and forty-eight years since its formation as a city, Lancaster has been the scene of widespread activities. It has developed into a progressive modern city under the leadership of men, many of whom have exerted a nation-wide influence. Foremost among these men was President James Buchanan, who first came into prominence as a young Lancaster lawyer in 1814, through a speech he delivered at a public meeting in this city after the city of Washington had been captured by the British. He was among the first to register as a volunteer with a company of dragoons, who marched from here for the defense of Baltimore. He represented this community in Congress when he was barely 29 years of age. From here he went to St. Petersburg under an appointment of President Jackson as Minister to Russia. Upon his return, he was chosen United States Senator and filled that office for ten years, after which he became Secretary of State under President Polk and later United States Minister to England under President Pierce. At the time of his election as the 15th President of 7the United States, he lived in the fine old colonial mansion known as “Wheatland” built in the suburbs of Lancaster. Few persons visit Lancaster for the first time without getting a glimpse of this historic spot, which has lost none of its generous hospitality. In Woodward Hill Cemetery, South Queen Street, five blocks from Penn Square, rests the remains of James Buchanan. The recently restored gravesite includes an exact replica of the marble tomb in granite. It is now a worthy shrine for Pennsylvania’s only native President. School children throughout the State contributed to the restoration, which was sponsored by the Pilot Club.
Restored Home of President Buchanan
A National Historic Landmark
Open to Visitors Built 1828
Lancaster has many associations with the Civil War. The first bloodshed in the United States caused by the Fugitive Slave Law, occurred in Christiana, Lancaster County.
President Lincoln, on his way to the White House from Springfield, stopped at Lancaster and delivered an address from the balcony of the Caldwell House, now the site of the Hilton Inn. When he passed through this city again on April 21, 1865, Lincoln’s body rested in a heavily-draped funeral car, and the sorrowing crowds stood with uncovered heads while the train passed. But between these two events, Lancaster showed its loyalty to Lincoln and his cause by a remarkable response to the call of the Union for troops in the war of the Rebellion. Soldiers from Lancaster County were found in sixty regiments of Pennsylvania. The well-known seventy-ninth regiment commanded by Colonel Hambright was composed wholly of volunteers. Shortly before 8the battle of Gettysburg, when General Early reached York and the brigade was sent to hold the bridge at Columbia, and the bridge was set on fire in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Southern Army, long lines of refugees passed through Lancaster. At Gettysburg, Major General John Fulton Reynolds, worthy son of Lancaster, commanding the Pennsylvania reserves, was among the first to lay down his life on his country’s altar. His body was carried to Lancaster and lies buried in the family enclosure in the Lancaster Cemetery. Every visitor to Gettysburg knows of the handsome statue erected to the memory of General Reynolds on that immortal battlefield.
On the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, now standing in Center Square, the names of the following battlefields are carved in high relief: Gettysburg, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Vicksburg, Wilderness, Chaplin Hills, Chickamauga, Petersburg. These names are a testimony to the martial valor of Lancaster County in the Civil War.
Lancaster has furnished many notable men and women to our national life. Thaddeus Stevens, the Great Commoner, lived in this city during the greater portion of his life. He was elected by the Whig Party to Congress in 1848, and threw himself into the arena as the aggressive foe of slavery. Throughout the Civil War he was one of the most strenuous advocates of emancipation and an able counsellor of President Lincoln. After his death in 1868, a noted historian said, “In the Congress of the United States from the time of its first officer, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, to this day, there was just one man who when he occupied a seat in that body held more power than any man in the government, and that man was a citizen of Lancaster County, Thaddeus Stevens.”
Among the many other notable personages associated with Lancaster were Benjamin West, the famous painter; Lindley Murray, America’s foremost grammarian; Lloyd Mifflin, one of the finest sonneteers of modern times, and Barbara Frietchie, who was born here.
To education, Lancaster has given the services of three State Superintendents of Public Instruction, James P. Wickersham, E. E. Higbee and Nathan C. Schaeffer; also Thomas W. Burrowes, the father of the free school system of Pennsylvania. In art, Lancaster has contributed the portrait painter, Jacob Eichholtz, who painted more than two hundred and fifty portraits, among his subjects being Chief Justice Marshall and many others of the foremost people of his day. The well-known Baron Stiegel was for many years a resident of Lancaster County and established in the town of Manheim a glass factory, the wares of which are highly cherished by antiquarians.
There is a remarkable mingling in Lancaster County of the old and the new—an atmosphere of quaintness, friendliness and cordiality. The county is full of the beauty and bounty of God, as the old of yesterday and the new of tomorrow meet in the Lancaster area whose influence reaches far and wide in the shaping of the larger life of the nation.
Some Historic Churches in Lancaster County
By DR. H. M. J. KLEIN
In response to William Penn’s invitation, a large number of European people left their homes during the first quarter of the eighteenth century and came to Pennsylvania in search of religious freedom and economic opportunity.
Following the rivers and the Indian trails from Philadelphia they soon found their way to the rich soil which is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
As early as 1709 a small group of Mennonites, followers of the martyr Menno Simons—“Switzers” as they were called—arrived in Penn’s Province, found their way to the Pequea creek and took up 10,000 acres of land. They were the direct descendants of the bitterly persecuted Anabaptists of the 16th century. They brought with them their lay ministers and their Bibles, and worshipped at first in their log houses. Later when these pioneer farmers began to erect meeting houses, they divided the building into two apartments by a swinging partition suspended from the ceiling. One apartment was used for religious, and the other for school purposes. Today, large Mennonite ‘meeting houses’ as their church buildings are called, are found everywhere in Lancaster County: at Willow Street, Mellingers, Strasburg, Manheim, Warwick and Brecknock as well as in a score of other congregational centers. Their ministers are now educated in the Mennonite colleges and seminaries. Two customs, however, have been strictly maintained: feet-washing in connection with the communion service, and the prayer head-covering among the women of the church.
The Amish are an offspring from the Mennonites on the practice of shunning. They came to America later. The names of Amish families are found among the early settlers of Lancaster County as early as 1725. About 1740 an Amish congregation was established near the headwaters of the Conestoga and Pequea creeks in Lancaster County. This settlement has continued to be a prosperous Amish community, and today this region constitutes one of the largest Amish settlements in America.
The early Amish settlers worshipped in private houses. They believed that to erect houses of worship was a tendency toward worldliness. They all continued this practice of worship until more recently. Today there are “House-Amish” and “Church-Amish.” The branch which is known among them as the “Old Order” still continues to worship in private homesteads. The Church Amish acquired a ‘church 10house’ for use in public worship. Their plain meeting houses are to be found in northeastern Lancaster County. Religion, whether in homestead or church, has first place in Amish life.
The Church of the Brethren, sometimes called Dunkers, is another group of the plain People of Europe who accepted William Penn’s invitation in 1719 and to find its way to the Conestoga Valley. They follow closely the practice of the Apostolic Church. Since 1776 they have had higher institutions of learning, among them Elizabethtown College located within the boundary of Lancaster County. They have established homes for the aged, the infirm and the orphans in our area, and are well organized for missionary endeavor. Their substantial church buildings are scattered throughout the county.
While the Plain People were among the earliest and most unique settlers in Lancaster County, they were soon followed in large numbers by the so-called church people of Europe: the Lutherans, the Reformed, the Moravians, the members of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, whose descendants today constitute a large majority of the inhabitants of this county.
The Lutherans who probably outnumber the members of any other religious denomination in Lancaster County, were among the earliest settlers having been associated with New Sweden as early as 1643. Many of their churches were founded in the county in the second quarter of the 18th century. The New Holland Trinity Church dates from 1730. The old Warwick Church at Brickerville records baptisms from 1731. St. Michael’s in Strasburg has a similar entry on May 1, 1730. Then there is the story of Old Trinity in Lancaster, with its beginning in 1729, the year in which Lancaster County was established. Its church building and school house were commenced in 1734.
The German Reformed Church people, coming from the Palatinate, were in the Conestoga Valley before 1725. For the next few years religious meetings were conducted in private houses by Conrad Tempelmann. On October 15, 1727 the first Reformed communion service was held in what is now known as Heller’s Church in Upper Leacock Township. When Lancaster became a Townstead, there were Reformed congregations at Lancaster, Cocalico and Zeltenreich.
Among the churches that branched from Heller’s Church was the First Reformed congregation in Lancaster. Its log church was built and dedicated in 1734 on a plot of ground given by James Hamilton.
Among the 18th century Reformed congregations in Lancaster County are Maytown, Muddy Creek, Bethany near Ephrata, Zion’s at Brickerville; Christ Church, Elizabethtown; St. Stephens, New Holland; Zeltenreich, near New Holland; Zion, New Providence; Swamp, West Cocalico; St. Paul’s, Manheim.
Lancaster County is one of the centres of the Moravian Church in America. The Lititz congregation was organized soon after 1742, following the visit of Count Zinzendorf. The original Gemeinhaus was dedicated a few years later. Trombones were substituted for French horns in the church orchestra in 1770.
TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
The Moravian Church in Lancaster has an interesting history. Count Zinzendorf preached in the Court House in Center Square, Lancaster, in 1742, when he was asked by some of his hearers to send a regular preacher to serve them. When Bishop Spangenberg preached in the Court House and advocated a merger of the church denominations, he was pelted with stones. The result was that the Moravians of Lancaster erected a stone church of their own on the corner of Orange and Market streets. It is recorded that the brethren gathered from Warwick to Lancaster to haul stone for the building, fifteen men and eight wagons in two days bringing in 94 large loads of the finest stone.
The ministrations of the Church of England came to the Lancaster County area very early. The rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church is known to have made journeys on the road to Conestoga in 1717 and to have designed to preach there once a month.
St. John’s Church, Pequea, has had an interesting history since 1728.
Probably the oldest inland Episcopal church in America is the Bangor Church of Churchtown, founded by the early Welsh in 1722. The first church built of logs was completed in 1734. This church derived its name from the Bangor Cathedral in Wales. In its burial ground lie soldiers of every war, including the French and Indian. It is said that George Washington worshipped here in 1758 and later during his winter at Valley Forge.
St. James’ is the Pioneer Episcopal church in Lancaster city. The first entry in the record of St. James’ Parish is dated October 3, 1744. Land for the building site was donated by James Hamilton. Thomas Cookson, Lancaster’s first Burgess, raised the money for the building. The church was built in 1754 on the lot still occupied for that purpose, and has been an historic landmark in Lancaster for more than two centuries.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lancaster, dates from 1853. It was established by Bishop Bowman and was known as St. John’s Free Church, in which the seats would be free to all who desired to avail themselves of the privileges of God’s house.
The Scotch Irish and the Welsh came to Lancaster County in the second decade of the 18th century, and brought with them the tenets of the Presbyterian church. The Rev. David Evans founded the Upper Octorara Church in 1720 and was at Donegal in the same year. For twenty years the immigration from Ulster averaged 20,000 a year. Donegal in Lancaster County became one of the strong seats of Presbyterianism in America. The Donegal Church became a center of patriotic endeavor, both in the French and Indian War and in the American Revolution. Its story is unique in American church history.
The Pequea Presbyterian Church dates back to the Rev. Adam Boyd who came from Ireland in 1722 and organized a group of churches west of the Octoraro. In 1731 the Pequea Church secured his services every sixth Sabbath.
The first log Pequea Church stood near a large white oak tree, which is still standing and marks the spot where Geo. Whitefield preached.
The Middle Octoraro Presbyterian Church was organized by the Rev. Adam Boyd in 1727. In the lower end of the county the Chestnut Level Church and the Little Britain Church belong to the early colonial period, as does the Leacock Church of 1739.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The First Presbyterian Church of Lancaster began in 1763, when James Hamilton granted Lot No. 19 on East Orange Street, on which a church building was erected in 1767. Services were held in the old Court House in Centre Square while the church was being built with funds secured by a lottery enterprise. This method was frequently used in the 18th century to build churches or construct roads.
The Presbyterian Church of Strasburg was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1833; that of Marietta in 1821; of Mt. Joy, 1840; of Christiana, 1859; Memorial Presbyterian Church of Lancaster, 1871.
Methodist ministers first visited Lancaster County in 1781, and a year later the Lancaster Circuit was formed. Bishop Asbury, who died in 1816, was well known in Lancaster County. He frequently stayed in Strasburg at the Inn of John Funck who painted his portrait on a now famous wooden panel in Washington, D. C. The Methodists erected a church near Willow Street in 1791, and another at Strasburg in 1807.
Fifty-four clergymen are named as having supplied the local Methodist churches of Lancaster County up to the year 1802 when the Soudersburg 13church was erected. Boehm’s Church, still standing in Pequea township, was a pioneer Methodist institution. Henry Boehm had a great deal to do with the founding of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Lancaster in 1807. The church building was erected in 1809 at the corner of Walnut and Christian streets. In 1840 ground was acquired extending the church lot to Duke street, where a handsome church structure now stands.
ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL
St. Paul’s Methodist Church dates from 1849; Broad Street from 1867; Bethel African Methodist Church from 1821. Many Methodist churches are found in southern Lancaster County and in the Octoraro Valley, and in all the Boroughs.
The Church of the United Brethren was the outcome of a meeting held in the Isaac Long barn near Oregon, Lancaster County, in the middle of the 18th century, when leaders of four denominations decided to be Brethren. It was not, however, until 1800 that the new denomination was separately organized. The oldest United Brethren congregation in Lancaster County is Ranck’s in the New Holland Circuit. The congregation met for forty years in a private house until a church was built in 1844.
There are many United Brethren churches in rural Lancaster County. The Otterbein U. B. Church in Lancaster City began in 1902 as a Mission Sunday School and has grown into one of the most vigorous churches in the city.
It is impossible in this space to do more than mention some of the other denominations, some of which are comparatively strong in Lancaster County. There are the United Evangelical churches, the Winebrennerians, or Church of God, members who have been active in the county for more than a century; the German Baptists and the English Baptists; the Church of Christ; the Swedenborgians and the Evangelical Association.
The Quakers crossed the Atlantic with Wm. Penn, and soon found their way into what is now Lancaster County. John Kennerly settled near Christiana in 1691. The first Friends meeting house was erected by Sadsbury Quakers in 1725. The Bart meeting house, erected 100 years later, represented the views of the Hicksite Friends. In 1758 the Penn Hill meeting house was built. The Quaker meeting house at 14Bird-in-Hand dates from 1749, the same year in which the Lampeter meeting house was built.
The Church of Our Father (Unitarian) was a rather late arriver in Lancaster. It was organized in 1902, and the stone church on West Chestnut Street was dedicated in 1909. The lecture hall in connection with the church was named Emerson Hall.
Independent congregations like the First Baptist, Calvary Independent, Seventh Day Adventists, Church of the Nazarene, Pentecostal Association, Christian Scientists, and Latter Day Saints have substantial church buildings in Lancaster. To this group we may add the Monastic Orders of provincial Ephrata, with their remarkable buildings at the Cloister. These Seventh Day Baptists, with their Prayer Hall, (The Saal), built about 1734, are unique in American history and folklore.
The first Roman Catholic Mission in Lancaster was established in 1741. A log church was built in 1742 on the site of the present St. Mary’s Convent. Father Keenan served St. Mary’s Church for more than half a century. St. Joseph’s and St. Anthony’s followed in the 19th century. St. Peter’s of Elizabethtown was founded in 1752. A number of Catholic churches are to be found in the boroughs of the county, and impressive churches have been erected in the city.
The Jewish faith has been established in Lancaster since 1732. The first organized congregation of Jews in Pennsylvania met at the home of Joseph Simon, a Lancaster merchant. Later they met in a building on the northwest corner of North Queen Street and Centre Square. The first Temple was built in 1866, and the present structure at Duke and James Streets was dedicated in 1896.
In the nature of the case, we must forego reference to most of the individual churches in the Lancaster area, in this brief outline. My purpose in writing this article has been to impress on the public the fact that religion since early colonial and provincial days has been a vital factor in the area of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
DONEGAL CHURCH AND WITNESS TREE
In June, 1777, the members of Donegal Church (est. 1719), one of the major centers of early American Presbyterianism, forced their pastor, Mr. McFarquhar, to gather with them under the tree outside the Church and “bear witness” to support of the sacred cause of the American Revolution. The “Witness Tree,” a fine old oak, and the church, still stand. Both may be visited.
Folk Art of the Pennsylvania Dutch
By JANE AND JACOB ZOOK
Pennsylvania Dutch Craftsmen, Writers and Decorators.
Hex Signs and Distelfinks, Tulips and Cut Tomatoes, those marvelous motifs of Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Art, form a part of our American cultural background which is second to none as a true folk art. In America there is no equal to this gay, colorful and bold art form of the early settlers of southeast Pennsylvania. The reading and learning of the “whys and ways” of this unique form of art can give not only the satisfaction of knowing, but also of doing, as its simplicity of design and frankness of execution inspires those who are untutored to attempt to create.
As Pennsylvania Dutchmen and craftsmen may we invite you all to join us in sharing this heritage of ours which is compounded of “fun and fancy” and diligent work. Paint our hex signs and distelfinks on your barns and kitchen cupboards; work the designs into your needle point and rugs; and decorate your furniture with hearts and tulips. Let our folk art inspire you to create useful household objects of clay and wood and adorn them with a gay splash of color and a whimsical motif.
We like to feel that the spirit of the Folk Artist did not die out entirely around 1850, as the historians claim, but a tiny spark survives to inspire present day craftsmen. A friend of ours makes beautiful pottery inspired by our early sgraffito dishes and utensils; another cross stitches the “birds and deers” from old samplers onto present day placemats; we paint fruit and flowers on chairs and chests; and all of us are greatly influenced by this marvelous source of design. There’s a Hex Sign Painter around these parts who will do a “rain sign” for you. He did one last summer for a Texan’s barn. Hoping for rain the Texan hung the sign and the next day “the rains came”—so they tell me. So why not let our love of color and a little of our superstition take hold of you, and if you have the patience and diligence of a Pennsylvania Dutchman, get to work and have fun.
Frances Lichten’s wonderful book “Folk Art of Rural Pennsylvania” should be read by anyone who is interested in the source, the nature and the form of this art; and, for the more serious student, John Joseph Stoudt’s beautifully written volume, “Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Art,” will help explain the mystical significance of the design motifs.
Folk Art as such no longer exists in our land, as a true folk art is only found in a homogeneous culture. But a definite trend towards craftsmanship does exist, and too, a definite stirring of pride in producing beautiful and useful things with one’s own hands.
Old Testament Place Names In Lancaster County
By SAMSON A. SHAIN, D.D.
Rabbi, Shaarai Shomayim
The Founding Fathers of communities in Lancaster County, as the Founding Fathers of our Country at large, cherished the Bible as a guide in their search for equal rights and justice, and especially freedom to worship God as they had learned to worship Him in the privacy of their homes and houses of worship. Giving scriptural names to their home and church communities, accordingly, served to symbolize for them, the attachment they felt for the liberty they were helping to proclaim in all the land.
Hence, one place our county pioneers called Goshen, land of plenty to which God had led them. Another place they called Bethel, House of God, wherein they could freely pour out their hearts in thanks and praise and petition. Still another they named Mount Nebo, mountain peak with an all-embracing view of their new Land of Promise. Another, Elim, place of rest in the shade of one’s tree with none to make man afraid. Still another, Eden, new garden home of delight planted by them in partnership with God. Yet another, Ephrata, shrine of freedom paid for by the labors of pioneer men and women, patriarchs and matriarchs of God’s newly chosen people planted in the New Zion he had appointed for them. In this same spirit, one, John Patton, gave the name Judea to the hill plantation straddling West Hempfield and Manor Townships on the banks of the Susquehanna, between Columbia Borough on the north and Washington Borough on the south, and warranted to him in 1774.
Lancaster County settlers, thus, chose Biblical names for their communities in the spirit of the Pilgrim Fathers before them, as a way of expressing thanks to God for leading them safely to these shores of freedom; as a way of affirming faith that unless God built a house of liberty, they labor in vain that build it, and as a way of making a promise to labor mightily to preserve that freedom and bequeath it unsullied to their descendants.
Mennonite Information Center, Library and Archives
215 Mill Stream Road, Lancaster, Pa.
5 mi. E. on U.S. #30 at Mill Stream Road
The Mennonite Library and Archives Building is one of the recent additions to Lancaster County’s cultural and educational facilities. It houses the church’s official information center which seeks to provide visitors with intelligent and accurate answers to their many questions about the Amish and the Mennonites.
The more than forty thousand volumes of the theological and historical library, with the Archives of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, provide a wealth of material for the serious researcher in the fields of theology, Anabaptist and related church history, state and local history, and genealogy. All these facilities are open to the public with no admission charge.
By GERALD S. LESTZ
Lancaster New Era staff writer and columnist; publisher of Baer’s Agricultural Almanac.
Farmers’ Markets in historic Lancaster date back to the very beginning of the community, 1730, and are a delight to today’s visitors, many of whom make a special point of “going to market.”
Lancaster City owns and operates two farmers’ markets—the Central, just off Penn Square, and the Southern, one block away at S. Queen and W. Vine Sts.
The Central is located on land deeded by Andrew and Ann Hamilton, original proprietors, to local officials on May 15, 1730, for use as a market “forever.”
In the early days, farmers brought their produce to this location and sold them in the open. This was a carryover from the European custom, and no cover was provided until 1757. The present building was erected in 1889.
The Southern market-house was built as a private venture in 1888, and was continued in that manner until 1950, when the property was bought by the city.
Stands in the markets are leased on a yearly basis. Most are held by the same families year after year, and many have been occupied by several generations.
Markets open early, and it is advisable to get to them before midmorning if you wish to avoid a crush. Local housewives, and men of the family, regularly come to market armed with sturdy wicker baskets which are quickly filled as they visit their favorite farmers, produce dealers, butchers, bakers and vendors of other foodstuffs.
Cut flowers, potted plants, and farm wives’ handiwork add their own touches of color.
A visit to market is a memorable experience, in which you encounter the favorite foods of an area known for hearty appetites and good cooks.
The farmers who maintain stands at the markets travel in from the countryside surrounding Lancaster early in the day. They park their cars outside the buildings, and carry in all their offerings to start each market day afresh.
In days gone by, when horses and wagons were the main means for travel, the farmers would drive to town the night before and put up at a downtown inn, stabling their horses in buildings connected with the hotels. But by 4 A.M. the farmers were up for the day, preparing their stands for customers.
Modern-day descendants of these earlier generations of farmers carry on the tradition of early rising. You can be sure that when you talk to a farmer at 8 A.M., his cows have been milked, eggs have been gathered, and many other farm chores completed before he drove to town with his fruits and vegetables.
Out-of-town visitors are often disappointed when they come to Lancaster and find that no market is being held that day. Market days for the Central and Southern follow:
Central is open on Tuesdays and Fridays. 6 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Best visiting hours: 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.
Southern is open Saturdays, 5:30 A.M. to 3 P.M.
Best visiting hours: 6 A.M. to 12 Noon.
Shopping bags to carry home your purchases are available at the markets. If you plan to become a “regular,” however, we suggest you buy a stout basket.
State Museums and Properties
By HOWARD E. ROHLIN, B.A., M.A.
Field Museum Curator for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission administers three properties in the area covered by this guide. Each one is, in its own way, unique. Cornwall Furnace is a fascinating relic of the earliest days of American industry. The Pennsylvania Farm Museum of Landis Valley recalls the days when horses provided transportation, coal oil provided light and the majority of our citizens lived and worked on farms. The Ephrata Cloister is a monument to the freedom of conscience which since the days of William Penn has been a precious part of the laws of the Commonwealth. The three present a lively and varying picture of the colorful past in old Pennsylvania.
Cornwall Furnace is a monument to the great colonial iron industry which flourished in the Furnace Hills of Lebanon and Lancaster Counties. In the region ore was abundant and so was the timber necessary for the charcoal so voraciously consumed by the old blast methods. Cornwall and the area surrounding constituted one of the most important munition centers of the Revolutionary era.
The Cornwall Ore Banks was the largest open pit iron mining operation in the United States, until the opening of the Mesabi. During its active operation more than twenty million tons of ore were removed. Begun in 1739 by Peter Grubb, the Furnace now stands essentially as it was after renovations of 1845-56, when the water-powered force draft system was replaced by steam. The early machinery is still in place and the plans for restoration include its reactivation.
The village of Cornwall is one of the finest examples of a “company town” in the state; laid out, built and maintained by the corporations which have operated the furnace and mine. The furnace, mine and village are an outstanding memorial to the better side of the paternalistic system so common in nineteenth century industry.
The Pennsylvania Farm Museum of Landis Valley could well be called the Commonwealth’s attic. Begun as a private collection by the brothers George and Henry Landis it has now become one of the country’s richest and most varied collections of materials dealing with rural Americana. If you have ever wondered what happened to this or that gadget that you vaguely remember on grandfather’s farm; stop wondering. It is probably at the Farm Museum.
The Museum has everything from dead fall mouse traps to steam powered tractors. Its collection of early Pennsylvania farm implements and craft tools is outstanding. Its collection of early pistols, rifles and guns is excellent. In its country store and in the restored Landis House the feeling of the gay nineties and the turn of the century Pennsylvania have been recaptured.
PENNSYLVANIA FARM MUSEUM OF LANDIS VALLEY
The annual Craft Days at the Museum have proven immensely popular. During this two-day event all of the ancient crafts represented in the museum collections flourish again—hand weaving, spinning, potting, furniture and tin painting, candle-making, printing, quilting, braiding, etc. All are demonstrated in appropriate settings. The Conestoga Wagon is again hitched up and steam tractors, charged up, haul wagon-loads of children through the nearby fields.
So extensive are the collections that some part of the display is sure to be of great interest to the visitor.
Today the museum includes many types of structure typical of small rural Pennsylvania communities of the past … residential and commercial buildings which provide an authentic background for the demonstration of rural arts, crafts and cottage industries.
Ephrata Cloister is the oldest of the properties in this area administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Erected between the years 1730 and 1750 it is a unique monument to a holy experiment that failed.
This outstanding choral group was founded in February, 1959, for the express purpose of performing the music of the Cloister, as recreated by the Director and Founder of the Chorus, Mr. Russell P. Getz. During the summer season, a series of public recitals are given on the Cloister grounds. For information regarding dates, contact The Cloisters, Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
Here on the banks of the Cocalico, under the leadership of Conrad Beissel, a protestant monastic community was established and for a time flourished. In buildings of a medieval style, reminiscent of their German homeland, the Seventh Day Baptists worked and lived and sought to withdraw themselves from a sinful world. The Saron or Sister House recalls the harsh and primitive conditions under which the nuns of the order lived. The almonry was the center from which the hospitality 22of the order was extended to all travelers. The printing press of the order, one of Pennsylvania’s oldest, was used in the preparation of the great Mennonite work, the Martyr’s Mirror, the preparation of which was the biggest printing job done in colonial America.
Short lived as the community was, it was in its day famed throughout Europe and America. It was too much the personal creation of Beissel to long outlast his death and under his successor, Peter Miller, a period of slow and mellow decline began. The community made its contribution to the American Revolution in caring for the wounded brought to Ephrata from the battlefield at Brandywine; many of the Brothers of Zion joined the dying as victims of the camp fever brought to the Cloister by their patients. The community was forced to burn its great buildings on Zion Hill in order to wipe out the infection.
Since 1941 when the Commonwealth acquired the property a very complete and meticulous restoration has been in progress. The attempt to duplicate in our day the workmanship of the eighteenth century and to capture the other-worldly spirit of the original builders has been a difficult task, but any visitor to the Cloister will be convinced that the result has justified the efforts.
Two additional properties in Lancaster County are being developed and will be administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission:
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg is now under construction on property adjacent to and joining the Strasburg Rail Road.
Robert Fulton birthplace near Wakefield, in Little Britain Township. This is an authentic restoration of the original farmhouse where Robert Fulton was born November 14, 1765.
The Susquehannock State Park, administered by the Dept. of Forests and Waters, is located on a high observation site on the mighty Susquehanna River. Opened in 1965 primarily for picnickers, sightseers and nature lovers, it affords a magnificent view both up and down the river. The Park is near the huge Muddy Run Hydro Storage Electric Generating Plant. In addition, several atomic power plants have been built or are being built on the banks of the Susquehanna River in this area.
Foods—And How We Like Them
By EDNA EBY HELLER
Pennsylvania Dutch food columnist and lecturer.
Lancaster County cookery definitely reflects the way of life of the Pennsylvania Dutch. They are a people who are hard working, creative and thrifty. A great many dishes common in today’s Dutch Cookery were created when a housewife felt compelled to utilize rather than discard. She wastes nothing in the garden, neither in the kitchen. That favorite little Milk Pie, she makes from left over pastry!
Generally speaking, Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is simple. There are few salads, but quantities of cookies, cakes and pies. With only a few exceptions, salads are limited to greens, served with a sweet sour sauce. Although not many daughters bake bread today, the grandmothers still set their dough to rise twice weekly. With her bread she will probably bake Cinnamon Sticky Buns or Moravian Sugar Cake. The latter is one of the yeast bread delicacies that is slightly fancy and extremely rich. Butter is the extravagance of Lancaster County cooks, and they themselves recognize this. One woman told her daughter-in-law: “You better close your eyes while I add the butter to the vegetables.”
You may have heard of the Sweets and Sours of the Pennsylvania Dutch. These include the spiced fruits, pickled vegetables, jellies and preserves. Because the Dutchman craves sours with every meal, the women-folk not only can many pickles, but pickle eggs, red beets, bologna and other meats. Dutch farmers make great quantities of cider vinegar for their own use and would not want to have to do without it.
Molasses, too, is indispensable. Twenty-five years ago each grocer had a molasses barrel or two, but there are only a few left. Barrel molasses is the table molasses that is spread on butter bread, fried mush, scrapple, egg cheese, fritters, doughnuts and many other deep-fat-fried foods. For cookies, cakes and pies, baking molasses is used. In the pie category alone there are many uses. We use molasses for Shoo-fly Pies, Molasses Crumb Pies, Molasses Custards, Funny Cake Pies, Montgomery, McKinley, Quakertown, Union, Lemon Strip Pies, Shellbark Custards and Vanilla Pies. Yes, we like our molasses! Perhaps, for this craving, we are indebted to our great-grandmothers who religiously gave their children molasses and sulphur for a “necessary spring tonic.”
It might be noted that we like boiled dinners. Vegetables are frequently cooked in the same kettle with the meat and potatoes. The favorite combinations are: cabbage and beef, sauerkraut and pork, green beans and ham, turnips and beef. More unusual, though, and favorites of any season, are our Boiled Pot Pies. Squares of dough are dropped 24into boiling broth to cook with either chicken, veal, pork, or beef. And again, potatoes are in the same kettle. Some cooks choose to use both Sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes in the same Pot Pie. You will find baked meat pies, but they are outnumbered by boiled ones of which the Chicken Pot Pie is the most popular.
There is a chicken specialty in Lancaster County that attracts great crowds. Every August and September when the Ladies of the Fire Company Auxiliaries serve Chicken Corn Soup suppers they make gallons and gallons. Plenty of chicken and plenty of corn in a rich chicken broth is tops on our list of soups.
Have you heard about our Funeral Pie? It is none other than a Raisin Pie. It may be Raisin Crumb or a two-crust Raisin Pie; either is called Funeral Pie. For as many years as our grandmothers can remember, this pie was made for the meal that was served to relatives and friends who had gathered for a funeral. Today, in this age of travel, there are few of these suppers served excepting among the Amish who still travel by horse and buggy.
The Shoo-Fly Pie is a common subject of inquiries. Everyone wants to know the translation of its name, but there is none. The discussion of whether the name actually came from an occasion when flies were chased from this molasses pie or whether its rough textured topping gave it a name similar to the French choufleur meaning cauliflower, has not yet been reconciled. There are many varieties of Shoo-Fly Pies. The Dutchman who likes to dunk wants his “dry as punk” and others like them “gooey as can be.” The latter is often referred to as the “wet-bottom shoo-fly.” Basically, this pie is made in an unbaked crust that is partially filled with a molasses mixture and covered with a thick topping of crumbs, which may or may not be spicy.
On the menu of the restaurant that serves Pennsylvania Dutch meals you are quite likely to see “Schnitz un Knepp.” Literally this means apples and dumplings. Specifically, “schnitz” are dried apple slices that are cooked with the dumplings in ham broth and then served with ham. Dried apple slices can be purchased in many stores, but on the farm each cook dries her own, just as she dries her own corn and beans, in the oven, on top of the coal stove or in the sun. Schnitz are also put into pies or served alone as stewed fruit.
Probably more apples go into Apple Butter which in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect is called Lottwaerick. Hand in hand with Lottwaerick goes Smiercase, the Dutchman’s version of cottage cheese, but much creamier than the commercial cottage cheese. Wherever Lottwaerick is served, there will be Smiercase. They were made to go together, we think. A thick slice of homemade bread when spread with Lottwaerick and then a layer of Smiercase is a joy to man, woman or child in the Dutch country.
Lancaster countians enjoy the flavor and color of saffron. This is the dried stigmata of the crocus-like flowers that bloom from a saffron bulb. Although it is almost extinct in our own cultivation of herbs, 25we now purchase the imported saffron and use it in breads, potato or noodle dishes, and always with chicken. This is one of the items that is regional within this region. Natives of Lancaster and Lebanon Counties delight in the flavor of saffron as well as its butter color, but no other Dutch cooks seem to appreciate it as we do.
Photo by Charles Rice
Throughout all of the Pennsylvania Dutch territory, there is much deep-fat frying. On Shrove Tuesday everyone eats doughnuts called Fasnachts, around which hang many folklore tales. But, apart from this day, there is much frying of doughs and batters. In Lancaster County there is a dough that is rolled to one-eighth inch thickness and cut into strips which are fried in deep fat. They are called Plow-lines, Streivlin, or Snavely Sticks. A generation ago these were made for the mid morning “nine o’clock piece” that was carried to the farmer in the fields. In recent years, however, this indulgence is almost a thing of the past, and so are the Streivlins. What a shame!
The visitor will notice that our food is abundant and our appetites are hearty. Traditional cooking that is really an art has been passed from mother to daughter by word of mouth for generations. Each cook uses “a pinch of this and a handful of that”; “sugar, to sweeten,” “butter, the size of a walnut,” and “flour, to stiffen.” Only recently have many of these recipes been written and standardized. More must be done, but there has been some progress made for the preservation of this “wonderful good” cookery.
Lancaster—A Prosperous Center of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry
By GERALD L. MOLLOY
Manager, Lancaster Chamber of Commerce
Lancaster has long been noted for its unusually stable economy. The factors which contribute to this stability are numerous but perhaps can best be summarized by pointing out that in this historic area one finds a unique balance between agriculture, commerce and industry. Lancaster County ranks in the first five of the 3,073 Counties in the United States in the value per acre of its agricultural production; more than 600 industrial plants provide employment for approximately 55,000 industrial workers; and Lancaster City, strategically located in the center of this prosperous agricultural-industrial County, serves as the commercial trade center for more than 318,400 persons. Thus with commerce, industry and agriculture complementing each other, Lancastrians traditionally have enjoyed a particularly healthy economic climate.
Since the days prior to the American Revolution, Lancaster has been famed for its skilled industrial workers and the wide diversity of precision products manufactured in its factories. With its workers largely drawn from fourth and fifth generation Lancaster families of English and German origin, local industry has established a far-flung reputation for the uniformly high quality of its labor.
Among the products manufactured in Lancaster plants are such nationally distributed items as Alcoa screw machine products, Armstrong floor coverings, Black & Decker tools, R. R. Donnelley & Sons printing, Eshelman feeds, Hamilton watches, Howmet aluminum products, Hubley toys, Lambert-Hudnut cosmetics, New Holland Farm Machinery, R.C.A. television and electronic tubes, Raybestos asbestos products, Schick electric shavers and Trojan power boats.
Side by side with industry in Lancaster County, retail trade and wholesale distribution has grown and prospered since Colonial times. There are now 450 wholesale firms and over 3,000 retail outlets serving this thriving area. Attesting to the stability of the local economy is the fact that included among the retail groups are the oldest department store and oldest tobacco store in America, each of which is still operated by the same family interests which founded them and each is still situated at its original location.
The traditional stability and prosperity of Lancaster industrial and commercial enterprises form a sound economic base upon which to build a fine community. This becomes apparent as the visitor views the excellent schools and hospitals, the recreational and cultural facilities, the beautiful residential areas and other community assets which are a hallmark of the good living in Lancaster County.
Covered Wooden Bridges
By J. RICHARD GAINTNER
Local Authority and Lecturer on Covered Wooden Bridges
See Official Pennsylvania Dutch Guide Map for locations of covered bridges.
Always picturesque and just rare enough to arouse interest, the old covered wooden bridges are growing in popular appeal as their number diminishes. In fact, collecting pictures and lore about these structures has become a hobby of many persons. In Lancaster County there still remain a sufficient number that will whet the appetite of the most avid hobbyist.
These romantic old spans are dwindling in number as a result of age, disaster or demolition because of safety or highway improvements, but it is gratifying to know that of the 108 covered wooden structures that at one time crossed the creeks and streams of this county, there are less than 25 still standing.
That so many ancient spans have weathered the years is proof of the value of the barn-like roof. Care was expended in construction, too, and a sign was placed at the entrance to “Walk Your Horse” in order to avoid excessive vibration which might be harmful to the bridges. Today the sign reads “Warning, this bridge unsafe for loads greater than 5 Tons.” Even though they withstand time and weather, flood and storm, they are highly vulnerable to fire.
Covered bridges are sometimes erroneously thought to date from the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods. Actually, many of the founding fathers, including George Washington, never saw a covered bridge. The first one was built across the Schuylkill River at Philadelphia in 1805. Nine years afterward, in 1814, a covered bridge was built across the Susquehanna at Columbia and Wrightsville which was then and still remains “The longest covered wooden bridge in the world,” with a length of 5,620 feet. This bridge was destroyed by ice in 1832. A second structure, built in 1834, was burned in 1863, during the war between the States to prevent the Confederate cavalry from crossing the river. A third covered wooden span was erected at this site in 1868 and was destroyed by a violent windstorm in 1896.
Photo by Jim Hess
STONE ARCH EARTHEN BRIDGE FOREGROUND AND COVERED WOODEN BRIDGE BACKGROUND, NORTH OF LANCASTER
Photo by Jim Hess
Feeding the ducks and geese, 6 mi. E. of Lancaster on U.S. 30.
Most of the covered structures are maintained by Lancaster County, four jointly with nearby counties, and here are found some of the most picturesque and unique settings of all. They are well preserved, painted and repaired regularly, and with continued care will last another hundred years. You’ll find them on the back roads, off the main thoroughfares, back where the dirt roads twist and turn around a barn or a wood, you’ll go down a hill over a half dozen “thank-you-moms” and there tucked away in some of Lancaster’s most harmonious settings you’ll find the most romantic covered wooden bridges you’ve ever seen. And maybe, if you tarry a while you’ll see a couple of fishermen, because that’s where the biggest trout are found, or maybe it’s a favorite swimming hole for the neighborhood youngsters.
The shortest covered bridge in Lancaster County is just west of Long Park, near Oreville. It measures 53 feet long. The longest covered span in Lancaster County was destroyed by fire in 1970. This bridge, known as “Second Lock Bridge,” was 349 feet long and crossed the Conestoga just off New Danville Pike, south of Conestoga Memorial Cemetery. The last covered bridge to be built was in 1891 over the Cocalico one-half mile north of Akron.
It is hoped this bit of Americana, of which Lancaster County has been blessed with the second largest number in Pennsylvania—those romantic symbols of an earlier day—may be preserved for posterity as historical monuments.
The Plain People
By PROFESSOR A. FRED RENTZ
The late Professor Rentz was an Educator and Authority on the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Religion was one of the strong motives in the lives of our Pennsylvania Dutch forbears. It was upon the invitation of William Penn, who offered them a religious haven in Penn’s woods, that they came to America out of the Palatinate in Germany. The first ones to come were the Lutherans and Reformed, who even today form the largest segment of the Pennsylvania Dutch people. The Lutherans and Reformed were followed in quick succession by the so-called plain people, the Mennonites, the Amish and the Brethren; the heart of whose life is still in Lancaster County, Pa. We speak of them as “plain” because they dress in a religious garb. They speak of us as “fancy” or “gay.” “Plain and Fancy.” Here they live having preserved the customs of our forefathers most faithfully over a period of two hundred and fifty years.
Of the three plain sects the Mennonites are the oldest historically and the most numerous. They stem from one Menno Simons, a Catholic parish priest, who seceded from the church of his fathers in 1536. He was one of that large group of Anabaptists who could not in good conscience join the Lutheran and Reformed movements because they believed in infant baptism. Menno Simons believed only in the baptism of the believer. “Don’t baptize a baby that does not know what it’s doing, but baptize only one who believes.”
The Mennonite woman will wear a trim little black bonnet (some are blue, brown, green) with no skirt on it. Her prayer cap is perched jauntily on the back of her head. The material in the cap is net, much finer than the Amish cap. The cap may have strings or not, dependent on the individual’s choice. Her dress may be a solid color, but usually it will be a print. Her cape is square and is fastened to the belt in front. Among our Mennonite friends, the apron has disappeared; except among the more conservative groups.
The Mennonite men usually wear black hats, not broad brimmed. They are, as a rule, smooth shaven. Their coats are Cadet type, no collars or lapels; buttoned up to the neck. Their trousers are styled like those of the gay people.
In 1693 in the Canton of Berne in Switzerland lived Jacob Amman, in all probability a Mennonite bishop, surely a Mennonite clergyman. He seceded from the Mennonites on the question of church discipline. Said he, you Mennonites have lost the way of life of Menno Simons. You are far too easy on your people. If you excommunicate a brother or sister for transgressing the laws of God or violating the rules of the church, all that it means is that they can’t partake of the Holy Communion. It ought to mean far more than that. It ought to mean “meidung”—a German word meaning avoidance, shunning, ostracism. If we excommunicate some one, we will have no fellowship whatever with him. If we pass him on the street, we will ignore him. We will not buy from him, nor will we sell to him. If he’s a member of our family we will not eat at the same table with him. The Old Order House Amish carry on that tradition to this very day.
Let us first describe the dress of our Amish friends. The Amish man in the winter time will wear a broad-brimmed, low crowned, felt hat. In the summer time, natural rye straw. He will wear a beard after marriage, but no moustache. The moustache in former generations was the hall-mark of a soldier and, of course, he is adverse to anything that savors of the Military. His dress jacket will be fastened with hooks and eyes rather than buttons. The button is too characteristic of the Military uniform. The front of his dress coat (mootza) is usually cut in a V at the top and has the old fashioned Prince Albert coat tails. There are no collar or lapels on his coat. His trousers are broadfalls, buttoned on the hips like a sailor’s trousers.
The Amish woman’s garb is likewise interesting. Her headdress consists of a bonnet and a white cap. The bonnet in the case of adult women is black. Children often wear blue, purple, green bonnets. It is rather big, covers virtually all of her hair. “The hair is woman’s crowning glory” and to expose it, would be vain. There is a long skirt on the bonnet, extending down to the shoulders, over the nape of the neck. Underneath the bonnet, the Amish woman will wear a white cap, which she knows as her prayer cap. This she wears at all times. The cap has white strings which she ties in a neat bow when she is dressed up. When she is working the strings will probably float down her back. The prayer cap has good Scriptural authority, provided we are literalists in interpretation. St. Paul tells us that we are to “pray without ceasing” and that women are not to pray with head uncovered.
Her dress is always a solid color—blue, purple, violet, green, lavender, red—indeed any solid color. Over her shoulders she wears a cape, which comes to a point at the waist, front and back. The cape may be black or the same color as the dress. The young women may wear a white cape when they go to church. A black apron completes her garb. In the case of the young woman the apron is white when she attends morning worship.
They do have virtues that the rest of us would do well to emulate, to our own profit and the profit of society in general. For example, in the Amish community the writer knows an Amish blacksmith, one 31of the most God-like gentlemen that it has been his privilege to know. The blacksmith does more work, takes in more money on a Saturday than any other day of the week. Some years ago, his neighbor, a “gay” farmer, was ill. It was Saturday morning. The farmer’s hay was lying in the field, ready to be taken into the barn. What did the blacksmith do? He locked up his shop, took himself and his son into the hayfield and by evening the hay was in the barn of the ill farmer. The blacksmith sacrificed his best day’s wages to help his neighbor and brother.
Photo by Jim Hess
AMISH GIRL’S BONNET, AMISH WOMAN’S BONNET, PRAYER CAP AND DRESS
Second:—As we drive through the Amish community and observe their farms and farm buildings we need to remember that there is no fire insurance on the buildings. They look upon insurance as an effort to thwart the will of God. But, let the biggest barn in the Amish community burn to the ground, in ten days or so after the fire, some morning a hundred, two hundred, as high as three hundred Amishmen, will appear; armed with hammers, hatchets, saws—whatever it takes to build a barn—and by evening a new barn will stand on the site. For the material, they will contribute into a common fund. The women will serve two dinners, one at noon, one in the evening. The writer saw a barn raising one day. At four fifteen o’clock in the evening the completed barn stood there. On this barn 201 men were helping. The writer said to the farmer “Uncle Isaac, this must have cost you a pretty penny, just to feed so many men.” Said Uncle Isaac, “It didn’t cost me a cent, the brethren furnished it all.” Mutual helpfulness is still a virtue.
Third:—During the economic depression of the thirties not one penny was paid to an Amish family out of public funds by way of relief. They took care of themselves.
Fourth:—When the Roosevelt administration came to power in 1932 and its department of agriculture found too much wheat, too 32many pigs, they said, “Let your land lie fallow. We will pay you a subsidy.” The answer of our Amish farmer was, “Nothing doing. This land is a trust from God. Farm it, we will. If you don’t want wheat, we will not farm wheat, nor will we raise pigs, if they are not needed, but farm our land we will, and we don’t want your subsidy. Self reliance is still a virtue.”
Photo by Jim Hess
LANCASTER COUNTY BARN RAISING
The third sect of plain people is the Church of the Brethren or Dunkards. They stem from Alexander Mack, a Mennonite clergyman who seceded from the Mennonites in Schwarzenau, Germany in 1708 on his interpretation of baptism. The Mennonite commonly sprinkles in baptism. Mack taught that to be baptized properly one ought to be immersed, “dunked” if you please.
The Church of the Brethren have largely lost their “Plain Way” of life. Since they have gone in for higher education, their garb has largely disappeared. Few of the men wear beards and most of the Brethren use regular clothing. However, some still wear a garb similar to the Mennonites, the favorite color of the men being grey.
There is one sect of Dunkards, the Old Order River Brethren, very plain, just as plain as the Amish. These people are not a numerically large sect, for there are only approximately 12,000 of them in America. However, they deserve mention, for it was from them that President Eisenhower descended, whose grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Eisenhower, was a minister in the sect.
We, who live in Lancaster County, respect these plain folks most profoundly. They are our neighbors and we find them good neighbors. They have made a contribution to our agriculture, greater than their numbers warrant, to make our county the richest non-irrigated agricultural county in America.
They are a peace loving people whom you do not find in the courts either as prosecutors or defendants. All they ask of you and me is to be let alone to lead their lives in the light as God has given it to them to see the light.
The Pennsylvania Dutch Language
By DR. J. WILLIAM FREY
Chairman of the Department of German and Russian at Franklin and Marshall College
We bisht? We gaits? (How are you? How goes it?) That’s the familiar greeting throughout the length and breadth of the Pennsylvania Dutch country. This is symbolic of the relative sameness of the Pennsylvania Dutch tongue no matter where you go in southeastern Pennsylvania or, in fact, anywhere else a Dutchman has happened to wander. This is linguistically and culturally a unique phenomenon. Travel in any European country—staying away from the large cities—and you will find almost mutually unintelligible dialects spoken from one community to the next, a mere dozen or so miles away. These wide language divergencies reflect vast cultural-historical differences, deep-rooted in tradition and folkways. But in the Pennsylvania Dutchland—whether you visit the Amish on their unparalleled farms of Lancaster County or whether you call on the Church groups (Lutheran and Reformed) located almost directly north of Philadelphia—you will find Pennsylvania Dutch spoken and understood with only enough differences to make it interesting. In fact, there is not nearly so much difference in the pronunciation and vocabulary and idioms of one brand of Pennsylvania Dutch from another as there is, say, between the native speech of a Bostonian and that of a Charlestonian!
The uniqueness of the situation is perhaps amazing to a European, but hardly to an American. Here in the greatest melting pot culture in the world it is no new thing to find widely diversified groups leveling off their ways and their speech to form a common American denominator. In the Pennsylvania Dutch country we have by far the most widely diversified folk culture in America and at the same time a unity of language which astounds the scholars of linguistic science. There has never really been any such thing as a ‘united front’ among the Pennsylvania Dutch people—no nationalistic-political ties, no yearning for some once-deserted-now-idealized ‘fatherland,’ no dominant (nor domineering) religious body. Hence, our language has never taken on any ‘standardizing’ regulations, has never been given a hard and fast orthography, has never been elevated to the position of a subject in the public school curriculum, has never enjoyed the so-called dignity of great oratory, classic literature or even journalism.
It has always been and always will be only FOLK SPEECH. As such it is the perfect oral expression of our Pennsylvania Dutch folk and their rich folk culture. But as such it has also suffered greatly—mocked and despised and branded as ‘only a dialect,’ ‘a corrupt form of German,’ ‘a kind of Pennsylvania hog Latin’ by all those in the past who, not appreciating nor even knowing what folk culture really is and means, could see no good in a language which according to their puny and narrow educational background ‘did not even have a grammar or a dictionary’! Only very recently have those of us who are interested in the study of folk cultures and folk linguistics seen the real and underlying values in the language—now, at a time when it is very rapidly dying out, when hardly any member of the new generation speaks anything but English (though that with often a heavy Pennsylvania Dutch savor), when the near future will witness the almost complete disappearance of this interesting, humorous, beloved folk speech except for its persistent employment by the Old Order Amish in their religious services and most of their everyday conversations.
No grammar? EVERY language has grammar—Pennsylvania Dutch has its share to be sure. There are ten parts of speech, three genders of nouns (and you can’t hang a feminine article on a masculine noun!).
‘Outen the light’ is our common Lancaster County way of saying ‘turn out the light,’ and it is simply a short and efficient expression for getting the deed accomplished. The same is true of the shortened form ‘this after’ instead of ‘this afternoon’—an expression you’ll hear from the lips of every Lancaster City and County inhabitant.
Some expressions in our quaint English here are actually direct translations from the Pennsylvania Dutch language, but they have become such common property that many a Lancastrian uses them even though his background is anything but Dutch. For example, a beautiful little phrase to indicate that you ‘live next door’ to someone is the very warm idiom: ‘they live neighbors to us’ or ‘we live neighbors to them.’ Now isn’t that a real friendly way of putting it?
Actually, then, the impress of Pennsylvania Dutch upon the Nation linguistically has been negligible. It is not enough to boast about the Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry of the Hoovers, the Earharts, and the Eisenhowers when the Nation as a whole has not been conscious of the existence of our deep-rooted folk culture over some nine generations. Meanwhile, however, we bid farewell to the visitor in the Dutch country with those familiar words heard in Lancaster County: koom boll widder! (come soon again)—or, better, the idiom as it is used in the more eastern counties: koom ols widder (keep coming, and coming, and coming, and coming to see us …).
Cultural Assets of Lancaster
By PROF. FREDERIC S. KLEIN
Member of the Department of History at Franklin and Marshall College
The Lancaster community has inherited a rich tradition of cultural activity and interest since colonial days, and offers a wide variety of opportunity for enjoyment, appreciation and participation in the fields of music, the arts, the theatre, and educational facilities.
Music has a prominent part in the life of Lancaster. The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, composed of professional and non-professional musicians in the community, presents a series of concerts throughout the season, including classical, popular and youth concerts, and presenting guest artists of high calibre. Its fine musical standards have given it recognition as one of the outstanding community orchestras in the State, and it provides opportunities for young musicians and music students in the area to develop their musical talents. Another musical group, the Vivaldi Chamber Orchestra, is composed entirely of girls, and presents regular concerts sponsored by the Y.W.C.A., with special emphasis on classical music and the use of rare musical instruments. Many church and choral groups present formal concerts throughout the year, and a regular series of concert programs is sponsored by a local committee of the Community Concert Association, which brings artists and musical groups to the city.
One of the most recent additions to the musical life of Lancaster is the unique Amphitheatre in Long Park, about one mile west of the city on the old Harrisburg Pike. Located in a beautiful natural setting for open-air concerts, ceremonies or community gatherings, the attractive structure provides stage accommodations for full-size orchestras and seating capacity on the lawn for approximately 10,000 persons. It was constructed through community contributions and civic club interest.
Several theatre groups are active in Lancaster. Foremost among them is the Green Room Theatre of Franklin and Marshall College, which presents a regular series of plays of professional quality. Dramatic productions are also presented regularly by community organizations such as the Lancaster Theatre Arts Association, the Musicomedy Guild, and the Opera Workshop. All of these groups offer opportunities to persons interested in theatrical production, for participation or for training and experience on the stage. A number of summer theatre programs are presented in the Lancaster area, such as the Gretna Playhouse and the Ephrata Legion Star Playhouse.
The restoration and preservation of the Fulton Opera House on North Prince Street has provided the community with a beautiful and historic theatre in central Lancaster, completely equipped for the presentation of plays, concerts and special attractions. One of the oldest original theatres in the country, the Fulton stage has presented almost all of the great personalities of the theatrical and concert world since it was built in 1852, and today, its red, white and gold décor and its excellent acoustics have made it an attractive center of cultural activities.
Artists have found Lancaster County to be an inspiring atmosphere for expression through paint and canvas. A number of art clubs and associations provide opportunities for study under professional art teachers, for sketching and painting groups and for exhibitions. Two such groups are Lancaster County Art Association and Echo Valley Art Association. The picturesque qualities of the Lancaster countryside, with its covered bridges, quaint barns and rural scenery provide unusual subject matter.
The library facilities of the Lancaster community are excellent. The new building of the Lancaster Free Public Library contains almost 100,000 volumes, and the library provides many services for the community. The Fackenthal Library of Franklin and Marshall College is available for public use, with a collection of 172,000 volumes, modern facilities for periodicals, reference works, a browsing room and many special collections of Lincoln and Napoleon.
The Fackenthal Library is also the headquarters of the Pennsylvania-German Society, which is concerned with preserving material pertaining to the history and culture of the Pennsylvania-Germans. It has published more than sixty volumes and has deposited the Bassler Collection in the Fackenthal Library for research purposes.
Photo courtesy of Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
AMPHITHEATRE AT LONG PARK
FACKENTHAL LIBRARY OF FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL COLLEGE
The Lancaster County Historical Society, located adjacent to Wheatland, home of President Buchanan on Marietta Avenue, also possesses a fine library which is widely used for historical and genealogical reference work in connection with Lancaster County history. The Willson Memorial Building, one of the finest historical society buildings in the state, contains an auditorium, reference-reading rooms, and an excellent museum where exhibits of unusual documents and articles associated with Lancaster County history are on display. The facilities of the Society are open to the public without charge, and the publications of the Society, containing special articles on many phases of local history, are available for purchase.
Much of the cultural life of Lancaster has been influenced by its educational institutions. Franklin and Marshall College, established in 1787, is one of the outstanding liberal arts colleges in the East, and provides many educational opportunities to the community in addition to its regular program of studies. Lectures, musical programs, and the facilities of the North Museum and Planetarium are available for the public. Other colleges in the area include Millersville State College, one of the state’s finest teacher training institutions; Elizabethtown College; and the Linden Hall Junior College for Girls.
Lancaster is unusually fortunate in the fact that as it has grown from a small community into a modern and prosperous Pennsylvania city, its cultural assets and facilities have kept pace with its rapid economic and industrial growth, and its citizens have provided the music, the arts and the educational facilities which have made it a wholesome and progressive community.
Lancaster—Center for Day Trips to Historic Shrines
Beautiful Lancaster county offers superior accommodations for visitors in its many first class hotels, motels, campgrounds, tourist and farm homes. Here one may discover the ideal type of lodging for every individual taste.
Enjoy this gracious country atmosphere while planning day trips to surrounding points of historic and cultural interests.
1 hour U.S. 230
1½ hours Turnpike
Home of Molly Pitcher
Pine Grove Furnace State Park
1½ hours U.S. 30
Civil War Battlefield
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
¾ hour U.S. 30
First Capitol of The United States
WASHINGTON, D. C.
¾ hour State Route 72
Cornwall Iron Works
1 hour State Route 23
2¼ hours Turnpike
1¼ hours Turnpike
1½ hours Turnpike
1 hour U.S. 41
1¼ hours U.S. 41
Old Powder Mills
The Chocolate Town is less than an hour’s drive from Lancaster.
Center of an industry, world famous resort and tourist attraction, haven for orphaned boys, sports and recreation center, this prosperous community welcomes an ever-increasing number of visitors annually.
HERSHEY HOTEL AND ROSE GARDEN
Certainly no one could deny that to millions the world over the name Hershey is synonymous with chocolate. However, a visit to the unique town of Hershey will convince you that the name of one of America’s great industrial geniuses stands for many other things—and not the least of these is charity.
There is much to see and do in The Chocolate Town. One can enjoy a guided tour of the Hershey factory, a visit to the Museum, the facilities of the Amusement Park, a swim in the pool or the animals in The Zoo. He can golf, go boating, listen to the free concerts or stroll in the gardens.
Just fifty miles west of Lancaster, on Route 30, this historic college town is visited by some 800,000 people each year.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the place where one President spoke and another resided, represents many things to many people. To some there is the thrill of identification, as they view the 2300 markers and monuments on the Battlefield, where men from 25 states reached heights of bravery that have seldom been equalled.
For many, Gettysburg’s fine museums hold great attraction. The National Museum, with the world’s largest collection of Civil War articles, houses the famed electric map. The Hall of Presidents depicts the history of the nation “as told by the Presidents themselves.”
HIGH WATER MARK—GETTYSBURG BATTLEFIELD
“Colonial” York, Pennsylvania
STREETS OF SHOPS—YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY
“Colonial” York, centrally located in the rich southeastern part of Pennsylvania, is a progressive city, rich in history and an important industrial center.
There are many things to see and do in York. Be sure to visit the “Weight Lifters Hall of Fame” and see the athletes train for Olympic teams. Also see covered bridges, log house, York’s Liberty Bell, Codorus Furnace, The Historical Society, Laucks Museum, Quaker Meeting houses, The Little Red School House, Wills School, brick end barns, Gates House, Plough Tavern, James Smith grave, farmers’ markets, Sam Lewis and Pinchot State Parks—and photograph the frisky colts at Hanover Farms.
Carlisle, in Cumberland County, played an important part in the early history of the United States. The first white man in the Cumberland Valley established a trading post at Carlisle in 1720.
On property now known as Carlisle Barracks, a munitions works supplied the Revolutionary Army. At the time of the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, President Washington assembled his army at Carlisle. During the Civil War the Confederate Army reached its northernmost point at Carlisle.
MOLLY PITCHER MONUMENT—CARLISLE
Hopewell Village of the National Park Service is representative of every pre-1840 iron community of the United States. These furnaces were necessarily “in the woods” because of the need for 5,000 cords of wood annually, required as charcoal fuel. A visit to the Village and the Park’s museum enables visitors to better understand early industrial history. Open daily (except Christmas) 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from May 30 to Labor Day, inclusive.
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Valley Forge, the Winter Encampment of Washington’s Continental Army, from December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778, is one of the most sacred spots in American history. The reservation now embraces over 2,000 acres and is a historic shrine owned and maintained by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The area includes the original building used by General George Washington at Headquarters the entire 6-month period during that memorable winter, outline of original entrenchments and other restored fortifications.
WASHINGTON’S HEADQUARTERS—VALLEY FORGE
Philadelphia is the city which belongs to every American as part of the great heritage left him by the Founding Fathers. Here are Independence Hall, Carpenters Hall, the Betsy Ross House and many very old houses of worship. A green Mall sets off the State House, home of the famed Liberty Bell.
William Penn’s original “greene, countrie towne” has risen again, not as an open air museum of antiquity alone, but as a living center of one of the world’s greatest cities.
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Longwood Gardens, located at Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, ranks as one of the outstanding display gardens in America. The Gardens have been under development since 1906.
Longwood Gardens is open to the public every day of the year without charge or advance reservations. Outdoor gardens may be visited from 8 a.m. to sunset. Conservatories are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Obtain additional information from Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pa. Telephone 628-6741.
FOUNTAIN GARDEN AND CONSERVATORY—LONGWOOD GARDENS
Winterthur Museum was begun in 1927 by Henry Francis duPont. Woodwork from old houses from New Hampshire to North Carolina was acquired and installed in his family home, which remained his residence until 1951.
The house at Winterthur was built in 1839 and additions have been made until today it contains 100 period rooms. It is believed to be the largest and richest assemblage of American decorative arts, especially furniture, ever brought together. (Closed Sundays and Mondays)
Photo by Gilbert Ask
MONTMORENCI STAIR HALL—WINTERTHUR MUSEUM
HAGLEY MUSEUM—WILMINGTON, DELAWARE
The Hagley Museum portrays early American industrial history by showing the industries which flourished along the banks of a single stream—the Brandywine. This stream with its varied enterprises was representative of America’s early industrial effort, and it played an important part in the growth of the nation.
The Museum building was constructed in 1814. Exhibits open to the public carry the story of the Brandywine from the days of Indian culture through the du Pont family’s first powdermaking operations. (Closed Mondays)
Sometimes referred to as Dunkards.
THE PLACE TO BEGIN YOUR DUTCH COUNTRY VISIT
VISITORS OFFICIAL INFORMATION CENTER
Open Daily—Year Round
Make your Dutch County visit more meaningful. Friendly receptionists will help plan your visit, provide you with factual information, directions, brochures and literature on all attractions and points of interest … plus free maps of Lancaster and surrounding areas. View 27-minute color/sound motion pictures in our modern theater … examine the lighted dioramas in our large display room.
Information, Maps and Guide Books of the area.
Sound & Color movies of the Dutch Country.
Brochures of Attractions and Accommodations.
Clean, Comfortable Rest Room Facilities.
Lighted display case exhibits of tourist attractions and local industry.
BUSES BY RESERVATION ONLY
Write for visitors’ kit
Please Send 25¢ to Cover Postage & Handling
PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH TOURIST BUREAU
1800 Hempstead Road, Lancaster, Pa. 17601 • Phone: 717 393-9705
Silently corrected a few typos.
Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook is public-domain in the country of publication.
In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by _underscores_.