Introduction to Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster is located in the south-central portion of Pennsylvania, situated near the Conestoga River in Lancaster County. The city is part of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The Amish community plays a major role in the county with agriculture, various cottage industries and tourism. Mennonite communities are also located in the area. The region is known for livestock, apples, grains and dairy products. The city contains a wide variety of architectural styles represented in its numerous historic buildings.


The town was created by English shires. William Penn played a significant role in establishing the city in 1683. Lancaster was recognized as a townstead in 1730 by the governor of Pennsylvania. The vast majority of the land during this period was the property of Andrew Hamilton. The Continental Congress held meetings in Lancaster in 1777 and it was the capital of the state of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1813.

John Wright named the town Lancaster in tribute to Lancaster, England where he earlier resided. The town became known as the "Red Rose City" due to its connection with Lancaster, England. The area became a chartered city in the year 1818. While the Revolutionary War was taking place, Lancaster served as the capital for the colonies and was a prominent munitions location.


The Red Rose Transit Authority offers bus service for the community. Amtrak provides transportation at the Lancaster Train Station. The town is home to the Lancaster Airport.

Historic Landmarks

  • Hamilton Watch Company
  • Fulton Opera House
  • Rock Ford Plantation
  • W.W. Griest Building
  • J.P. McCaskey High School
  • Wheatland


  • Elizabethtown College includes a center which focuses on the Plain communities in the United States such as the Amish
  • The historic site, Ephrata Cloister features 18th century structures
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • National Watch and Clock Museum
  • Strasburg Railroad offers rides on restored passenger cars and travels through Amish country
  • Plain and Fancy Farm provides an excellent tour of the Amish community
  • Antiques Capital is a prominent location for antique dealers and features numerous attractions
  • Bird-in-Hand Village
  • Intercourse Merchants Association Group is a major business center for Amish and other residents and is very popular with tourists
  • Lititz is a historic village
  • Central Market
  • Demuth Museum
  • Lancaster Cultural History Museum
  • Lancaster Museum of Art
  • Fulton Theatre is a National Historic Landmark which features Broadway musicals and other productions


  • Amish Buggy Rides
  • Amish Village features a 1840's farm house
  • Choo Choo Barn - Traintown U.S.A. features miniatures depicting Lancaster County and America
  • Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park
  • Landis Valley Museum is the biggest Dutch Living History Farm and Village in the United States


Total Population 59,344
Male Share of the Population 50%
Female Share of the Population 50%
Senior Citizens 9.3%
Employed Population 16+ 24,654
Age of the Population 31


% of people married 31%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 19.5%
Median Earnings25+ $26,378
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $17,000
Median Earnings With High School Degree $25,393


Median Family Income $39,441
% Above Poverty Level 71%
% Below Poverty Level 29%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 21 minutes
% Working from Home 3.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 12.3%
% Using Public Transportation 6.2%


People Living Alone 34.2%
Median Gross Rent $783
Median House Value $109,100


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 52.9%
US/American 0.1%
English 4.8%
Irish 6.7%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lancaster Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 52 miles N of Baltimore, Maryland
County Lancaster
Metro Area Lancaster
Standard Zip Codes 17601, 17602, 17603
P.O. Box Zip Codes 17604, 17605, 17606, 17607, 17608
Company Zip Codes 17699
Phone Area Codes 717
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.037
Longitude -76.305

Lancaster Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 1.5 miles
Jan Temp 21 to 38 F
Apr Temp 40 to 62 F
Jul Temp 64 to 85 F
Oct Temp 43 to 65 F
Annual Precip 43.4 inches
Distance 8.7 miles
Jan Temp 21 to 38 F
Apr Temp 39 to 64 F
Jul Temp 62 to 85 F
Oct Temp 41 to 66 F
Annual Precip 43.4 inches
Distance 14.2 miles
Jan Temp 23 to 38 F
Apr Temp 42 to 61 F
Jul Temp 67 to 85 F
Oct Temp 46 to 64 F
Annual Precip 37.4 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Lancaster, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

East Lancaster (17605)

Eden (17601)

Fertility (17602)

Fruitville (17601)

Leaf Park (17603)

Lyndon (17602)

Manor Ridge (17603)

Meadia Heights (17602)

Neffsville (17601)

New Danville (17603)

Oyster Point (17601)

Roherstown (17603)

Rohrerstown (17603)

West Lancaster (17603)

Willow View Heights (17602)

Zooks Corner (17602)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Brownstown 2,788 $67,380
East Petersburg 4,518 $78,438

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lancaster Public Libraries

Lancaster County Library
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
(717) 394-2651
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Lancaster Hospitals

(717) 291-8123
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(717) 299-5511
Emergency Service: Yes

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Lancaster High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 2,908 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.9

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,660 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.5

Serves 1,223 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.4

Serves 162 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18

Additional Details
Lancaster Careers
Lancaster career and employment information.
Lancaster Colleges
Lancaster colleges and trade schools.
Lancaster Graduate Schools
Lancaster Graduate and Business Schools
Study Online in Lancaster
Additional Resources
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