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Getting to Know the Dutch Heritage of Lancaster, PA

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Brian Kent, Esq. - PA Abuse Guardian

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The sexual harassment lawyers in Lancaster, PA, at Abuse Guardian invite you to learn more about the area's highlights and history. 

Lancaster

The eighth most populated town in Pennsylvania is located in the south-central region of the state within Lancaster County. The city, also known as Dutch Country, is one of the oldest inland towns in the country. 

History

The area was first called Hickory Town before being renamed by John Wright after the English city. The town was planned in 1734 by James Hamilton from the 1681 Penn's Woods Charter. In 1818 it officially became a city.  German immigrants flocked to the area as early as the 1600s to find religious freedom from the persecution they faced in Europe. The religious groups included: 

  • Amish
  • Mennonite-Lutheran
  • German Reformed
  • Moravian

The area's economy heavily relied on farmland and agriculture. Many merchants became essential to the community, such as:

  • blacksmiths
  • wheelwrights
  • millers
  • storekeepers

The Amish have shared their culture and traditions with the area and have welcomed the tourism that it brings. Like the Old Order Amish and the Old Order Mennonites, most groups have been able to hold on to their 18th-century lifestyle resisting urbanization. 

Historial Landmarks

The Central Market in Lancaster is one of the oldest farmers' markets in the country. It opened in 1889 and continues to bring tourists from all over to sample some of the many Amish products sold. Today you can expect to find the following at the market:

  • specialty cheeses 
  • crafts
  • specialty groceries
  • jarred Amish items
  • fresh juices 

The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, located on Strawberry Street, was originally built in 1821, and the church acquired the adjoining property in 1989. The church, formerly known as the St. James African Methodist Church, provided aid for the Underground Railroad. The women's organization, Tent Sisters, provided the fleeing slaves with handmade clothing. 

Neighborhood

The average household income was $29,770 and for a family was $34,623 in 2010. This lower-income neighborhood has 17.9% of the families living below the poverty rate. The occupational breakdown of the working adults in the community is the following:

  • 9.14% office and administrative support roles
  • 8.63% service and sales positions
  • 7.34% food service occupations

Some of the areas leading employers include:

  • Lancaster General Hospital 
  • Dart Container
  • County of Lancaster
  • Masonic Villages

Demographics

According to the census in 2010, the population was 59,322, which was an increase of 5.3% from 2000. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was:

  • 55.2% white 
  • 16.3% African American
  • 39.3% Hispanic or Latino
  • 0.7% Native American
  • 3.0% Asian
  • 0.1% Pacific Islander
  • 5.8% two or more races

The community has a large Puerto Rican population, second in the state to Reading. The ethnic breakdown of the area is the following:

  • 29.2% Puerto Rican
  • 21.2% German
  • 12.8% African American
  • 8.6% Irish
  • 8.2% English
  • 7.1% Italian
  • 3.2% Dominican

Keep reading: The Historic Harrisburg, PA

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