Lancaster, PA, Guide and Information
The Dutch in Pennsylvania Dutch refers to Deutsch or Deitsch as in the people from Germany and their language. Indeed many from southern Germany, Austria and even parts of Switzerland settled in this part of Pennsylvania during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Fleeing religious intolerance at home, these Germanic people were free to practice their beliefs as they wished in Pennsylvania. German “colonies” were also established in other states such as Wisconsin, Ohio and the Dakotas, although Pennsylvania saw the greatest number of settlers.
By the time World War I seized the nation, these people were encouraged to assimilate more. Then with the onslaught of World War II, speaking the German language and practicing German traditions on American soil became increasingly verboten. Today the Amish, a specific religious denomination within the Pennsylvania Dutch people, are among the few to speak Pennsylfanisch Deitsch on a more regular basis, a language that you can hear being spoken when you pass or encounter some of these folks in and around Lancaster County. As for all the wonderful traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch, many have thankfully been preserved, which is largely what makes Lancaster County, the city of Lancaster and its jumble of small towns and villages so charming to visitors and locals alike.
Embracing the Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish culture most definitely plunges you back in time, however, there’s more dialing back of the years to be experienced elsewhere.
Let’s start with Lancaster, the city that’s the seat of Lancaster County. Founded as a borough in1742 and then chartered as a city in 1818, it’s one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. It’s named after the English city of Lancaster and as you may notice around town, its symbol is the red rose, which is also the symbol of the House of Lancaster in England.