Lancaster (Pennsylvania Dutch: Lengeschder) is a city located in South Central Pennsylvania and serves as the seat of Pennsylvania's Lancaster County and one of the older non-coastal towns in the United States, (along with Springfield, Massachusetts; Petersburg, Virginia; Schenectady, New York and several other settlements.). With a population of 59,322, it ranks eighth in population among Pennsylvania's cities. The Lancaster metropolitan area population is 507,766, making it the 101st largest metropolitan area in the US and 2nd largest in the South Central Pennsylvania area.
The city's primary industries include healthcare, tourism, public administration, manufacturing, both professional and semi-professional services, and home of the Park City Center shopping mall, the largest indoor retail facility in the entire south-central Pennsylvania region. Lancaster is known for its innovative adoption of advanced technology and hosts more electronic public CCTV outdoor cameras per capita than any US city, despite its controversy among residents.
Locally, Lancaster is pronounced , rather than the usual American pronunciation . This is most likely due to early British influence in this area.
Originally called Hickory Town, the city was renamed after the English city of Lancaster by native John Wright. Its symbol, the red rose, is from the House of Lancaster. Lancaster was part of the 1681 Penn's Woods Charter of William Penn, and was laid out by James Hamilton in 1734. It was incorporated as a borough in 1742 and incorporated as a city in 1818. During the American Revolution, it was briefly the capitol of the colonies on September 27, 1777, when the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, which had been captured by the British. After meeting one day, they moved still farther away, to York, Pennsylvania. On October 13th, 2011, Lancaster's City Council officially recognized September 27th as Capitol Day, a holiday recognizing Lancaster's time as capitol of the nation. Lancaster was capitol of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1812, after which the capitol was moved to Harrisburg.
The first paved road in the United States was the former Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, which makes up part of the present-day U.S. Route 30. Opened in 1795, the Turnpike connected the cities of Lancaster and Philadelphia, and was designed by a Scottish engineer named John Loudon MacAdam. Lancaster residents are known to use the word, "macadam", in lieu of pavement or asphalt. This name is a reference to the paving process named by MacAdam.
The city of Lancaster was home to several important figures in American history. Wheatland, the estate of James Buchanan, the fifteenth President of the United States, is one of Lancaster's most popular attractions. Thaddeus Stevens, considered among the most powerful members of the United States House of Representatives, lived in Lancaster as an attorney. Stevens gained notoriety as a Radical Republican and for his abolitionism. The Fulton Opera House in the city was named for Lancaster native Robert Fulton, a renaissance man who created the first fully functional steamboat. All of these individuals have had local schools named after them.
After the American Revolution, the city of Lancaster became an iron-foundry center. Two of the most common products needed by pioneers to settle the Frontier were manufactured in Lancaster: the Conestoga wagon and the Pennsylvania long rifle. The Conestoga wagon was named after the Conestoga River, which runs through the city.
In 1803, Meriwether Lewis visited Lancaster to be educated in survey methods by the well-known surveyor Andrew Ellicott. During his visit, Lewis learned to plot latitude and longitude as part of his overall training needed to lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Lancaster was one of the winning communities for the All-America City award in 2000.