Lititz is Picture-Perfect
Lititz is a picture-perfect representative of small town America. The town is known for picturesque, tree-lined streets, unique shops, cafés, architecture, and a friendly atmosphere. The architecture is a combination of English, German, and Victorian styles.
Lititz is located in northern Lancaster County along Route 501, roughly eight miles north of Lancaster. To the west is Manheim (five miles), to the east is Ephrata (eight miles), and Brickerville is further north (seven miles). As you enter town you can often smell the sweet aroma of chocolate. The Wilbur Chocolate Company has been making chocolate in downtown Lititz since 1930.
Route 501 is known as Broad Street in town, but south of Lititz it is called Lititz Pike. Along the west side of Route 501 is Lititz Springs Park. To the east is Main Street.
A Brief History of Lititz
The Susquehannock Indians originally inhabited this area. The first settlers were Pennsylvania Germans in the 1720’s. The town of Lititz was established in 1749 when the Moravian Church, under Count Nikolaus Von Zinzendorf, established a church settlement here. The Moravians were originally from what is now Czech Republic. Like many other Protestant groups, they came to Pennsylvania seeking freedom of worship.
For almost 100 years the Moravians controlled Lititz. Non-Moravians were not permitted to live here. Church elders established what they called the “Town Regulations of 1756”, which residents had to abide by. These regulations were intended to help residents live “free from all dangerous and worldly connections, and live a peaceful and quiet life in Godliness and Honesty.” The regulations also stated, “No dancing matches, taverning, beer taping, feastings, nor playing of child in streets.”
One of the popular symbols of Lititz today is the Moravian star, a 26-point multi-dimensional Christmas star that is associated with the Moravian Church.
In 1746 the Linden Hall School for Girls was founded, and is the oldest girl’s boarding school in America. The same year the Brethren School for Boys was also established in Lititz. During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington commandeered the Brethren House for use as a military hospital.
Gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California in 1848, and the gold rush began. Later, in 1871, John Sutter settled in Lititz. He died in 1880 and was buried in the Moravian cemetery.
In 1784 a small bakery was started along Main Street in Lititz that became the first pretzel bakery in America. In 1861 that bakery became known as the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Lititz was a summer resort. People came here for what they believed were medicinal properties in Lititz Springs, which is the largest limestone spring in Pennsylvania. Today the seven-acre park includes walkways, playgrounds, picnic pavilions, and an amphitheater.
In 1818 Lititz Springs Park hosted its first Independence Day observance. This annual celebration is now the oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration in the nation. The event has grown to include over 7,000 candles throughout the park and one of the largest fireworks displays in the area.
In 1863 the Reading and Columbia Railroad built a station at Lititz Springs Park. A replica of their passenger depot now serves as the Lititz Welcome Center at the entrance to the park along Route 501.
Today, Lititz is a very active community. There are many special events scheduled here throughout the year. (See some of these area events listed below and in our Lancaster Calendar of Events.)
Lititz Voted “Coolest Small Town in America – 2013″
In February 2013 Lititz was voted the “Coolest Small Town in America – 2013″. That obviously was a source of great pride to the whole Lititz community. In our comments section below be sure to tell us what you think is cool about Lititz.
Come and enjoy Lititz: