Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, known as the Garden Spot of
America since the 18th century, is located in the southeastern
part of the state of Pennsylvania, in the United States.
With an estimated 2005 population of 490,562 Lancastrians,
Lancaster County forms the Lancaster Metropolitan Statistical
Area, the 99th largest of 361 MSAs in the U.S. The city of
Lancaster is the county seat.
Lancaster County is a popular tourist destination, due mostly to
the many plain sect residents, known as the Amish or
Pennsylvania Dutch. The misnomer 'Pennsylvania Dutch'
comes from the misunderstanding of the word 'Deutsch',
pronounced 'DOY-ch', which is how the word 'German' is
pronounced in the German language. They are the descendants of
Germans who immigrated in the 18th and 19th centuries for the
freedom of religion offered by William Penn, and were attracted
by the rich soil and mild climate of the area.
Lancastrians can easily spot a visitor to the area by how they
pronounce the word Lancaster. Locals and people from nearby
counties in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware pronounce
Lancaster as LANK-ister. This is unusual as most Lancasters in
the United States are pronounced as LAN-cast-er, though
Lancaster, Texas also uses the LANK-ister pronunciation.
County: Plain, Simple, Special
Amish buggies share the road with automobiles on the byways of
Lancaster County. The rich countryside of Pennsylvania Dutch
Country was settled in Colonial years by religious groups
seeking freedom of worship. Many of today’s residents maintain
the old-world convictions and customs of their ancestors,
including wardrobes featuring the plain and simple look.