Lancaster County Firsts & Bests, III
Lancaster County has an unusual depth of history and variety in its economy. Did you know that for all the commercial and residential growth in recent years, Lancaster County is still the largest producing agricultural county in Pennsylvania?
In Lititz, the Sturgis Pretzel House is the oldest commercial pretzel bakery in the United States! The stone house was built by Peter Sturgis in 1784, and the first pretzels were baked by Julius Sturgis in 1861.
In Elizabethtown, A. Buch & Sons was the first commercial wheelbarrow manufacturer in the U.S.
In Columbia, The National Watch & Clock Museum has the largest clock collection in North America.
The Demuth Tobacco Shop at 116 East King Street, Lancaster, founded in 1770, is the oldest tobacco shop in the nation. It was founded by Christopher Demuth, and is still in the family. Charles Demuth, the famous artist, lived next door, and his house has been restored to a museum.
The Strasburg Railroad is the oldest short-line railroad in America. Only four miles long, it was first chartered in 1832, and finished by 1851.
The Philadelphia-Lancaster Turnpike, completed in 1794, was the first successful turnpike in America. It was built between 1792 and 1794, the first road built with a hard stone base in the United States, following the design of the Scottish engineer MacAdam (sound familiar?) The Lancaster Turnpike Company was a stock company, and tolls were charged at nine different tollgates, or pikes. When the toll was paid, the pike would be rotated so that the horse-drawn vehicle could pass - hence the name "Turnpike"!
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