Since its establishment in 1730, Lancaster City has been a bustling, vibrant community with a rich history. Founded by James Hamilton, an English businessman, the city was designed to be the county seat, with a Courthouse placed in the center of town, where the Soldier and Sailors monument now stands.
· City Hall, built in 1794, was located where the Lancaster Cultural History Museum now stands. City Hall housed both State and County offices, and from 1799-1812 City Hall served as Pennsylvania's capital building when Lancaster was the state capital. Lancaster was also the capital of the United States for one day, September 27, 1777.
· Lancaster City grew quickly and its people became known for their entrepreneurship. By the mid 1750s, there were over 245 local artisans including shoemakers, carpenters, bakers, wheelwrights, tailors and tobacconists residing in Lancaster City.
· The oldest tobacco shop in the nation is still located at 114 East King Street. Established in 1770, Demuth quickly became the favorite gathering place for local men. Fifteenth President of the United States, and Lancaster native, James Buchanan was known to give Demuth cigars as gifts to dignitaries and friends.
· Many notable businessmen got their burgeoning start in Lancaster, including Frank Woolworth, who opened his first successful five-and-ten cent store in 1879, and Milton S. Hershey founder of Hershey Chocolate, learned how to be a chocolate candymaker at Joseph Royer's shop on West King Street.
· For centuries, Central Market has been the center of activity for residents and visitors alike. Central Market is the oldest contineously operating farmers market in the country. Many of the stands have been in business for generations, selling home made baked goods and fresh produce.
· Another Lancaster City landmark is the Fulton Opera House. Originally builty as a meeting hall in 1852, the Fulton was a theater for well-known actors and performers, including the Barrymore Family, Al Jolson and Mark Twain. Performances varied from vaudeville and drama to movies and comedies. Today the Fulton Opera House is home to Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and Opera Lancaster, and is one of the finest, live performance theaters in Pennsylvania.
· Over the centuries Lancaster City has been the gathering place of many, from its earliest years as a meeting place for law makers and the Continental Congress, to its present standing as the socal and economic hub of Lancaster County.