TOWN HISTORY

Intercourse is the hub where the Amish and local folks do their business and host thousands of visitors each year. The beautiful Amish farms surround the Village which is located on the Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340), earlier known as King's Highway, in Eastern Lancaster County. Intercourse is in close proximity to all Lancaster County attractions and in particular our sister Villages of Bird-in-Hand and Strasburg.

The Village stands as a clear reminder of our traditional American heritage as people live by a simpler way of life. For those who wish to probe into the culture a little more deeply there are many opportunities, including the documentary at People's Place, "Who are the Amish?". National Geographic says, "it is the place to start". Or, you may want to see "Jacob's Choice" at the Amish Experience Theater. You can also visit the Story Walk located beside the Old Country Store and discover the (short!) story and history of the Village of Intercourse. Read the story boards and learn about the town's history. You won't want to miss the quaint Story Walk.

Within walking distance of the Village there are art galleries, museums, lodgings, camping, educational opportunities and Pennsylvania Dutch taste sensations in local restaurants and specialty shops. Of the myrid of shops in our Village, a local B & B Innkeeper has said, "I've noticed the numbers of our guests who arrive back at the B & B simply excited with a purchase: a corner cupboard, quilt, redwood bird feeder, dried flower arrangement, handcrafted item or a picture from a local artist!"

The delight of the Seasons has long charmed the residents of Lancaster County. Spring plowing and planting, summer hay making and fall corn cutting afford ever changing pictures of beautiful landscape and people. In the height of the tourist season teams of horses, driven by father, mother , sister or brother carefully work row by row until an entire field is completed. The horses, doing a practiced dance as they negotiate the 180 degree turn at the end of each row.

Formerly known as "Cross Keys" from a noted old tavern, this village was founded in 1754. Much speculation exists concerning the origin of the name of this little country village. There are several explanations, but none really can be substantiated. The first centers around an old race track which existed on the Old Philadelphia Pike, there is a long stretch of race course, and was known as "Entercourse". It is believed that "Entercourse" gradually evolved into "Intercourse" which became the name of the town in 1814.

Another theory concerns two famous roads that crossed here. The Old King's highway from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh (now the Old Philadelphia Pike) ran east and west through the center of the town. The road from Wilmington to Erie intersected in the middle. The joining of these two roads is claimed by some to be the basis for the town "Cross Keys" or eventually "Intercourse".

A final idea comes from the use of language during the early days of the Village. The word "intercourse" was commonly used to describe the "fellowship" and "social interaction and support" shared in the community of faith, which was much a part of a rural village like this one.

No matter how Intercourse got its interesting name, it is a town full of delightful treasures and friendly shopkeepers, nestled amongst scenic Amish farmland. Enjoy your visit!




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Intercourse Merchants Association - PO Box 451, Intercourse, PA 17534