- Lititz was awarded the Distinctive Destination/National Trust of Historic Preservation award.
- Lititz was named in 1756 and incorporated in 1888.
- Lititz is located in Lancaster County, approximately 8 miles north of the city of Lancaster.
- Lititz Borough has a population of 9,385 people, and occupies a total area of 2.3 square miles.
- Pennsylvania Routes 772 (Main Street) and 501 (Broad Street) are the major East-West and North-South streets in the town.
- The visitor Welcome Center is located in the old Lititz Train Station in Lititz Springs Park. The station is an exact replica of the original 1884 Passenger and Express Station.
- Lititz was the first community in Pennsylvania to establish a Historic District. That’s why so many of its old buildings survive in such a great state of preservation.
- In 2013 Lititz was voted America's Coolest Small Town in an online survey by Budget Travel.
- Lititz is home to many internationally known companies such as Susquehanna Bancshares, Wilbur Chocolate, Johnson & Johnson, Woodstream, Tait Towers, Clair Global, and Atomic Design.
The Moravian Connection.The Moravians are the oldest protestant denomination in the world. The Moravian Church began in the 14th Century as a reaction against the Roman Catholic practices of the time, with its roots in Czech and German cultures. In the 18th Century protestants were given an ultimatum by the Holy Roman Empire. That ultimatum created the flight of Moravians from their homelands.
Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorfwas a nobleman born in 1700 in Dresden. Although he studied law, his dream was to establish a model Christian Community based on Moravian ideology. As more and more Moravians were persecuted for their beliefs, the Count left Germany to come to the new world where religious freedom was allowed. He first visited Pennsylvania in 1741, met with leaders of the time such as Benjamin Franklin, and reached agreement for the establishment of a free Moravian movement. That was the beginning of Lititz.
The wounds of War– In 1771, during the American Revolution, General Washington ordered that 250 wounded and sick soldiers be quartered in Lititz. The Moravian Brethren's House, built in 1759, was approved to serve as a hospital. When it became full, some patients had to be cared for elsewhere in the community. A number of soldiers died and were buried near the Brethren’s House.
Moravian arranged marriages– In a Moravian run Lititz, even marriages were arranged. A prospective bridegroom would draw the name of his wife from a coconut shell filled with scrolls on which were written the names of eligible young women. Prohibited was all “dancing, taverning, feasting at weddings, christenings or burials…….They that have inclinations that way cannot live in Litiz.”
Nation’s oldest girls school– Lititz is home to Linden Hall School, the oldest all-girls boarding school in the United States. Located adjacent to the Moravian Church on 47 acres of land, Linden Hall School was founded by the Moravians in 1746, a decade before the borough was incorporated.
Drink more beer– In the Moravian community of Lititz, church officials encouraged the malting of grain for a time, in hopes that increased production of beer would discourage the growing consumption of distilled liquor.
Pretzels started here– The Pretzel house is the first pretzel bakery in America. Julius Sturgis sold his pretzels from a wagon on a route that extended as far as a day’s travel away. It is said that a tramp passing through Lititz in the 1850’s traded a recipe for pretzels to baker Ambrose Rauch in exchange for a meal. Monks in Europe had been baking leftover dough tidbits, known as “pretiola” (Latin for little reward) for children since the seventh century. The hand twisted shape of the pretzel is often associated with folded arms crossed in prayer.
A star is born– The illuminated Moravian star was a popular religious decoration in Germany. Its use transferred to Moravian communities in America. The star originated in the church’s schools as a geometry lesson. The most common star consists of eighteen square and eight triangular cone-shaped points. Today they are a popular Christmas decoration and often are used to represent the star of Bethlehem.
Stake your claim– John Sutter (1803- 1880) settled in California when it was part of Mexico. He is best known for the discovery of gold on his land in California by an employee, James Marshall, in 1848 – which set off the California Gold Rush. He and his wife lived in Lititz from 1871 until his death, in a home they built across the street from the present-day site of the General Sutter Inn. He is buried in the Moravian cemetery.
The champ’s chocolate– Wilbur Chocolate Company’s famous Wilbur Buds® were first introduced in 1894. A lesser-known candy from the Wilbur plant was not so successful. In 1978, Muhammad Ali interrupted his training for his rematch with Leon Spinks to hold a press conference in Lititz, announcing his Muhammad Ali Crisp Crunch candy bar made by Wilbur Chocolate.
A good place for a drink– The earliest tavern in Lititz was Zum Anker (sign of the anchor), built in 1764 and rebuilt and added to in 1803, in 1840, and in 1930. The four-story hotel is now known as the “General Sutter Inn.” In the early days, because of Moravian morality, the innkeeper forbade dancing, cursing, gossip, and bawdy songs.
The Lititz area was traversed and inhabited many Centuries ago by Native Americans; namely, the Nanticokes. Indian relics have been unearthed near the head waters of the Lititz Springs, thus substantiating conclusion that this pristine wilderness of scenic serenity had had cultural development and social organization long before the arrival of the European settlers.
It was not until 1722 when Christian Bomberger became the first known European settler in the Lititz area. He lived in a dugout just one mile northwest of present day Lititz. Richard Carter of Warwickshire England, who was a prominent figure in the early life of the region named Warwick Township in 1729. The Township of Warwick, which surrounds Lititz, was one of the original townships laid out when Lancaster County was formed from part of Chester County on May 10, 1729 as the fourth County in Pennsylvania. For many years the Lititz Run was known as Carter’s Run.
John George Klein settled in Warwick Township about 1740 and acquired 296 acres of land around “The Springs” known today as Lititz Springs Park, in 1741. He eventually acquired a total of 510 acres.
In December of 1742 Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf of Saxony, Germany, the leader and organizer of the modern day Moravian Church, stopped and preached at the tavern of Jacob Huber which was located north of Lititz along the Newport Road. The Count was searching for a tract of land for the establishment of a religious community similar to those in Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The only exception would be that the new community would be family orientated. John George Klein, who was not in attendance at the tavern, followed Count Zinzendorf to Lancaster where Klein was won over by the Count’s preaching and his cause.
In 1744 a log church was built on Klein’s tract and was called the “St. James Church,” and was used as a “union church” by Moravians, Lutherans and Mennonites. In 1746 a meeting was held in Klein’s house to consider the building of a Gemeinhaus, which would be a home for the Moravian pastor, a school and weekday meetings, all in one. The St James Church continued to be used for Sunday services. In 1749 the Warwick Country Congregation was organized by Moravians who lived on neighboring farms, with no thought of starting a village.
In April of 1754, Bishop Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg returned from Europe, where, among other matters of business, he had consulted with Count Zinzendorf on his continued interest in establishing another settlement in Pennsylvania. Through an offer made to Bishop Spangenberg in 1753 and renewed in 1754 by John George Klein and his wife Anna, they would turn over their tract of land consisting of 491 acres. The acreage, which meandered along Carter’s Run, included the St. James Church and the Warwick Gemeinhaus. The only compensation Klein asked for was an annuity of 70 pounds during his lifetime. Count Zinzendorf approved this proposition and the legal transfer of the property was made on August 20, 1755. It was on this tract of land that a new settlement was established for the Moravian Brethren.
From June 10 to 16, 1756, a conference was held in the Pilgerhaus or “House of the Pilgrims”, a two- story stone house built by Klein, for use by the settlement. Bishop Spangenberg along with Moravian Brethren from Bethlehem, were in attendance. On June 12th of that conference week, a letter from Europe addressed to the Moravian Brethren, was received from Count Zinzendorf, in which he named the new settlement Litiz. “Litiz” was the German spelling until 1880 when the Postmaster General of the United States changed the spelling to “Lititz” for the English speaking people.
The name that was given was in commemoration of an old gothic castle located in northeastern Bohemia
(today the Czech Republic) near the Silesian/Moravia border. The early Moravian Brethren, followers
of the martyred John Hus, found refuge in this castle in 1456 and named it “Lidice nad Citadelou,”
meaning “People upon the Castle.”
In 1759 the Lititz and Warwick congregations were united into one which was known as the Lititz Moravian Congregation. The administration and supervision of the community were entirely by the Moravian Congregation, and would continue in that capacity until 1855. Everything of village life, religious, social and economic, was under the supervision and control of the “Aufseher Collegium”, an administrative committee of the Moravian Congregation, which was granted a charter by an agent of the British Crown.
From the beginning to the present day the community of Lititz, nestled amidst the fertile farmland of Lancaster County, still has a historical and friendly appeal to its inhabitants and visitors. Lititz, with its incomparable beauty and its scenic serenity is certainly a place of community pride.
We wish to thank Ron Reedy, Lititz Historian, for help on the Historical writings and Ron Reedy Photography for allowing us to use the wonderful historical photos