Lititz - Founded in 1756

Lititz is a very charming little town that still retains the atmosphere of an 18th Century village. For history buffs - such as myself- there is plenty of fascinating things to peak one's interest in visiting this town that was originally settled by Moravians fleeing religious persecution in Bohemia (present-day Czechoslovakia).

For the child is all of us, Lititz is a great family destination. You don't want to miss the Sturgis Pretzel House, the Candy Americana, and Wilbur Chocolates where you can discover how the candy is made and enjoy some tasty samples.

Although Lititz' candy and chocolate factories are small-scale compared to the fantasy world of Willy Wonka or what you can see at Hershey, the museums and factories are that much more interesting because they are so quaint. And, you don't need a map to find it. Just follow the the sweet aroma of the chocolate until you reach the entrance.

Wilbur Chocalate Factory
Entrance to the Wilbur Chocalate Factory
Photo by Mike Herr, Lititz, PA

Growing up, my family had a tradition where we visited the Sturgis Pretzel House, Candy Americana, and Wilbur Chocolates at least once every summer. Although, over time, we pretty much knew everything there was to know about chocolate and pretzels, we could never resist the temptation to return. And now, as an adult, those memories still remain very dear to me.

If you are interested in visiting Lititz, you may wish to plan your visit based upon special Events that the town has scheduled throughout the year. Although there are not as many events throughout the year as in larger places in Lancaster County, such as Lancaster City, I think they are just as appealing.

A Brief Overview

Although Europeans lived in the area surrounding Lititz as far back as the 1720s, the actual town didn't really become settled until the arrival of a group of Moravians who were seeking freedom to worship. In the 1740s, these missionary Moravians, under the leadership of Count Nikolaus Von Zinzendorf, arrived in Pennsylvania escaping persecution from Bohemia or what is present-day Czechoslovakia.

They established their settlement in 1749, and named it "Lititz" after a town in the Czech Republic where the Moravian Church was founded in 1456, which has traditionally protected and sheltered Moravians from persecution. Lititz, Pennsylvania was officially founded in 1756.

For nearly 100 years, every aspect of daily life in the town was strictly controlled by a group of Moravian church elders. Their purpose was to protect the citizens from the corrupting influence of the outside world. Anyone wishing to reside in the town was required to sign the "Town Regulations of 1756" which was a rigid code of moral behavior designed by the church.

By 1856, the church was no longer able to enforce its strict code of behavior and non-Moravians were permitted to settle in Lititz.

Over the years, the town grew into a prosperous center of agricultural life where farmers came to sell their crops and conduct social meetings where they discussed local events. The town remains a center of commerce.

Perhaps one of the best ways to see the town is to take a guided walking tour. Some of the highlights include the building complex where the Moravian congregation built its first church in 1787. There is also the schoolhouse that was built in 1746 and which was later expanded to become Linden Hall School for Girls which is the first boarding school for girls in the United States.

Despite its history of strict religious conduct, the town has grown into a very welcoming community that appeals to families of all ages. Some of the more enjoyable places to visit include the Wilbur Chocolate Factory which fills the town with the aroma of fresh cocoa. Founded 1884, the factory houses the Candy American Museum and Store where you can take a self-guided tour and watch the candy being made by hand. Of course, you won't be able to resist purchasing some to take home with you.

Sturgis Pretzel House
Sturgis Pretzel House
Photo by Mike Herr, Lititz, PA

Another fun place to take the family is the Sturgis Pretzel House which is the home of the first commercial pretzel bakery in the United States. There is also a museum and store on the premises. You can even learn how to make your own pretzel and discover the meaning behind their unusual shape.

Lititz Park
Lititz Park
Photo by Mike Herr, Lititz, PA

Located in a particular picaresque area of Lancaster County, the town expanded to include a resort area in the 1800s and early 1900s where people came to take advantage of the medicinal properties of Lititz Springs, the largest limestone spring in Pennsylvania. Today, Lititz Springs Park is a seven-acre park surrounding the springs. Visitors are welcome to stay and relax in one of the nearby hotels. Activities include picnic areas and playgrounds, as well as the therapeutic properties of the spring waters.

Perhaps you might want to stay at one of the colorful Bed & Breakfasts in Litiz, Pennsylvania

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