Founded in 1756, Lititz earned the title of Coolest Small Town in America in 2013. Nine years later, it still lives up to the honor, especially for a history nerd like me. If you are looking for an urban adventure that doesn’t require any bushwhacking, check out the Lititz Historical Foundation’s “Walking Tour of Main Street.” I recently took their trip back in time with some friends and family. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
What to Expect
For starters, your tour guide will come dressed in a period costume. Below is a selfie with our tour guide, Kristin Wenger, wearing the traditional garb of a Moravian sister. She proved both personable and knowledgeable, considering my group contained several local history enthusiasts who peppered her with questions the entire time.
Fun Fact: Wenger’s blue ribbon isn’t a simple fashion accessory. Lititz was a strict closed Moravian church community until the 1850s. How strict? Town regulations prohibited dancing matches, for starters. All women wore a bright-colored ribbon to signify which “choir” they were in. I’m not talking about church choir but stage of life. For example, girls, single women, married women, and widows each had their own choir and wore different colors. Kristin’s blue strip of fabric indicates that she is married. On top of that, you were buried with your choir, not next to your spouse when you died.
The tour begins at the patio fountain at the Lititz Springs Inn & Spa and moves east on Main Street, with a final destination at the Moravian Chruch Square. Along the way, the tour guide highlights 25 notable historic buildings and the lives of their owners.
Tours typically last 45 minutes (although mine was closer to an hour due to all the questions we asked) and are less than a half-mile in length. It is an easy walk along a paved sidewalk. A bit different than the typical Uncharted Lancaster adventure, but it’s nice not to get muddy on occasion.
I don’t want to spoil your adventure, so I’ll only mention a few interesting tidbits from the tour. Lititz is surprisingly older than you would expect, with several homes along Main Street dating back to the mid-1700s.
There was a friendly rivalry between the all-girls schools of Linden Hall and the Sunnyside College for Girls for the tallest building. Liden Hall, founded in 1746, is the oldest girls’ resident school in the United States. Sunnyside added the widow’s walk (pictured below) to one up Liden Hall.
The Moravians were strict pacifists. Instead of sending men to fight during the Revolutionary War, they cared for sick and wounded soldiers in the Brothers’ House during much of 1778. Some of these injured men even left their initials and other graffiti on the walls. You can read more about it here.
Forget about romance when it was time to get married. When a Moravian man was ready to get married, he would approach the church leaders to express this desire. Of course, he could not get married until he first learned a trade. The church leaders would then put the names of six marriage-age women into a coconut shell and pick one randomly. The woman could refuse, but that rarely happened as the match was considered divine providence.
Pro Tip: Schedule your walking tour early enough in the day so you can visit many of Main Street’s excellent shops afterward.
Booking your Walking Tour of Main Street
Tours should be booked and paid a week in advance. Admission is $10 per person. Schedule yours by calling 717-627-4636 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours run rain or shine. Click here for more information on their website.
Planning Your Trip to Lititz
During your trip to Lititz, consider visiting the Lititz Historical Foundation, which highlights the town’s fascinating history. While there, see if you can find the buried treasure belonging to Hannah Hetherley, the “pow-wowing” witch doctor known as the “Sorceress of Lititz,” in this fun Uncharted Lancaster adventure at the Lititz Historical Foundation.
You should also take a stroll through the beautiful seven-acre Lititz Springs Park. You can visit the granite statue inspired by the world-famous “Lion of Lucerne” in Switzerland. The public art piece has a storied past involving unrealized dreams and a destructive vandal. Click the link to learn more.
Afterward, we finished our tour where it began by stopping at the Bulls Head Public House, part of the Lititz Spring Inn & Spa. There we grabbed a cold drink and a tasty bite to eat. The eatery is modeled after a British pub and offers great food, friendly conversation, and quality beers. My family enjoyed a traditional British meal of bangers & mash and shepherd’s pie. Both were excellent.
Learn More About Lititz
Lititz answers the call of freedom; becomes a hospital town for Revolutionary War wounded
For eight months in 1778, the town of Lititz served as a hospital caring for hundreds of men. Unfortunately, typhus plagued the facility killing 120 soldiers of the nearly 1,000 men who stayed there.
For eight months beginning in December 1777, the town of Lititz, by order of George Washington, served as a military hospital. Unfortunately, typhus ravaged the facility killing 120 of the nearly 1,000 men who stayed there. The Moravian community also paid a heavy toll for their kindness when the disease killed many of its residents. Click the link to learn how Lititz answered the call of freedom.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight in Lititz Spring Park
Have you visited the napping lion of Lititz Spring Park? The granite statue inspired by the world-famous “Lion of Lucerne” in Switzerland has a storied past involving unrealized dreams and a destructive vandal. Click the link to learn more.
Meet Hannah Hetherley, the ‘pow-wowing’ witch doctor known as the ‘Sorceress of Lititz’
In 1879, a rag-tag group of Christmas day-born treasure hunters led by the “Sorceress of Lititz” Hannah Hetherley set out to find buried riches hidden near downtown Lititz. Legend holds that they found it, but the magic protecting the cache was too powerful to allow its removal. Can you break the spell?