Historic Lititz was founded as a Moravian settlement in 1746 by Count Nikolaus Von Zinzendorf. Originally from what is now the Czech Republic, the Moravians fled Europe seeking religious freedom in Pennsylvania. Elders of the church adopted “Town Regulations of 1756” and Lititz remained in control of the Moravian Church for 100 years. The town was closed to non-church members until 1855. Strict church rules forbade dancing, beer tapping and sports matches. Today the Moravian Church still has a congregation in Lititz and operates a museum and archives that are open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from May through October.
Evidence of the town’s Moravian legacy remain in present day Lititz. Linden Hall School for Girls was founded in 1746 and is currently the oldest operating boarding school in the United States. Soft pretzels were already a staple of Moravian life when Julius Sturgis had the radical idea to create a “hard” pretzel by baking it twice. In 1861, Sturgis opened the nation’s first pretzel bakery which is still in operation today. Factory tours run daily Monday through Saturday.
In Colonial times, the waters of Lititz Springs Park were thought to have healing powers. The park was used as a resting place for soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Since 1818, the park has been the site of the oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration.
Today, Lititz is an eclectic hub of cultural events and unique shopping experiences. Each year Lititz is host to the Chocolate Walk, A Taste of Lititz, the Artisans’ Porchwalk and the Fire and Ice Festival that pays homage to ice carving and hot chili. Every August, the Lititz Rotary Arts and Crafts Show hosts more than 700 vendors making it one of the largest events of its kind on the East Coast, drawing upwards of 50,000 people.
Downtown Lititz is lined with more than twenty one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants. And in 2013, Lititz was named “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel Magazine.
Lititz today is the culmination of over 270 years of rich history. With so much to see and do, its best days are still ahead!