Last modified: 2011-10-21 by rick wyatt
Keywords: lititz | pennsylvania | lancaster county |
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image by Ivan Sache, 5 March 2007
The Borough of Lititz (9,029 inhabitants; 600 ha) is located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, c. 10 km north of Lancaster. An outline of the history of Lititz is given on the Lancaster County official website:
"The town of Lititz was founded in 1756. Lititz got its name from Lititz, a town in Bohemia. It was established by Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf as a Moravian Community. Until 1855 it was just that, a closed community that allowed only members of the Moravian Church to live within its borders. Today, Lititz is home to many varying denominations, including Mennonite, Lutheran, Catholic, United Methodist, Brethren, and others. The Lititz Moravian Church is still located on Church Square just off of Main Street. The building was constructed in 1787, and even survived a fire in 1957. Lititz is home to the oldest all girls boarding school in the United States. Linden Hall, as it's known today, is located adjacent to the Moravian Church. In 1746, land was contributed to by Jacob Huber, a local farmer, to build a "Gemeinhaus," or meeting house/school. This became the foundation for Linden Hall. America's longest continuing observance of Independence Day also takes place in Lititz. Since 1818 the Fourth of July celebration in Lititz Springs Park has been a mainstay. Even as the Union and Confederate Armies were battling in Gettysburg in 1863, Lititz residents carried on the tradition. The festivities include the "Fairyland of Candles" and has since 1843. This is a grand illumination of candles along the Lititz Run creek which flows through the Lititz Springs Park. In 1846, the first fireworks display was added to the schedule of events. One of the newest additions to the festivities was in 1942, the crowning of the Queen of Candles from seniors of Warwick High School. Today, the Fourth of July celebration attracts upwards of 25,000-30,000 visitors annually.[...]"Lititz was originally a kind of religious utopia [www.generalsutterinn.com/history.html]:
"In 1776, the Moravian town of Lititz was born. Conceived as an experiment in utopia, the village was named to honor the Bohemian town of Lidice where, in 1756, the followers of John Hus had received sanctuary from religious persecution and had formed the Moravian Church, the oldest of all Protestant denominations. It was called "Litiz." To ensure that inhabitants would be "free from all dangerous and worldly connections, and live a peaceful and quiet life in Godliness and Honesty," the Town Regulations of 1756 were adopted. Only those who signed the Regulations were allowed to live in the town. The strictness of the rules is self-evident. There was to be no "light-minded, disorderly and needless conversation, no changing of professions, no giving a night's lodging to any person or no undertaking a journey, either far or near, without permission." Furthermore, "parents shall be accountable for their children and families, and when any of them mis-behaved or do amiss, it shall be required at their hand." 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, common sports and pastimes and the playing of the children in the streets.......They that have inclinations that way cannot live in Lititz." But change is inevitable. By 1856 the church found itself unable to enforce a way of life that no longer had community support. The "Rules" were abolished and the town opened to people of all religious persuasions - present day Lititz. It was "for the necessary entertainment of strangers and travellers" that in 1764 the present Inn was built and named the "Zum Anker" (the sign of the anchor). The Inn became the Lititz Springs Hotel, then the name was changed to The General Sutter Inn in 1930, to honor John Augustus Sutter, a California Gold Rush pioneer, who lived his last seven years in Lititz, and is buried in the Moravian Cemetery." General John Augustus Sutter (1803-1880) was a trader and trapper who established in April 1838 a grass hut village on the confluence of the Sacramaneto and American rivers, California. Sutter became a Mexican citizen and was granted in 1841 40,000 acres of land by the Governor of Monterey; he named the grant New Helvetia. In 1849 Sutter, recognized as the founding pioneer of California, was asked to help frame the California State Constitution as a member of the Monterey Convention. On 16 February 1853, Sutter was granted by concurrent resolution the title of Major General commanding the California Militia. After the destruction of its farm, Sutter moved to Lititz [www.generalsutterinn.com/generalsutterpage.html].In "The Lititz Record Express", 28 February 2007 , Michael C. Upton reports the adoption of the flag of Lititz as follows:
"[...] Borough Council Tuesday approved a flag with a crest-like representation of Lititz Springs Park on a blue background as the official flag of Lititz. This flag was choice "D" in a recent contest conducted by the borough. Four color designs for an official Lititz flag were presented in the Feb. 15 edition of the Record Express. Lititz residents were asked to notify the borough office of their favorite, and more than 300 people cast a ballot for their preferred standard. The idea for an official Lititz flag was born from the festivities of the Lititz 250th Anniversary celebration. During the celebration, the Mayor of Kunvald — Lititz's Czech Republic sister city — presented a town flag to Lititz Mayor Russell Pettyjohn. The need for a Lititz flag was immediately clear. In January, Mayor Pettyjohn presented the idea of a Lititz flag, along with conceptual drawings, to borough council. At that time, the council agreed the decision on a flag should be left to the citizenry at large. This week, a selection was made, and Mayor Pettyjohn plans to join a contingent of local dignitaries for an historic trip in June to Kunvald. During the celebration, Mayor Pettyjohn plans to present the mayor of Kunvald with the new Lititz flag.
The winning design, created by Tom Benjamin, owner of Lititz Sign Company, won by a narrow margin of nine votes. "The park is a focal point of the community," Benjamin said in an earlier interview. "It is always part of something we are doing." The mayor will present costs for the flag to the council next month. [...]"