Lancaster Court House

Lancaster Court House
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
September 27, 1777

No Longer Standing
50 N. Duke St
Lancaster, PA 17602

Lancaster Court House Lancaster, Pennsylvania September 27, 1777

Lancaster Court House was a 1730 brick structure, 30’ x 30’, that had a brick pavement floor.   The Court House was crowned with a small spire that had a clock of two faces, one for the south and the other for the north. The structure burnt down in 1781 and was replaced with a much larger structure in 1785 that is often depicted, incorrectly, as the Continental Congress Capitol building.  Upon their arrival on September 27, 1777, the Continental Congress convened but was forced to vacate the building the following day. The Pennsylvania officials, who had also fled Philadelphia, required the meeting space for the use of their State government business. 

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The following day the Continental Congress packed up and moved the Capitol across the Susquehanna River to a small village called York-Town. The River provided a natural barrier to the British who had captured Philadelphia on September 26, 1777.  Howe’s decision to conquer Philadelphia and not join his Northern Army resulted in General Burgoyne’s surrender in Saratoga.  Congress only official business in Lancaster was to adjourn to re-assemble in York-town, Pennsylvania.

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