Saturday, 27 September 2014

Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Capital for a Day

As I sat down to write my tale for today, it occurred to me that sometimes we go for weeks without a trip to America and other times, well, we seem to be there all the time. Today we return to my colonial gentleman's homeland to learn of the city that, on 27th September 1777, was the capital of the colonies for just one day.


The flag of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
The flag of Lancaster, Pennsylvania

As Revolution swept America, the political and physical landscape underwent a transformation. With British forces under General Howe and General Cornwallis laying claim to Philadelphia, the Continental Congress had no choice but to abandon the city and they found themselves, for a twenty four hour stopover, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Here they gathered in the County Courthouse and debate began as to where the Congress might find a more permanent home.

Sixty miles lay between Philadelphia and Lancaster and the members of congress were perhaps a little too close for comfort, as the saying goes, and Lancaster struggled to accommodate the new arrivals. With these factors in mind, the Continental Congress roadshow rolled on again and settled twenty miles further along the road, finally coming to rest in York. Here it would remain for over a decade, ending Lancaster's day in the political spotlight.

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