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Now playing: "My Home Town"
~ My Home Town ~
Built against the side of a mountain, in the eastern foothills of the Appalachian range, Ephrata was first settled in the early 1700's. Beginning with a religious community, progressing to farming and light manufacturing, and now located on a busy trucking route; it has managed to keep some of the history of its forefathers.
The Cloister, a National Historic Site, was founded in 1732 by Conrad Beissel. It was one of America's earliest religious communities. Here Beissel and his German followers lived quiet lives of prayer and charity.
They engaged in farming, papermaking and carpentry and became known for their music, calligraphy, and printing. They continued to live and worship here until 1934. Today visitors can tour and explore these historic buildings on part of a 30-acre reservation, open each day.
The Mountain Springs Hotel was once a popular mineral springs resort. The natural spring waters were known in Europe a century ago for their curative powers. The rambling complex of frame and stone structures illustrate its development from an 18th century farmstead to a 400-room hotel by 1860. During its popularity, the hotel drew important guests -- among them were: Abraham Lincoln and some 19th century presidents.
After the Great Depression the hotel was operated as the town's hospital and later in a different manner by a spiritualist before falling into disrepair. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. As late as the latter 1990's, a group purchased it to rebuild into a resort and spa. During the last few months the work has finally begun. 
The Green Dragon Farmers' Market is open every Friday, year round. It all began with auctions of livestock and sales of fresh meat and produce. Anything and everything you might be seeking; from potted plants and flowers, to quality wooden furniture, to pet supplies to a bundle of socks. Merchandise is displayed in one of the buildings or at the outdoor stands. Even if you can't find what you are looking for, a visit is well worth the trip!
Covered Bridges which dot our area are picturesque and sentimental. They recall a time when life was simpler and closer to the land.
These bridges were covered for one reason -- to keep the rain and snow from the massive working timbers
Ephrata, Pennsylvania -- population of about 13,000 -- does have a Main Street, which is also a very busy trucking route.
But for one week every year at the end of September, the trucks must take an alternate route, as the Main Street is transformed into the "Largest Street Fair" in the state.
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From rides, games of skill or chance, and food to photography, flower and produce displays and competitions; there is something for everyone. Included are 4-H farm animal competitions held in our community park.
The shopping experience involves this turn of the century complex; including fashion stores, a marketplace for arts, a farmer's market, a florist, restaurants, and guesthouses.
We have the usual strip shopping centers, located on the fringes of town and bargain shops down town; along with pizza parlors and Italian restaurants. But most of our restaurants serve Pennsylvania Dutch fare.
Ephrata is located in an area of exciting diversity. Rich in the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish cultures. Tranquil farmland scenes blend with the bustle of modern day commerce.
at the
WalMart
The architecture ranges from the very old ...
... to the very new ...
... and sometimes even a mix of the two.
And last but not least: In 1954 one of our own, Evelyn Ay, was crowned Miss America!