History of Intercourse, PA

History of Intercourse, PA

Cayla Stoltzfoos |

As a family business who operates two locations and has deep family roots in or near Intercourse, PA, we thought it would be neat to look at the rich culture and history of the town. While Intercourse, PA is often thought of as a popular tourist attraction, many people and families have called it their home for decades.

A photo looking west on route 340 in Intercourse, PA.

Intercourse, PA was originally founded in 1754 and given the name “Cross Keys” after a local tavern. In 1814, the town’s name was changed to its famous name of “Intercourse.” There are quite a few theories on how this name came to be. Some people believe it is because the town is located at the intersection of two critical highways of the time that ran east to west and north to south through the state of Pennsylvania. Others have said there was a sign at the edge of town that said “Enter Course,” as their was a race course located there. Still others say that the town was founded on the importance of fellowship and social interaction, which was often referred to as “intercourse” at the time. Whatever the reason, the town’s quirky name has certainly contributed to some of its popularity.

A photo of the race course located in town that is one of the theories behind the town’s name.
This photo captures the Intercourse Stage which was a primary way of travel for those traveling from Lancaster to Intercourse and back again.

Farming and tourism have been the two major long-standing industries in the town of Intercourse, PA. Tourists are often drawn to the town by the large Amish population that resides in and around the area, making Intercourse, PA a great place to experience Amish culture. Many area businesses offer visitors the opportunity to taste authentic PA Dutch food, such as broasted chicken, ham, mashed potatoes, brown-buttered noodles, corn, fresh-baked rolls and desserts, and locally grown vegetables. Other companies sell Amish-made crafts or offer experiences such as homestead tours, one-room school house visits, or horse and buggy rides.

Taken at the 200th anniversary of the town of Intercourse, PA, this photo shows some local fare being sold, including chicken BBQ and freshly-baked breads.


While Intercourse, PA draws lots of visitors each year, many people also call the town home, as we previously mentioned. This gives the area a “small town” feel, as you’re likely to bump into someone you recognize at a local store or restaurant. Many residents are farmers or small business owners who operate their businesses in town. Those who call Intercourse, PA home are often proud of the history of the area and the ability to maintain that small town feeling.


As a small business that operates in Intercourse, PA, we sure are thankful for the town and the many that have gone before us to make this area what it is today. If you’ve visited, tell us your favorite thing to do while in the area!


Great memories of visiting and staying overnight in this little quaint town reminds me of olden days of how people lived n thrived

Kaylee Harroff,

Loved your “Charming Town,” and all the Country Homes & Amish Farms!

Rebecca Berry,

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