About Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown is a thriving community of approximately 11,545 residents located in south central Pennsylvania. Situated in scenic northwestern Lancaster County, our historic downtown is 10 miles south of Hershey and 20 miles from Harrisburg, Lancaster and York.  The Borough’s recently renovated train station is a major stop along the Amtrak Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and we are less than 15 miles from the Harrisburg International Airport.  Red Rose Transit has several bus stops in town providing service within the community and to Lancaster City. In addition to train, bus and plane, the Borough is easily accessed by car as we are just off I-283, and Route 230 passes through our downtown.

Within the Borough’s approximate 2.6 square miles you will find 40 miles of public roads and highways, the Amtrak Train Station, the Elizabethtown Public Library, boutique shops and restaurants, microbreweries and coffee shops, the Elizabethtown Area School District administrative offices, Mill Road and East High Street Elementary Schools, Elizabethtown Area High School and Middle School, the Elizabethtown College campus, the Mars Chocolate factory, Community Park and a growing pedestrian/bicycle pathway network.

Elizabethtown has an active Chamber of Commerce and is home to Continental Press, White Oak Mills (an animal feed plant), Elizabethtown College, Mars Chocolate North America where Dove Promises are manufactured, and numerous smaller businesses.  A portion of the Masonic Village retirement living campus is within Borough limits, adjacent to the Amtrak Train Station, and its extensive pathway network picks up at the station where the Borough’s pathway ends.

A 39-acre linear park complete with trails, pavilions, basketball courts, softball field, and play equipment as well as a growing pedestrian and bicycle pathway network connects the train station to the downtown area, residential neighborhoods, schools, churches, and Elizabethtown College.


In 1730, Thomas Harris purchased a large tract of land and established a trading post on the Conoy Creek. This trading post became the Bear Tavern, which in 1753 was purchased by Barnabas and Elizabeth Hughes from County Donegal, Ireland.

Barnabas Hughes laid out a town and named it Elizabethtown in honor of his wife. The town, one of the earliest communities settled in Lancaster County, had a central square and “diamond” pattern common to many of the newly founded Pennsylvania towns. Stakes in the ground identified boundaries of the lots and of the streets and alleys in town. Barnabas Hughes gave them the names they still have today – Market Street, High Street, Rose Alley, Cherry Alley, and Peach Alley. Situated along a trail, which became the Lancaster-Harrisburg Turnpike, the trading and tavern business flourished and the town grew rapidly.

Elizabethtown was incorporated as a Borough on April 13, 1827. Historians recognize Elizabeth and Barnabas Hughes as the founding family of Elizabethtown.

Courtesy Elizabethtown Borough