About This Place
Ephrata (pronounced /ɛfrətə/ ef-rə-tə) is a borough in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States, 38 miles (61 km) south east of Harrisburg and about 57 miles (92 km) west by north of Philadelphia. It is named after Ephrath, a biblical town in what is now Israel. Ephrata's sister city is Eberbach, Germany, the city where its founders originated. In its early history, Ephrata was a pleasure resort and an agricultural community. It is also home to the famous wooden pillow.
Ephrata's population has steadily grown over the last century. In 1900, 2,452 people lived there, in 1910, 3,192, and by 1940, the population had increased to 6,199. The population was 13,213 at the 2000 census.
Ephrata is noteworthy for having been the former seat of the Mystic Order of the Solitary, a semimonastic order of Seventh-Day Dunkers. The community, which contained both men and women, was founded by Johann Conrad Beissel in 1732.