About This Place
Gordonville, Pennsylvania is an unincorporated place or village in Leacock Township in eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. The village is located about nine miles (14 km) east of the county seat of Lancaster, two miles (3 km) southwest of the village of Intercourse, one mile (1.6 km) north of Paradise, and about three miles (5 km) southeast of Bird-in-Hand. Though the village is little known outside of its immediate area, the surrounding countryside has been portrayed in many books and magazine articles. The Old Order Amish constitute a significant cultural presence in the area of the village. Wendell Berry mentioned the town in one of his collections of essays. The population of Gordonville was about 460 in 1995; its Zip Code postal address of 17529 includes about 4,100 individuals.
There are 153 farms in Leacock Township; all but seven are owned by Amish families. These small scale farms (many with small shops) dot the gently rolling and open landscape around the village. Though rural in character, Gordonville is at the edge of the metropolis: Amtrak Keystone Service trains pass daily through the village on runs to Lancaster and Harrisburg to the west and Philadelphia and New York City to the east. Though there was once a train station in the center of the village, no train has officially stopped there since the 1950s. On back roads horse-drawn buggies and automobiles occasionally compete for space with rollerblading Amish youth and Amish men on scooters commuting to local jobs.
Gordonville is located on part of a grant of 2,300 acres (9.3 km2) of land to the Mary Feree family by the sons of William Penn. The town resulted from the railroad that planned to pass through the area. Around 1829 land was surveyed for the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, chartered in 1823 and again in 1826, to run between Philadelphia and Columbia, a growing city along the Susquehanna River south of Harrisburg. Land on the south and west side of the railway route belonged to the Christian Hershey family, which was associated with the land from as early as 1709. Daniel Gordon erected the first dwelling on land now associated with the village in 1832 (some say 1834), a 2 1⁄2-story, five-bay brick farmhouse with central doorway, largely intact gallery under gable roof, with first floor windows on facade to floor. The house was inhabited by Henry Eckert in the 1880s, and is still occupied today, though divided into several apartments.