An early sketch of Lancaster (circa 1800) reprinted in Nolen's 1929 Comprehensive City Plan.
The town of Lancaster was founded in the early 1730s and developed into a regional center serving the surrounding agricultural community.
Located at the intersection of major east-west and north-south roadways, Lancaster was an important eighteenth-century settlement on the primary route of westward expansion through Pennsylvania.
By the second half of the eighteenth century, Lancaster was said to have been the largest inland town in America, a distinction it held until the end of the first decade of the nineteenth century.
Despite the prominent role that Lancaster played in the early settlement of Pennsylvania, the extent of the city's physical growth in its first one hundred and thirty years was relatively modest.
Joshua Scott's 1824 Map of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania indicates that lots were laid out only in the central portion of the present day city, roughly extending north as far as James Street, east to Plum Street, southeast to Chester Street and southwest to Strawberry Street. Houses are shown on about three-quarters of the lots.