|• Total||0.621 sq mi (1.61 km2)|
|• Land||0.618 sq mi (1.60 km2)|
|• Water||0.003 sq mi (0.008 km2)|
|• Density||650/sq mi (250/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1169655|
Bird-in-Hand is an unincorporated community and census-designated place with parts lying in East Lampeter Township, and Upper Leacock Township, Lancaster County in the U.S. commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The community has a large Amish and Mennonite population. As of the 2010 census, its population was 402.
The earliest settlers of what was to become Bird-in-Hand were Quakers and Swiss Mennonites. James Smith was the first of the Quakers known to have settled in the area, arriving by the year 1715. William and Dorothy McNabb were pioneer landowners and the owners of the original Bird-in-Hand Hotel. The Quakers built a meetinghouse and two-story academy, which stands today, next to the present day Bird-in-Hand fire company.
The community was founded in 1734. The legend of the naming of Bird-in-Hand concerns the time when the Old Philadelphia Pike was surveyed between Lancaster and Philadelphia. According to legend two road surveyors discussed whether they should stay at their present location or go on to the town of Lancaster. One of them supposedly said, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," which means it is preferable to have a small but certain advantage than the mere potential of a greater one; and so they stayed. By 1734, road surveyors were making McNabb’s hotel their headquarters rather than returning to Lancaster every day. The sign in front of the inn is known to have once "portrayed a man with a bird in his hand and a bush nearby, in which two birds were perched," and was known as the Bird-in-Hand Inn. Variations of this sign appear throughout the town today.
In 1834 construction began on the 86-mile Pennsylvania Railroad line between Philadelphia and Columbia. Bird-in-Hand, featuring tanneries, feed mills, coal and lumber yards, was the most important stop on the Lancaster to Coatesville section.
The town remained relatively unknown until a musical called Plain and Fancy opened in New York in 1955. The play was set in the village of Bird-in-Hand and is often credited as a catalyst for the boom in Pennsylvania Dutch Country tourism in the mid-twentieth century. The Plain & Fancy Restaurant opened in 1960, and is the oldest "family-style restaurant" in the area. Bird-in-Hand is often named in lists of "delightfully-named towns" in Pennsylvania Dutchland, along with Intercourse, Blue Ball, Lititz, Bareville, Mount Joy and Paradise.
In 1968 the Smucker family opened a small 30-room motel called the Bird-in-Hand Motor Inn, with an adjacent coffee shop, in hopes of capitalizing on the growing tourist trade in the area. The coffee shop was turned into a larger 145 seat restaurant in 1970 and renamed the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant. A larger, additional building with an indoor swimming pool was built in the early 1980s and the motel changed its name to the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn. In the 1990s a buffet was added to the restaurant. In 2005 the restaurant was expanded further and a larger adult's and children's buffet were added and the name was changed to the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant and Smorgasbord. The Smucker family has been running this business now for three generations.
In 1976 the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market opened adjacent to the Bird-in-Hand Motor Inn.
Museums and historic sites
- Americana Museum of Bird-in-Hand
- Amish Country Homestead
- Old Village Store
- Bird-in-Hand Friends Meetinghouse
- Don & Ann Antiques Roe
- Bird-in-Hand United Methodist
- Stumptown Mennonite
- Weavertown Amish Mennonite Church
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania
- Bird-in-Hand History at amishnews.com
- Ward's quarterly (1965) p.109 quote:
...in such delightfully-named towns in Pennsylvania Dutchland as his native Mount Joy, and neighboring Lititz, Blue Ball, Bareville, Intercourse, Bird in Hand, and Paradise.
- Anderson (1979) p.214 quote:
"...but anyone who names their towns Mount Joy, Intercourse, and Blue Ball can't be all bad. Obviously they have more on their minds than just religion."
- Museums Association (2006) p.61 quote:
Which brings us to Intercourse. You can imagine my delight when I found out that the Amish call the town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, their home. There seems to be a lot of explanations from locals trying to pass off the name as a bastardisation of 'Enter Course' and so on, but seeing as there are other local towns called Blue Ball, Bird In Hand, and Mount Joy, I suspect that the person responsible had a very juvenile sense of humour. The town sits in upstate Pennsylvania and is a tourist trap for anyone even remotely curious about the Amish way of life.
- Rand McNally and Company (1978) p.52
- Mencken (1963) p.653 quote:
In the years since then many of these names have been changed to more elegant ones,2 and others have vanished with the ghost towns they adorned, but not a few still hang on. Indeed, there are plenty of lovely specimens to match them in the East, in regions that were also frontier in their days, e.g., the famous cluster in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania: Bird in Hand, Bareville, Blue Ball, Mt. Joy, Intercourse and Paradise.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "Bird-in-Hand History". Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- Anderson, William Charles (1979) Home sweet home has wheels: or, Please don't tailgate the real estate
- Henry Louis Mencken, Raven Ioor McDavid (1963) The American language: an inquiry into the development of English in the United States, Volume 1
- Museums Association (2006) The Museums journal, Volume 106, Issues 1-6, Indexes to papers read before the Museums Association, 1890–1909. Compiled by Charles Madeley.
- Rand McNally and Company (1978) Vacation & travel guide
- Ward's quarterly, Volume 1, 1965
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