Blue Ball, Pennsylvania

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Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
Along US 322 approaching PA 23
Along US 322 approaching PA 23
Blue Ball is located in Pennsylvania
Blue Ball
Blue Ball
Location in Pennsylvania
Blue Ball is located in the United States
Blue Ball
Blue Ball
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 40°07′07″N 76°02′50″W / 40.11861°N 76.04722°W / 40.11861; -76.04722Coordinates: 40°07′07″N 76°02′50″W / 40.11861°N 76.04722°W / 40.11861; -76.04722
CountryUnited States
TownshipEast Earl
 • Total1.19 sq mi (3.10 km2)
 • Land1.19 sq mi (3.09 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
441 ft (134 m)
 • Total1,084
 • Density907.87/sq mi (350.52/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code717
FIPS code42-07208
GNIS feature ID1169864[3]

Blue Ball is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in East Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States. Blue Ball lies approximately 2 miles (3 km) east-northeast of the borough of New Holland at the intersection of US 322 and PA Route 23. As of the 2010 census the population was 1,031.[4]

Name and origin[edit]

The name originates from the Blue Ball Hotel, built more than two hundred years ago, which stood on the southeast corner of the PA 23-US 322 crossroads. The inn was torn down in 1997.[5] In the early 18th century, John Wallace built a small building in Earl Town at the intersection of two Indian trails, French Creek Path (Route 23) and Paxtang (Route 322). He hung a blue ball out front from a post[6] and called it "The Sign of the Blue Ball". Locals soon began calling the town "Blue Ball" after the inn. In 1833, Earl Town officially changed its name to Blue Ball. During Prohibition, the inn changed its name to Blue Ball Hotel.[5]


The town's name has a suggestive second meaning, evoking the slang term "blue balls" (1916), also known as "hot nuts," which refers to the sexual condition of temporary testicular and prostate fluid congestion due to prolonged and unsatisfied sexual excitement.[7] Blue Ball is often listed among the "delightfully-named towns" in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, alongside Pleasureville, Intercourse, Mount Joy, Lititz, Bareville, Bird-in-Hand, Fertility and Paradise.[8][9][10][11][12]


Blue Ball is in eastern Lancaster County, in the western part of East Earl Township. Pennsylvania Route 23 (Main Street) leads northeast 9 miles (14 km) to the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Morgantown and southwest through New Holland 16 miles (26 km) to Lancaster, the county seat. U.S. Route 322 (Division Highway) crosses PA 23 in the center of Blue Ball; it leads northwest 8 miles (13 km) to Ephrata and southeast 20 miles (32 km) to Downingtown.

Shirks Run which flows through Blue Ball, leading northwest to the Conestoga River. It has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) like the remainder of Lancaster County. Average monthly temperatures range from 30.0° F in January to 74.6° F in July. [1] The hardiness zone is 6b.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[13][2]


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Oct 12, 2022.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
  4. ^ "Total Population: 2010 Census DEC Summary File 1 (P1), Blue Ball CDP, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  5. ^ a b SUNDAY NEWS, LANCASTER, PA,Pg. D-1, July 13, 1997
  6. ^ "Some peculiar post office names in Berks". Reading Eagle. Nov 27, 1910. p. 11. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  7. ^ Glenn, Jules (1969). "Testicular and Scrotal Masturbation". International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. 50 (3): 353–362. PMID 5387383.
  8. ^ Ward's quarterly (1965) p.109 quote: such delightfully-named towns in Pennsylvania Dutchland as his native Mount Joy, and neighboring Lititz, Blue Ball, Bareville, Intercourse, Bird in Hand, and Paradise.

  9. ^ 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."

  10. ^ 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 bastardization 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.

  11. ^ Rand McNally and Company (1978) p.52
  12. ^ 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 well-known cluster in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Bird-in-Hand, Bareville, Blue Ball, Mt. Joy, Intercourse, and Paradise.

  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.