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Jan 23

The History of Ephrata

Posted on January 23, 2023 at 9:00 AM by Ephrata Borough

History Of Ephrata Borough 

Ephrata Borough, PA has a long and rich, and culturally diverse history that dates back hundreds of years prior to the formation of the United States.

1732: Founding As A Religious Community

The village of Ephrata was first formed in 1732 by a German mystic named Johann Beissel and was initially a religious community made up of men and women called Cloisters.  The people within the Cloister community spent their days peacefully in prayer and quietly worked on things like carpentry, gardening, papermaking, printing, and charity.

The Cloisters held many important values. For example, they cultivated a deep respect for their fellow human beings and the land on which they lived and worked. They also thought that education was crucial, particularly for children. 

Early 1800s: Regional Center For Commerce

By the early 1800s, however, the Cloisters began to die out, and Ephrata turned into a center for commerce and trade in the region. Two hotels - the Mountain Springs and the Mount Vernon House - were built, and Ephrata became an important stop for the Reading and Columbia Railroads.

Today, you can still visit the Mountain Springs resort (and even stay in it), along with the railroad station which is now a preserved visitor’s center for the Ephrata Borough.

1891: Petition To Form A Borough

In 1891 - over 150 years after the community was first founded - a petition for a charter that would incorporate the village of Ephrata into a borough was presented, debated, and passed.  

Ephrata Borough Today

 While the origination of Ephrata Borough only had about 2,200 residents, currently there are over 13,700 consisting of families, individuals, and business members of the community. Downtown (Welcome Sign)

While Ephrata is no longer a religious community of Cloisters, the residents of the Ephrata community today still hold the same values making for an all-inclusive, culturally rich, and inviting place to live, work, and play.