Things you didn't know about Millersville PA

Things you didn't know about Millersville PA

Nestled in the heart of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Millersville may seem like a quiet college town at first glance. However, this charming community holds many surprises for those willing to dig a little deeper. From its rich history to its modern innovations, Millersville has plenty of fascinating aspects that even longtime residents might not know. Let’s explore some of the lesser-known facts and hidden gems that make this town truly unique.

A Presidential Connection

Few people realize that Millersville has a connection to one of America’s most influential presidents. James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States, lived just a few miles away in Lancaster. He frequently visited Millersville and was known to enjoy strolls through the town. In fact, Buchanan’s niece, Harriet Lane, who served as First Lady during his presidency, attended the Millersville Academy, which later became Millersville University.

The Oldest Public Normal School in Pennsylvania

Millersville University, the town’s centerpiece, holds a special place in Pennsylvania’s educational history. Founded in 1855 as the Lancaster County Normal School, it was the first state-owned normal school (teacher’s college) in Pennsylvania. This pioneering institution played a crucial role in shaping education across the state and continues to be a leader in teacher preparation programs.

A Haven for Astronomical Enthusiasts

Tucked away on the Millersville University campus is a hidden gem for stargazers: the George Street Observatory. This facility houses a 16-inch Meade telescope and hosts regular public viewing nights. What many don’t know is that Millersville’s astronomy program has been involved in significant research, including the study of variable stars and exoplanets.

The Mysterious "Millersville Meteorite"

In 1882, a meteorite fell near Millersville, causing quite a stir in the scientific community. This extraterrestrial visitor, weighing about 1.5 kilograms, was one of the first meteorites to be scientifically studied in Pennsylvania. Today, pieces of the Millersville Meteorite can be found in collections around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution.

A Surprising Culinary Claim to Fame

While Lancaster County is famous for its Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, Millersville has its own unique culinary claim. The town is said to be the birthplace of the “whoopie pie,” a beloved dessert consisting of two round pieces of chocolate cake with a creamy filling. While Maine and other regions also claim this invention, many locals insist that the treat originated in Millersville’s Amish community.

Revolutionary War Connections

During the American Revolutionary War, Millersville played a small but significant role. The area served as a storage depot for military supplies, and local legend has it that Revolutionary War soldiers passed through the town on their way to and from battles. Some old buildings in Millersville are rumored to have secret rooms that were used to hide supplies or even escaping soldiers.

An Unexpected Literary Link

Literature enthusiasts might be surprised to learn that Millersville has a connection to the world of classic American literature. Lloyd Mifflin, known as the “Sonnetteer of America,” lived and worked in Millersville for many years. Mifflin was a prolific poet and artist whose sonnets were highly regarded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Innovative Sustainability Efforts

Millersville University has been at the forefront of sustainability efforts in recent years. The campus boasts several LEED-certified buildings and has implemented innovative energy-saving measures. One of the most interesting projects is the “Zero Energy” Lombardo Welcome Center, which produces more energy than it consumes annually, setting a new standard for sustainable campus buildings.

A Thriving Arts Scene

While Lancaster city is often recognized for its vibrant arts community, Millersville has its own flourishing creative scene. The Ware Center, located in nearby Lancaster but operated by Millersville University, hosts a wide array of performances and exhibitions. Additionally, the university’s art galleries regularly showcase work from both students and professional artists, adding to the town’s cultural richness.

Nature's Hidden Oasis

Nature lovers might be surprised to discover the Conewago Recreation Trail, which starts just outside Millersville. This scenic trail follows an abandoned railroad bed along Conewago Creek, offering beautiful views and opportunities for hiking, biking, and birdwatching. It’s a hidden gem that provides a peaceful escape into nature.

A Quirky Local Legend

Local folklore tells of a mysterious creature known as the “Millersville Monster.” While likely more myth than reality, stories of this elusive beast have been passed down through generations. Some describe it as a large, hairy creature similar to Bigfoot, while others claim it’s more reptilian in nature. Whether fact or fiction, the legend adds a touch of intrigue to the town’s history.

From its presidential connections and astronomical pursuits to its culinary innovations and sustainability efforts, Millersville, PA, is a town full of surprises. These lesser-known facts and hidden gems reveal a community rich in history, culture, and innovation. Whether you’re a longtime resident or a curious visitor, there’s always something new to discover in this charming Pennsylvania town. Learn more about Local community Centers in Lancaster PA.

FAQs

Millersville, PA is best known for being home to Millersville University, the oldest public normal school (teacher's college) in Pennsylvania. The university, founded in 1855, continues to be a prominent institution for education and research in the state.

Yes, Millersville, PA has several historical sites. One of the most significant is the George Street Observatory on the Millersville University campus. Additionally, there are several buildings dating back to the Revolutionary War era, though many are not open to the public.

Millersville, PA offers various outdoor activities. The Conewago Recreation Trail, which starts just outside town, is popular for hiking and biking. The town also has several parks, including Freedom Memorial Park, which features sports facilities and walking paths.

Millersville, PA is generally considered a good place for families. It offers a small-town atmosphere with access to quality education through its public schools and proximity to Millersville University. The town also has a low crime rate and various family-friendly activities and events throughout the year.

While in Millersville, PA, visitors should try a whoopie pie, as the town claims to be its birthplace. For dining, there are several local restaurants offering Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. The Sugar Bowl, a long-standing ice cream parlor, is also a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

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