Intercourse, Pennsylvania

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Intercourse, Pennsylvania (pop. roughly 1,558) is an unincorporated village in Leacock Township, Lancaster County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, ten miles east of Lancaster on PA 340. As with the nearby towns of Bird-in-Hand, Blue Ball, and Paradise, Intercourse is a popular site for tourists because of its location in "Amish country". The movie Witness was filmed in Intercourse as well as other parts of the surrounding area, and For Richer or Poorer was set there, though not filmed in Intercourse. Because of the town's unusual name, the sign posts for the town are frequently targeted by thieves.



Tourism and farming are major industries in the area. Small businesses sell Amish crafts, food, and give horse and buggy rides. The town thrives on thousands of tourists who visit the region each year. Most of the land surrounding the town is farmland.


Intercourse was founded in 1754. The community was originally named Cross Keys, after a local tavern. Intercourse became the name in 1814. The village website gives several theories for the origins of the name.

"Another theory concerns two famous roads that crossed here. The Old King's highway from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh (now the Old Philadelphia Pike) ran east and west through the center of the town. The road from Wilmington to Erie intersected in the middle. The joining of these two roads is claimed by some to be the basis for the town 'Cross Keys' or eventually 'Intercourse'.[1] A final idea comes from the use of language during the early days of the Village. The word 'intercourse' was commonly used to describe the 'fellowship' and 'social interaction and support' shared in the community of faith, which was much a part of a rural village like this one."[1]

The village's name is often the subject of jokes relating to sexual intercourse.[2] Intercourse was featured in the December 21, 2010 edition of Top Gear, with presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May in the village making fun of the name.

Sites of interest

  • Museums and Historic Sites
    • American Military Edged Weaponry Museum[3]
    • People's Place Quilt Museum[4]
    • The People's Place[5]

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