Front page - 1859

On June 18, 2019, LNP celebrated its 225th anniversary. The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 

Buchanan rising

In the 1850s, Lancaster’s favorite son, James Buchanan, was elected the 15th president of the United States. Before ascending to the highest office in the land, Buchanan held a variety of jobs, including a spot in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, an ambassador to Russia and a lawyer here in Lancaster. Buchanan’s single term would be marred with calamities nearly from beginning to end - some within his power and others not. Two days after his inauguration in 1857, the Supreme Court delivered the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, and in his final address before Congress as president, he declared that the government could not legally prevent states from seceding from the Union. It was this final act as President that largely influences Buchanan’s mediocre historical standing as president. Whether or not Buchanan could have prevented the Civil War is up to the history books, but Buchanan’s iconic Wheatland property remains an indelible part of Lancaster’s landscape to this day.

Underground railroad

Nowhere on this front page will you find one of Lancaster's lasting contributions to history: multiple stops on the Underground Railroad. Lancaster County was a hub for Underground Railroad activity during the 1850s and 1860s. Because of Lancaster’s proximity to the northern border of the United States, this land was a critical spot on the trail. Today, historical markers commemorate some of the most pivotal areas.

Fulton Opera House: In 1835, when the performance space was still a prison, a police officer secretly freed two African-American women whom he knew to be falsely imprisoned.

The home of Congressman Thaddeus Stevens: In August 1848, a group of enslaved men, including O.C. Gilbert, fled across the Maryland-Pennsylvania border arriving in Columbia. They were "directed to call at No. 45 South Queen Street [where they] would find a lawyer, who was a friend to the slave." Stevens, and his associate Lydia Hamilton Smith, were known operatives on the Underground Railroad.

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church: Incorporated nearly 200 years ago, Bethel AME Church served as an important meeting ground not only for free African-Americans, but also runaway slaves seeking shelter and guidance.