The Lancaster Longhouse harkens back to a time before white settlers came, when the Shenks Ferry, Conoy, Lenape, Mohawk, Nanticoke, Seneca, Shawnee, and Susquehannock had their homes in central Pennsylvania. Rather than being modeled after homes of specific tribes, the structure recreates features common to Eastern Woodland Indian construction between 1570 and 1770. The overall dimensions were based on a Susquehannock longhouse excavated in 1969 in Washington Boro, Lancaster County. The builders made slight concessions, such as using synthetic bark for the exterior, to improve its longevity, safety, and utility as an educational exhibit.
For more than fifty years, the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and the 1719 Hans Herr House and Museum have told the story of Lancaster County, its settlers, and the role of the Mennonite community in the history of the region. Recently, as part of their mission to represent the culture and context of Lancaster County’s first European settlers, they began to collaborate with the First Nations People’s Circle Legacy Center in Lancaster and members of the local Native American community. That relationship culminated with the installation of a replica Native American longhouse to honor Pennsylvania’s native people and to tell a more complete Lancaster County story.
The longhouse is one of the few interactive outdoor exhibits of Native American life in Pennsylvania and one of only a few similar buildings in Pennsylvania. It helps to instill awareness of the history of Pennsylvania before European settlement and create awareness of Native influence on Lancaster County during the colonial period. It introduces visitors to the contemporary Native American presence in Pennsylvania, and it also supports the appreciation of ancient crafts practiced by local artisans as well as education about their lives, customs, and cultures.
Maize and Snitz Festival
Celebrate local Native Americans and Pennsylvania German cultures with this fall festival.
“Maize” is the variety of corn grown by the indigenous Native Americans in Lancaster. “Snitz” in German literally means “slice.” For the Pennsylvania German immigrants who first settled in Lancaster County, “snitz” referred especially to sliced, dried apples. Celebrate both cultures with the 1719 Hans Herr House & Museum.
Well, not any old furniture—Native American artisans and other craftspeople are working to make reproduction artifacts that will furnish the Lancaster Longhouse. longhouse furnishings 2015
If you or someone you know is skilled at working with stone, fibers, bone, clay, wood, metal, or hide please talk to Becky Gochnauer at firstname.lastname@example.org.