Intercourse, Pennsylvania

Coordinates: 40°2′18″N 76°6′27″W / 40.03833°N 76.10750°W / 40.03833; -76.10750
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Intercourse, PA)

Intercourse, Pennsylvania
Intercourse is located in Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Intercourse is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 40°2′18″N 76°6′27″W / 40.03833°N 76.10750°W / 40.03833; -76.10750
CountryUnited States
 • Total2.11 sq mi (5.46 km2)
 • Land2.11 sq mi (5.46 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
430 ft (130 m)
 • Total1,494
 • Density708.73/sq mi (273.59/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
17534 (PO box)
17529 (Gordonville)
Area code717
FIPS code42-37016
GNIS feature ID1177822

Intercourse is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Leacock Township, Lancaster County, in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, 10 miles (16 km) east of Lancaster on Pennsylvania Route 340. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,494, up from 1,274 at the previous census.[3]

Intercourse is a popular site for tourists because of its location in Amish country and its sexually suggestive name. 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.


Intercourse was founded in 1754.[4] 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'.[5] 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.[5]

Another theory is that it is derived from a racecourse on the edge of town called "Entercourse".[6]


Intercourse is located in east-central Lancaster County, in the center of Leacock Township. Pennsylvania Route 340 (Old Philadelphia Pike) passes through the center of town, leading west 10 miles (16 km) to Lancaster, the county seat, and east 22 miles (35 km) to Downingtown. Pennsylvania Route 772 (East and West Newport Road) joins PA 340 for two blocks in the center of town; it leads northwest 6 miles (10 km) to Leola and southeast 6 miles (10 km) to Gap.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Intercourse CDP has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.5 km2), of which 0.6 acres (2,396 m2), or 0.04%, are water.[7] Muddy Run, a westward-flowing tributary of Conestoga River, forms the northern edge of the community.

Intercourse has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) like the remainder of Lancaster County. Average monthly temperatures range from 30.1 °F (−1.1 °C) in January to 74.7 °F (23.7 °C) in July.[8] The local hardiness zone is 6b.


Historical population
U.S. Censuses: 2010,[3] and 2020[9][2]

According to the 2020 "ACS 5-Year Estimates Data Profiles", 41.0% of the township's population spoke only English, while 51.6 spoke an "other [than Spanish] Indo-European language"[9] (basically Pennsylvania German/German).


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.

In popular culture[edit]

The village's name is often the subject of jokes relating to sexual intercourse.[10] Along with that of Blue Ball, Pennsylvania, which could be mistaken for the slang term "blue balls," a term for a temporary testicular and prostate fluid congestion due to prolonged and unsatisfied sexual excitement, the publishers of Eros Magazine sought mailing privileges from the postmasters of the town.[11] Intercourse and Blue Ball are often named in lists of "delightfully-named towns" in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, along with Gap, Fertility, Mount Joy, Lititz, Bareville, Bird-in-Hand and Paradise.[12][13][14][15][16] The village's name has also been a source for humor on the Mennonite satire website The Daily Bonnet,[17] in the episode ‘’The Old Man and the "C" Student’’ of The Simpsons as well as an episode of The Cleveland Show.[18]

Sites of interest[edit]

  • American Military Edged Weaponry Museum[19]
  • People's Place Quilt Museum[20]
  • The People's Place[21]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Total Population: 2010 Census DEC Summary File 1 (P1), Intercourse CDP, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  4. ^ "Intercourse, PA - Welcome to The Heart of Lancaster's Amish Country". May 11, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Intercourse PA Merchants Association – Shopping – Tourism – Restaurants Archived 2008-02-17 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Wait, you're from where? 11 towns and cities with suggestive names.
  7. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Places: Pennsylvania". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  8. ^ "PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University".
  9. ^ a b "Intercourse CDP, Pennsylvania". Retrieved March 21, 2022.
  10. ^ William Ecenbarger (March 30, 1986). "The Amish: Unwilling Stars of a Tourism Boom". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  11. ^ Krassner (1963)
  12. ^ Ward's quarterly (1965) p.109 quote: such delightfully-named towns in Pennsylvania Dutchland as his native Mount Joy, and neighboring Lititz, Blue Ball, Bareville, Intercourse, Bird in Hand, and Paradise.
  13. ^ Anderson (1979) p.214 quote: ...but anyone who names their towns Mount Joy, Intercourse, and Blue Ball can't be all bad. Obviously they have more on their minds than just religion.
  14. ^ Museums Association (2006) p.61 quote: Which brings us to Intercourse. You can imagine my delight when I found out that the Amish call the town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, their home. There seems to be a lot of explanations from locals trying to pass off the name as a bastardisation of 'Enter Course' and so on, but seeing as there are other local towns called Blue Ball, Bird In Hand, and Mount Joy, I suspect that the person responsible had a very juvenile sense of humour. The town sits in upstate Pennsylvania and is a tourist trap for anyone even remotely curious about the Amish way of life.
  15. ^ Rand McNally and Company (1978) p.52
  16. ^ Mencken (1963) p.653 quote: In the years since then many of these names have been changed to more elegant ones,2 and others have vanished with the ghost towns they adorned, but not a few still hang on. Indeed, there are plenty of lovely specimens to match them in the East, in regions that were also frontier in their days, e.g., the famous cluster in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania: Bird in Hand, Bareville, Blue Ball, Mt. Joy, Intercourse and Paradise.
  17. ^ Andrew Unger (August 17, 2017). "Frat Boys Disappointed with Visit to Intercourse, Pennsylvania". The Daily Bonnet. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  18. ^ "How did Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand and Blue Ball get their lewd-sounding names?".
  19. ^ ,, Retrieved July 3, 2013
  20. ^ Janet McMillan (Knight Ridder newspapers) (December 2, 1988). "Museum showcases Amish stichery skills". The Modesto Bee. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  21. ^ Elisabeth Bumiller (June 26, 1998). "In Amish Land, Witnesses to Old and New". The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2010.