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South Central Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania State Capital Building.jpg
Lancaster Pennsylvania downtown.jpg
Hershey, Pennsylvania.JPG
Wm Goodridge House.JPG
Clockwise from top left: Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, and Hershey
Counties comprising the South Central region of Pennsylvania
Counties comprising the South Central region of Pennsylvania
Country United States
Commonwealth Pennsylvania
Largest city Lancaster
Other cities
 (2013 Estimate)
 • Total 2,072,336
Time zone UTC-5 (ET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)

South Central Pennsylvania is a region of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania that includes the fourteen counties of Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, Snyder, and York. Portions of western Schuylkill and southern Northumberland counties are also located in South Central Pennsylvania. Despite the designation "South Central Pennsylvania," many of the counties are geographically located in the southeastern portion of the state. Lancaster, with a population of 59,322, is the largest city in the region, and the second largest metropolitan area. Harrisburg, with a population of 49,528, is the second largest city in the region, and has the largest metropolitan area with a population of 643,820 people, and is the capital of Pennsylvania. York is the other significant city in the region. The Harrisburg-Lancaster-York television market (which formally includes Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, and York counties) is the 39th largest market in the United States.


South Central Pennsylvania is notable for its large Amish and Mennonite populations in its rural areas, but the area also has significant African American and Puerto Rican populations in many of its urban cities, particularly York, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Reading. Between 1700-1950, the area was historically settled by ethnic German, Dutch, Italian, Irish, and English populations. Many residents of the southern portion of this area commute to Baltimore especially from York County.

The area is home of the Pennsylvania state capital, being the site of the bloodiest battlefield of the Civil War, and being the home of Hershey's chocolate and the York Peppermint Pattie. South Central Pennsylvania has also hosted two former capitals of the United States during the American Revolution: Lancaster and York. The region is drained primarily by the Susquehanna River, flowing southwards to Chesapeake Bay and further to the Atlantic Ocean.


  • The South Central Pennsylvania region is the site of the first paved highway in the United States, the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, connecting the cities of Philadelphia and Lancaster.
  • Milton Hershey began his milk chocolate manufacturing in Lancaster, and later to the town of Hershey. South Central Pennsylvania is still the corporate headquarters of The Hershey Company and possesses many smaller chocolate manufacturers like Wilbur and Wolfgang. The York Peppermint Pattie was originally manufactured in the city of York, but purchased by Hershey's.
  • The Hershey Bears, named for The Hershey Company, are the oldest team in the American Hockey League.
  • South Central Pennsylvania is the home of the largest Amish population in the United States, mostly in Lancaster County. Many tourists visit the region to see and learn about the Amish.
  • Gettysburg was the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, and is now Gettysburg National Military Park.
  • York was the site of the signing of the Articles of Confederation and was the largest town in the North to be occupied by the Confederate Army during the Civil War
  • The region also contains Lititz, a quaint town and a suburb of Lancaster, which can boast the title of Budget Travel's 2013 "Coolest Small Town in America". This town is home to the historic Wilbur Chocolate Factory and the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory (both originating back in the mid 1800s).


The inhabitants of South Central Pennsylvania speak with the Susquehanna dialect. The Susquehanna dialect incorporates influences from the Philadelphia accent and that of Pennsylvania Dutch English, and is most commonly used in the Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Gettysburg, and Carlisle areas (sometimes Chambersburg). Here is a list of common words and phrases unique to the Susquehanna dialect:

  • Redd up- to straighten up, (I redd up the house yesterday.)
  • Macadam- asphalt, influenced by the original macadam roads in Pennsylvania, (Jason scraped his knee on the macadam.)
  • Dippy eggs- fried eggs, sunny side up
  • ..awhile- used at the end of a sentence, signifying 'in the meantime' (Can I take your drink orders awhile?)
  • ..once (or wunst)- used at the end of a sentence, signifying 'quickly' or 'for just a moment' (Come here once.)
  • Outen the lights- turning the lights off, (You need to outen the lights, John.)
  • It's all- it is all gone, (The coffee is all.)
  • Furhuddled- disheveled, (Patrick appeared furhuddled at his job interview.)
  • Rutsching- wriggling, restless, (Timmy, quit your rutsching around...sit still!)
  • Yous(e)/You'ins- plural of you, (Yous coming to dinner on Sunday?)
  • Spritzing- lightly raining, (It ain't raining hard, it's only spritzing.)
  • Needs Fixed- Needs to be fixed, (That broken door needs fixed awhile.)
  • Doplic - lacking dexterity, (He'll never be a good basketball player; he's too doplic.)

The Central Pennsylvania accent is commonly spoken in the western and northern counties of the South Central Pennsylvania region.


The most significant film set in the region is the 1985 film Witness starring Harrison Ford, Danny Glover, Alexander Godunov, Kelly McGillis, and Viggo Mortensen. It was set in and filmed in the borough of Strasburg and the village of Intercourse, both in Lancaster County.

The film Lucky Numbers starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow was filmed throughout Harrisburg and Palmyra, and was based on the 1980 Pennsylvania Lottery scandal.

The movie Girl, Interrupted, starring Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder, was filmed in Mechanicsburg, as well as at the Harrisburg State Hospital in Harrisburg. Mechanicsburg was chosen for its old fashioned appearance and its old-fashioned drug store simply titled "Drugs," all of which gave the film its time-dated appearance.

The Strasburg Rail Road in Lancaster County simulated scenes of Springfield, Illinois for The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, by the Public Broadcasting Service, and for Stealing Lincoln's Body by The History Channel. The Woodward Hill Cemetery and the Landis Valley Museum were also used to simulate the Oak Ridge Cemetery and other scenes of 1870s Springfield.

Scotland, PA, a modern retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth, is set in Scotland, a small town in Franklin County (though it was not filmed there). Historically, Scotland, Pennsylvania was originally settled by Scots-Irish Americans, and there are still people named McBeth living in the area.


Music in the South Central Pennsylvania region varies from the popular genres such as Rock and roll, Hip-hop, Jazz, Rhythm and blues, Country, etc. to the softer melodies of the Amish and Mennonites. A few mainstream acts got their start in South Central Pennsylvania, such as the alternative rock quartet Live from York. Another rock band called Fuel started off playing in local venues in Harrisburg. The most famous bands from the region are the 1980s glam metal band Poison from Mechanicsburg and rock band Halestorm from Red Lion.

The region's Amish population inspired "Weird Al" Yankovic's 1996 parody of Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise called "Amish Paradise." The accompanying music video featured Weird Al in typical Amish clothing, with traffic signs reading "Welcome to Lancaster."


South Central Pennsylvania possesses a strong sporting tradition beginning at the youth level to the minor leagues. The Hershey Bears, a regional team, are the oldest team of the American Hockey League and have won many of its championships. Professional baseball has a strong presence in the South Central Pennsylvania region with three teams: the Harrisburg Senators, the AA affiliate of the Washington Nationals; and the Lancaster Barnstormers and York Revolution of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

The Barnstormers and the Revolution are geographical rivals, contending for the Community Cup, the trophy for the War of the Roses series. As the Pennsylvania cities of Lancaster and York are named for the English cities of the same name, their former baseball teams possessed the names of the Lancaster Red Roses and the York White Roses, after the rival sides of the Wars of the Roses.

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