of one of the nation's richest agricultural districts, lies a little town whose history is as unique as its name – Intercourse. A beautiful little village surrounded by green rolling Amish farmlands and covered bridges. A place where time seems to have stood still and you can still hear the rhythmic clip-clop of the horse and buggies traveling down Main Street. It's a place where townsfolk and the Amish walk side-by-side and smiles and friendly faces are commonplace.
Celebrating over 250 years, to some it may seem the 21 st century has passed them by, but history proves its strength and progress is apparent. From farms to the cannery to tourism, this small community, known as Cross Keys (named after a local tavern and inn) until 1814, was slow to be established, but little by little, building by building the land surrounding the Old Provincial Highway, (now Route 340) became a town of quiet comfort and simple pleasures. Walk to the many local stores owned by townspeople and Amish families. Discover antique treasures, hand-crafted furniture and toys, quilts, and hand-tooled leather. Taste delectable Pennsylvanian treats like homemade pretzels, lemonade, and fudge fresh from its bubbling pots.
There is much speculation about how the name came to be. Several explanations exist, but no one really knows for sure. It is up to the individual to determine which seems most credible to him.
1. The first theory stems from an old race track which existed just east of town many years ago. As you travel east on Old Philadelphia Pike, you will still see a long straight stretch of road where the race track was located – just one mile in length. Many a race was run on this famous old track. The eastern end of town was the entrance to the course. This became know as "enter course." Through the evolution of words, "enter course" became "Intercourse" which became the name of the town.
2. The second theory concerns two famous roads that crossed in this little town: the Old King's Highway, now Old Philadelphia Pike, running from east to west; and Newport Road coming from the southeast crossing the Pike in front of Cross Keys Hotel. The joining or intercourse of these two roads is claimed by some to be origin of this town's name.
3. The third theory is a simple one. "In the written annals of early days, the word "intercourse" had a common usage referring to that pleasant mutual fellowship and frequent social intermingling which was so much more common in the informal atmosphere of the quiet country villages of that day." So it is not surprising that the town was named as a town that enjoyed fellowship.
Of course, no one is sure except that the name is "Intercourse." So you decide which story you like best.