A Brief History and Description of Lebanon
The City of Lebanon is strategically located almost equidistant from Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Reading.
Lebanon is accessible from the south via the Pennsylvania Turnpike and from the north by both I-81 and I-78.
The City’s 25,000 residents are served by numerous public, private and non-profit entities that have a positive impact on the quality of life.
Originally known as Steitztown, Lebanon City was founded by George Steitz in 1740. On November 25, 1885, Lebanon was incorporated as a City of the third class. Since 1994, the City of Lebanon has operated as a Home Rule Municipality under the Mayor/Council form of government. The five-member Council is elected at large and all legislative powers are vested in Council. The Mayor serves as the Chief Executive and Administrative Officer of the City of Lebanon responsible for the Executive Branch of the government.
Lebanon City provides 10 parks, 6 playgrounds and walking paths to the residents of the city and surrounding area. Several tennis courts, park pavilions with picnic facilities, a bike park, and other recreational activities are all available within the city limits. Coleman Memorial Park is a picturesque 99 acre park deeded to the City of Lebanon in 1937 by G.D. Coleman. Robert and George Dawson Coleman built the “North Lebanon Furnaces” in 1847 and 1848 on the southern slopes of what is now Coleman’s Park. Today, a few structures still remain from the Coleman legacy, and the park is an excellent site to hike and explore the rich history of Lebanon’s Royal Family. Stoever’s Dam Park is comprised of 163 acres with a dam for fishing, habitat for wildlife, a community theater, nature barn, camping facilities, garden plots for rent and hiking and biking trails.
The buildings of Downtown Lebanon are historic and attractive. While many of the buildings date back to the 1800’s and some in the 1700’s, the work accomplished there includes local businesses serving local needs, as well as serving national and international clients in areas of advertising and website development.
The Lebanon Campus of Harrisburg Area Community College, Lebanon Farmers Market, a modern library, Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, numerous churches and the City-County Municipal Building are all located in or within two blocks of the Central Business District. Each year, the Community of Lebanon Association sponsors a variety of public events and our citizens can leisurely walk the streets, enjoy the rich history of Lebanon’s Downtown and visit the various specialty shops.
Lebanon has been recognized as the second least stressful city in the United States. The survey conducted by Sperling’s BestPlaces.net found the area which includes Harrisburg and Carlisle to score well in the areas of low crime, low divorce rates, short average commute times and low unemployment. The strong work ethic and skilled workers have brought one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The combination of factors has earned Lebanon the second place title as second least stressful city in the nation.
Like almost all third class cities, Lebanon is “land locked” and needs to encourage rehabilitation and development of vacant sites. Several sites within the City of Lebanon have been designated as Keystone Opportunity Zones. These parcels are situated at prime locations and businesses are given various tax incentives to improve the sites and provide stable jobs for the community. City officials work closely with the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation to market available building sites.
There is no doubt that the demographics of the City of Lebanon have changed since its founding. However, one fact remains the same: Lebanon City is a wonderful place to live and visit. Government officials and community leaders work together to ensure the continued progress of our city.