New Holland is a borough in the northeast corner of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with a population of approximately 5,400. Rooted in the fertile farmlands of Lancaster County, New Holland is conveniently located between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
With a diverse business community, New Holland is home to many local small businesses as well as large international corporations, including its namesake Case-New Holland (formerly known as the New Holland Machine Company).
Population: approx. 5,400 (2013)
Zip code: 17557
Area code: 717
School District: Eastern Lancaster County
In 1727, John Diffenderfer arrived in Philadelphia from what is now modern western Germany, taking advantage of William Penn’s invitation to those seeking religious freedom. One year later, John and his family settled in the wooded countryside, near what would become New Holland, Lancaster County. When the county was created in 1729—from a slice of Chester County—the area around present-day New Holland was named Earl Township. Within a few years of the Diffenderfer family’s arrival, the town was the largest settlement in Earl Township and was often called Earltown. It would have several other names until the post office was established in 1802 and residents settled on “New Holland” to honor the benevolence of people in Holland who offered assistance to the town’s settlers when they passed through Rotterdam on their way to the New World.
Today, New Holland is surrounded by farmland, but in the early 1700s it was lush with virgin forests of ash, oak, walnut and chestnut trees. Its development plan, a linear European style that is still evident today, placed settlements along a high ridge, which modern Route 23 follows. Houses lined both sides of the main street and each house was allotted a plot of land that was cultivated or used as a livestock pasture.
From its inception, the rich soil of the surrounding countryside and the ample space for grazing livestock rooted New Holland’s economy in agriculture. New Holland’s Sales Stables, established around 1900, is one of the largest livestock auctions east of the Mississippi River. The town’s name is also known around the world for its farm equipment. In 1895, Abe Zimmerman opened a machine repair shop, which was the beginning of the New Holland Machine Company. Today, known as Case-New Holland, it is the second-largest manufacturer of agricultural equipment in the world, with more than 10,000 dealers in 160 countries.
Part of New Holland’s small town charm comes from its quaint traditions like its community band. Established in 1829, the band is the second-oldest of its kind in the country, and has earned the tiny village world acclaim. In continuous performance since 1856, the band has played at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in Washington D.C., for then-President Abraham Lincoln, and many other venues in the Northeast.