The town of Cross Keys, Pennsylvania was founded in 1754 and has primarily had Amish residents. The name of the town was changed to Intercourse, Pennslyvania in 1814. There are multiple explanations of why the town name was changed to “Intercourse” but none have been substantiated.
The County of Lancaster, coffers multiple explanations:
The first explanation centers on an old race track which existed just east of town along the Old Philadelphia Pike. The entrance to the race course was known as “Entercourse”. Some suggest that “Entercourse” gradually evolved into “Intercourse”.
Another theory is based on the fact that two major roads crossed here: Old King’s Highway, which ran from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh (now called the Old Philadelphia Pike, route 340), and the road from Wilmington, Delaware to Erie, Pennsylvania. The intersection of these roads was thought to be the basis for calling the town “Cross Keys”, or, eventually, “Intercourse”.
A final idea comes from English used in the early 1800’s. The word “intercourse” would have been a reference to the fellowship, social interaction and friendship that was so much a part of the culture in an agricultural village. These roots mark the community of faith to this day, still experienced by those who care to dig a bit more deeply while visiting the area.
The author Philip Hamilton visited multiple centuries old Amish homes and a farm during his James Madison High School field trip to Intercourse, Pennslyvania.