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John & Anna Erb Fund For Lancaster County Parks And Recreation

“Dig a dollar hole and a dime plant will thrive. But a better plant will impress and inspire.” – John Erb

John and Anna Erb

 John & Anna Erb were Lancaster County natives born at the very turn of the 20th century.  To John and Anna, nature is a treasure, and they lived their lives filled with the love of trees, gardens, and appreciation for the environment. 

With his brother Dan, John Erb studied the nursery and landscape business under Thomas Meehan and Sons in Philadelphia, who pioneered American native planting and specialized in North American trees and shrubs.  In 1928, Dan and John started Erb Brothers Landscaping and left a legacy of native plantings throughout the public parks and private homes of Lancaster County.

John and Anna owned a large parcel of woodland north of Lititz.  While family and friends frequently hiked the meadows and shared picnics overlooking the ravines, Scout Troops also explored this naturally forested land.  Now part of Speedwell Forge Park, protected by Lancaster County Parks and Recreation and surrounded by land preserved by the Lancaster Conservancy, the legacy of the Erb family continues.

Approximate area of woodland owned by John and Anna Erb

“It’s hard to imagine what my parents did with just an 8th grade education. They were wonderful parents and taught me so much, especially that being in nature makes life more livable.” – Barbara Holran

Bruce and Barbara Holran


The John and Anna Erb Fund for Lancaster County Parks and Recreation is established by a charitable trust created by their only child, Barbara Erb Holran and her late husband Bruce Holran.  This fund will forever support the betterment of parks in Lancaster County by prioritizing nursery stock of specimen trees and native plants; acquiring and preserving parks; creating accessible park experiences; and other uses that inspire exploration and use of Lancaster County parks.


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