over 250 years, York has been at the crossroads of American history.
In 1741, the area that was to become York was laid out in grid
formation, patterned after Philadelphia. The location was chosen
because it was a crossroads: the intersection of the scenic Codorus
Creek with the Monocacy Trail, an old Indian trail which connected
Penn’s Woods with the Shenandoah Valley.
This little crossroads community became the seat of American
government in 1777 – 1778, when the Second Continental Congress guided
the united colonies from York Town. After the American Revolution, the
fledging nation began to grow and experienced a westward migration.
During this time, York became known as the "Gateway to the West"
because much of the migratory traffic in the northern part of the
United States passed through York. In fact, today the York County
Heritage Trust Library is nationally recognized as a mecca for
During the Civil War, York again served as a crossroads. Union
soldiers and brigades regularly passed through York. Some trained at
the local Camp Scott, while over 14,000 soldiers – Union and
Confederate alike – were treated at the local Army Hospital.
Unfortunately, it was because of York’s ideal location at the
intersection of the main east-west route through southern Pennsylvania
and the only rail line between Harrisburg and Baltimore that the town
became a target for the Confederate Army. In June of 1863 – only days
before the Battle of Gettysburg – York became the largest Northern
City occupied by the Confederate Army.
During the Reconstruction Era and into the Industrial Revolution,
York’s location made it a crossroads of commerce. Many household
products were created or built here – a tradition that still holds
true today. Even America’s great crossroad, the Lincoln Highway, cuts
through the heart of York City and County.
York today sits at the crossroads of the Northeast Corridor, and in
the heart of Pennsylvania’s most popular tourist region.
Thank you for visiting Virtual York – A Journey Through History.
Within this site you’ll find many themed virtual tours, history,
visitors information, area information, and much more. Whether you’re
a local resident or the only York you ever heard of until now is
located in England, a great place to start your virtual tour of York,
Pennsylvania, is with a tour of our historic