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Welcome to America's Historic Crossroads!

Colonial Courthouse • Order A Print

For 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 genealogy researchers.

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 architecture.

 

© 2000 - 2003 by Scott D. Butcher


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