Part of the USA Today Network

RiverTownes PA USA: Working to promote Wrightsville and its neighbors

RiverTownes PA USA is a non-profit organization formed several years ago by several citizens of three southern Pennsylvania cities along the Susquehanna River, including Wrightsville here in York County and Columbia and Marietta across the wide river in Lancaster County. The organization works to promote the cities for tourism, newcomers, visitors, and current residents. Its mission is “promoting, preserving and enhancing the culture, heritage and related commerce and recreational activities in the Pennsylvania Susquehanna river towns of Columbia, Marietta and Wrightsville and surrounding areas.”
The group’s board of directors is equally represented by delegates from each of the three river towns, and they meet regularly to conduct their business. Claire Storm is the current president, and among her passions is the Civil War history of the region. The wayside interpretive marker shown above is located outside of the Susquehanna Valley Visitors Center just off U.S. Route 30, and Claire and the RiverTownes organization maintain close ties with the VC. Several other historical interpretive panels are planned or installed.

Bonfires are ablaze on the 145th anniversary of the burning of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. The piers are the original ones from the covered bridge of Civil War days. Photos courtesy of Michael J. Belgie Sr. of Fire & Ice Photography. Used by written permission. Contact him to purchase this or other photographs.
A few years ago, RiverTownes PA sponsored a reenactment of the June 28, 1863, burning of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge, a popular event that drew thousands of spectators, including my two sons and my daughter-in-law (I was in Ohio that weekend with Debi for her family’s reunion).
Several bridges throughout history have crossed the Susquehanna River linking the river towns in terms of commerce, travel, and revenues, and RiverTownes PA maintains a webpage showing the modern bridges and showing the locations of former ones, including the Civil War-era bridge.
The group is holding a weekend bluegrass concert and festival the last weekend of June, which has proven in the past to be a popular event known as RiverFest. I am signing books from 6 until 8 PM on Sunday of that celebration, and possibly leading tours during the weekend of Civil War events in and around Wrightsville. A calendar of events sponsored by RiverTownes PA lists several other interesting possibilities for entertainment and education.