Universal York

Part of the USA Today Network

Could an army cross the Susquehanna at Vinegar Ferry?

It is fascinating to compare old maps with present day ones. Sometimes you have an “ah ha” moment, where you may have been thinking “huh?” My last post was on Vinegar Ferry, which you can easily locate on the Lancaster County side of the Susquehanna River, because the road that leads to the site is still called Vinegar Ferry Road.

The York County terminus across the river would be somewhere Wildcat Lane on River Road on a current map. How would that have connected with York and other communities?

Gibson’s 1886 History of York County says Glades was on the road from York to Vinegar Ferry, and Prowell’s 1907 History places Glades on the road from Frystown to Vinegar Ferry. That was a “huh?” for me. I just know Glades as a very small community in Springettsbury Township a short distance off Mount Zion Road. It is where Trout Run Road splits off Druck Valley Road. How would you get to York from Vinegar Ferry by passing through Glades? (Frystown is now part of York. It ran east several blocks from just past Broad Street.)

If you follow River Road away from the river, it becomes Tower Road and eventually Druck Valley Road. Druck Valley Road connects with Sherman Street near Pleasureville and brings you right to what would have been Frystown. That’s the “ah ha!”

According to the report on ferries and fords done for Continental Congress in April, 1778, while they were meeting in York, that ferry was good, but the road not so hot. It says: “The [York County] bank is very steep and high. Here is a road which leads to York and goes up the mountain aslant, somewhat rapidly. As this ferry is very good, because of the depth of the water and the narrowness of the river, it could be used to cross troops, artillery or baggage; but in this case it would be apropos to have repaired and enlarged the road that goes up the mountain and leads to Yorktown, for the entire column would have to make use of it, and, if one wagon were to upset, it would halt the entire file, if it were not possible to pass by on the side.”