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Funding York’s Penn Park’s 1912 Improvements

Penn Common 1908 or before

A recent post quoted an April 1912 York Gazette article on planned improvements for York’s Penn Park/Penn Common. A slightly earlier view on the postcard above, sent in 1908, shows an already impressive scene. A huge fountain is in the background (more about that later) and the lofty Civil War monument, then surrounded by a circle of real cannons, is in the foreground.

The article continues with some of the things the park commissioners wanted to have done and some proposed costs. The commissioners were worried that the park budget might be cut. It reads:

“There were present yesterday Commissioners A. B. Farquhar, M. L. Van Baman, A. Wanner, W. P. Swartz and Alexander McLean. They took into consideration proposed improvements on Penn park and it was decided (that is, if the appropriations are let remain in the appropriation bill as at present) that the College avenue front of the park be guttered and curbed, so far as the money goes. They also agreed that the present drinking fountain be converted into a sanitary drinking fountain and that the cups be done away with as dangerous to health and life itself.”

After a minor mention of Farquhar Park, the article continues:

“While it was not so stated, it is believed the object of desiring the mayor’s presence was to convince him of the needs of the parks, so that he might be able the more readily to see his way clear to withhold the pruning knife from the park appropriations when he comes to trimming the bill down to meet the estimated income of the city. The bill at present provides appropriations of $2,500 for the use of the park commissioners; $2,500 for walks etc., on Penn park; $770 for park gardeners; $300 for music; $50 for telephones… .”

Municipal budgeting wasn’t any easier 100 years ago, was it? Not enough income for all the wants and needs.