Universal York

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Join us for “An Evening to Unravel York County History” on December 9

Stamps depicting York County historic sites, issued by Colonial York Tourist Bureau in 1961
Stamps depicting York County historic sites, issued by Colonial York Tourist Bureau in 1961

Does York have a solid claim to the First Capital of the United States? That is one of historical controversies that will be tackled by the York Daily Record’s five historical bloggers with audience participation in a free public program at 7 p.m. Wednesday December 9th at Wyndridge Farms, 885 South Pleasant Avenue in Dallastown. Join Jim McClure, Scott Mingus, Stephen H. Smith, Joan Concilo and me for an informative and perhaps lively “An Evening to Unravel York County History.” Jim McClure’s recent blog post gives more information on the evening.

Here’s a little more on the “First Capital” moniker:

Have you ever seen the stamps below with York County sites, some familiar and some obscure, or even now nonexistent? They sometimes turn up at public sales, squirreled away long ago, but brought again to light when people downsize or an estate is settled. These examples are from the sizable “York as First Capital” file at the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives. That file of differing views also has a pamphlet describing the sites on the stamps and giving the reason for the stamps’ creation. It reads:

…and a word of thanks for your interest in historic York, Pennsylvania.

The deeper one delves into the past of this fine old town, the richer and more vital appear the events which transpired here. York indeed belongs among the early shrines of the founding of this country. Your generous purchase of Historic York stamps will help raise the funds necessary to tell more Americans about our beautiful and historic landmarks. You can take real pride in supporting such an important and worthy cause.

Won’t you use these stamps on the outside of your letters and packages and also on your stationery and letterheads. We are sure they will help arouse new interest in our city.

You will also be interested in the 25 thumbnail descriptions of the 25 stamp subjects on the following pages. Remember, every stamp sold will help us toward nationwide recognition of York’s important place in American history.

Yours for a better-know York,
Fred J. Bailey”

A York Dispatch article of July 22, 1961 in the same file extensively quotes Fred J. Bailey, president of the Colonial York Tourist Bureau, on why the tourist bureau is promoting York as the first capital with these newly issued stamps. The article is headlined: “‘FIRST U.S. CAPITAL’ TAG MAY PRODUCE WIDE CONTROVERSY.” They got that right!