Universal York

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“Paper city” of Manchester, York County

Undated plan of Liverpool (now Manchester)
Undated plan of Liverpool (now Manchester)

My post yesterday was on Eib’s Landing in present East Manchester Township. When I was doing research and looking at maps for that post and a prior one on the covered bridge over the Gut, I found an undated plan in the York County Heritage Trust files for nearby Liverpool, now Manchester borough. (More on that later.)

I noticed that one of the streets on the plan was labeled “Turnpike Road to the Town of Manchester.”
It looks like it would follow Maple Street in Manchester and then Main Street in Mount Wolf and Wago Road, converging with Board Road before it crossed the Gut. How could that be, if Liverpool, later to be renamed Manchester, was just being laid out?

I didn’t find a York County map that shows another Manchester, but Joshua Scott picked up towns on the west bank of the Susquehanna River on his maps of Lancaster County. A town plan of Manchester shows up on Scott’s map at the Eib’s Landing site

George R. Prowell explains it further in Gibson’s 1886 History of York County:

“A Paper City. — On part of the original Eib’s Landing property, now [1886] owned by Jacob Hartman, about the year 1800, a town was laid out, which the founder, from the number of streets planned, expected to grow into a prosperous city. It was laid out as the “Town of Manchester.” Eighty-one lots of this proposed town, 50 x 200 feet each, were advertised to be sold for the direct tax of the United States, at Harrisburg, December 3, 1818. The town was planned at a time when the lumber and fishing interests of the Susquehanna led many visionary land owners to suppose that their farms were to be the sites of flourishing cities in the near future.
The same ideas that characterize many venturesome and deluded people of our Western
States and Territories, were prevalent in Pennsylvania eighty years ago. Two small houses, long since torn down, and an abutment beginning a bridge, is all there ever was to represent the ” Old Town of Manchester on the Susquehanna.”

Joshua Scott 1824 Map of Lancaster County showing York County shore.  Library of Congress.
Joshua Scott 1824 Map of Lancaster County showing York County shore. Library of Congress.

I keep finding more interesting tidbits on this quite corner of York County that was booming a couple of hundred years ago–more to follow.