Universal York

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Whale Sighted in York

As I have pointed out before, York County, Pennsylvania wasn’t as isolated a century or two ago as some might imagine. Early roads, and then railroads, made travel relatively easy to Baltimore, Philadelphia and beyond. York County people go where they wanted, and visitors found it just as easy to get here.
York was a regular stop on the entertainment circuit. Yorkers seemed to have always been a good market for performances and exhibitions from menageries to balloon ascensions to internationally know personalities, such as the diminutive Tom Thumb.

Yorkers were impressed by big things, whether they were pumpkins or the whale illustrated above by Lewis Miller (1796-1882). He only dates the spectacle by “Thirty od[d] years ago, so it would have been exhibited sometime before 1850.
The whole caption reads:

“Thirty od years ago A whale was Exhibited in York in the Barn of Samuel Spangler, got in the Delaware river. 30 feet long.”

Makes you wonder how many horses it took to pull a wagon with a whale on it…and how it was perserved.