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A Road Named N.O.P., Arsenal and Whiteford; Part 1 – Avalong

1876 Map Section of Spring Garden Township [Plate 67 in the 1876 Atlas of York Co., PA]; this area is currently in Springettsbury Township. (Annotations by S. H. Smith)
Names for a stretch of road in Springettsbury Township have included N.O.P., Arsenal and Whiteford.  Prior to these names the road was known as Mill Road, Hively Road and likely others.  This is the first part of a series examining the reasons for the names associated with this stretch of road.  Other posts and related posts in this series include:


The background for this post has the most unusual beginnings.  I was doing some Smith Family History research in Baltimore County, Maryland several months ago and took a break for a bite to eat at the Neptune Diner on York Road in Timonium.  I overheard a conversation in the next booth; a couple was having a lively discussion about a petition for renaming a street.  My interest peaked when the woman made a comment, “it’s just like when those busybodies tried to change the name of Whiteford Street to Arsenal Road.”

After they finished their lunch, I apologized for ease dropping and asked the question, “I heard you mention Whiteford and Arsenal Roads in the same sentence; would they happen to be in Springettsbury Township in York County?”  They were!!

She told me that her father bought several lots along Whiteford Street.  This street was in the middle of a planned development, however eventually it became a primary thoroughfare.  She emphasized ‘Street’ and noted years later it was changed to Whiteford Road.

When a petition was circulated to change the name of Whiteford Street to Arsenal Road, she recalled that her father refused to sign it.  He had the attitude that they took the quite neighborhood street and made it a noisy thoroughfare; decreasing the value of his lots, so he was not going to give them the satisfaction of wiping out the street name.

She thought the petition was a request to change the name of the road the whole way from North Sherman Street to Avalong’s (Mt. Zion Road).  She could only guess that the petition circulated approximately in the late 1950s.  She did not know if the name of the road west of North Sherman Street was already Arsenal Road; thinking it could have been named N.O.P. Road or Hively Road.  That was about the extent of the information she could recall.  I remembered N.O.P. Road but I didn’t remember Hively Road.

Off and on, I’ve been searching for old maps to put a timeline together for the road names; some success, but still a few holes.  I knew I had enough information for a series of posts on this subject, so I decided to start with the early 1876 map and work towards the present time.  Hopefully some of my readers can fill in the remaining holes in my research.

After I finished annotating the map yesterday morning, I headed to the York County Heritage Trust to see if the York City & County Directories would provide any information.  By 1954 the section of road from the junction of North George Street and Susquehanna Trail eastward to North Sherman Street was called Arsenal Road.  The road may have been called Arsenal Road before that time, however the Directories did not extend that far out into the countryside around York before 1954.

Ad on page 114 of the 1957 Panther Yearbook of Central York High School (Collection of York County Heritage Trust)

I saw the collections of High School Yearbooks on the shelves just to the left of the Directories at the York County Heritage Trust and remembered that this woman told me she graduated from Central 11 years before me.  I pulled the 1957 Panther Yearbook.  The yearbook just kind of fell open to the Avalong Dairy Farms ad on page 114.  I immediately showed this ad to super-volunteer Barb Rudy, with whom I had been discussing my research for the day.

The 1957 ad shown here indicates Avalong Dairy Bar was located on the corner of Arsenal & Mt. Zion Roads.  Had Avalong signed the petition and assumed the road name would change from Whiteford to Arsenal?  Thus placing Arsenal Road as one of the crossroads in their yearbook ad.  We’ll see if that was the case in future posts in this series.

I had previously mentioned to Barb Rudy that I wished I’d gotten that woman’s name, because I now had more questions.  Barb suggested her picture has got to be in the yearbook which was the reason I went for the yearbook to begin with.  I struck out in trying to match how someone looked 55-years ago; however one graduate of the Class of 1957 stood out.  Her name was Karen Whiteford.  Was it her father that lent his name to Whiteford Street and eventually Whiteford Road?  I’ll try to track her down to find out.

I’ve highlighted the roads approximating the current Arsenal Road and Whiteford Road on the section of the 1876 Map at the beginning of this post.  Actually just bits and pieces of these roads are currently there since Route 30 now passes over or close to these roads.  In 1876 Arsenal Road was named Mill Road.  In 1876 Mount Zion Road was named Brillinger Road.  In 1876 Mill Creek was named Little Codorus Creek.  In 1876, S. Hively owned a large part of what is now Harley Davidson’s property, so one can see that it is reasonable that Arsenal Road at one time was named Hively Road.

You’ve probably guessed where the development eventually containing Whiteford Street will be located; i.e. at the kink in the road between North Sherman Street and North Hills Road.  E. Ebert would eventually have a lane running out from the city to his residence in this area.  Eberts Lane would ultimately continue up through this development.

Check back in one week for the second installment in this series on ‘A Road Named N.O.P., Arsenal and Whiteford.’

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