History of The Susquehanna Trail
The History of The Susquehanna Trail has quickly become my top requested local history presentation since the initial offering during September 2016. Before Interstate-83 the prominent north-south road in York County was the Susquehanna Trail.
Last Saturday a nice crowd at Historic Wrightsville’s Olde Town Night learned about the origins and myths of the Susquehanna Trail; they also had some interesting questions about route numbers in reference to The Trail. This post provides expanded answers those questions.
I’ll illustrate route numbers associated with the Lincoln Highway as an example. In 1913, The Lincoln Highway Association selected the York and Wrightsville Turnpike, in eastern York County; and the York and Gettysburg Turnpike, in western York County, as the Lincoln Highway Route through York County. This route continued as toll roads until Pennsylvania purchased these roads in 1918. Until 1926, these roads became part of State Route 1, the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania, as indicated by the road marked “1” on the 1925 Map of Major PA Route Numbers published by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways. Likewise on the 1925 Map, the Susquehanna Trail is the road marked “4,” representing State Route 4.
Over the years 1925 to 1928, the “modern” state route numbering system was implemented throughout all of the United States; establishing US Highway Route Numbers. Within Pennsylvania, this change was implemented in 1926. Named roads signs, such as Lincoln Highway and Susquehanna Trail, had to be taken down and were replaced with numbered signs. Within York County, the Lincoln Highway became US Route 30 and the Susquehanna Trail became US Route 111.
Route Number Explorations on The Susquehanna Trail
This is the whole 1925 Map of Major PA Route Numbers, published by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways. I’ve highlighted State Route 4, the Susquehanna Trail, stretching across Pennsylvania from the New York border to the Maryland border.
When Pennsylvania implemented US Highway Route Numbers in 1926, the Susquehanna Trail became US Route 111 in York County. Nevertheless the State Route 4 signs were not immediately taken down; dual signage existed for several years.
Likewise, starting in 1926, US Route 111 was used for the rest of the Susquehanna Trail in Pennsylvania; except for Harrisburg to Northumberland, which was designated US Route 11. From Northumberland, US Route 11 branches off along the East Branch of the Susquehanna River towards Scranton.
Timothy Reichard has done a fantastic job researching route numbers changes within Pennsylvania during the 1920s. His map of Pennsylvania’s US Highways and Their State Highway Numbers in 1928 nicely summarizes the complexities of Susquehanna Trail route numbering that occurred north of Harrisburg.
I’ve highlighted the Susquehanna Trail on a sliver from Timothy Reichard’s map. Before discovering this map, I found in researching old state route numbers, uncertainties abound; so it is nice that Mr. Reichard has included all uncertain route number designations in a grayed out manner.
Links to related posts include:
- Susquehanna Trail WWI Memorial Sycamores
- Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement: Part 1
- The Wellsboro Agitator campaigns for the Susquehanna Trail
- The Susquehanna Trail forks at Amity Hall
- The Susquehanna Trail lands York, PA at the Crossroads of PA Routes 1 & 4
- Susquehanna Trail to Tap the Lincoln Highway at either Gettysburg or York; with Dover route Considered
- Yorkers spring into action To Attract the Susquehanna Trail
- Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association visit York in 1918
- Susquehanna Trail Association switches in favor of a York Haven route; should York get the Trail
- Establishment of the Susquehanna Trail in York County during 1918
- Zion View gets the Susquehanna Trail; Intersection with North George Street
- Susquehanna Trail extends from York to the Maryland line
- The Road to JOPPA; origins of Susquehanna Trail in Southern York County
- Susquehanna Trail incites a Halloween Jubilee
- The Susquehanna Trail as a Ribbon of Concrete
- York is In Danger of Losing the Susquehanna Trail during 1923
- Newly Completed Susquehanna Trail teems with Historical Scenes
- Agitating for a Susquehanna Trail Celebration
- High Jinks on the Susquehanna Trail
- Remembering Besser’s on the Susquehanna Trail
- Susquehanna Trail through York County; Wrap-Up