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History of YORK’s Grantley Plant, Part 3; 1938 Aerial View & Looking For People who worked at McGann Manufacturing in 1943

1938 Aerial Photo of Grantley Plant of the YORK Ice Machinery Corporation from Penn Pilot Historic Aerial Photos (Road Names added in white and YORK Building Numbers added in yellow by S. H. Smith, 2013)

When I was first employed as a YORK Engineer in 1972, YORK’s Grantley Plant consisted of all the property bounded by Grantley Road on the east, Richland Avenue on the west, Codorus Creek on the north and Kings Mill Road on the south.  However at the time of this 1938 aerial photo the McGann Manufacturing Company owned 11-acres of this overall 91-acre parcel.

The future YORK Buildings 50 & 60 in the southwest corner of the parcel, i.e. at corner of Richland Avenue and Kings Mill Road, were the McGann Manufacturing facilities from 1922 to 1948; followed by Bowen & McLaughlin-York until YORK acquired these 11-acres in 1967.  I’d like to hear from any former employees of McGann who worked at these facilities during 1943; I’ll explain why in my post on Friday.

Other posts in this series or related posts include:


The following mid-1980s Aerial Photo of YORK’s Grantley Plant appeared in the post: History of YORK’s Grantley Plant, Part 1; Borg-Warner, Patriot Tech Center.  The photo shows the Codorus Creek on the left and bottom, Grantley Road at top of photo and Richland Avenue at bottom of photo.  Corresponding YORK Building Numbers that are noted in the 1938 Aerial Photo are show as they exist in the mid-1980s photo.

Circa mid-1980s Aerial Photo of YORK’s Grantley Plant (S. H. Smith added the Corresponding YORK Building Numbers that are noted in the 1938 Aerial Photo)

On August 25th 1923, the YORK Manufacturing Company purchased the 80-acre property shown in the 1938 aerial photo.  YORK’s sales of refrigeration equipment were outgrowing the manufacturing capacity of their 19-acre west York plant.  Part of their new property near the creek was swampy; 129,500 cubic yards of earth and stone fill were required before building in this area of the Grantley Plant could begin.

On September 1925 the first building was completed at YORK’s Grantley Plant.  This building housed the Ice Can and Sheet Metal Departments and was located on the northwest corner of Grantley Road and Kings Mill Road; in current building numbering this is Building 7.

Buildings 1, 3, 8 and 14 were completed by the close of 1926.  Building 1 is the Grantley Plant gate; housing offices and plant hospital.  Building 3 is the power plant; initially with two 200-horsepower boilers.  Building 8 is the woodworking shop for pattern fabrication and storage.

Building 14 housed the YORK Oil and Chemical Company plant.  In 1925 lubricating oil shortages led to breakdowns of several York Refrigeration Units.  The response by YORK, we’ll manufacture our own lubricants; resulting in the YORK Oil and Chemical Company plant, producing Yorkco Compressor Oils.  Building 14 was placed far removed from the other buildings in Grantley Plant for safety reasons.

Building 9 followed in 1927; this was the massive gray iron foundry.  The building was known as the Four-Acre Foundry.  Some time thereafter Buildings 2 and 5 were completed.  Building 2 housed the pipe and welding shop.  Building 5 housed the cold storage door fabrication ship.

In 1930 the road running down the middle of the Grantley Plant was named Shipley Boulevard in memory of Thomas Shipley.  Mr. Shipley, the President of YORK Ice Machinery Corporation, passed away January 22, 1930.  In 33 years at YORK, he transformed a struggling company into the largest refrigeration equipment manufacturer in the country.

In 1967, York Division of Borg-Warner Corporation purchased the 11-acre site formerly leased by Bowen & McLaughlin-York at the corner of Richland Avenue and Kings Mill Road.  The long high-bay factory was designated YORK’s Building 60.  The office building near Kings Mill Road was designated Building 50 and all the other buildings on the 11-acre site were numbered between 50 and 60.

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