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Lancaster County Maps have York County Information

Detail from 1824 Map of Lancaster Co., PA by Joshua Scott (LancasterHistory.org)

York County was formed from Lancaster County in 1749; at that time it was reasonable to look at Lancaster County Maps for York County Information.  However 75-years later the best map details available for Wrightsville, with adjoining town Westphalia, and connecting to Columbia via their first Susquehanna River bridge comes from an 1824 Map of Lancaster County, PA by Joshua Scott.


The town of Westphalia was absorbed into Wrightsville when the Borough of Wrightsville was incorporated in 1834.  This is the best detail, on a period map, that I have seen on the location of the first Susquehanna River Bridge between Wrightsville, York County and Columbia, Lancaster County.  The Rivertownes web site displays a painting of the 5,690-foot-long covered bridge (1814-1832) between Columbia and Wrightsville; the view is looking up river from a viewpoint in the hills south of Wrightsville.  This bridge is thought to be the longest covered bridge in the world at the time.

This first bridge between Wrightsville and Columbia only existed for slightly over 17-years before being destroyed by an ice flow February 5, 1832.  The location of this first bridge with respect to the other bridges and river crossings between Wrightsville and Columbia is shown on the Rivertownes web site.  This bridge actually fared better than other early river bridges in the general area.

A charter was granted on April 11, 1793 for a bridge across the Susquehanna River from Blue Rock, Lancaster County, to Pleasant Garden, York County.  The bridge was never built, presumably for lack of finances.  If the bridge had been built, another major east-west route would have extended from Lancaster via the Blue Rock Road to the river.  Continuing across the bridge to what would become Long Level and into East Prospect; following the eventual East Prospect Road into York.

Another Susquehanna River bridge in the general area was completed in 1816 from a charter granted April 2, 1811. It was a Theodore Burr designed bridge located across a narrow section of the Susquehanna just upriver from McCall’s Ferry in Lower Chanceford Township.  This bridge only lasted months before succumbing to an ice flow in 1817.

Highly magnified name of a run in Lower Windsor Township from The 1824 Map of Lancaster Co., PA by Joshua Scott (LancasterHistory.org)

I discovered the Wrightsville-Columbia details by chance.  The main reason I was looking at the 1824 Map of Lancaster Co., PA by Joshua Scott was to determine the original name of what was previously thought an unnamed stream (run) in Lower Windsor Township.  Using the copy of the 1824 map located in the Library/Archives of the York County Heritage Trust, it was difficult to read the name.  The copy of the 1824 map at LancasterHistory.org was slightly better, but still not good.  I’m still trying to track down an original of this 1824 map.

In 2015, an original of the 1824 map was discovered on the Library of Congress web site.  The Wrightsville side is enlarged in the following post:

The original 1824 map did not provide a clearer picture in uncovering the name of the small run.  Post a comment if you can decipher the name of this small run at the north end of Long Level.  Think of it as an exercise similar to interpreting those strange looking CAPTCHA Code letters when replying to a blog.

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