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Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club moves to York County

Rose Tree Fox Hunt in York County during November of 1967 (Greater York in Action, Published by The York Area Chamber of Commerce, 1968; Page 216)
Rose Tree Fox Hunt in York County during November of 1967 (Greater York in Action, Published by The York Area Chamber of Commerce, 1968; Page 216)

This is a photo of hunters, mounts and hounds gathered to await the signal of the horn to ride to the Rose Tree Fox Hunt in York County during November of 1967. If you are reading this on the Ydr.com site, click on this LINK for a Full View of the illustrations in this post on the original YorkBlog site; since the ydr.com site will occasionally cut off important details in the cropping of illustrations.

The Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club was established in the countryside west of Philadelphia in 1859. Last year Eleanor Boggs Shoemaker of Felton provided extensive comments about the move of this club to York County in response to my query about Battle Hill One-Room Schoolhouse. I can not honor the recent requests for the whole string of comments that followed because when the York Daily Record was purchased by USA Today, they erased all comments on the Blogs.

Initially I struck out on a search for the requested photo. My luck changed today, while I was scanning my copy of Greater York in Action; spotting the photo and an article on the Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club.

The article does not mention a grass landing strip adjacent to the William duPont, Jr., Memorial Steeplechase Course just west of Wellsville. Jim Fry remembered his family flying in his Dad’s plane from Wilmington to Wellsville in the early 70s to attend the Steeplechase Races. That turf landing strip in Wellsville was possibly today’s Kampel Airport at 8930 Carlisle Road. Can any of my readers provide further details?

Greater York in Action, published by The York Area Chamber of Commerce in 1968, contains this brief history of the Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club and their move to York County. Quoting the whole article from pages 215 and 216 of that publication:

“The Greater York area is now the home of the colorful and historic Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club and their new William duPont, Jr. Memorial Steeplechase Course. Founded in 1859, the club hunted for more than a hundred years in Delaware and Chester counties, with headquarters in Media, Pennsylvania, until suburban and industrial expansion in the Philadelphia area forced the club to find other hunting grounds.”

“Members chose southeastern York County with its rolling farmland, dense woods, and abundant streams—the natural habitat of the fox. Rose Tree obtained permission from 150 landowners to hunt on 20,000 acres of ground reaching from the Susquehanna River to the Baltimore Expressway, and from the Maryland Line to the Lincoln Highway—400 square miles of ideal hunting ground, including the natural and desirable hazards of old stone fences, perfect for jumping.”

“Hunt race meetings, which are a tradition with the club, are held on the new Rose Tree Steeplechase Track. The track is named for William duPont, Jr., who engineered and did the necessary layout work for the track before his death.”

“Located in Wellsville, a few miles from York, the track area, including the track, parking facilities, and spectator stands, consists of approximately seventy-five acres adjacent to miles and miles of spectacular rolling countryside. Races are held on the third Saturday of May and the third Saturday of October each year. On these days, there are two flat races, two hurdle races, and two timber races ranging from one mile to three and one-half miles over approximately twenty-one fences.”

“The first official hunt after the club moved to York was held in November of 1967. Members came from almost all surrounding states and from all over York County for the opening day of the hunt season and the traditional blessing of the hounds. Of French origin, the custom of blessing the hounds was adopted by the English, and is held on the Feast Day of St. Hubert, when the hunt season begins.”

“The Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club rides to the hunt every Wednesday and Saturday from November 1 to March 15. Hunter trials begin April 1.”

Links to related posts include:

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts