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York County Keystone Mystery Marker; EAST PROSPECT

York County Keystone Mystery Marker with name of Town Removed from the Photograph (2013, S. H. Smith)

Keystone Markers are in the news.  The March/April 2013 issue of Pennsylvania Magazine has a feature article on Keystone Markers.  June Lloyd wrote a post on her Universal York blog about these Keystone shaped signs marking entrances to many Pennsylvania towns.  Jim McClure noted on his blog, York Town Square, Look at the size of that Keystone Marker; in commenting on York city’s work on restoring a Keystone Marker.

The article in Pennsylvania Magazine about Keystone Markers noted; “What once numbered in the tens of thousands has dwindled to about 600 throughout the state,” and “the keystone marker program was a way of strengthening community identity.”  The article includes a contest in which the magazine presented nine mystery keystone markers from around the state.  To make them a mystery, the town names were removed from photographs of the signs.

I thought, what a neat idea; why not include a York County Keystone Mystery Marker every now and then in YorksPast.  A new mystery marker will be rolled-out at the end of each post in this series.

Any readers who know the name of this mystery town or village, post a comment.  Otherwise, I’ll reveal the answer in my next post about York County Keystone Mystery Markers.  Continue reading as I reveal details about EAST PROSPECT; the mystery marker from the previous post in the series.


This York County Keystone Marker for East Prospect stumped everyone.  I posted the comparable York County Keystone Mystery Marker over 6-weeks ago, with not a single reader making a guess.  Be sure to comment on the new York County Keystone Mystery Marker at the end of this post.

York County Keystone Marker for East Prospect (Photographed 13 March 2013 by S. H. Smith)

This Keystone Marker is at the southern entrance into East Prospect.  It is located along Abel Road (Rt. 124), just prior to Calvary Church Road.

John Gibson’s 1886 History of York County has this to say about East Prospect Borough on page 731:

At the base of the Conojohela Valley, located on a charmingly beautiful spot, stands the borough of East Prospect.  It is eleven miles from York, on what was for a long time called the York and Dritt’s Ferry road, and about two miles from the Susquehanna.  John A. Jacobs laid out the town in 1849.  The first house is still standing, owned by William E. Oleweiler.  A dry goods and grocery store is now kept in it by George Kise.  There are several stores and a hotel in the town.

The manufacture of cigars is an important industry.  The early inhabitants were undecided what name to give the town until the very appropriate one of Prospect was thought of.  From Centre Square, looking eastward, a magnificent panorama is presented to the observer, extending a long distance into the counties of Lancaster and Dauphin, embracing a landscape view unrivalled for beauty and attractiveness.  To the west toward York is the equally fertile and productive Conojohela Valley.

Since there was already a post town in Butler County this State, called Prospect, the name East Prospect was selected.  The town was incorporated in 1874.  The survey was made by Harry Winter, of York, now a resident of Iowa.  Maple Street runs east and west.  The beautiful homes on it are now comfortably shaded by luxuriant maple trees of different varieties.  Main Street, running north and south, was the first to be built up.

In my previous post The 30 Founders of East Prospect; Pinpointing Where They Lived, I note that York County Archives records indicate incorporation of the Borough of East Prospect  was on August 13th 1873.

Present day East Prospect formed on a high tract of land in Lower Windsor Township, about one-mile from the Susquehanna River.  In 1831, when still in Windsor Township, the first substantial building was constructed on the northeast corner of a crossroads in this area; it was a stone structure used by the Evangelical Association.  This stone structure was used for 50-years, until the present church building was constructed in 1882.

A few buildings gradually sprung up near the church.  In 1849, John A. Jacobs, a farmer and local preacher of the Evangelical Association laid out lots along the roads for a town.  The village was called Prospect; named for the fine view of the surrounding country.

By 1873 the Village of Prospect in Lower Windsor Township contained 30 dwellings plus several stores, factories, the church and a school (just east of the church).  In April of 1873 the 30 property owners petitioned the York County Court of Quarter Sessions to incorporate their village as the Borough of East Prospect.

With all these dates that I’ve presented, none match “Founded 1735” that appears on the Keystone Marker for East Prospect.  Here is the sequence of the borough or township founding years for the land upon which the Borough of East Prospect occupies:

  • 1873  Borough of East Prospect
  • 1838  Lower Windsor Township
  • 1758  Windsor Township in York County
  • 1749  York Township in York County
  • 1745  York Township in Lancaster County
  • 1738  Hellam Township in Lancaster County
  • 1736  Pennsylvania’s Indian Treaty adds lands west of Susquehanna River to Lancaster County
  • 1731  Maryland Warrant for “Smith’s Choice”

My conclusion, the “Founded 1735” that appears on the Keystone Marker for East Prospect is a mystery.  Unless there is a 1735 Blunston License for the land upon which East Prospect sits; however I have not found such a license.

Here is another York County Keystone Mystery Marker (hint: it is located 2-miles from York Haven).  Comment if you know the town.

York County Keystone Mystery Marker with name of Town Removed from the Photograph (2013, S. H. Smith)

Links to related posts include:

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts