Your History Starts Here
Part 10 of York County History Center Buildings
This is Part 10 of an industrial chronicle of the buildings on the property recently purchased by the York County Heritage Trust, with their goal of renovating the buildings into a York County History Center. These buildings originated as York’s Edison Electric Plant in 1885. 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.
Because of the uncertainty of stormy weather during Thursday evening, the York County History Center Brand Launch was moved from beside the former Edison Electric Plant into the Colonial Court House. After a nice program and unveiling inside, the weather cooperated for a larger scale unveiling next to the former Edison Electric Plant. The photo was taken after the rope was pulled, dropping the black curtain, revealing the new brand for the York County History Center.
I liked the simple use of symbolized wood to create the “Y C H C” letters in the logo. The logo became even neater for me, after learning it was inspired by the exposed half-timber construction of the Golden Plough Tavern.
It is envisioned that a new experience will await visitors when the consolidated museum of the York County History Center opens in the former Edison Electric Plant in 2020. During the Brand Launch program, an impact slide answered the question; how “To make history memorable.” Quoting from that slide, as presented by Mandy Arnold:
Redefine how people think of “history.” Create historical moments through bold edutainment experiences. Change how we share our local York history through unique, accessible and interactive storytelling. Share a-ha content that is so cool people want to visit again and again, evoking a desire to share the York County History Center and York history with others. Help visitors discover their love for history and connect with their roots.
I’ll continue with additional photos and comments after the Summary of Links to Prior Parts Chronicling the York County History Center Buildings.
Part 1—New History Center Generated Edison Electricity This introductory post provides a brief overview of all the buildings within what was the former Met-Ed Steam Heat Generating Plant on the northeast corner of West Philadelphia Street and North Pershing Avenue in York.
Part 2—York County History Center Buildings 1885 This post takes a closer look at the initial industrial building constructed on the site in 1885; a generating station for the Edison Electric Light Company of York.
Part 3—Edison Lights Streets as York becomes a City On January 11, 1887, York was incorporated as a City. The same year marked the replacement of gas lighting with Edison electric lights on the streets of York; necessitating an addition to the 2-year-old electric generating station along Gas Avenue.
Part 4—War of the Currents hits York Nationally, the War of the Currents plays out with the company started by Thomas Edison, who favored direct current and was adamantly opposed to alternating current, being transformed, through the financing of J. P. Morgan, into the champion of alternating current. Locally in York something similar happened in 1894. The Westinghouse Electric Light, Heat and Power Co. of York, PA, located in the high bay part of the present Agricultural and Industrial Museum, was absorbed by the much better financed Edison Electric Light Company of York, PA; located in one of the buildings that will become the York County History Center.
Part 5—Edison Electric Plant becomes subsidiary of York Railways In 1892, the York Street Railway Company begin operation of their streetcars via electricity; i.e. replacing horse power. The Edison Electric Plant was their electric supplier from the inception. When the York Haven hydro-electric plant was placed into service during 1904, York Haven was contracted to carry most of the load of the Edison Electric Plant in York. The primary electric generating function of the Edison Plant was reduced to supplying power for many of the streetcar lines. As a result in 1907, the Edison Light & Power Company became a subsidiary of the newly named York Railway Company as a result of a merger.
Part 6—100th Birthday for the History Center Chimney At one time the buildings of the Edison Light & Power Company, recently purchased by the York County Heritage Trust, contained two giant chimneys. When it came time to build these chimneys, for the coal-fired power plant in these buildings, the premier chimney builder in the United States was selected; the Alphons Custodis Chimney Construction Company of New York. The surviving 1916 chimney still stands and celebrates its 100th birthday during July of 2016.
Part 7—Birth of District Steam Heating in York In 1898, Adam F. Geesey was instrumental in the birth of the York Steam Heating Company to make use of exhaust steam; that would have otherwise been wasted at the Edison Electric Light plant. After electric generation ceased in 1959, the York Steam Heating Plant operated until 1977. These buildings housed the first electric generating station in York County. The buildings generated electricity for 75-years and supplied steam, keeping Yorkers warm for 80-years.
Part 8—New Name is York County History Center A year ago, the York County Heritage Trust brochure “Pondering Change” contained a conceptual illustration of the History Center on page 14. The landmark chimney intuitively proclaimed History Center! A name change was one of the items on the agenda during a special meeting of the membership of the York County Heritage Trust on April 20, 2016. The members overwhelmingly voted in favor of an organizational name change to York County History Center.
Part 9—Twin Smokestacks at Edison Plant The greatest feedback from this series has been related to the smokestacks at the Edison Plant; i.e. a 188-feet high smokestack completed in December 1910 and a 182-feet high smokestack completed in July 1916. For at least 40-years both of these smokestacks stood together. Several readers inquired if photos exist of the twin smokestacks. Photos from 1930, 1942 and 1945 are included in this post, along with additional comments by my readers.
Part 10—Your History Starts Here:
This Proposed Campus of the York County History Center, by LSCdesign, was displayed during York County History Center Brand Launch. The campus straddles North Pershing Avenue, with the existing Colonial Complex at the right. The former Edison Electric Plant, with the iconic smokestack, will be transformed into the consolidated museum of the York County History Center. The expanded corridor of green space along the Codorus Creek is also envisioned to contain historical displays. A dedicated York County History Center parking lot is adjacent to the north side of the building and the West Philadelphia Street parking deck is only 1/2-block to the east.
This is a close-up of the unveiled York County History Center Brand within the Colonial Court House. Remember that YOUR HISTORY STARTS HERE. Do not wait until 2020 to visit the new museum. All the present facilities, formerly of the York County Heritage Trust and now the York County History Center, are open for you to explore and visit. Check out the new web page of the York County History Center http://www.yorkhistorycenter.org for History Center locations, operating hours, events and programs.
Related posts include:
- New History Center Generated Edison Electricity
- York County History Center Buildings 1885
- Edison Lights Streets as York becomes a City
- War of the Currents hits York
- Edison Electric Plant becomes subsidiary of York Railways
- 100th Birthday for the History Center Chimney
- Birth of District Steam Heating in York
- New Name is York County History Center
- Twin Smokestacks at Edison Plant
- History Center’s Smokestack Twin
- Edison Electric Plant Expansions in York
- 1931 Aerial Photo of Edison Electric Plant in York