York Town Square

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William C. Goodridge: From slavery to success story – 4/20 iconic images

This mural of 19th-century York, Pa., businessman William C. Goodridge greets motorists and pedestrians as they head east on West Market Street. Among other businesses, it depicts Goodridge’s rail venture, believed to have been deployed as part of another transportation business – the Underground Railroad. Background posts: Freed slaves often faced return to bondage, Amanda Berry Smith: ‘God’s image carved in ebony’ and A short test of your black history knowledge, II.

This image of William C. Goodridge, freedman and businessman, is another in the York Town Square series on important photos that tell York County’s story… .

In clear view: This mural shows former slave William C. Goodridge standing proudly in front of some of his many accomplishments in York, Pa. – his five-story business, barbershop and rail line. It also shows Goodridge as the infant son of a slave and then as a lad beginning his indenture.
Behind the scene: Goodridge’s success as a former slave in 19th-century Pennsylvania attests to his business acumen and, no doubt, unflinching support from some in a York community sometimes unwelcoming to freedman. He drew on that support after his son, Glenalvin, a pioneering photographer, was incarcerated for rape. Even in the middle of the Civil War, many in the community leadership successfully petitioned Pennsylvania Gov. Andrew G. Curtin for a pardon. His retail enterprises also are representative of the growth of the merchant-class in mid-19th-century York County.
Further details: The York County Heritage Trust administers the 18 large-scale Murals of York, painted between 1995 and 2002 to promote tourism and economic development. The colorful panels can be viewed at Murals of York . See the post If you want to see the Murals of York up close … that places the murals in historical perspective.
Posts in this series:
400 years ago, John Smith explored Chesapeake Bay – 1/31 iconic images
Declaration signer James Smith tops York County patriot list – 2/31 iconic images
Going to market a longtime York County pastime – 3/31 iconic images
William C. Goodridge: From slavery to success story – 4/31 iconic images

Rebs’ short York visit creates long memories – 5/31 iconic images
Artist Horace Bonham captured everyday life – 6/31 iconic images
York County farm vs. factory tension relieved in overnight raid – 7/31 iconic images
York County stood firmly behind Allies on all fronts in WW II – 8/31 iconic images
Downtown thrived in post-WW II York – 9/31 iconic images
After WWII success, Farquhar sells assets to out-of-town outfit – 10/31 iconic images.
Sears, York County Shopping Center in the middle of things – 11/31 iconic images
Three Mile Island emergency indelibly written into memories – 12/2 iconic images.
People of varying religious groups founded York County – 13/31 iconic images
President Reagan: ‘Harley is back and standing tall’ – 14/31 iconic images
York’s mayor: ‘We are no longer unprotected’ – 15/31 iconic images
Grange Hall represented past way of York County life – 16/31 iconic images.
York County Honors Choir product of proud moment – 17/31 iconic images.
Meeting of riot victims brought hope for racial accord – 18/31 iconic images.
Property rights foundational factor in Lauxmont dispute – 19/31 iconic images.
New baseball diamond serves as York cornerstone – 20/31 iconic images
Season 2 of York’s campaign to come back – 21-23 of 31 iconic images
York on knees as its men storm Normandy beaches – 24-25 of 31 iconic images
One image illustrates two long-neglected subjects in York area – 26-27 of 31 iconic images
Images explain changes in York County factories, farms – 28-29 of 31 iconic images
York County still home to unvarnished beauty – 30/31 iconic images
Latinos most recent migrant group to call York County home – 31/31 iconic images