York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Both Yanks, Rebs camped at old York Fairgrounds

Northern troops drilled at the York (Pa.) Fairgrounds early in the Civil War. And Confederates camped there when they occupied York in 1863. But the current fairgrounds in the West York area was just a field then. The Civil War-era York Expo Center will be the topic of a mystery talk in April 2008. Background posts: Gettysburg ‘Human Interest Stories’ scores sequel and Rebels, Yanks to again journey along York’s West Market Street.

The whereabouts of the York Fairgrounds will be one of my topics in a talk on Saturday, April 5, at the York Emporium’s A Day of Mystery.
I’ll cover 10 mysteries or questions rising from York County’s involvement in the Civil War in a slideshow starting at 12:30 p.m.
Jim Lewin, the owner, lists me as a pundit, writer and historian. I had to look up what a pundit is, and it sounds OK… .

I’ll also be teaching a course on York County luminaries who have made national and international marks (and local luminaries, too) as part of the new OLLI continuing education program at Penn State York. Classes begin next week – my class is on Wednesday – and it might not too late for signups. But you can inquire about this or future courses at 717-771-4015.
Also, I’ll play some role in a York Patriot Days panel on the Confederate occupation of York, set for 7 p.m. on June 25. Panelists will explore different aspects of the two-day occupation in late-June 1863.
Oh yes, the fairgrounds.
It was located at the southeast corner of East King and South Queen streets, back a bit. The area is now built over, but a good way to picture the vicinity is to locate Hannah Penn Middle School.
One vestige is Fair Avenue located in that area.
York history comes alive when you squint when passing through that area and imagine tens of thousands of soldiers in new blue uniforms camping and drilling before shipping out to battlefields in Virginia. And imagine scores of ragged Confederates cooking the meat and munching on the loaves of bread that they extracted from townspeople during their occupation.
The York Fair originally was held at York’s Centre Square, now Continental Square. In 1888, it moved to its current home.

Update, 7/2015:

The Bond Building, across Queen Street from the old fairgrounds, has become a meeting place, wedding venue called The Bond. The venue and other buildings in the neighborhood are part of Royal Square Development.


Also of interest
This image, originally from New York Illustrated News, is one of several of Scott Mingus’ Cannonball post: Images of old Camp Scott.