York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Pain & trauma Archives

Some folks travel on Route 462 and Route 30 in York County, Pa., without a thought that they are moving on important ground in the history of the nation’s highway system. That road – still the most heavily used east/west route in York County – was the best Atlantic/Pacific route a century ago.

York County, Pa., had more than 300 mills at one time. That means that its streams were crossed with more than 300 dams that backed up the creeks to supply the raceways that carried water to the mill wheels. Eight lowhead dams remain on area streams, although not all can be connected to mills. Conewago Creek’s Shady Nook Dam near the Davidsburg Road was built for recreational purposes in the 1930s. That dam made the news recently when it took the life of a York County boater.

Jubal Early’s Confederates burned Chambersburg, Pa., 150 years ago this week. ‘It’s hard to imagine the destruction that followed the burning of Chambersburg by Confederate troops on July 30, 1864. The fire destroyed 550 structures, left 2,000 people homeless and resulted in more than $750,000 in lost property,’ the Public Opinion in Chambersburg wrote in: The Burning of Chambersburg: 150 years later. A year earlier, Early’s men occupied York, Pa., about 50 miles to the East.

This 1930 photograph from a Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge booklet shows part of the battlefield in Wrightsville 70 years after the Civil War. A Confederate brigade, under the command of John B. Gordon, approached the town from the west, bottom, and ran into an assortment of Union troops – regulars, invalids from the military hospital in York, militia and civilian volunteers. The Confederates sought to secure the bridge. Union command ordered the bridge burned to stop that advance. They succeeded.

Everett, Pa., is 70 miles from Gettysburg, and add on another 10 miles to Snake Springs Gap. So this bearing sign the familiar ‘Gettysburg Campaign’ title is long way from where the big battle took place in July 1863. This marker indicates how far the alarm of Robert E. Lee’s campaign of 1863 spread. And as usual when a big event occurs, York County touched this point in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, however gently.