York Town Square

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Conewago crossing near Manchester hot spot for years – Part III

Only a bridge pier remains today of the trolley line from York to York Haven, cut back to North York on June 1, 1932. The pier sits near the once bustling Cold Springs Park and Elm Beach. Background posts: Conewago crossing near Manchester hot spot for years and Conewago crossing, Part II and Big Conewago serves as physical, symbolic divider of York County culture.

Sue Shiflett of East Berlin is looking for photographs of Elm Beach, the popular swimming spot on the Conewago Creek near Manchester.
The beach – actually a concrete deck extending from the bank – operated on the north side of the Conewago across from Cold Springs Park, destination for trolley excursions.
“My great grandfather, Fred Spiese, operated a swim suit rental and restaurant at Elm Beach,” she wrotes.
Today, Elm Beach is abandoned and Cold Springs Park developed. A silent pier from a long-one trolley bridge stands guard… .

She passed along an article from The Gettysburg Times dated Aug. 18, 1918.
The article, excerpted here, tells about the Conewago at its busiest. It’s interesting that all this bustle occurred while America was sending troops by the tens of thousands to World War I-torn Europe.
Indeed, it was the best season, according to C.S. Emig, that the spot had ever known:

Boats, bathing and ice cream were away above par. C.S. Emig reported all boats in service afternoon and evening. Fred J. Spiese, proprietor of the restaurant and bath house, states that all that all bathing suits were out and boats in good demand all afternoon. Despite the fact that the water was very muddy, the bathers seemed to enjoy themselves greatly. All cottages were occupied. Some are engaged for the entire season. “Thorndale” has been occupied all summer and is rented for the remainder of the season. The rain settled the dust and put the roads in good condition. Automobile drivers, taking advantage of this fact, visited the place by hundreds Sunday.

If you have Elm Beach memorabilia, contact Sue Shiflett at 41 Schofield Drve, East Berlin, 17316 or sueshiflett@comcast.net.