York Town Square

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LBJ’s, Lady Bird’s visit a high point in Dallastown’s history

President Lyndon B. Johnson visit to Dallastown in 1966 was a high point in Dallastown’s history. Here, Lady Bird Johnson greets some of those who turned out for the Dallastown centennial. A museum honoring the borough’s past is set to open Monday. Details: 244-8217. Background posts: LBJ: In small towns, girls are fonder; dinner pails fuller, Bomb group seeks Cameron Mitchell’s WWII info and Speeding trolley cars drew criticism.

Dallastown is known for Lyndon B. Johnson’s visit in 1966. It was boyhood home of famed actor Cameron Mitchell.
That’s where noted sculptor Lorann Jacobs has her studio.
And it was a stop along road from York to Peach Bottom, accommodated rumbling trolley cars and received a spur of the Ma & Pa Railroad.
And it was founded, in part, on the strong hands of basket weavers. But more on that in a second… .

Dallastown, indeed, has a legacy to discuss – and show off.
So history fans in the borough, southeast of York, have created a museum.
The Dallastown Area Historical Society, 118 E. Main St., will open its museum on Sunday.
The museum will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. the first Sunday of each month.
“We have everything from old postcards and photographs to a 19th-century wedding gown, military uniforms and cigar-factory ephemera,” said Rich Saylor, president of the society, said a few months ago. “And that just scratches the surface.”
Dallastown was named after President James K. Polk’s vice president, George M. Dallas.
Historian George Prowell wrote that the borough – which occupies the relatively flat top of a ridge bordering Route 74 – was built on an open common used as a parade ground for local militia.
It quickly became a leader in hand-rolled cigarmaking, along with its young sister borough Red Lion.
But basket making put the village on the map in the years before it formed into a borough. It was a center, Prowell says, for making bushel baskets for farmers and the three-peck-size for shipping oysters.
“Making of the baskets by hand from oak withes then declined,” Prowell wrote in 1907, “because like many other of the mechanical arts baskets in recent years have been made largely by machinery.”
Machinery eventually replaced hand-rolled cigarmaking as well.
Today, the town plays host to motorists coming and going from the nearby Dallastown Area School District campus – and a new museum.