York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Don’t know much about (York market) history?

OK, quick York Town Square review quiz.
The Dreamwrights have opened their new house to the public.
The theater group recently remodeled their building, a former market house where west end farmers could sell their goods to residents of surrounding neighborhood.
At one time, five market houses served as the hub for York County’s farmers to sell their wares.
Where were York’s other four covered market houses? …

The answer:

a. Central Market. Still in operation.
b. Penn Street Farmers Market. Still in operation.
c. Eastern Market. No, not that one. The market in Springettsbury is the successor to the still-standing-but-no-longer-operating old Eastern Market, the former York County Heritage Trust Agricultural Museum on East Market Street.
d. City Market, the now-demolished structure that was located to the rear of Voni B. Grimes gym in the southeast end.

For a point of view on York’s market houses, we repeat a York Town Square post from April 2006:

The turn-of-the-century Carlisle Avenue Market represents the last of the great indoor market houses to be built.
And it’s the most recent one to make the news, as the soon-to-be-renovated home of Dreamwrights, a local theater group.
So, the scorecard for the five market houses: two still in use, one demolished, and two used for different purposes.
One wonders about the future of the two still in operation: Central Market and Penn Street Farmers Market… .
The crowds in the Central Market appear well below the 20,000 that weekly entered its doors in its prime.
York County continues to welcome the market house concept as suburbanites are trying to catch a piece of the past. Brown’s, the Brown Cow, Whitecomb’s and Morningstar are a few of winsome, 2006-vintage market houses.
The rise and fall of York’s covered markets reflect the decades-long decline of York as the county’s market center. And it reflects the decline in county agriculture.
For years, the county ranked in the top 50 in the nation in different agricultural categories.
A benchmark year came on or about 1983, when the percent of county land used for non-agricutural purposes passed the 50 percent mark for the first time.
This was the logical step spawned from an earlier pivotal moment.
The demolition of outdoor market sheds in York’s square in 1887 marked the beginning of agriculture’s decline.
With McMansions popping up on former agricultural land everywhere, one wonders where it will end.
It will be interesting to see if history remembers the Lauxmont Farm, Camp Security and other great contemporary county land controversies with the same gravity as that night in June 1887 when the market sheds came down.

A sampling of other York market posts:
York County farm vs. factory tension relieved in overnight raid .
Going to market a longtime York County pastime.
York’s Central Market sells steak … and sizzle.
The forgotten fifth York market house.
York Market House No. 1 – Penn Street Farmers Market.
York Market House No. 2 – The architecturally striking City Market.
York Market House No. 3 – The first Eastern Market.
Market House No. 4 – Central Market, York’s most popular.
York Market House No. 5 – Carlisle Avenue Market, revisited.