York Town Square

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First history trail stop: Springettsbury’s Camp Security

On the York County history trail …
In a visit near the Springettsbury Township site earlier this year, the green field with a rise to its rear just sparkled.
But the site features another point of interest. I stood near the Schultz house, a multi-story structure that is one of the oldest in York County and certain to be part of any park if preservationists prevail versus the developer.
Its history ran through my mind: …

John and Christina Schultz built the house in then-Hellam Township in 1734, although some sources list it at 1737. (As it turns out, recent research suggests it was built even later, possibly in the 1750s.) The house has had staying power because of its stone construction. It sat along a narrow east-west road, later known as the Monocacy Road. The house contained space, now filled with stone and mortar, that provided openings to fight against intruders. John’s brother, Martin, constructed a stone house in the mid-1730s, as well. It still sits west of Hallam and south of the modern-day Monocacy Trail, Route 462.
And this past week, a visit to the former Camp Stewartstown site showed a different kind of use. It was swarming with young athletes playing at the public park beside Stewartstown Presbyterian Church. A building now used as a community center was part the World War II POW camp, which housed German prisoners on work detail in the summers of 1944-45. It, too, swarmed with young athletes, which explains why Stewartstown historical society officials are hesitant to put up a display of camp artifacts in the building. The rickety structure is just too heavily used. (See “York County has done its share of playing host to POWs”.)
A few weeks ago, a Sunday afternoon visit to the former Valley View Park, a country music venue from the past, was deserted. A Jehovah’s Witnesses building sat on the site, which gave few hints that thousands of folks used to gather there after Sunday morning church to enjoy the likes of Grandpa Jones, Tex Ritter, Slim Whitman, Gabby Hayes and Johnny Cash.
A stately row of tall trees suggested something important occupied the Hellam Township site before the modern church was constructed there. And an old building on the site might have been used by the park. (See “Roy Rogers took York County stage, but not alone”and “The real Elvis sighted in York County in 1956”.)
It’s fun to tool around York/Adams, trying to find traces of those landmarks that helped make this region’s history so intriguing.