Southern York County’s log Heiss House stood tall for 150 years
The log-and-mortar George Heiss House, near Railroad, Pa., was built about 1830. It was disassembled in 1993 with the hope it would be restored nearby along the York County Heritage Rail Trail. Background posts: Hames made in Shrewsbury Township’s Hametown fueled early American horsepower and Old Shrewsbury house disappearing hand-hewn log, square nail at a time and Is mystery railroad the old Shrewsbury narrow gauge?
The Shrewsbury Area Preservation Society disassembled the log George Heiss House in 1993 with the idea to rebuild it as an attraction.
Whatever happened to the restoration efforts?
The “Codorus Valley Chronicles” provided the answer in its May edition:
“The house was taken down by the Shrewsbury Area Preservation Society, board by board, log by log with the hopes of having it rebuilt near the parking lot of the rail trail where the Pennsylvania Railroad Station once stood. Grant money was applied for, but rejected and the Society could never raise enough funds to rebuild the house.”
The Codorus Valley Area Historical Society’s newsletter gives information on the old mills on that site:
Ulrich Heiss was granted the land in 1774. An oil mill, used to extract oil from flax seed, was constructed there. Later, a grist mill replaced the oil mill and became known as the Rosedale Mill in 1886.
The Helb family acquired the mill and converted it to a box factory where paper egg cartons were made.
The Rosedale Mill no longer stands.
This excerpt from a York Daily Record story (7/10/1997) tells more about efforts to restore the Heiss House:
Donna Tracey remembers the first time she walked into the more than 100-year-old George Heiss House in Railroad in the late 1980s.
“I felt like I came home,” she said. She described the old house as warm and cozy.
While she and her family lived there, Tracey enjoyed climbing the winding stairs, typical in German houses. She recalled that her husband and three children fell down those stairs, but she never did.
“We all talk about the place and wish it was still there,” she said. In the early 1990s, her landlord told the family they had to move. An expansion to the New Freedom sewage treatment plant meant the house had to go.
Someone mentioned, however, that the house, built between 1830 and 1850, stood in the historic district of Railroad. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Shrewsbury Area Preservation Society decided to take on the project of dismantling the house.
Several summers ago, the siding came off, revealing wooden beams and white mortar. The pieces of the house are stored in society members’ barns and other places in their homes.
The society had hoped to reconstruct the house beside the York County Heritage Rail/Trail and have it open to the public by May 1997, but that hasn’t happened yet.