York Town Square

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Washington Township, Jefferson Borough, Madison Avenue. How about an Obama Street in York County?

This photograph showing Sen. Harry S. Truman during his 1944 visit to York County, Pa., came from longtime York Daily Record columnist Jim Hubley’s “Off the Record.” Truman was in York for a political speech. As for street-level memories of this respected president, he left none behind. But many other presidents have, as recounted below. Background posts: Richard Nixon’s visit to his namesake park sparks memories and York-area woodcarver made life-size JFK statue. But where is it now? and This working list details presidential visits to York and Adams counties.

York Sunday News columnist Gordon Freireich (1/23/08) has issued a challenge for York countians.
We have places named after many of the 44 U.S. presidents.
Maybe York County should be the first county in the nation name a street after President Barack Obama.
He brought back research from a 1996 column that showed streets and places with presidential names taken from our nation’s chief executives.
It will reinforce with viewers here how much this county draws on its past:

1) Washington. He could well be the “Father of Place Names,” as well as the “Father of His Country.” There are avenues, courts, roads, and streets named for Washington all across York County. Heck, he even gets Washington Township.
2) Adams. A slew of roads and streets are named for Adams, but his crowning glory is he gets his own county named in his honor.
3) Jefferson. Adams’ political nemesis (and vice versa), whereas Adams gets a county, Jefferson gets a borough. There are a raft of avenues, roads and streets named for him, too. (And since Jefferson always makes me think of two of my personal heroes, Lewis and Clark, I checked the York County map for streets named after them. There are several place names, but — alas — I can’t find them intersecting.)
4) Madison. York City has a Madison Avenue. In recent years, Madison has also become a popular name for children.
5) Monroe. His doctrine is better known, but Hanover, West Manchester Township and West York all have Monroe streets.
6) Adams, John Quincy. The second half of the nation’s first father-son presidents. It appears that dad earned all the map honors.
7) Jackson. If you thought John Adams and Jefferson had a feud going, read up on J. Q. Adams and Andrew Jackson. Whew-ee! Jackson Elementary School is on Jackson Street, and there are other Jacksons scattered around the area, including Jackson Township.
8) Van Buren. Sorry, Marty. It appears you were not very popular in York County.
9) Harrison, William Henry. Streets run through York City and Springettsbury Township. There’s also a Harrison Road in Strawberry Fields in Shrewsbury, but I don’t recall George Harrison being a president or William Henry being a Beatle.
10) Tyler. For argument’s sake, let’s give him Tyler Run Road.
11) Polk. He didn’t make the cut, either. Maybe he needs a marketing study performed by York-based Polk-Lepson.
12) Taylor. A short-time president, I’m thinking all the Taylor roads, streets, etc. were tailored after York-area Taylors.
13) Fillmore. Millard gets a comic strip character named for him. That should be sufficient.
14) Pierce. There’s a Pierce Alley in York City, but you really have to search for it.
15) Buchanan. Neighboring Lancaster County’s “President of Choice,” he gets only a namesake street in York Township on this side of the Susquehanna.
16) Lincoln. What isn’t named for him? The Lincoln Highway is one of our area’s crowning achievements.
17) Johnson, Andrew. There are a couple of roads named Johnson.
18) Grant. The north loved him. He gets a drive, street and a road here.
19) Hayes. There’s a Hayes Court in Springfield Township.
20) Garfield. Also probably better known as a cartoon cat, he gets a street in York City.
21) Arthur. There’s an Arthur Street in Springettsbury Township.
22) Cleveland. He gets both an avenue and an alley in York City.
23) Harrison, Benjamin. (See number 9 above.)
24) Cleveland came back for a second, split term. (See number 22 above.)
25) McKinley. Apparently well-loved in these parts: a school in York city and street names scattered throughout the county.
26) Roosevelt, Theodore. Roosevelt Avenue slashes through northwest York — when it’s not being repaired.
27) Taft. There’s an avenue in Manchester Township.
28) Wilson. His namesake avenue is — appropriately enough — next to Taft Avenue in Manchester Township. There are also Wilson Courts in both York city and Yoe.
29) Harding. Harding Court was near my boyhood home in York city. It should not be surprising that Harding Court runs into Wilson Court.
30 & 31) Coolidge and Hoover. Rough economic times don’t lend themselves to having streets named for you.
32) Roosevelt, Franklin D. Our longest-serving president, it appears that Theodore beat him to the punch in place names in York County.
33) Truman. Another personal hero of mine, he goes unrecognized in York County.
34) Eisenhower. They sure like Ike in York County. There’s a major thoroughfare in Hanover and a drive in Springettsbury Township.
35) Kennedy. There is a court, lane, road and drive with that name.
36) Johnson, Lyndon. (See 17 above.)
37) Nixon. We’re probably one of the few places in the nation to have a Nixon Park. Nixon Drive in Jacobus leads to it.
38 – 40) Ford, Carter, and Reagan. At this point, subdivisions have not honored them with street names.
41) Bush, George H.W. He may have gotten an aircraft carrier in the past few weeks, but unless he wants to change the spelling of his name to “Busch,” there are no streets in York County.
42) Clinton. I doubt if Clinton Street in West York and West Manchester Township want to link their names to his.
43) Bush. George W. (See 41 and 30 & 31 above.)
44) Obama. York County — here’s your opportunity.