York native, Pa. Gov. George Leader cleared dam plan
Gov. George M. Leader signs plans on March 19, 1958, for constructing the dam which formed the lake that became the centerpiece of Gifford Pinchot State Park in northern York County. Legislative aid and brother Henry B. Leader looks on. The location was chosen, according to The Gazette and Daily where this photograph was taken, because it was equidistant between York and Harrisburg.
The picture shows two York County brothers signing final dam plans for the lake that would keynote Gifford Pinchot State Park.
Gov. George M. Leader and legislative aide Henry B. Leader looked proud in a photograph published nearly 50 years ago in The Gazette and Daily on March 19, 1958.
They were doing something good for their home county… .
At the time of the signing, brush and tree clearing work had been done for the dam that would impound Beaver Creek forming a 350-acre Warrington Township lake.
Gov. David Lawrence dedicated the park in 1961, and it took on the name of Pennsylvania’s former Republican governor.
Route 177, the Lewisberry-Rossville Road, ran through the park, fitting because it was the state’s first “Pinchot Road.” These rocking and rolling roads, built without a base, were billed to get the farmer out of the mud. The idea was to enable farmers to get product to market easier — and to earn Pinchot votes.
So, the park goosed along by Democrat Gov. Leader was named for a Republican chief executive, albeit one who performed more like a New Deal Democrat.
But Leader would have enjoyed the assessment of historians who tied him to Pinchot:
“Leader’s administrative prowess was enhanced by a pragmatic idealism that demanded results, and the combination made him Pennsylvania’s best governor since Gifford Pinchot (last elected in 1930),” Philip S. Klein and Ari Hogenboom concluded.