Hiker finds remote foundation in York narrows
Blaw-Knox’s Naval Ordnance Depot, successor of York Safe & Lock, was one of the newsmakers that occupied a spot in Codorus narrows north of World War II-era York. The area where the creek cuts through the hills has long been a site of activity in York County, including home of current occupant of the old Naval Ordnance building, Harley-Davidson. Here, servicemen from Philadelphia’s Naval Incentive Division “inspect” Twin Bofors, 400 mm anti-aircraft guns, with the aid of some women workers. (For a look at Quad Bofors, see photograph below.)
An e-mailer responded to my recent column on the Codorus narrows with some memories:
Living away from York for many years, I particularly enjoy reading
your excellent historical pieces on my hometown.
Your recent piece on the Codorus Narrows brought to mind a visit home
a few years ago, when I woke to the sight of excavation on the
hillside directly west from our family home. The hill, long being
gobbled up by a quarry on the creekside had been scraped clear for a
townhouse development to the east and south… .
I decided to take a look and walked through the old woods where we
neighborhood kids once played. It was a terrific spot: across the
creek from a hobo-town where the railroad tracks curved to cross
Black Bridge, high above the busy quarry and the Codorus, site of a
few ill-fated childhood rafting expeditions.
Memories crept back as I walked and climbed around the wooded
hilltop, among them the story of cannon emplacements used to control
the passage across the “river.” As I came to the knob near the south
face of the hill, an unusual feature caught my attention. After
clearing some leaves and underbrush, I discovered the remains of a
stone foundation, laid up with a soft mortar; two sides defining an
area of about 120 sq. ft.
What purpose could this have served, illogically placed at such an
odd site? It was perched far too high on this steep outcropping for
a farm house or outbuilding. Could it be the foundation for those
storied cannons. I retrieved a small loose sample of the mortar as a
souvenir with the thought of having it analyzed but unfortunately
distance and time have interfered with those plans.
Should you wish to take a short hike to see the spot some day, I
would be happy to join you. If a “false alarm,” it still provides
one of the best views of York and the river valley I’ve seen.
Does anyone know what that stone foundation came from? Rebel occupiers of York in 1863 placed cannons in these hills to control the town and turnpikes. But they scarcely had time to build such emplacements. Thoughts?
The servicemen view a Quad Bofors, women workers still in hand.