York Town Square

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From the mailbag: Compared to the days of Agnes, ‘The street scapes of York are greatly different than today’

A reader has noticed changes in Downtown York’s look over the years. (See photo of same scene, with floodwaters, below.) Background posts: Reader searching for Tropical Storm Agnes photos to use in children’s tour and Author: ‘York’s streetscape features almost every style and era of American architecture’ and At one time, York’s five-and-dimes lived up to their names York County … ‘A smorgasbord of architectural styles’.

Joe Stein (jstein3@comcast.net) has a wonderful curiosity about his hometown of York.
He noticed changes in York’s streetscapes over the years, specifically the addition of trees.
Here’s a recent e-mail from Joe:

The same scene as above, but with the addition of the watery product of Tropical Storm Agnes’ wrath.

“I wanted to get your thoughts on something that for some reason has stuck out in my mind many times and I’m not quite sure why.
“In looking at old street level photographs of York, most recently the photo’s of the Agnes flood in your blog, the street scapes of York are greatly different than today! The major difference is the lack of trees back then. I’m not sure how far back that goes.
“Having only been born in 1981, my memory of the downtown past the mid-80’s doesn’t exist. However, for as far back as I can remember, there have always been trees lining the streets, and nowadays it’s required per ordinances.
“In many historic photos on your blog or in books I’ve read by Scott Butcher, the streets seem barren. Today, as nice as it is to see the trees, especially in the spring with the pear blossoms, it’s a shame how much architectural beauty they hide.
“So I guess my question is, was there any reason streets were void of trees years ago, and was there a movement to line the streets with trees. If so, when? I know that the main stretch of Market St. was re-done, I believe, in the late 70’s. And maybe there is no real reason!”

Can anyone respond to Joe’s query out there?
For all York Town Square mailbag posts from the start, click here.