York Town Square

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Almost-hidden Spring Garden marker: ‘These old White Oaks were saved by Charles Elmer Smith’

This monument is not readily available to the public because it stands near the Box Hill Club within the confines of the gated Regents’ Glen community in Spring Garden Township. It’s been there since the 1920s. Background posts: Glatfelter, Morgan Smith head industrial legacy list and The real big York County house that little false teeth built and Chocolate Bliss? Tooth shining flavors ‘cooked up’ in York.
The variety of tree known as the white oak has loaned its name to many things around York County.
White Oak Park, a hangout north of York, stood amid a stand of such trees. White Oak School was a one-roomer near Hametown in southern York County.
White Oak Plains was an area running from present-day Regents’ Glen near the Country Club of York and extending toward Indian Rock Dam

“Upon the rich alluvial soil along this part of the Codorus,” historian George Prowell wrote in 1907, “groves of large white oak trees grew luxuriantly at the time of the first settlement of this region.”
A stand of the old oaks was saved from timbering in the 1920s, and a monument celebrates those early conservation efforts by a member of the prominent Smith family of S. Morgan Smith fame. It stands near the community’s golf course and a stand of houses, just down hill from the Box Hill Club.
Purdon Smith Whiteley, daughter of Charles Elmer Smith, erected the monument with the inscription:

“This property, known as White Oak Plains was bought in 1736 from the Wm. Penn Family. These old White Oaks were saved by Charles Elmer Smith when the neighboring woods were timbered about 1920.”

For other posts about S. Morgan Smith and his family, click here.
Photo courtesy of Donald McClure.