York Town Square

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Part IV: How one spot in York County, Pa., tells much about what is going on around there

This photo from the 1960s shows a relatively new Interstate 83 in the background and a two-lane Route 30 in the foreground. And the San Carlos barn, at right. The opening of the interstate in 1959 and improvements to Loucks Road into the Route 30 bypass 10 years later created a major intersection in the center of triangle-shaped York County. Also of interest: Part I: ‘How one spot in York County, Pa., tells much about what is going on around there’ and Part II: ‘How one spot in York County, Pa. …’ and  Part III: How one spot in York County, Pa. …  

York’s Continental Square is facing a much-needed facelift, as early as this summer.

Which brings to mind a piece I wrote some weeks ago about the movement of York County’s symbolic commercial heart to the Route 30/Interstate 83 intersection. That heart gained attention with the construction of a Sheetz, Starbucks and Cheddar’s in one of the “corners” of the three-leaf cloverleaf.

This relatively new heart – 40 years old or so – is not really a strong one. You must reach its amenities via vehicle, hardly the walkable Continental Square of the previous 200 years.

But here’s the thing.

Crime is associated sometimes with Continental Square, although crime at the George/Market intersection is almost non-existent.

Meanwhile, the new heart, at the intersection a few miles to the north, has no reputation for crime. But recently a pregnant woman was stabbed to death in broad daylight near there. That’s not the first such crime in that sector. A few years ago, a man killed two people in a car near there.

And the intersection is the site of numerous terrible traffic accidents. Traffic tie-ups in or near the cloverleaf is common.

All this reminds you of a main theme of consultant David Rusk’s work about 15 years ago. The concentration of poverty that spawns crime and other problems in the city will work its way out to suburbia if not addressed. It has not been addressed, and it’s working its way out.

The death of the pregnant woman is Exhibit A of the Rusk Report.

All this just about makes you want to return to a safe spot, where you can walk, stop to visit with a friend and walk some more.

Sounds like Continental Square in York after its beautification.

Also of interest: Revised map of York, Continental Square provides snapshot of how far we have come


– For a discussion on the old epicenter – Continental Square – see:  ‘A 1960s view of Continental Square from the air’ and ‘The art and soul of York County from the air.’

– For a  York Daily Record/Sunday News’ editorial about the square’s beautification, visit: Let’s see Continental Square designs soon.

*The York County Heritage Trust received the Route 30 photograph as part of a donation of a series of pictures. It was part of a “Then & Now” exhibit at the Trust:  Red Lion, then and now: ‘Welcome to a popular page on our web site’ and and Postcards tell story of York County community.