York Town Square

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Presidents visit York, alive and via funeral trains


The funeral train of James Garfield stopped in York in 1881. Check out the details: James Garfield.

York’s use of a superstition — the hiring of a rainmaker — to combat a drought is just one of many notable anniversaries from York’s past in 2006. (See “Rainmaker’s visit indicated much awry in York” post.
A few others to pique your interest:
— 1756: 250th — York County’s first courthouse is finished.
— 1806: 200th — James Smith, the county’s signer of the Declaration of Independence, died and is buried in York.
— 1856: 150th — One of the most damaging fires in York’s history consumed an entire city block. (See upcoming York Town Square for more.)
— 1881: 125th — President James Garfield’s funeral train passes through York (as did Abraham Lincoln’s in 1865) … .

— 1906: 100th — President Teddy Roosevelt visits York. (My research shows that this was the last photo to run on The York Dispatch’s famed all-text front page until 1988. A previous presidential visit – William McKinley’s visit in 1901 – scored a front page photo as well. If anyone has discovered others between 1906 and 1988, please post.)
— 1931: 75th — Crispus Attucks Community Center, a social and recreation facility serving York’s growing black community, opens.
— 1966: 40th — President Lyndon Johnson visited Dallastown.
— 1991: 15th — Strikes crippled several York County school districts. Racial disturbances hit Hanover. Two girls at Vo-Tech become first to play football in county. First fish ladder constructed on Susquehanna River, paving way for migratory fish to “hop” over hydropower dams.
— 1996: 10th — Massive blizzard strikes York County. Serial killer Mark Spotz is convicted. David Rusk delivered first report on impact of sprawl on county. And swimmer Whitney Metzler finished eighth in Summer Olympics.

*Photo courtesy Library of Congress