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Shrewsbury: Home to well-known people, but transportation has defined the town – The boroughs of York County series, No. 12

This historical marker observes one of Shrewsbury, Pa,’s luminaries – Amanda Berry Smith. Another well-known 20th-century figure, humanitarian Spurgeon Keeny, came from this southern York County borough. And now, efforts are underway to observe another native son who made it big on the world stage – actor Cameron Mitchell. Also of interest: Shrewsbury and other York County boroughs offer slice of small-town life.

Shrewsbury is one of York County’s oldest boroughs, among the first tier to be chartered.

It grew up around the turnpike between York and Baltimore, the first stop north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Roadways continue to define the town. It is the first exit off of Interstate 83, the newest road between the cities, and the Maryland Migration has defined it in the past 50 years.

Marylanders are heading north for the less expensive land and lower taxes afforded north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Some facts about Shrewsbury borough:

Incorporated: 1834

Historian George Prowell’s assessment in 1907: “Shrewsbury is situated near the eastern borders of Shrewsbury Township on the Baltimore Turnpike, and about one mile east of the Northern Central Railroad.”

Rail lines: One could say that Shrewsbury has two railroad stations: Railroad borough on the old Northern Central Railway, early one called Shrewsbury Station. And Hungerford, south of town, on the old Stewartstown Railroad. So transportation has define Shrewsbury – known as Strasburg early on – from its earliest years.

Looking back: Shrewsbury’s downtown is well-preserved and strollable, it’s streets lined with antique shops.

Current population: 3,823. In fact, click on this interactive map for all kinds of census info about the town.

Famous visitors: As a turnpike town, any luminary traveling between York and Baltimore would have passed through town. Let’s pick just one. Gen. Andrew Jackson passed through and got what he considered a raw deal in obtaining a sleigh near there.

Interesting fact: Shrewsbury is a town with a lot of history. But as far as is known, it has no historical society. Most towns around York County has such a group. In fact, nearby Glen Rock’s historical group is the venue in which efforts are being made to gain a permanent marker for Cameron Mitchell. Mitchell grew up in Shrewsbury, the son of a pastor in town.

Churches: Like many York County towns, Shrewsbury’s early churches included Methodist, Evangelical (today merged with Methodist), Lutheran, and German Reformed (Cameron Mitchell’s father’s denomination.)

Memorable moment: In 1840, a cyclone passed through, destroying much property, according to Prowell. It took the life of a member of the B. Shewell family.

Also of interest: Check out these stories and photos about Shrewsbury. And check out other stories in this boroughs of York County series.



Spurgeon Keeny hails from Shrewsbury. Will such a marker observe the boyhood home of Cameron Mitchell?

Sources: Other YorkTownSquare.com posts, George Prowell’s ‘History of York County, Pennsylvania, ‘Gazetteer of York and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania.’ Photos, York Daily Record/Sunday News.