York Town Square

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Southeastern York County made for Sunday drive

The Wilson House, in tiny, rural Gatchellville, was one of more than 500 buildings designed by York, Pa.’s, Dempwolf achitectural firm. For more: Dempwolf influence reaches to southeastern York County.

After you’ve visited Round Hill Presbyterian Church in Cross Roads, consider other points of interest in the Chanceford Township-area of southeastern part of York County in your Sunday afternoon drive. (See previous post: “Get around to seeing ornate Round Hill church.”)
— Hershaull Park, near Round Hill church, sports a ball field that abuts a cornfield. Put in bleachers, and it’s a small-scale version of that famous field from “Field of Dreams. … ”

— Two sites seek to take visitors back to another century, though as soon as you enter this wedge-shaped area between Route 24 and 74, you already feel that you’ve gone back in time. The Wallace-Cross Mill is a remarkably preserved grist mill, complete with overshot water wheel, just like in a postcard. The next public open house there is 1-4 p.m., Oct. 15. The Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage village is restored to turn-of-the-20th century vintage. The site includes a five-mile round trip ride through the Muddy Creek valley. (See previous post: “Ma & Pa Railroad, Muddy Creek Forks draw fans.”)
Guinston Presbyterian Church brings you back to the 1770s, which is when the stone church was built. It’s not every day that you see a pulpit that tall — almost as high as its balcony. Near one of the windows that offers a view of the church’s interior lay several slate roofing tiles, nails still in them. Was that slate mined at nearby Delta? One of the quizzical things about the church’s interior was the 1950s photo of Jesus on the wall behind the pulpit. A low bench to the side of the pulpit brings to mind stories about how children sat around the pulpit in the old days. With a pulpit that high, the preacher could scarcely see them.
— Now for a late 1800s church. St. James Lutheran Church is a beautiful country church, built in 1879. One can’t help but to muse over its name. Martin Luther called the biblical book of James an “epistle of straw.” Opposing religious leaders used this New Testament book to support salvation by works, i.e, buying indulgences to gain penance. Perhaps St. James is named after another James of the Bible rather than the letter writer. All this brings to mind my all-time favorite Martin Luther story. Someone once asked him whether warm water could be used for baptism. “Tell the blockhead,” Luther repied, ” that water, warm or cold, is water.”
Rutter’s on Route 74 is noteworthy for two reasons. One is the amount of asphalt laid for such a remote location. Surely the closest paved area of that size is Interstate 83 or York Airport. Secondly, Amish buggies roll across this asphalt field to use hitching posts and a nearby phone at buggy height for driveup use.
— New Harmony Presbyterian Church has an unusual rounded facade facing Route 74. It is noteworthy that its lot has reserved parking for the choir director as well as the pastor, showing who holds sway in that church (and many churches throughout history). And maybe rightfully so.
— The Chanceford Township village of Lucky is down the road from New Harmony, leading one to wonder how a Presbyterian area whose residents believe in God’s Providence, his control of his creation and provision for his creatures, could accept a town touting such randomness. (Lucky reportedly gained its name from a rural mail carrier who claimed “you were lucky to get into it and lucky to get out.”)
— You will be lucky to find Lucky, so feel free to take a detour that brings you to West End Bison Farm. Along the road, a sign says “Walking horses, Watusi Cattle, Babydoll Sheep, pygmy goats.” These exotic animals represent diversions from this land of the historic workhorse.
Well, there’s a lot to see, enough to offer a month’s worth of Sunday afternoon drives.