York’s Bradford pear trees: ‘Beautiful arch of blooms … followed by the snowstorm of petals’
This early 20th century view of York, Pa.’s Market Street shows that trees were part of the scene then, albeit not designed in to the streetscape. But they were there much earlier than that, too. In May 2012, a consultant suggested cutting down the Bradford pear trees along West Market Street, among other changes to refresh that part of the downtown. Background posts: Escaped bovine makes York newspaper headline and York-area picture book not your typical coffee table publication and Author: ‘York’s streetscape features almost every style and era of American architecture’.
In a previous post, a York Town Square reader opined that trees lining York’s market street add much to the downtown.
But they also obscure wonderful architectural features on building facades.
When were the trees added?
The market sheds were torn down in 1887, so this postcard, showing trees as part of the York streetscape, paints an earlier period.
York architectural historian and fellow blogger Scott Butcher found documents from the mid-1970s that put forth additions for façade renovation and the planting of trees, including the Bradford pears so evident today.
And he included some postcards, seen in this post, to show that trees aren’t a new thing downtown.
Still, interesting point. For all their beauty, do they obscure equally attractive facades?
Another e-mailer includes memories that square with Butcher’s findings:
We moved to York in late 1975. I am sure that the change to downtown portion of Market Street was built when Elizabeth Marshall was Mayor but you would have to look up the years, probably starting in the late 1970s. Before the reconstruction the sidewalks were narrower and the street had three traffic lanes and two parking lanes similar to the rest of Market Street in the City. I can’t recall whether there were any trees but they weren’t as prominent because of the aforementioned narrower sidewalks.
During the reconstruction the flowering pear trees were planted. These trees are fast growing giving York the beautiful arch of blooms in the spring followed by the snowstorm of petals. At one point during the Althaus mayoralty the City employed a City Forester who pruned these trees among other duties.
This postcard is a William Wagner scene from 1830, again showing trees adding greenery to the streetscape.
Postcards courtesy of Scott Butcher.