York Town Square

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‘The Bridge’ marks the spot along the Codorus



York County labor leader Dick Boyd named his recent memoir “The Bridge,” to mark the secluded site where workers secretly met to organize in the 1930s.

They convened under the western end of the railroad bridge across the Codorus, not far from where the the twin-towered Susquehanna Commerce Center is located today. Boyd explains in his autobiography that he walked to the bridge with his father for the quiet meeting lest the company discover union organizing efforts.

I tramped around that part of the bridge a couple of months ago to view the symbolic site where the modern labor movement started in York… .

No group could meet under the bridge today. No ledge extended out under the bridge. It was basically a straight drop down.
I asked Dick Boyd recently if I had the right spot. Yes, he said, but changes in the creek bank took out the meeting place.
He probably was referring to Depression-era creek bank work prompted by the 1933 flood.
Anyway, we owe Dick Boyd a big debt in marking the spot with his memoirs.
One couldn’t tell today that large numbers of men met there. But a lot of York County historical sites are like that. Things have changed, and little is left.
But one can still imagine.
Here’s my extract of Dick Boyd’s memoirs taken from a column on recommended York County autobiographies.

Author and Title: Richard Boyd’s “The Bridge, The Conversational Memoirs of Dick Boyd.”
Content: This book is filled with scenes from the life of York’s foremost labor leader of the past 50 years. His boyhood memories of attending secret union meetings under the Codorus Creek railroad bridge establish that site as an important part of county history. Those gathering feared company reprisal.
Quote from book: “I have met some of the finest people and some of the worst people on both sides of the aisle, labor and management. I believe each side has its share of good and bad. Management has great advantages – wealth, power and influence. The worker’s advantage is in their numbers. However, success comes only when those workers are organized.”
Availability: www.booksurge.com

Also of interest: Dick Boyd’s memoir tells inside story of York workers’ statue.