York Town Square

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The things you learn from reading Pennsylvania history

The things you learn scanning the local interest book section on Labor Day at Borders in Lancaster:
I knew that a classical school that later became Marshall College started in York in 1834. I knew it started when the German Reformed Seminary moved here and that the seminary and classical school later moved to Mercersburg in Franklin County.
I knew that Marshall College moved to Lancaster to join with 1787-vintage Franklin College to become Frankin & Marshall College in 1853… .

I knew that Mercersburg Seminary remained in Franklin County, and that the small-town seminary started a national movement called Mercersburg Theology. I knew that theology, which restored liturgy and symbols abolished during the Reformation in Europe, became controversial. I knew some believed the movement threatened to return Protestantism to Catholicism and that many pastors schooled in this theology ministered at German Reformed — later United Church of Christ — congregations in York County. I knew that Mercersbury Seminary later moved to Lancaster to become Lancaster Theological Seminary and that its former campus became prep school Mercersburg Academy.
But here’s what I didn’t know: David Schuyler and Jane A. Bee’s Arcadia book on Franklin & Marshall credited Marshall College as starting with the prep school in York. So, it can be said that one of Franklin & Marshall College’s main stems came from York.
When you think about it, it’s not surprising that a college would trace its origins to a classical school. York College, for example, comes from two main branches: York Collegiate Institute and York Academy. The latter was founded in 1787, the first classical school west of the Susquehanna.