York vs. Lancaster, Pa: The American War of the Roses still rages
The decorative white rose from the facade of the White Rose Bar & Grill came down recently, to be replanted at nearby Sovereign Bank Stadium. Background posts: Revs will easily pass 1969’s full-season attendance stats and Baseball’s Methuselah played for White Roses and ‘That’s a stupid question;’ Brooksie played second base.
The 12-foot-long white rose that hung above the main entrance of the White Rose Bar & Grill in York is no more.
It will be moved to a prominent place at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
The ongoing presence of a giant white rose somewhere in the White Rose City makes sense.
But how many people know the story of why York, Pa., is named the White Rose City? …
York and east-of-the-Susquehanna counterpart Lancaster drew their names from east-of-America counterparts in England.
These English cities fought in the War of the Roses that ended in 1485 when Henry VII of Lancaster defeated Richard III of York.
That led to the marriage of Elizabeth of York to Henry VII. That led to family unity but also led to the birth of the terrifying Henry VIII.
The English competition has transferred into a usually friendly rivalry this side of the Atlantic.
Lancaster, on top in England, also was established before York in America.
Lancaster County formed in 1729, and York County withdrew from Lancaster County in 1749.
Lancaster became a borough in 1742, and York did not incorporate until 1787.
When did the two Pennsylvania towns adopt the “red rose” and “white rose” themes?
That’s not clear, but those themes came into play at least as early in 1923 when York prepared an enormous white rose arrangement for U.S. President Warren G. Harding’s funeral train bearing the inscription: “With Sympathy from the White Rose City, York, Pennsylvania.”
As seems common in the rivalry between the two cities, York’s bid fell short.
Its tribute was sent on ahead to Harrisburg because Harding’s train was not supposed to stop in York.
Lancaster’s tribute got on the train in York.
In 2008, the Lancaster Barnstormers finished 50th in attendance among all minor league baseball teams. The York Revolution came in at 57th, in only its second year.
But York made its mark.
Its attendance increased by more than one third, second in minor league baseball.
And bet the Barnstormers don’t have a 12-foot Red Rose.