York Town Square

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Coming up on its 250th birthday: York’s Willis House, now for sale, remains a country home

The Willis House, one of York County, Pa.’s oldest buildings, is for sale. The 1762 building is surrounded by the City of York and Prospect Hill Cemetery. (See two additional York Daily Record/Sunday News photographs below.) Also of interest: Bands of Quaker meeting houses line northern York and Adams counties and People of varying religious groups founded York County and York’s Goodridge House listed as site on Underground Railroad network.

The privately owned Willis House, built by the same man who constructed the original York County Court House and York‘s Quaker Meeting House, is on the real estate market.
A York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News story, History for sale: The Willis House, says the current owner is asking $459, 500 for the historic brick structure.
In addition to its rank among York County’s oldest buildings, the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom has placed the Willis House on its list of sites approved on its Underground Railroad list. The Goodridge House, East Philadelphia Street, is the other site in York County.
Here are excerpts of the William Willis House, adapted from my “Never to be Forgotten.”

This doorway in the Willis House indicates the many times it has been painted.

“William Willis, the proment Quaker builder of the county courthouse, constructs a classic Georgian home with double English-style chimneys in an unsettled part of York. In the 19th century, the Willis farm started raising something other than corn. Tombstones started appearing in its fields. Prospect Hill Cemetery purchased the farm and has been expanding across its land ever since. Today, the the cemetery is privately owned. The house remains in use as a private residence, nestled in a rural setting not far from the center of York. A 19th-century girl’s reflections from a seat at the York County Academy on North Beaver Street fit the scene today: “There to the left is Willis’s woods, how delightfully cool it looks this afternoon with the cloud shadows passing over it. I know of deep shady hollows … rich with the breath of pine trees, where the school girls have spent long lovely days.”

That unsettled part of York?
Well, it’s still an unsettled part of York about 250 years later.

The Willis House in York has the original oak floorboards.
– You can always search for York Town Square posts on Google. For example, when you search for yorktownsquare and Quaker, you get this.