York Town Square

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The Susquehanna River bridge linking York and Lancaster counties that never got its upper deck

West Manchester Township Historical Society’s Mel Miller e-mailed this image from a glass plate in the society’s collection. “We both know the location,” he wrote. The turn-of-the-20th-century photographer captured the fourth bridge – the fourth of six – across the Susquehanna River at Wrightsville. Background posts: Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge celebrates quiet birthday and Susquehanna bridge makeover flowing along and A 7th bridge? Pedestrian walkway may span Susquehanna River some day.

Local student of history Mel Miller is going through Earl Shaffer’s collection of glass photographic plates.
This is the Earl Shaffer of Appalachian Trail fame, a longtime resident of West Manchester Township.
Mel is reviewing the the Shaffer collection, courtesy of the West Manchester Township Historical Society.
He found a image of the baseball stadium at Penn Park, the York area’s first.
And images of a bad fire in York in the early 1900s and photos of statues in Penn Park.
In the image above, the photographer traveled to Wrightsville on the Susquehanna River, where he captured the sole bridge going across circa 1904… .

This was before the existing Columbia-Wrightsville bridge went up in 1930 and well before the Wright’s Ferry Bridge connected York and Lancaster counties in 1972.
At the time the photo was made, the bridge was less than 10 years old and the dual railroad/highway bridges was outfitted to take on an upper deck.
That upper story was never built, and because autos and trains couldn’t cross at the same time, tremendous traffic tieups occurred.
That problem was solved with the 1930 bridge.
This iron bridge was dismantled for scrap in the 1960s, but its piers remain today running parallel to the 1930 bridge.
Those same piers also supported the bridge that the Union Army burned in 1863 to stop the invading rebel advance in the Civil War and a replacement covered bridge that blew down in 1896.
We thank Mel for making this image and others available. They’ve been unseen and unpublished for more than a century.