York Town Square

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Susquehanna River greatly shaped York Haven: The boroughs of York County series, No. 16

In more ways than just forming its eastern border, the Susquehanna River largely has shaped York Haven since the late 1700s.

First, a canal was built there and that meant river commerce flowed into the town. The York Haven Company built large flour mills there in the early 1800s, with streets names after company execs: Hillen, Stansbury, Wilson and other others.

So grain grown throughout York County moved York Haven for storage and shipping… .

Joyce Moul illustrates everyday life in York Haven: ‘Children getting oranges from Santa.’

The town incorporated after a paper mill went up in the late 1800s.

Then after the turn of the 20th century came the York Haven Water & Power Company operated the hydroelectric dam that still operates.

Brunner’s Island Power Plant, a coal-burning electricity generator came in 1961 and three units operate on the East Manchester Township site today.

York Haven has been – and is – a river town with the capital “R.”

Population – 2000 population809; 2010: 709.

Incorporated: 1892. Town surveyed and planned in 1811 (Gazetteer); alternative 1814 (Prowell).

Prowell’s description: Historian George Prowell wrote in 1907:  “In the town plan there were two sections; the ‘upper town’ was to be built on the hill to the west of the present line of the railroad, and the ‘lower town’ down by the canal.”

Fact about York Haven: Canal Road that runs through York County? Well, it comes from the canal built before 1800 to circumvent the Conewago Rapids in the Susquehanna River. The road starts near Abbottstown and ends in York Haven.

Fact II about York Haven: Like other towns on or near the York-Harrisburg road, it has played host to celebrity visitors: Charles Dickens and Marquis de Lafayette, among others.

Brunner Island Power Plant, in operation in York Haven.

To learn more: George Prowell wrote a long section on York Haven in his “History of York County, Pennsylvania.”
Also of interest: York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News has aggregated a wealth of 2010 census information about Cross Roads and other York County boroughs and townships.

Archives: All York Town Square posts from the start. (Key word search by using “find” on browser.)

Sources: George Prowell’s “History of York County,” “Gazetteer of York and Adams Counties.” Photos: Submitted photos to the York Daily Record/Sunday News.

A bird’s-eye view of York Haven. That’s the York Haven Dam and power plant on the Susquehanna River, upper right. Brunner Island Power Plant is just outside this frame, lower right.