York Town Square

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Rowhouse on York’s West Princess Street: ‘We raised five children at that residence’

This image from a turn-of-the-20th-century York city directory shows a stand of row homes that has gone up along West Princess Street. Rowhouses often accommodated workers at the many factories operating in or near city neighborhoods in the late-Victorian era. Also of interest: Colonial York, Pa.? No, try Victorian York, Pa. and York’s rowhouses becoming an endangered species and How one spot in York County, Pa., tells much about what’s going on around there.

A York Sunday News reader resided in one of the homes pictured above, the first one at 624 W. Princess Street.
He was not the first owner of the turn-of-the-century home, moving there in 1951.
“We raised five children at that residence,” he wrote. “It was quite different in 1903 than in 1951.” … .

He noted that the home originally was priced at about $3,000, and recently it sold for about $70,000.
“I did massive remodeling to the home and made it very homey,” he wrote.
Indeed, many of York’s Victorian-era rowhouses look on the outside like they’ve been around since, well, the Victorian era. Some of these structures, lacking attic firewalls, are susceptible to fires, as was the case of the 16-home Chestnut Street fire earlier this year.
But many are, indeed, homey on the inside.
Many of these homes were built to accommodate the influx of workers who came to York between the early years of the Industrial Revolution in 1880 and the Great Depression in 1930.
Here are the growth stats:
York City: 1880 -13,940; 1930 -55,254.
The photo of the West Princess Street homes came from a city directory advertisement touting Martin D. Zartman’s West Poplar Street bricklaying business.
His company had just finished the West Princess stand of 18 homes.
And Zartman was open to providing “estimates of all kinds of brick work.”
That work helped build York from a town into a city in the 50 years before 1930.
That included many “homey” rowhouses, such as that enjoyed by our e-mailer.