York Town Square

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Yorkblog.com leads to reverse publishing

The explosive Adhesives Research fire a couple of weeks ago near Potosi brings a question about how the Springfield Township crossroads got its name.
Fifty years ago, John D. Kilbourne, Historical Society of York County director, put forth an answer.
He had received an inquiry from a Wisconsin resident, who was trying to link mining with other towns in the Americas called Potosi. Kilbourne wrote back that iron ore mining occurred in the 1880s in the township, and the Potosi Post Office was established there in 1901.

“Circumstances seem to indicate a tie-in with the mining activities,” Kilbourne wrote.
A 1995 article in the York Daily Record related Kilbourne’s comments and further reported that in 1540, Spanish colonists discovered silver in the Potosi state of southern Bolivia.
The capital city of Potosi became famous for its wealth from silver mining in the 1650s.
This Potosi lore was published recently on my York Town Square blog at www.yorkblog.com. It might have not made its way into print except that I’m using it as an example here of what the newspaper industry calls reverse publishing.
That means stories or photos are published first for the Web, and then “re-purposed” for the newspaper. For the past 10 years, the Daily Record/Sunday News and other newspapers have mostly posted from print to Web.
Several times a week for four months, I’ve blogged — created stories on a Web log — about the continuum between journalism and history for the Web. The goal is to create a community conversation on local history.
The Web’s our future, and our busy ydr.com site draws thousands of readers a month.
In fact, we can tell how many people are viewing each blog entry, something that can’t be determined in print.
From time to time, we’ll bring “York Town Square” content back into print. For now, you might enjoy some stories adapted from past blog postings:
Taking journalist to school:
At least a half dozen times a year, I spend time with Jim Rudisill, dean of York County history.
His knowledge is so vast that every get together is a whole course in local history.
Jim has an interesting perspective for understanding history.
History is really “His Story,” the story of people, and ends in a “y.” He means that “why” is the most important question historians can ask.
Jim makes another point along these lines.
The former teacher says a “C” history student can answer “who and where.” A “B” student can answer “who,” “where,” “what” and “when.” An “A” student can answer the first four and “why.”
Dates help research:
If you’re doing research on York County’s past, it’s important to have a date.
That’s what I wrote a recent e-mailer, who was seeking information on a deadly barn fire on or about 1910 in York County. That barn fire killed five children.
The York County Heritage Trust has vast newspaper microfilm resources that go back to 1815 or before. If she could narrow down the date of the fire, that would save her eye-numbing microfilm scrolling time.
Moore’s York links:
Lenny Moore, famed Penn State and Baltimore Colts running back, is coming back to his home of sorts when he appears at York Sports Night on Wednesday.
Moore has strong family ties to York.
Lenny Moore’s mother and father, George and Virginia Moore; his uncles, Ernest and John Moore; and Eliza Moore, mother of George, Ernest and John, are all buried in North York’s Lebanon Cemetery.
County’s second POW camp:
A fight between a developer and preservationists over the Camp Security site in Springettsbury Township has made many York County residents aware of the history of that Revolutionary War location.
Fewer are aware that York County played host to a second prisoner of war camp — Camp Stewartstown in World War II.
In the summers of 1944-45, more than 2,000 German prisoners came down from Fort Indiantown Gap to work in the orchards and canneries through southern York County. They stayed in tents, within a barbed-wire-enclosed compound at the Stewartstown Fairgrounds, next to the Presbyterian Church.
“There’s no homes built on it yet,” Betty Baldwin commented in presenting information about the camp to a gathering at Zion United Church of Christ in December.
Betty and her sister Margaret Shaub, both county residents, have connected with former prisoners there and have collected an impressive array of camp artifacts.
Learning about history:
Where do you start if you want to read more about York County history?
An e-mailer from Seven Valleys posed that question recently.
The correspondent said he’s read Scott Butcher’s “Postcard History of York‿ and Georg Sheets’ “To the Setting Sun” and “Made in York,” among other books.
I wrote back saying those picks make a great start.
I urged him to check out Tom Schaefer’s “Patterns of our Past” and June Lloyd’s “Faith and Family, Pennsylvania German Heritage in York County Area Fraktur.”
And if you want to see the most recently published books on York County history, see “Books” under “Museum Shop” at yorkheritage.org.
An arsenal on Arsenal Road?
E-mailer Jerry Ambrose wondered recently about why York’s stretch of Route 30 is known as Arsenal Road.
I wasn’t aware of a true arsenal ever being there.
I checked with a local historian, and she confirmed my best thinking.
During World War II, York Safe and Lock, later operated by the U.S. Navy and Blaw-Knox, made Bofors anti-aircraft guns and other ordnance. Bofors were widely used on Navy ships.
A second explanation might come from the U.S. Army Reserves facility near Route 30.
An e-mailer added to the discussion, a welcomed part of blogging. He noted that Harley-Davidson and other later occupants of the York Safe and Lock plant also made military supplies.
American fire drill:
Mark Noll set an American record for shortest field trip last year.
The Dallastown Area High School history teacher did not let a fire drill impair precious instructional time.
When the alarm rang, he walked with his class to a nearby ball field. The class faced the option of continuing with the lesson or waiting until they went back to their seats.
They wanted Noll to proceed, and so he did. The class stood in a circle, and Noll taught from its center.
Noll’s commitment to eke out instructional time helps a disproportionate number of his students pass the annual AP exams every year.
Historian David McCullough and other critics believe schools need more teachers who are scholars in their field.
Mark Noll is a prime example of a scholar with well-honed teaching skills. Whether in class .¤.¤. or on the ball field.
By this morning, this York Sunday News column will be posted on my blog. Maybe we’ll just call that reversed reverse publishing.