A Walking Tour of York, Pennsylvania
a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2010 by Doug Gelbert
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
York was the first town laid out west of the Susquehanna River. In 1741, Thomas Cookson, a surveyor for the Penn family, plotted a town site of 446 acres in the heart of the family’s Springettsbury Manor. This tract had been laid out for Springett Penn, a grandson of William Penn, in 1722.
Cookson laid out straight streets, a generous 80 feet in width on each side of the junction of the Monocacy Road and the Codorus Creek. Squares measured 480 feet by 500 feet and provision was made for the location of public buildings in the very center of the town on a tract 110 feet square, now known as Continental Square. York can be considered one of the first instances of thoughtful city planning. The streets were assigned the English names of High (now Market, “High” was the traditional English moniker for a town’s main street), King, George, Duke, Queen, and Princess. The town itself was called York, after York, England. Along with the name of old York, the town founders adopted the symbol of the English city, the white rose, while the neighboring city of Lancaster similarly adopted the red rose.