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Thomas Penn permitted Baltzer Spangler to establish the first town west of the Susquehanna River in 1740. Laid out by surveyor Thomas Cookson in 1741, York followed the Lancaster simplification of the Philadelphia plan with a single center square amidst an expansive grid of streets. The principal street names, George, King, Queen, and Duke, attest to the newfound allegiance of the Penns to king and country, while the secondary streets, Market, Philadelphia, and Beaver, are links to the regional center and its economy. The earliest buildings were erected to the west of the planned town near the banks of Codorus Creek. Like so much of Pennsylvania, Revolutionary associations have played the largest role in deciding what to preserve, restore, and re-create. York's nickname, “White Rose City,” is derived from York, England, and its role in the “War of the Roses,” and places the city in obvious competition with Lancaster, historically the “Red Rose City.” The two cities are indeed very different. Where Lancaster has tried to hold on to its preindustrial roots, York celebrates its industrial heritage. This is most obvious from I-83 north of York that passes the rotating figure of a weight lifter which marks the location of the York Barbell Company, a landmark in the history of American weight lifting. The west side of Codorus Creek became an industrial neighborhood and manufacturing remains important with such industries as Harley Davidson.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas

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