Yoe and the Ma & Pa Railroad

  The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad (Ma & Pa) and its narrow-gauge predecessors (Peach Bottom Railway, York & Peach Bottom Railway, Baltimore & Lehigh Railroad and York Southern Railroad) played a large role in industry and transportation in southeastern York County from the 1870s until its abandonment in 1983. In its heyday, the Ma & Pa ran from York to Baltimore,...
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History Cast in Iron: Rediscovering Keystone Markers

From Airville to Blooming Valley, from Camptown to Dornsife, and all the way to Wysox, York Haven and Zion View, Pennsylvania literally claims unusual – as well as unique – place names from A to Z. Most of the Commonwealth’s cities, towns and villages were once marked with cast iron name signs, painted in the rich blue and gold colors associated with Pennsylvania. Manufactured in an...
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Political Leadership: A Catalyst for Special Education

President Kennedy was admired for his efforts to help retarded citizens, and most people realize that these efforts were motivated, in part, by his personal awareness of mental retardation. But few people know of the dramatic story of personal motivation moving.govern­ment bureaucracy to assist the handicapped in Pennsyl­vania. It has been nearly half a century since Henry Lanius, a blind...
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York County: A Most Treasured Land

Planted squarely above the Maryland border, the gigantic horse’s hoof, which is the out­ line of York County, covers an area of 914 square miles, supporting a popula­tion of 300,000. Its eastern contour is delineated by the “long, crooked” Sus­quehanna, its pastern cleanly cut off by Cumberland County on the north, its outer edge defined by Adams Coun­ty on the west. This...
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Lancaster County: Diversity of People, Ideas and Economy

When Lancaster County was established on May 10, 1729, it became the proto­type for the sixty-three counties to follow. The original three counties­Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester – were created as copies of typical English shires. The frontier conditions of Ches­ter County’s backwoods, from which Lancaster was formed, presented knot­ty problems to the civilized English­men....
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Rollers ‘n Strippers, Twofers ‘n Crooks: The Cigar Industry of Red Lion

The present fades into the past quickly. Suddenly it is gone, leaving only memories and faded photographs: but this does not have to be. Dusting off decades of neglect, interested communities have uncovered their pasts and proudly displayed their heritages. One such town is Red lion. In conjunction with its centennial, Red Lion began to dust off its own nearly forgotten history: from the 1880s...
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Adams County: Tranquility Regained

One of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, both in size and population, Adams County developed much the same as similar settlements along the Atlantic Seaboard. Its growth during the past two and a half centu­ries has been governed by its own particular circumstances, including location, terrain, soil, climate, vegetation, min­eral resources and the accom­plishments of the immigrants and...
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A Tour Through Very Early York County

Everyone has some interest in the past, even if only an intrinsic realization that our present existence is shaped by past experiences. For many, there is a much greater aware­ness of our debt to the past, or at least an abiding interest in prior human events and products. The degree and reasons for these curiosities vary enor­mously: from the function of a rusted tool, or the fascina­tion with...
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They Left with the British: Black Women in the Evacuation of Philadelphia, 1778

Black women were a small but important segment of the eighteenth-century Pennsylvania laboring classes. As slaves, as indentured servants, or as free persons of color, their options were extremely limited, but they could and did make decisions that affected their lives. The evacuation of Philadelphia by the British in 1778 during the Revolutionary War reveals the kinds of limited choices which...
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A New Look at the Pennsylvania Continental Soldier

The Bicentennial’s focus on pageantry and commemoration has given us a clear image of what the Pennsyl­vania Continental soldier looked like – at least, at his best. But who was this keen-eyed, square-jawed stalwart, dressed in fringed hunting shirt and leggings, or sporting smart blue regimentals with red facings and gleaming white small-clothes? Where did he come from? What was his...
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