Press Release from Preservation Pennsylvania:
WRIGHTSVILLE RALLY FOR HISTORY:
Threatened Underground Railroad station focus of public meeting on March 21
The future of the historic Mifflin House and farm in Hellam Township, York County, a well-documented safe house of the Underground Railroad, will be the focus of a community meeting on Wednesday, March 21 at John Wright Restaurant, 234 North Front Street, Wrightsville, York County, PA. The public is invited to attend this free event from 6 until 8 PM. Light food fare and beverages will be served.
Speakers will include:
Julia Chain is the Program Director at Preservation Pennsylvania, the private, statewide, non-profit advocacy and education organization based in Harrisburg. She will provide a brief overview of the zoning decision being defended by Hellam Township and supported by Preservation Pennsylvania and the Kreutz Creek Valley Preservation Society of Hellam Township, where the Mifflin House property is located.
Area business owner Louis Bond of the Charles Bond Company, Manheim and Christiana, Lancaster County, will share his personal and professional experiences of leading successful industrial enterprises that are housed in historic buildings.
Kathleen Anderson of Lancaster, whose ancestor, Robert Loney of Columbia, was an Underground Railroad agent who worked for many years with the Mifflin Family and other Abolitionists along the Susquehanna River, assisting many formerly enslaved Africans move safely across the river in their quest for freedom.
Community historian Randolph Harris of Lancaster will present an illustrated history of the Mifflin House and explain how this site, if preserved as an historic attraction, could become a key property in a regional area along both sides of the Susquehanna River where some of the earliest and most significant episodes in the historic of the Underground Railroad occurred. Harris’ presentation will highlight the educational impact and the economic development opportunities that could be realized if such a regional plan were created with community involvement and carried out.
Harris explained, “The history of the Underground Railroad continues to unfold at places like the Mifflin House, helping us to better understand our nation’s first civil rights movement, born in the wake the American Revolution. At the same time, it’s a story that is often difficult to tell and not easy to grasp. But in our area and in neighboring counties to the south in Maryland, and in surrounding Pennsylvania counties, the Underground Railroad’s origin, growth and function can be clearly and plainly understood like no other area of the United States.”
To help raise funds to preserve the Mifflin House, representatives of KCVPS and Historic Wrightsville, Inc. will offer items for sale featuring the Mifflin House. Donations are welcome.
Please join us for an enlightening presentation, networking with neighbors and rallying to preserve this significant historic place and its Underground Railroad history.
March 21, 6:00–8pm
John Wright Restaurant
234 North Front Street
For more information visit Help Save Mifflin House on Facebook or visit preservationpa.org
The owners of the Mifflin House property, the Blessing Family of Hellam Township and their developer, Kinsley Equities LLC of York, filed for a demolition permit in 2017 which was denied by the municipality. Their appeal to the Township’s Zoning Hearing Board also was denied and they have since filed an appeal in York County Court of Common Pleas. Either side could appeal a decision by county court to Commonwealth Court.
The challenge to the appeal was filed by Hellam Township and is supported jointly by Preservation Pennsylvania and the Kreutz Creek Valley Preservation Society, a Hellam Township-based private non-profit organization. KCVPS is the group that acts as an official advisor to the Township when property owners or their agents file municipal applications for permits that will affect historic properties in the community. In 2017, the Mifflin House was added to Preservation Pennsylvania’s list of the most endangered historic resources in the state.