Patriotic Parade of York Mfg. Co.; Leaving York Mfg. Plant on West York Street to Possibly Join York’s 1913 GAR Parade, i.e. Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Battle of Gettysburg

A Slide for my Fall 2013 OLLI Fall Talk entitled “From York Manufacturing Company to York Ice Machinery Corporation, the First 60-Years of York Corporation” (Photos from “The Legend of York International” by Jeffrey L. Rodengen; Seeking Source of Original Photos)

This is one of the slides that I’ve already prepared for a Fall 2013 OLLI  talk entitled “From York Manufacturing Company to York Ice Machinery Corporation, the First 60-Years of York Corporation.”  As soon as I saw Blake Stough’s Preserving York post this past weekend on The Patriotic Parade of the York Manufacturing Company, my first thought, same photo (top photo in my slide).

However as soon as I looked at my slide and compared the photos, I realized these were two different photographs taken at the same parade; both from the same vantage point.  Blake asked two questions: what was the event that this parade was commemorating and where was the photo taken?  The photo in the slide gave me enough sketchy clues such that I was 70% certain I knew where the photo was taken; however with the improved resolution in Blake’s photo I’m 100% certain I know where the photo was taken.  I also did some initial research into what event this parade was commemorating.



Following my Fall 2012 OLLI talk I was asked about doing another presentation during Fall 2013.  An experience, early in my engineering career, at York International Corporation gave me my subject.  While working at York Division of Borg-Warner in 1974 I was one of several employees that Bob Barr asked to help during our spare time on something he had in mind for the 100th Anniversary of the company.

Bob created three teams working on three eras from historical company files which we had access; first 60-years [1874-1934], next 20-years [~1935-1954] and most recent 20-years [~1955-1974].  I was on the “first 60-years” team, thus the subject for my presentation.  At that time, I remember seeing the originals of some of the photographs later used by Jeffrey Rodengen in his 1997 book “The Legend of York International;” although only vaguely, I don’t remember this parade picture being one of them.

Blake’s photo in Preserving York and the photo on page 42 of Rodengen’s book were taken at the same parade, the same day and from the same vantage point.  This conclusion is reached based upon the surrounding people, i.e. the women standing along the fence, they are identical and at the same locations between the two photos, except for a slight movement during the time between the two photos; as one would expect.

The caption for the Rodengen book parade photo is “The York Manufacturing Company was an important part of the community.  Company departments were proud to march in local parades, such as this one held in 1909.”  I don’t know how Rodengen came up with 1909; was it written on the photo or was it a guess?  Rodengen’s caption for the other photo in my slide is “A touch of the exotic invades downtown York, as members of the Engineering Department, looking decidedly uncomfortable, march in the 1927 Halloween Parade.”

Blake pointed out the flags have 48-stars; the 48-star flag first came into use on July 4th 1912.  Thus these photos must have been taken on or after that date.  Yesterday at the York County Heritage Trust I was looking at old newspapers for any article or notice concerning the route of such a parade.  I mainly spot searched major holidays from that time period, however nothing popped out at me.

I also checked the PastPerfect Catalog of YCHT Holdings related to York Manufacturing Co. and parades; again nothing.  In checking parade photos by year, I found reference to several GAR [Grand Army of the Republic] Parade photos in 1913.  This is a promising possibility because Rodengen, in his book, notes that the employees of York Manufacturing Company included many Civil War veterans.  Do any of my readers know details about a 1913 parade in York to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg?

Side-by-Side Comparison of Zoomed-in View of the Brick Buildings in the Upper Right of the Preserving York Photo versus 2013 YorksPast Photo of the Former York Manufacturing Company Plant along Roosevelt Avenue

A brick-work match in the side-by-side comparison of zoomed-in view of the brick buildings in the upper right of the Preserving York photo versus 2013 YorksPast photo of the former York Manufacturing Company Plant along Roosevelt Avenue confirms my initial appraisal about the location.  I’m now 100% certain that the parade photos were taken from the east side of West York Street (now Roosevelt Ave) and south of West Gas Alley, looking northwest towards the street side of the York Manufacturing Company Plant.

As a reference landmark, I’ve marked where the York Manufacturing Company mural is located; it is out of view on the north wall along Carver Way; i.e. where the stop sign is seen in the 2013 photo.  Note that the curved arch brickwork on what is now 160 Roosevelt Avenue (just north of Carver Way) is also an exact match between the two photos.

Looking at the wider view of the photo at the beginning of this post, note the twin trolley tracks in the street, old maps have twin trolley tracks at that location in West York Street (Roosevelt Avenue).  The wooden fences are located on the west side of West York Street (Roosevelt Avenue) and south of West Gas Alley; they are the fenced-in back yards for houses along West Philadelphia Street (reference 1903 Atlas of City of York, Plate 4).  By 1930, York Manufacturing has purchased these properties and built additional offices; now the William C. Goodridge Business Resource Center.

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About Stephen H. Smith

Stephen H. Smith is a design engineer who worked at York International Corp. for 33 years before retiring several years ago to research and write books full time; his second career. The initial emphasis was on family history when he won a national award during 2002 for his first book “Barshingers in America." Positive feedback and that award were influential in his decision to retire early from engineering and start a retirement career.
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