The Wellsboro Agitator campaigns for the Susquehanna Trail

Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement: Part 2

Join Susquehanna Trail Association coupon in The Wellsboro Agitator issue of February 28, 1917 (Pennsylvania State Library)

Join Susquehanna Trail Association coupon in The Wellsboro Agitator issue of February 28, 1917 (Pennsylvania State Library)

In Part 1 of the Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement, I asked my readers to solve the mystery location of a Susquehanna Trail road sign in York County by identifying the full name of the intersecting road.  Nobody commented with the correct answer, therefore here is your second clue: the sign is in Manchester Township.

We have the Susquehanna Trail road name in York County as a result of the Good Roads Movement in Pennsylvania.  The Susquehanna Trail Association was established in Williamsport on February 2nd, 1917; it was modeled after the successful nationwide Lincoln Highway Association, founded four years earlier.

Just as with the Lincoln Highway, the Board of Governors of The Susquehanna Trail Association deliberated and made site visits to select the existing road segments that would be part of the Susquehanna Trail.  The Board of Governors immediately selected State Route 4, along the Susquehanna River, between Harrisburg and Williamsport as part of the Susquehanna Trail.  At the February 2nd, 1917 organizational meeting, Tioga and Bradford Counties sent large delegations to advocate for the route of the Susquehanna Trail, north of Williamsport, to pass through their respective territories.

The deliberations and site visits to select the existing road segments north of Williamsport, that would be designated the Susquehanna Trail, took several months.  This post utilizes a newspaper in Tioga County that campaigned for the Susquehanna Trail to be routed through their county.

THE WELLSBORO AGITATOR – got to love the name of the newspaper.  In the February 28th, 1917 issue of the Agitator, the Join Susquehanna Trail Association coupon was printed:

Use This Blank—Pay Dollar

Join Susquehanna Trail Association

To stimulate interest in the newly organized Susquehanna Trail Association which is working for an improved highway between Harrisburg and the New York state line via Williamsport, this blank is presented with the urgent suggestion that every one in this vicinity interested in better roads, sign it, and together with a dollar, send it to:

Max L. Lindheimer, Williamsport, Pa., Secretary of the Susquehanna Trail Association

Other newspapers in Tioga County and in neighboring Bradford County printed similar coupons; to let the Board of Governors of The Susquehanna Trail Association know the level of public interest for the Susquehanna Trail to be located within their respective territories.  The communities along proposed routes also campaigned via letters to the board in addition to newspapers editorializing.

By the end of July 1917, the Board of Governors neared the end of their evaluations to select the northern route of The Susquehanna Trail.  The August 8th, 1917, issue of The Wellsboro Agitator reported on what would be the last site visits, prior to the final decision by the Board; with the Agitator focusing on the route through Tioga County in this article:

Members of the Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association left Williamsport last Wednesday morning for a tour over the two suggested routes to connect with the New York state system of highways.

Tioga County, as well as Potter County and other points west of us, including McKean and Warren Counties and western New York, are strongly in favor of the Susquehanna Trail Association adopting the Williamson Road, as the best route north from Williamsport.  The Williamson Road is the only road fit for travel, over which all these thousands of people can go south.  The route over the Williamson Road is also the shortest route, that is fit for travel between the Great Lakes, western, northern and central New York, connecting with Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The Susquehanna Trail Governors left Williamsport at 9:30 o’clock last Wednesday morning, their first stop being at Liberty, where over 100 cars, filled with enthusiastic good roads boosters, met the tourists and escorted them to the home of Frank Snyder, Tioga county’s representative on the board of governors, where a reception was held.  R. F. Bastian and F. C. Ropp were among the speakers.

At Blossburg, a large delegation, headed by the Blossburg band, met the visitors.  An elaborate luncheon was served and brief addresses were made by Dr. Aikens, president of the association, Ray Stratton, F. S. Hughes, Esq., Rev. Father Keller, and others.  The party also visited the Blossburg State Hospital.  At Covington, a brief stop was made, where the visitors were heartily welcomed.  Sherman Ridge introduced Dr. Aikens, who made a brief address.

The party reached Mansfield shortly after 4 o’clock.  They were met by the Mansfield Band and a large delegation of citizens, at the outskirts of the town, and conducted to the park, where a reception was held.

Later in August 1917, the Board of Governors selected the Williamson Road in Tioga County as the northern route of the Susquehanna Trail and began a campaign for its improvement.  Further posts in this series will examine the 1918 competition between Adams County and York County as they advocated for the southern extension route of the Susquehanna Trail to pass through their respective territories.

Related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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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