Yorkers spring into action To Attract the Susquehanna Trail

Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement: Part 6

1917 Library of Congress image (Annotated with a York Daily quote; Arrangement by S. H. Smith, 2014)

1917 Library of Congress image (Annotated with a York Daily quote; Arrangement by S. H. Smith, 2014)

On June 12th, 1918, a 150-member York delegation, in 34 cars, would caravan to Harrisburg to escort the Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association back to York. The rules for the caravan: “The drivers will draw for place in line and there will be no racing.” I selected this image from the Library of Congress, since, in 1918, the caravan was traveling on a dirt road to Harrisburg. The Board of Governors visited York on June 12th and Gettysburg on June 13th; to help them decide which city would be the terminus of the southern extension of the Susquehanna Trail.

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 has commented with the correct answer following clues: (1) last two words in the road name are given in Part 1, (2) sign is in Manchester Township, (3) the sign is at a “Y” intersection, (4) the “Inn is in the Y” and (5) a Photo Clue in Part 5.  This post contains a 1915 highway map, where only a small portion of Manchester Township is showing (teal colored and immediately below the Manchester Boro label) ; the mystery road falls within that part of 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. In February 1917, the Board of Governors immediately selected State Route 4, which had existed for several years between Harrisburg and Williamsport, as their first road segment of the Susquehanna Trail; see Part 1. By the fall of 1917, the Board of Governors of The Susquehanna Trail Association selected the route they would champion north from Williamsport to the New York State line; see Part 2.

Running north out of Harrisburg, the Susquehanna Trail (State Route 4) followed the already established William Penn Highway (State Route 3) until it reached Amity Hall, where it branched off, on its own, and followed the Susquehanna River to Williamsport; see Part 3. I explained how PA Route 1 became Route 30 and PA Route 4 became Route 111 over all but the Harrisburg to Sunbury part of the Susquehanna Trail, which became Route 11; see Part 4. Williamsport favored placing the Susquehanna Trail through Gettysburg over a York Route, however the full Board of Governors would ultimately decide if Gettysburg or York would get the Susquehanna Trail; see Part 5.

Yorkers sprung into action to attract the Susquehanna Trail. The May 21st, 1918, issue of the York Daily reported on their planning:

Campaign to put York on Susquehanna Trail

Civic Organizations form Committee to have route pass through City; will entertain Board of Governors at Motor Club on June 12.

The movement to have the proposed Susquehanna Trail pass through this city was given considerable impetus at a meeting held last night in the rooms of the Chamber of Commerce, in the Lehmayer Building, East Market Street, with representatives of the Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club, the York Motor Club, the York County Auto Dealers’ Association, and the Chamber of Commerce. A York-Susquehanna Trail Committee was organized, Henry Wasbers being elected chairman, and Eugene F. Weiser, secretary.

The proposed course of the Susquehanna Trail extends from Lawrenceville [at the New York state line] along the Susquehanna River into Harrisburg. The next point will be either York or Gettysburg, where the trail would meet the Lincoln Highway. On June 12, the Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail, 15 in number, will arrive in Harrisburg. It is proposed to take a large delegation of Yorkers to the capital to meet the Board of Governors of the trail and bring them to York, where an entertainment will be provided for them in the evening at the York Motor Club. The following morning the Board of Governors of the trail and a delegation of Yorkers will visit Gettysburg.

On next Tuesday an inspection tour of state highway No. 250, between York to Harrisburg, via York Haven, which is recommended for the section of the trail, will be made by the York committee. The distance is 29 miles. The cars which will participate in the inspection trip will be attractively decorated. Later signs will be tacked up marking the trail.

The following committees were appointed:

Entertainment at York Motor Club—William Ilgenfritz, chairman; Arthur E. Lehman and Robert S. Frey.

Advertising—L. Edward Herr, chairman; William Richley, Arthur E. Lehman, William Ilgenfritz, R. P. Anderson.

Finance—Harry S. Ebert, chairman; Dr. George Emanuel Spotz, Henry Wasbers, William Ilgenfritz, J. W. Richley.

Entertainment for Harrisburg reception—Henry Wasbers, William Richley, Arthur Lehman.

I’ve highlighted York County Route 250 on the following State Highway Department map from 1915. In 1918, Route 250 is North George Street in York that heads through Emigsville, Manchester Boro, York Haven Boro, Newberrytown, Lewisberry Boro, Bunches, and New Cumberland prior to entering Harrisburg.

North East section of York County, PA on 1915 State Highway Department Map (Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)

North East section of York County, PA on 1915 State Highway Department Map (Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)

The York Committee is proposing a route that runs counter to the York County route floated by the Board of Governors; i.e. through Dillsburg, Wellsville, and Dover. You’ll learn how the Board of Governors reacted to that in next Friday’s installment.

The final plans for the June 12th visit by the Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association were published in the June 4th, 1918, issue of the York Daily:

Plan Reception to Trail Board

Committee arranges for Entertainment of The Susquehanna Road Governors

Change Made in Route

Final plans for the entertainment of the Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association, on Wednesday, June 12, were made at a meeting last night, in the rooms of the Chamber of Commerce, of the committee representing the York Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, York Motor Club, York Automobile Dealers’ Association, and the Chamber of Commerce.

The visitors will be met at Harrisburg by a delegation of citizens and escorted to York, where they will be entertained at the York Motor Club.

The members of the local committee will provide automobiles and the parties who will make up the escort for the Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association who will be accompanied by their wives. The York delegation is expected to number about 150 and about 34 cars will be required. The party will leave the rooms of the Chamber of Commerce at 12:20 p.m. The drivers will draw for place in line and there will be no racing. The Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association will be met at 3 o’clock at the Hotel Senate, Harrisburg, and escorted to York. Supper will be furnished at the York Motor Club at 5:30 p.m., after which the strangers will be shown around the city. They will be taken to the Colonial Hotel for the night, and will leave the next morning for Gettysburg. The committee in charge of the Harrisburg trip is composed of Charles Snyder, Dr. G. Emanuel Spotz and Harry Schroeder.

A lot of literature from the Susquehanna Trail Association was distributed. The inspection trip over the proposed route of the Susquehanna Trail through York County last Tuesday was discussed and a change in the route was agreed upon. It is now proposed to run the trail from York over Route No. 250 to Newberrytown, then over Route No. 333, through Yocumtown and New Cumberland to Harrisburg. A committee will be sent to place signs along this route before Wednesday, June 12, the date of the proposed trip of the Board of Governors of the trail association. State Senator Harry Wasbers presided at the meeting.

To be continued . . . next Friday in Part 7.

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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