Could you locate Dogtown, Pinchgut or Hollywood on a York County map?
Well, after working my way through the “Gazetteer of York and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania,” I can get close.
The South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society has produced the 90-page geographical dictionary, listing thousands of county places, prominent and obscure.
Dogtown, for example, covers Adams Street in West York between Princess Street and the Codorus, also known as Highlandtown and Smoketown. Highland Park, an electric or trolley park operated near there in the early 20th century. Reformer Carrie Nation and other notables lectured there, amid the amusement park fun.
Pinchgut is a nickname for Adamsville, near Red Lion. But to confuse things more, Adamsville is also known as Arbor.
But Pinchgut daren’t be confused with The Gut, a “freak of nature at the mouth of the Conewago Creek,” the gazetteer states.
Centuries ago, the creek cut a deep, two-mile channel – The Gut – causing the southern branch to flow into the Susquehanna at Saginaw, three miles downstream from the main branch at York Haven. The geological term is bifurcation. Today, dangerous Gut Road, scene of numerous accidents, runs along this Conewago delta.
Then, there’s Hexa Goss or Witches Alley, an old name for South Duke Street in York.
The county has a settlement called Hollywood near — but not the same as — Benroy on Camp Betty Washington Road. Hollywood actually is near the former site of Camp Betty, a retreat for girls connected with St. John’s Episcopal Church.
We plan to buy several copies of the $15 gazetteer, compiled by York County Heritage Trust archivist Lila Fourhman-Shaull, as a desk reference in our newsroom.
Then, when we hear a call on the police scanner for a house fire near Mud-Town (Pennville in Penn Township) or a drowning at Neal’s Hole (a tributary of Muddy Creek in Peach Bottom Township), we’ll have another way to locate these sites.
Also of interest:
- Pinch Gut or Arbor or Adamsville is in Red Lion or Dallastown or, uh, actually York Township.
- Smoketown a popular York County name a century .