The Keystone Weaving Mills building has been closed since 2006, but its future is housing and commercial offices. Once in place, this part of West York, north of old Lincoln Highway, now Route 462, will again bustle. Also of interest: Web site filled with nostalgic Lincoln Highway photos, postcards and Those old brick, Victorian-era factories? Housing proposed for another big York-area complex and Can anyone locate this York County, Pa., ballpark?.
Ninth in a series of occasional posts about York County’s 36 boroughs. (Visit the other eight at York County towns.
The growth of West York, part of West Manchester Township until 1904, benefited from its position on the main east/west route through York, later known as the Lincoln Highway. The Western Maryland Railroad also ran through this small borough. A trolley line connected the borough with York’s Centre Square, and Highland Park, an amusement park attracted riders to its location just outside the borough in West Manchester Township.
Martin Carriage Works and other industries lined the railroad’s path. Those include Ashley and Baily’s Silk Mill, Pennsylvania Furniture, York Corrugated Company and West York Shoe Company.
West York is to York’s west end what North York, established five years earlier, is to its north… .
Milton D. Martin’s carriage works occupied a large swath along the old Lincoln Highway in West York. Later the Keystone Weaving Mills, it is being redeveloped into a housing and commercial complex. Martin’s name appears on York’s library, Martin Library.
In fact, their proximity to York made a prophet of historian George Prowell. Writing in 1907, Prowell opined that the two boroughs would become part of York.
That hasn’t happened, but even in Prowell’s day, the boroughs enjoyed city amenities.
“The interests of these boroughs are already identified with York, being lighted from the plant in the city and afforded free delivery of mail from the York post office,” he wrote.
What others say about West York: George Prowell in 1907: “The borough has already become an important industrial centre. The increase in population has been rapid during the past three years.”
Little known fact: Before the land became known as West York borough, it was known as Eberton in West Manchester Township. It covered the 160-acre farm of Henry Ebert when it was incorporated.
Population in 2000 – 2000 population:
4321; 2010 population:
4617. (Census 2010, York Daily Record/Sunday News.)
Incorporated: 1904. (York County founding dates.)
To learn more: Former Mayor Charles A. Slenker wrote “Remembrances of West York Borough” in 2000.
About West Yorkers, by Joe Zerbey in the preface to Slenker’s book: “His thoughts of West York offer a glimpse of life in a small town that is the universe for a couple of thousand folks – just good, upstanding West Yorkers who go about their lives and have the values that make this country special.”
This York Daily Record/Sunday News photo shows West York at its best. Firefighters from the Reliance Fire Company in West York parade down Poplar Street in the Christmas season, 2004. Borough council member Shelley Metzler donated the candy, and played the role of Mrs. Claus atop the truck. Santa was played by Fire Chief Shane Feeser.
Also of interest:
- York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News has aggregated a wealth of 2010 census information about West York and other York County boroughs and township.
- Other posts in this The boroughs of York County series … .
- All York Town Square posts from the start. (Key word search by using “find” on browser.)
- Of course, you can always search for York Town Square posts on Google. For example, search for yorktownsquare and Lincoln Highway, and you get this.
Sources: George Prowell’s “History of York County,” “Gazetteer of York and Adams Counties.”