York’s Continental Square’s history in 5 easy links

Proposed Continental Square renovations in York are shown on this ydr.com graphic. The renovations are designed to draw people to the square, which has suffered from the loss of businesses over the period of decades. “It’s not just about beautification, it has to translate to a destination,” designer Frank Dittenhafer said, in a ydr.com story: Brick streets, water features, comfort stations may be in future for York’s square. (See additional photographs below.) Also of interest: Revised map of York, Continental Square provides snapshot of how far we have come

The design of Continental Square, offered by Frank Dittenhafer of York’s Murphy & Dittenhafer architectural firm, will attempt to draw people there. The city’s rich history will be part of that draw.

Here’s a thought. Perhaps these improvements can be in place by York City’s 275th anniversary in 2016. (York was founded in 1741.)

Given all this, we offer up some links pointing to that history:

This diagram shows that York’s Continental Square isn’t quite square.

1. Continental congress met in York’s Centre Square courthouse

Rebel entry into York before Battle of Gettysburg was gut wrenching, community shaping

3. Once pulled down, York’s Centre Square market sheds won’t go back up.

When did the square in York change its name from Centre to Continental?

5. Prohibition forced drinking of alcohol – and York, Pa.’s restrooms – underground.

Plus 1

6. How one spot in York County, Pa., tells much about what is going on around there

This photograph shows York’s square at its zenith. It’s circa 1938, months before the last trolley rolled through the square.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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2 Responses to York’s Continental Square’s history in 5 easy links

  1. Carol Wald says:

    Jim, as a stranger to York, trying to understand a bit about the town from afar, I sure hope the revival of Continental Square happens. In my recent research into a 19th century York, Pa. photographer, William C. Bell, I used Eric Battorff’s map of Continental Square and surrounding streets in his “York Area Photographers 1840-1997.” The Square was ground zero for most of the early photography studios in York. So when I went looking for it on google maps, I was pretty confused to see it isn’t even marked! But first I had to figure out that Market Street has been renamed Lincoln Highway. I think that’s got to go–at least within the city limits it should be marked on google maps as Market Street.

    • Jim McClure says:

      Carol, The Lincoln Highway confusion is curious because no one calls it that around here, not even in its 100th year of 2013! It became known as Lincoln Highway sometime after 1913 when that highway came through and some businesses retain that name. But as general rule of thumb, as it runs through the city, it’s pretty well Market Street. Probably the most famous photographer in those days was Glenalvin Goodridge, son of the famed businessman William C. Goodridge, and he operated on the square./Jim

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