Walking Tour of York, Pennsylvania, USA
The town of York was designed in 1741. It has a rich history, which includes a stint as the nation’s capital, from September, 1777, to June, 1778. The Articles of Confederation were adopted here. Many of the town’s Colonial buildings have been preserved or restored. York is also lauded for its numerous outdoor murals, many of which can be seen along my walk.
This walk begins on West Market Street, in front of the Colonial Courthouse. The building here is a modern (1976) replica of the original. From the courthouse, walk west on W. Market Street to the find first of a number of large murals, entitled, York in the 1800’s, on the right. Others in this area, as you proceed westward, are Made in York, also on the right, The Harley-Davidson Tradition and one dedicated to a local Black entrepreneur, William Goodridge, both on the left.
Turn right when you reach Penn Street, and then right again on W. Philadelphia Street, to see another mural, York’s Defenders of Freedom, on your right, near the intersection with Newberry Street.
Continue east, to reach the Friends Meeting House, constructed by the Quakers in 1766. Turn left on Beaver Street, for a short detour, to see the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, considerably enlarged and modified over the years. It contains York’s “Liberty Bell.”
Now, return to Philadelphia Street and turn right. The Old Post Office is ahead, on the left, as is another mural, Muscletown USA. York’s Central Market is on the right, an interesting Romanesque-style edifice.
Before you continue too much farther to the east, take a peek to the right, on N. George Street, to see the restored Strand & Capitol Theaters, on your right, as well as another mural depicting the History of Pottery.
Return to Philadelphia Street and turn right, proceeding eastward to the William Goodridge House (remember the mural), home of a former slave, who became a successful merchant.
At Queen Street, turn right and walk to E. Market Street. Before beginning your travels westward, turn left to check out the First Presbyterian Church, situated on land bequeathed to the congregation by the Penn family, and the Billmeyer House, now the church offices, whose frescoes were done by artists involved with paintings in the US Capitol Building.
Now, reverse direction and walk westward on E. Market Street. There are a number of noteworthy buildings in this block, including the Bonham House, the Brownstone, the York Water Company’s neo-Classical structure, at #130, and the Zachariah Spangler House, one of this section of the city’s oldest (circa 1780).
As you pass Duke Street, look for the Lafayette Club, at #53, the present-day Courthouse, at #28, and the Golden Swan Tavern, at #2. There are also two murals in this block, The York Fair, on the right, and Community Contributors, on the left.
Continue westward, on what is now W. Market Street. This block boasts several historic buildings. On the left are the Colonial House, a French-inspired structure, the Rupp-Schmidt Building, and the Trinity United Church of Christ. On the right are the Fluhrer Building (#17), and the National House (#53), once a notable hotel whose guests included Charles Dickens and Martin van Buren.
After passing Beaver Street, check out two more murals, on the right, the York County 250th Anniversary, and The Four Chaplains, and one on the left, The Articles of Confederation. Notable structures in the area include the Gates House, home of the hero of the Battle of Saratoga, which dates to 1751, and the Golden Plough Tavern, the oldest building in town (1741). Now, cross Pershing Street to return to your starting point, the Colonial Courthouse.