York (Pennsylvania German: Yarrick), known as the White Rose City (after the symbol of the House of York), is the county seat of York County, Pennsylvania, United States, located in the south-central region of the state. The population within York's city limits was 43,718 at the 2010 census, a 7.0% increase from the 2000 census count of 40,862. When combined with the adjacent boroughs of West York and North York and surrounding Spring Garden, West Manchester, and Springettsbury townships, the population of Greater York was 108,386. York is the 11th largest city in Pennsylvania.
The city has been called an "architectural museum," because the downtown features numerous well-preserved historic structures, such as the 1741 Golden Plough Tavern, the 1751 General Horatio Gates House, the 1766 York Meetinghouse, the 1863 Billmeyer House, the 1888 York Central Market, and the 1907 Moorish Revival Temple Beth Israel. Other notable buildings are the Laurel-Rex Fire Company House, Forry House, Farmers Market, Barnett Bobb House, Cookes House, United Cigar Manufacturing Company building, Stevens School, York Dispatch Newspaper Offices, and York Armory.
The city is home to four national historic districts: Fairmount Historic District, Northwest York Historic District, Springdale Historic District, and York Historic District.
York, also known as Yorktown in the mid 18th to early 19th centuries, was founded in 1741 by settlers from the Philadelphia region and named for the English city of the same name. By 1777, most of the area residents were of either German or Scots-Irish descent. York was incorporated as a borough on September 24, 1787, and as a city on January 11, 1887.
York served as the temporary capital of the Continental Congress from September 30, 1777, to June 27, 1778, during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Congress drafted and adopted the Articles of Confederation in York, though they were not ratified until March 1781. Congress met at the Court House (built 1754, demolished 1841, and rebuilt 1976 as Colonial Court House).
York styles itself the first Capital of the United States, although historians generally consider it to be the fourth capital, after Philadelphia, Baltimore and (for one day) Lancaster. The claim arises from the assertion that the Articles of Confederation was the first legal document to refer to the colonies as "the United States of America". The argument depends on whether the Declaration of Independence, which also uses the term, would be considered a true legal document of the United States, being drafted under and in opposition to British rule. This does not, however, prevent modern businesses and organizations in the York area, such as the First Capital Dispensing Co., First Capital Engineering and First Capital Federal Credit Union from using the name.
The Conway Cabal, a political intrigue against General George Washington, had its origins in the Golden Plough Tavern in York.
According to U.S. census reports from 1800 through 1840, York ranked within the nation's top 100 most populous urban areas.
During the American Civil War (1861–1865), York became the largest Northern town to be occupied by the Confederate army when the division of Major General Jubal Anderson Early spent June 28–30, 1863, in and around the town while the brigade of John B. Gordon marched to the Susquehanna River at Wrightsville and back. Early laid York under tribute and collected food, supplies, clothing, shoes, and $28,000 in cash from citizens and merchants before departing westward obeying the revised orders of Robert E. Lee. The sprawling York U.S. Army Hospital on Penn Commons served thousands of Union soldiers wounded at the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg.
In the Postbellum era (1865–1877), York remained a regional center for local agriculture, but increasingly became an important industrial center, with such industries as steam engines, railroad manufacturing, and papermaking coming to the forefront. York also features some unique architecture ranging from colonial era buildings to large gothic churches.
The York Motor Car Co. built Pullman automobiles on North George St. from 1905 thorough 1917. An early and unique six-wheeled prototype was involved in one of the city's first known automobile accidents. Another model was driven to San Francisco and back over about one month to prove its reliability several years before the creation of the Lincoln Highway which ran through town, connecting New York and San Francisco.
The York area had also been home for more than 100 years to the Pfaltzgraff company, which built its first pottery factory in the area in 1895 and continued manufacturing in York until 2005. Though now produced by the Hershey Company, the York Peppermint Pattie was created in York in 1940.
Throughout the middle 20th Century, the black residents of the city were subject to hostile racial prejudice and social injustices. Between 1955 and 1970, the people of York experienced racial discrimination leading to riots, most notably the 1969 York Race Riot, which resulted in the death of Lillie Belle Allen and Henry C. Schaad. These murders were largely left ignored until 31 years later, when allegations of murder and racial prejudice were raised against the mayor at the time, Charlie Robertson. Additionally, throughout the entire century, the city commonly held unopposed Ku Klux Klan rallies and public meetings, despite continuous racial tensions. Though the murders of Allen and Schaad were solved and the perpetrators were apprehended, the actions, which originate back to the beginnings of the hate group, continue to present day.
In 2002, the city faced a budget shortfall of $1,000,000. Mayor John S. Brenner's plan to raise the money by asking York County's 302,000 adult residents to donate $3.32 to the city received national attention.
The plan, referred to by some as the "Big Mac" Plan, did not raise all the monies sought.
After many years of attempting to secure funding for a stadium and a baseball team to play in it, the first decade of the century saw York realize both goals. In 2007, Santander Stadium, home of the York Revolution, opened in the Arch Street neighborhood. The stadium, along with other large projects such as the York County Judicial Center and the Codo 241 luxury apartment lofts, symbolizes York's extensive redevelopment efforts
York was featured during the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, when National Public Radio's Michele Norris and Steve Inskeep chose to showcase the city in "The York Project: Race & the '08 Vote." The program was aired as a 7-part series and featured different York citizens discussing race relations, racial perceptions, and the emotions inspired by the 2008 election. Norris stated that York was chosen due to its central location in a battleground state, its rich history (including its strained race relations), and demographics.
On June 19, 2009, Norris announced on the air that she was taking time off to write a book inspired by her conversations "with a diverse group of voters" in York, and The Grace of Silence: A Memoir was published in September 2010.
In 2009, Kim Bracey won the Democratic primary and became the favored candidate for mayor. She won the general election in November against Republican opponent Wendell Banks and took office on the first Monday in 2010 as the city's first African-American and second woman mayor. Bracey won reelection in November 2013 against Libertarian challenger Dave Moser.
Michael Helfrich defeated Bracey by only 133 votes in 2017. A Democratic city council president, Helfrich ran for mayor as a Republican after losing the Democratic primary election to Bracey by just over 300 votes. Helfrich was inaugurated as mayor on January 2, 2018.
Local corporations and industry
York was the home of dental equipment and false teeth giant, Dentsply Sirona, until the company moved its headquarters to North Carolina in 2019. Though founded in New York by four men, the company moved its headquarters to the site of its factory in the 1900s, where it was run by one of the four founders, George H. Whiteley. Whiteley was an experienced ceramist who was familiar with the process of making artificial teeth. Whiteley was sent by the group to oversee the factory and his family presided over the factory for multiple generations. Dentsply Sirona is a NASDAQ listed company, and internationally known throughout the dentistry business.
York Barbell, located in Manchester Township, is a reseller of barbells and other equipment for weight training and bodybuilding, and is the home of the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame. A large Harley-Davidson motorcycle factory, which employs roughly half of Harley's production workforce, is located just northeast of York in Springettsbury Township.
The York area is home to two major manufacturers of modern hydro-power water turbines, Voith Hydro in West Manchester Township and American Hydro in Hellam Township, both of which manufacture enormous parts in their plants.
Spring Garden Township, directly south of York, is headquarters to York International, a Johnson Controls Company and one of the largest suppliers of HVAC systems in the United States. On February 2, 1998, a massive explosion occurred at the York International plant. A spark had set off a leak in the nearby propane storage house. The blast was felt up to 25 miles away, and blew out windows nearby as well as knocking down doors. About 20 people were injured in the blast and one person was killed, as the explosion occurred during a shift change.
The Stauffer Biscuit Company (owned by Meiji Seika of Japan since February 2004) is rooted in York and has produced animal crackers since 1871; it is currently based in Spring Garden Township. Just north of York in East Manchester Township is one of only four Starbucks roasting facilities in the world. The York area also boasts a BAE Systems facility in West Manchester Township which assembles various military tanks and equipment.
The Glatfelter manufacturing company, founded in 1864, is headquartered in York, though announced in February 2020 its plans to relocate to Charlotte, North Carolina in mid-year. Glatfelter had sold its nearby Spring Grove paper mill in 2018.
Christmas Tree Hill, a popular national Christmas, home decor, and gift retailer, is based in York since its founding in 1971. Their flagship location is housed in the historic Meadowbrook Mansion, constructed in East York in the early 1800s. The six columns on the mansion's front porch were reused from the second York County Courthouse cupola, which had been at 28 East Market Street from 1841 until taken down in 1898 to make room for the third courthouse.
Geography and climate
York is located at (39.962692, −76.728043).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it (1.14%) is water.
York has a humid continental climate (Dfa) with hot, humid summers and moderately cold winters. The mean annual precipitation total of is fairly evenly spread throughout the year, and falls on an average of 126.6 days per annum. Record temperatures from the York COOP range from , set on July 2, 1901, down to , recorded on January 28, 1925, and January 21, 1994; at York Airport, with a considerably shorter period of record, the range is , set on July 22, 2011, down to as recently as March 6–7, 2015. The York COOP also holds the official statewide 24-hour precipitation record of set on June 22, 1972, due to the impact of Hurricane Agnes.
York is the largest principal city of the York–Hanover–Gettysburg CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the York–Hanover metropolitan area (York County) and the Gettysburg micropolitan area (Adams County), which had a combined population of 473,043 at the 2000 census.
As of the 2010 census, the city was 51.2% White, 28.0% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.2% Asian, and 6.3% were two or more races. 28.5% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.
As of the census of 2000, there were 40,862 people, 16,137 households, and 9,246 families residing in the city. The population density was . There were 18,534 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the city was 59.75% White, 25.13% African American, 0.42% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 9.40% from other races, and 3.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.19% of the population.
There were 16,137 households, out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.0% were married couples living together, 20.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 28.4% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,475, and the median income for a family was $30,762. Males had a median income of $26,792 versus $20,612 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,439. About 20.0% of families and 23.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.8% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.
Fairgrounds and vendors
Much of York's culture represents the city's evolving role as an agricultural and industrial center. The historic York State Fair, which claims to be the country's oldest, traces its roots to 1765. It runs every year in late July for 10 days, encompassing an entire week and two weekends. In addition to typical fair attractions, such as rides, games and contests, it also wins regional recognition for hosting many musical artists, such as Alabama, Gretchen Wilson, Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The fairgrounds, branded the York Expo Center, also hosts the annual National Street Rod Association Street Rod Nationals East, the largest annual street rod event in the Eastern US. The event brings thousands of street rods into the city for a few days in June. On Friday afternoon the city holds a parade through the center of the city for participating vehicles.
York City Recreation and Parks helps sponsor the Olde York Street Fair each year on Mothers Day, the second Sunday of May – a tradition since the early 1980s. In recent years more than 150 art, craft and food vendors have lined Market and George streets. Average attendance was 60,000 people as of 2004, according to city officials.
York is home to DreamWrights Center for Community Arts, The Belmont Theatre, The Pullo Center at Penn State York, and the Appell Center for the Performing Arts (formerly Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center), which brings many nationally acclaimed acts to the York area. Performers here have included Kenny G, Bill Cosby, B.B. King, Béla Fleck, and George Carlin. The historic Capitol Theatre also features many independent and foreign films, making it the only venue in York (and sometimes the entire Susquehanna Valley) to feature some rare, yet critically acclaimed films. The Strand Studio has also branched out and offers live music, usually jazz & acoustic, for the community. In 2017, DreamWrights underwent the largest renovation in its 20-year history, adding a second performance space among other improvements.
The York County History Center (YCHC) is a not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and uses its collections, historic sites, and museums to encourage exploration of the history and culture of York County, Pennsylvania. YCHC maintains eight historical sites that demonstrate 300 years of York County's history. The YCHC was founded in 1999 after a merger of the Historical Society of York County and the Agricultural and Industrial Museum of York County (AIM). Currently, the YCHC historical sites include the Worker's House (c. 1875), Golden Plough Tavern (c.1741), the Barnett Bobb Log House (1812), the Bonham House (c.1885) and old Eastern Market House (c.1886). In 1992, AIM acquired an industrial complex consisting of six buildings (c.1874 to 1955); three of the buildings were renovated and now house the industrial portion of the collection. The YCHC hosts a variety of events throughout the year, and holds the rights to the Murals of York, a group of murals that depict York's history. The History Center purchased a former Met-Ed steam plant in York in late 2015, and plans to turn it into a new history center. In 2016, what was the York County Heritage Trust rebranded as the York County History Center.
The York Factory Whistle holds the world record for the loudest music without amplification from a non-musical instrument. Every Christmas Eve the whistle uses a compressor to create air pressure, then releases it through a series of tubes using a device much like a slide whistle. (Prior to 2010, the pressure was created using steam produced by a boiler.) The music has had a loudness of 140 dB and can be heard 10 to 12 miles away with proper weather conditions. Various Christmas music is played for a short time around midnight. It is thought that this annual tradition was started around 1925. Other sources put the tradition back to at least 1888. After the hosting New York Wire Cloth Company plant closed in 2013, Metso moved the whistle to their factory in York and the annual concert tradition has continued. Metso announced in August 2015 that it would close its York plant by the end of March 2016. As of December 2017, the building was still owned by Metso and the annual 25-minute York Factory Whistle Concert remained scheduled, along with two daytime rehearsal sessions. By December 2018, the hosting factory building was owned by 240 Arch LLC, and the air compressor (to be moved there for rehearsals and the concert) is trailer-mounted. Another early Christmas concert and Saturday-before practice were announced for 2019.
The alternative rock band Live is from York. Many of Live's songs are about the town including "Shit Towne" from their most successful album Throwing Copper.
York is home to many veteran as well as up-and-coming talented artists and musicians from all genres including funk, blues, jazz, rock, experimental, country, and bluegrass. The rock band Hexbelt is known for its brand of "Susquehanna Hexbelt Swing" music. York hosts a variety of open mics and underground venues such as the Sign of the Wagon and The Depot. Astro Lasso, an electronic indie pop band from York managed by Frankie Muniz, toured with We the Kings in 2017.
The York chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, performing as the White Rose Chorus, was founded in 1945.
The area's main shopping centers are York Galleria and West Manchester Town Center.
York and the surrounding area are served by the York City, Dallastown, Eastern York, West York, Central York, York Suburban, Southern York County, Red Lion, Northeastern York, Dover, Hanover, South Western, Spring Grove, York County School of Technology and South Eastern public school districts. Some of the private Christian schools in the area include, Christian School of York, Shrewsbury Christian Academy, and York Catholic High School.
There are also a number of charter schools in the area. Lincoln Charter School was established in 2000, Helen Thackston Charter School in 2009, and York Academy Regional Charter School in 2011.
The city is home to York College of Pennsylvania, which was founded in 1787; Penn State York; YTI Career Institute (YTI), which offers accredited technology- and business-based degree programs; Yorktowne Business Institute (YBI) & School of Culinary Arts, which offers accredited degree and diploma programs in the Business, Medical and Culinary fields; York Time Institute; HACC's York Campus; and The Art Institute of York-Pennsylvania, formerly Bradley Academy for the Visual Arts.
The city of York is served by the city of York Fire Department (YFD). The YFD operates out of four fire stations, located throughout the city, and maintains a fire apparatus fleet of 6 engines, 2 trucks, 1 service, and other support units. The YFD staffs 3 engines, 1 truck and 1 duty Chief 24-hours a day. The YFD responds to approximately 2,700 emergency calls annually.
Station locations and apparatus
The York Revolution plays in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. After 36 years without professional baseball, the Revolution arrived in 2007 to fill the void left by the departed York White Roses. The Revolution are named after the city's colonial past, when the Continental Congress met in York and passed the Articles of Confederation during the Revolutionary War. The Revolution continue the old baseball rivalry between York and the nearby city of Lancaster. The Revolution play at PeoplesBank Park in York's Arch Street neighborhood. The stadium features a plaza and statue in honor of MLB Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson, a one-time member of the aforementioned White Roses, with whom he made his professional baseball debut in 1955. Robinson currently serves as a special assistant and advisor to Opening Day Partners, the group largely responsible for bringing professional baseball back to York.
PeoplesBank Park has the distinction of having the tallest wall in baseball. At 37 feet, 8 inches, the left field wall of York's ballpark surpasses the height of the Green Monster at Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox.
The people of York (the White Rose City) and the similar city of Lancaster (the Red Rose City) across the Susquehanna River often engage in rivalry and competition that has its roots in the Wars of the Roses. Both cities take their names from the English cities, York and Lancaster, from which the opposing royal houses took their names in the 15th-century wars.
The War of the Roses All-Star Game is played in York every year over the weekend of Thanksgiving. The game pits the best high school football players in their senior seasons from the York-Adams League against a similar team from the Lancaster-Lebanon League. As the game only involves seniors and occurs during the first weekend of the PIAA District 3 football playoffs (players on teams which qualify for the playoffs do not participate), it is the final high school football game for each of the participants.
Former Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, and San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Chris Doleman graduated from York's William Penn High School. York was the birthplace of former New York Giants Linebacker Andre Powell, former Miami Dolphins running back Woodrow (Woody) Bennett, former Los Angeles Raiders and Atlanta Falcons Tackle/Guard Lincoln Kennedy and former Atlanta Falcons safety Omar Brown. Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Bruce Arians, is also a graduate of William Penn Senior High School (1970). New York Giants Offensive Tackle William Beatty is also a York, Pennsylvania native. Former Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Jon Witman graduated from Eastern York High School.
The York Capitals indoor football team was founded in 2012 and began play with the American Indoor Football league in April 2013. The team moved to Harrisburg after its 2015 league championship and was renamed the Central Penn Capitals before it folded in 2016.
The Bob Hoffman Auditorium at York Barbell hosts a variety of powerlifting, Olympic lifting, strongman and bodybuilding competitions and shows.
York is home to the "Plywood Hoods", a group of BMX freestylers, including Kevin Jones, who gained broad acclaim in the 1980s and 1990s.
York is also the home of the York County Silver Bullets semiprofessional football team (Colonial Football Alliance). In their 2006 inaugural season, they had a record of 5–5 and gained a playoff berth, though lost in the first round.
"The Pogo Squad", a group of about twelve extreme pogo performers, is located in York. They participate in area events, including the York St. Patrick's Day Parade, and perform shows. A photo of one member's pogo stunt against a sunset background won first place out of over 800 entries in a 2007 York newspaper photo contest.
York was home to the Thunder D'ohm Skateboard Park, now defunct. There has been a new park built entitled "Reid Menzer Memorial Skatepark", named for a York Catholic High School student who was killed riding a skateboard like a streetluge.
York US30 was a drag strip just outside York. It held the 1965 Super Stock championships – "the largest one day drag race" in the United States. An annual Musclecar Madness event is held in York to commemorate the defunct strip.
York will host the 2019 PDGA Amateur Disc Golf World Championships, having won against six other tournament-hosting bids. The tournament director will be Chas Ford. Disc golf courses to be used include those at Gifford Pinchot State Park, Codorus State Park, Muddy Run, and more. The week-long event will take place in mid-July.
York is unusual in that it supports two daily newspapers, despite its relatively small size. The York Daily Record/Sunday News is published mornings, seven days a week, and The York Dispatch is published Monday through Friday afternoons. The Daily Record/Sunday News currently has the lead in terms of circulations of the daily newspapers.
The York area is part of the Susquehanna Valley (Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York) media market. Of the major television network affiliates in this media market, only one, the Fox affiliate WPMT 43, has its base of operations in York. Other stations in the market include NBC affiliate WGAL 8, Comet affiliate WXBU 15, CBS/MyNetworkTV/CW affiliate WHP-TV 21, ABC affiliate WHTM-TV 27, and PBS member station WITF-TV 33, all of which are from Harrisburg except WGAL which is from Lancaster. It is also not uncommon for York residents to receive some stations from the Baltimore, Maryland media market, due to its proximity to the south of York.
York has a Public, educational, and government access (PEG) cable TV station called WRCT (White Rose Community Television) wrct.tv which used to be YCAT (York Community Access Television).
The pop music radio station, WSBA AM 910, achieved high ratings in not only York, but also in nearby Harrisburg and Lancaster, during the 1960s and 1970s. WSBA, now a news-talk station, was well known for being the flagship station of Susquehanna Broadcasting, which had its corporate offices in York, as well.
Other radio stations in York include WVYC from York College, WARM FM, WQXA FM, and WOYK.
FM stations in the greater York, Pennsylvania metropolitan area include:
York is twinned with:
York is served, through public transportation, by Rabbit Transit, which operates multiple bus routes in the city and the surrounding suburbs. In 2006 a rabbitEXPRESS bus route was established to transport commuters to Harrisburg and back, making six round trips weekdays. Rabbit Transit introduced a new route on February 2, 2009, that provides three daily round trips between York and Timonium, Maryland. The $5 fare each way covers 80% of the operating costs.
In addition to Rabbit Transit the city has a Greyhound/Trailways bus depot where service through Harrisburg to Syracuse, or to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. is provided by Greyhound Lines. Bieber Transportation Group formerly provided service to New York City along a route running by way of Lancaster, Reading, and Philadelphia and a route running by way of Lancaster, Reading, and the Lehigh Valley until service was discontinued on April 1, 2018. Intercity bus service to New York City was restored by OurBus on July 1, 2018.
Lancaster, 24 miles to the east, has frequent Amtrak train service to Philadelphia.
As recent as the late 1960s the station was the site of several train departures a day, run by the Pennsylvania Railroad heading north to Harrisburg and south, towards Baltimore and Washington, DC, including the Buffalo Day Express, the Northern Express, the Spirit of St. Louis and shuttle cars for the Penn Texas. The last Red Arrow bound for Detroit departed from York in the latter half of the 1950s. Rail advocates have suggested commuter rail service could be started between York and Philadelphia with much of the necessary infrastructure already in place, using SEPTA's system. Transportation planners say this is too expensive, with bus and van services more feasible. The former Pennsylvania Railroad station for York now lies along the York County Heritage Rail Trail across from the baseball park.
York does not have any commercial airports, though the small York Airport (THV) is located 7 miles southwest in Thomasville. The nearest major airports are Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) and Harrisburg International Airport (MDT).
York is the hometown of the protagonist of John Grisham's 2009 novel The Associate. At the book's end, the protagonist happily abandons a well-paid but highly unpleasant job in a giant Wall Street law firm, returning to his hometown to work there with his lawyer father.
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article York, PA, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.