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Monday, September 5, 2016

HOME IS WHERE YOU HANG YOUR HELMET -- September 5, 2016

In final days of June 1863, four Confederate brigades...under the command of General Jubal Early...occupied the city of York, Pennsylvania demanding $100,000, shirts, hats, meat, & more.  Leaders in the city were able to come up with all of General Early's requests except for the money.  Approximately $28,000 was eventually handed over.  Far short of what the confederate general wanted...but enough to satisfy him and prevent the city from be torched.  The fact that York, Pennsylvania is the northernmost city in the United States to surrender to the Confederate army is overshadowed by the events of the next few days...the largest battle to happen in the history of the Western Hemisphere...the Battle of Gettysburg.   But...it's a cool story...and one I like telling to the students in my history classes.

This WELCOME TO YORK monument, located on George Street south of the city, greets visitors as they come off of Interstate 83.  It's a safe bet that Jubal Early and his soldiers weren't welcomed with the same enthusiasm! -- September 5, 2016
This Pennsylvania historical marker is located on George Street in front of the York Hospital.  "Laid out in 1741,  by order of the Proprietors: the first Pennsylvania town west of the Susquehanna River.  Seat of the Continental Congress, 1777-1778: Birthplace of the Articles of  Confederation." -- September 5, 2016

Welcome to York, Pennsylvania.  With a population of approximately 44,000 people, the city doesn't even make the top 10 biggest cities in Pennsylvania...(we rank 12th behind Altoona)...but there's so much history to explore here.  So, with the day off for Labor Day...and the weather near perfect...I set off on my bike to check some of it out.  My true destination today was Reservoir Park just south of York City.  Anyone who bikes in York knows about Grantley Road.  From bottom to top you'll enjoy a 400 foot climb in less than a mile.  Halfway up the hill...on the left...I turned into the entrance for Reservoir Park which is part of the York Water Company.  The park itself was created in 1903 and opened to the public as a "public breathing spot" and a place to get away from the "strain of modern life."  I do believe that Reservoir Park offers the best view of the city that lays below...and it's a nice break from climbing Grantley Road.  

View of York City from Reservoir Park looking north towards my home in Manchester.  -- September 5, 2016

Reservoir Park -- September 5, 2016

Reservoir Park -- September 5, 2016

This gazebo, a gift from the Chinese government to the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, was eventually obtained by the York Water Company and placed at Reservoir Park.  The 1876 exposition also displayed the torch of the unfinished Statue of Liberty and was visited by many notable figures including future U.S. president James Garfield, an aspiring inventor named Alexander Graham Bell, and Joseph Lister a British surgeon & pioneer of antiseptic surgery.  Dang, I'm a nerd!  -- September 5, 2016

Taking a breather at Reservoir Park and soaking in the view of the City of York -- September 5, 2016

From Reservoir Hill I meandered my way a little further south before turning back towards the city and home.  Passing Apple Hill Medical Center I paused to check out another historical sign...which now explains why the medical center is named Apple Hill.  Way back in the 1820 a local Quaker nurseryman, Jonathan Jessop, developed a variety of apple on land in this area.  The York Imperial Apple was truly an "all purpose" apple because of it's excellence for both cider making and cooking.  Besides that, "it kept well."  The York Imperial Apple is now designated as an "antique apple" because it has been grown for over 180 years!   

This Pennsylvania historical marker is located near Apple Hill Medical Center on South George Street.  "Here, at a nursery located on Springwood Farms, a new variety of apple was propagated by Jonathan Jessop in 1820.  In 1855 it was named the "York Imperial."  It became a leading variety which was widely grown in the U.S." -- September 5, 2016

I began pedaling back toward the city on Starcross Road passing both a Hebrew and then a Catholic cemetery along the way.  I was headed home now...but not sure of  which way.  I ended up zig-zaging through a few neighborhoods in the city and then eventually rode upon what is probably the most recognizable area of the city...the York Colonial Complex.  Here you will find the Colonial Courthouse...a replica of the York Courthouse which was used for nine months by the Second Continental Congress in 1777 & 1778.  York became the home of notables such as John Hancock & John Adams.  It was here that the the Articles of Confederation (our nations first constitution) was adopted.  You will also find the Golden Plow Tavern, the Gates House, and who could miss the life sized statue of the "Soldier's friend" the Marquis de Lafayette.  


The York Colonial Courthouse located on the corner of West Market Street and Beaver Street in York City. -- September 5, 2016

The Marquis de Lafayette raising a glass to his "good friend, General Washington" -- September 5, 2016

Coming home, to avoid traffic, I turned down toward old Central York High  School and ducked through a tunnel that goes underneath Interstate 83.  To avoid my 8th flat tire this summer I carried my bike through the narrow tunnel avoiding the broken glass that litters the ground.  From there I was easily able to cross Route 30 and ride the hill up and past the incinerator, through Emigsville, and back home.  Yep...Bedford will always be my hometown...but York is now where I make my home.  After all...home is where you hang your helmet.

Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- September 5, 2016

I so wanted to go to the Bobcat Creamery for a post ride milk shake...but they were closed today (as they should be.)  So...as I sit here in my office...um...garage writing this I celebrated with a cherry Italian ice.  Not quite the same...but like the $28,000 that Jubal Early accepted...it will suffice.  -- September 5, 2016