The cultural and historic resources of a community create a sense of place. The City of York's [†] rich heritage offers a journey through our past to a present day City of showcased beauty and architecture with numerous reminders of days of yesterday. York was founded in 1741 and known as the first Capital of the United States from September 1777 to June 1778. The City was incorporated as a borough in 1787 and became a third class city in January 1887.
The City is the oldest town in Pennsylvania, west of the Susquehanna River. The original plan for the City consisted of streets forming perfect squares, with a widened space in the center of town at the intersection of Market and George Streets for the purpose of supporting local market activity and commerce.
Although the City was founded during the Colonial period, little remains with respect to architectural character to remind us of this period of the City's history. The City's architecture and history is best described as an "industrial town whose architecture is predominantly Victorian in style."
The unique flavor of York's architecture is a collection of factory workers' brick row houses of the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s, its attractive Victorian row houses around the downtown area, large Victorian houses in the northwest part of the City with access to Farquhar Park, and in the far south end of the City along South George Street and Springettsbury Avenue.
Historic events, architecture, industry, the creek and rail transportation of the City has contributed to the social and economic lifestyles of past and current generations. A variety of influences have contributed to past and present development patterns. Influence of colonial development is demonstrated in the grid pattern of development and street layout of the City, as well as several key structures that have been preserved from the Colonial Era. The City has a wide array of examples of architecture types and styles from various periods. Additionally, manufacturing, rail access and the placement of worker housing has influenced development patterns.
The City has one of the largest Historic Districts in the Country. Historic preservation provides opportunities for not only preservation of the City's past, but also creates opportunities for tourism and increased property values, all of which contribute to sustainability of the community. The past has helped to define the present and will contribute to the design of the future.
† The City of York Strategic Comprehensive Plan, 2009, www.yorkcity.org, accessed December, 2020.
Nearby Towns: Dallastown Boro • Jacobus Boro • Manchester Boro • Mount Wolf Boro • New Salem Boro • North York Boro • Spring Garden Twp • Springettsbury Twp • West Manchester Twp • West York Boro • Yoe Boro •