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Full text of "The history and development of the York Road from Baltimore to York, Pennsylvania : a thesis / prepared by Owen A. Hall."

THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE YORK ROAD FRQti BALTIMORE 

TO YORK PEKHSYLVANIA 



A THESIS PREP AIRED 
BY 
OVYEN A. HALL 



FOR INIATION INTO THE 
BETA CHAPTER OF MARYLAND 
«P 
TAU BET? A PI HONORARY ENGINEERING SOCIETY 



APRIL 8, 1932 



^mfi'Am 



T.t v;as in Au.^uat 1745, that the nettlers around Xop;c, 
Pennsj'lvanla Tirst saw the advantages of a road through to the Oheea- 
peake £ay. ^it this tir.ie , James Lojan of York v/rote to Thoros.B Perm 
in BaXtinoro, jtatinr; that York \/onld llko to see c-ovs lop-dent start- 
ed on a road cDnncGting the Baltiruore and "^^orlc '•^'ovms. 

This road v/as laid out and bscariie a county road; In 1797, 
the route v;as changed to what ie nov; known as the York koad. kater 
in the end of the eighteenth and in tl-jo beginning of the nineteenth 
centrtry, the ability of the county to keep this road repaired start- 
ed to lag. 

In 1804, the York koad passed over to private ov/nership. 
'•^'he read vms bought from the county by t]ie -jaltimore and I'ork Turn- 
pike Corporation. 'i?be subscription viaa, for .,iilOO,000,00 in f^hares of 
vSO.OO each. 

Up to 1804, the I-'altimore and "^orl: ^u^npike v/ao a pr i vat els'- 
ovmed road, but at this tt}W the Baltimore and York '-^'urnpike Corpor- 
ation were given the authority to enlarge the road fron 66 feet to 
100 feet as long as it didn't interfere v.'ith the Suburban -ailroad, 
Eater in 1894, the Baltimore County OoiiErln si oners were given the 
authority to buy the ^ork ^^oad as long a^ th.e cost didn't exceed 
sj:22 ,000.00. 'X'he lork '■-oad reir.ained a county road up to July 22, 
1910, ;; l-sn it r/as deeded to the State koads Coroinlsnion. 



BIBLIOGRAFHY 

THE CriROHIGLES OP BfiLTIMOiCB ' 

J. T. SCIiARF 
AMEHIGAN HIGffi'/AYS 

W. S. SCMLER 
THE TuRNPIKE;S OP liSW ENGLAND 

P, J. IVOOD 
THE ?ATI-£ OP INLAND C Q&IERCE 

A * B . HULBERT 
INDIAN THOROUGHFARES 

A, B. HULBERT 
REPORT OF THE STATE hOkDi^ COIvLlIbUON OF JMiiYLAND 1927 - 1930 
STATE LAWS OF MAKYL/iNL 
mRMLANL GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 1899 



THE KISTORY MID DEVELOP JEIIT OF THE Y012: ROAD 

p:arly histoky o? AigRicAN ?d:gevays 

At the time when the English Settler;i3ntE in Ilorth Anerica. 
were forme cI, the 'nethocl of b.illdinf^ roai'sB in th.e nother counti'y 
v;ere in a lov; stago. The main ways wore only fit for travel in dry 
weather, tiuch of the travel In the ronoto sections xj&b done by 
iOack horse. 

For a hundred years after the settlsnont of the Atlantic 
ceaboard, there was hardly any ivay in this country fit for a carri- 
age. The jiiain intercourse betv;e€;n settlsrionto '.ras carried on by 
riieans of paths vrhich v/ere hardly fit for horsemen anO pack anipala. 

The people of ] Maryland, even from the fii'-at settlenent of 
the iHtate , see Med to have turned their thoijgbts to the development 
of highways. The legislative records from the beginiiing of raich 
record until 1825, are full of highv/ays lav/s and special anactrienta 
as to ferries and bridges. 
MRLY iJluTOKY OF YOIilC ROA T; 

There is no record aa to the vmy in v.rhicli the York i^oad 
originally got Its start, but it is suppoGsd that at one tine It 
v;aB one of the \-iB.r trails of the Indians of the Five ilationD , then 
residing in v/hat is novf northern i'ennsylvania and Hov; York state. 
Then, v,ltl: tVie settling of the G-Grr,;ans around whr-t is novr York Tovm, 
there came the necessity of cors.iunicat ion lYlth the seaboard, the 
nearest port bein,?^ laltinore Town. The reanz of coiTjnunication and 
hauling vms carried on bj'- i.ieans of pack aniiiials. 
PTAT^ All' FOR TF^- Y.O FK FQilD 

This path v;as gradually widened until it becane fairly 

passable, but still it v/asn't usable for carriages and freight 







THK ElbTORY 


AI>TD D^^ELOi'Tt 


JITT OF 


THE YOl-E 


RDAD 






^.ARLY Hlii 


TOKY OP iU.'EHICAN 


KIGR-JAYF. 


















At the tirriG when 


the ling 1 is h 


Settle 


ments in 


Ilorth i 


■.nor 


ica 


ware 


forme cl, the yaethoa of 


iMilding 


roads in 


th.e nother country 




vrere 


in a 


l0',7 St ago . The 


■iiain ways 


\7G! 


'Q onZj 


fit for 


travel 


in 


dry 


weatl 


ler » 


liuch of the ti-'avGl In the 


rcr. 


lote sections '.vas dono 


by 




pack 


hora 


0. 




















Por a hundred yo 


ars after 


the 


settl 


ar.iont of 


the Atlant 


ic 



fceaboard, there v/aa hardly any way in this country fit for a carri- 
age. The jiiain intercourse betv/son settlenents *jas carried on by 
riisans of paths v^hl.ch v/ere hardly fit for liorsemen anc'.' pack aninials* 

The people of Maryland, even from the first settlement of 
the ctate , seemed to have turned their thoughts to the development 
of hiahwayc . The legislative records froii the beginning of E:uch 
record until 1325, are full of highways lavrs and special anactments 
as to ferries and bridges. 
T-APdl^Y hIoTOK\: OP YORK ROAL' 

There is no record as to the v/ay in v;hich the York i^oad 
originally got its start, but it ic supposed that at one tine it 
v.as one of the v/ar trails of the Indians of the Pive nations, then 
residing in v^hat is now northern Pennsylvania and Hew York state. 
Then, r;ith the settling of the G-ormans around r/hat is now York Tovrn, 
there cane the necessity of c oni'rLunicat ion with the seaboard, the 
nearest port being I^altinore Town. The r©ans of cor.munication and 
hauling v/as ca?-''ried on l^^'' means of pack ai:l:.iala. 
FTAT5 Air ?0 R TFF Y05:1C FQ1D 

This path v/as gradually widened until it becane fairly 

passable, but still it wasn't usable for carriages and freight 



- 2 - 



wagons, except in dry v/eathor. 'I'lio ysar 1V74 aaw ths passing;; of 
the first atate lav; giving aid to the York road. 

Tliia 7^\-! provided «tf4000.00 for Ijiinc en. ate use to strai^^^ht- 
an and widen and repair the York i-.oad. This work was placed under 
the supervision of Senjair.in Griffith, James C-ittingG and Nicholas 
I.lerryiaan, i::'esides being straightened and v;idened, it was to be 
cleaned of all shrubs and weeds and cleared of stone to a width 
of forty feet. Provision was also made for the building;; of all 
necessary bridges and for a ditch to be dug alongside of the road 
for di^ainago. 

The law also stated that if it 17a s necessary to pass 
tltrough anyone's property, a pui'chase of the land forty feet wide 
could be Iliads, as long as the cost didn't cr'ceed ..t'SO-OO '9^^ :nlle. 
■rhls lav/ also i.TOvideo for taj:os to be used for finishing the road- 
and for labor to be t^sed on it. 

^he taxable inhabitants were to be taxed in tobacco or 
its equivalent in r.ioncy. I'he tax rate was four pounds of tobacco 
in Anne itrundel County, twelve pounds of tobacco in Baltlnore County 
and eight pounds of tobacco in Frederick County, for each ta;:able 
hundred. I'o this was also added five percent of the tax which was 
the sheriff's conpensatton for collecting. A "r-o virion was riade 
for sailing the tobacco in open court for Mjo benefit of the coun- 
ty. 

This law also liiadc provision for repairing the roau . It 
states that the overseer , together with the taxable inhabits.nts , 
shall at certain seasons for a period not to exceed six days, re- 



- 3 - 



pair the road as ci Iroctecl by tho overseer; and shall provide their 
own tools, this to '^3 clone for a poriod of uevon years* It also 
states that the InhataxtantH r.iay enploy and send an able and profic- 
ient laboring rnan in his place to do his Jishare of the repairing of 
the roatj, 
THE YO mZ ROAD LAIS OUT Aim{ 

In 1737 the Grand Jury headed by Stephens '.V lis on .Jsciuire, 
i'''oreman stated that the roads were in a grievous condition and that 
the usual nethod of repair v/as insufficient. II-iiG resulted in the 
G-sneral ^^.ssorably of 'iarylanr] passing a law in ^^-pril 1737, in chap- 
ter twenty three of v/lrlch it appoints a corrr.ilssion to lay out anew 
the t>edoric'i; load, the i^oisteratown Koad end the York -^oad. It 
also Jiiade provision for the levying of oernianent taxes and for the 
establif3hr:Bnt of tuxmpikes for the defraying of expenses and to 
keep up repairs. In 1795, a body of c a:-u7ilG si oners were appointed 
to open and clear the York -'^oa:! for a distance of eighteen miles. 
TP2: liOUTE OP TT^IS YOftK r-OAD IS GMAIJGED 

Up to 1797, the York Hoad i-ras v/hat Is today known as the 
Old York Koad, ht this tiirie , a petition vms sent in by iizeklel 
Towsnn, ovrner of the Towson Tavern, to have the road cl-anged so as 
to pass his place of aiausement . Later in 1797, a-a act v;as passed 
to inake these alterations in the York itoad; all tlte expense of re- 
moving and placing the York -i^o ad in its present position to be 
pa 1 d by -'. jr- , '^ ov/s o n . 

In 1801, a supervisor was appointed to look after the 
r®ads In x:>altiHO-e County, Te v;as to be under the direction of the 

Levy Court. Thlri .supervisor v/as to clear the York i:oad for a v/ldth 



- 4 - 



of olxty-slx feet, twenty one feot of v/hlcli ?;a3 to bs an artificial 
road. This artificial roar, v;a« to be badded '.rith rrood, fjtons or 
gravel or any other hare! substance 'veil conip acted to a unf fie lent 
uopth to ;;QCure a solir"? founuation; and ov-^r this f ountjatlon vras 
to be placeu a facing of ijtone or gravel poundQcl to secure as firm 
and a a o ve n a a ijr fac a as p os a lb la . 
YOhK KQAL hZGO:iEL A iKIV l TEJ-g. pyHXlD ROM) 

Up to 1804, all the roacla in '.laryland had been kept by tha 
counties in which they existed. In 1787, the "^ork -^oad had boen 
nade a turnpike, and from 1795 on, efforts had been r.iade to stii.iu- 
lato interest in t'nis roa.i. In 130'! , tViO York F-oad was given over 
to private capital, because of the county's inability to keep it 
in repair. An act v,'as passed that stated three corporations wore 
1 be f or i'led to build the f o 1 low in g ro a ds : Da 1 1 1 raore t o I?r e d -;r Ic k 
through JlQwriiarket , Baltimore throup;h Kelsteratown towards TIanover 
I'OT/n and from Baltimore towards York I'own to the i ennsylvanla line. 
The r.-.oney for the 13altl;aore and Yor]-: 'i'lirnpike Corp oration vs.s to 
be obtained by subscription books, with capital stock of .,100,000.00 
in shares of ^20.00 each. 

V;hen eighty persons '-^id subscribe a vi?.000.00 or r^iore of the 
stock, the corimis si oners v/ere to ^ive thirty days notice in two 
Baltiniore nev/spapersj one eastern newspaper, one G-Qrinan and one 
English nevrspaper in Frederick and lilizaboth I'ov/n. T'^oy wetTj to 
nane a place for all the subscribers to meet to appoint officials 
of the corporation, naiaely: a prasioBnt and ei^ht rianagers* Ihe 
road was to be laid over the bed of the existing road, unless it 
was found possible to shorten it by iiiovin[5 it. This corporation 
was f'lvon the authority to appoint toll .[gatherers, the rate of the 



- 5 - 



toll being est by the state, there belns no toll gates within one 
mile of each to\rn. 

By !Tove:;t)er 1807, the c oriinls^ion of tho Baltimore to 
York 'J^orm I^oad Ims subscribed their arnount of otocl: and sent in a 
petition to the General jLSQe]nbly_ askinp; for pennlcslon to bogln 
YiorV: on th.e roar]. The Baltli.ioro and York Roacl as laid out by the 
Oor-imisslon of Eoads was in a straight line over rocky ground. She 
petition V/'as to bo r.rEcnted as lon^^ as the nov; roacl didn't leave 
the old road ovoi' el^ht perches and returned, to the old road as 
soon as convenient. 

At the caine time, tliero were jiovoral people in ■ ennsyl- 
vania interested In iiaprovins the road to Baltiiiiore; and on Ilarch 
31, 1807, Cfovornor Tbonias I'c-i'^an approYed the act incorporating the 
York aid I:!aryland Line 'J-'urnplke Coi.ipany. ^i'he co:!i!Tisnion naned In 
the act foi^ the purpose of receiving subscriptions, vere Acajn 
Hendricka, George Loriiian, Caleb Kirk, Phillip rrederick and John 
Sri 1 linger. The fom of the aubGcrlption \7as s,-'100.00 'pour ahare; 
'riilO.OO per share was paid by the original stock owners. The 2. ct 
states that the road '.vas to be built by the nearest and best route 
frora York to the ' dryland line. 
HEVaLIUTION Oy Tin? •gOPol BOAI) 

In 1300, there v/as soine dispute as to the value placed on 
the v/ork done on the York ^^oai], Tliis. resulted In an act being 
passed by the General Assembly of J'-Iaiv^and to api^foint a coriirdttee 
teo revalue tho work done on the Baltimore and York Turnpike -voad. 
Thi:^ co:-.r;iittee v;as to consist of nine people, tb:.ree being appointed 

b- the Levy Court, thji^oe bein,:^ appointed by the President and 



- G - 



Managers of the corporation anc' li'iree people froia tiorae other county, 
'^hi§ c oimnittsc v:as to value the roau and then to report 'to the 
Lev;;,'' C ourt . 
lAGGIHG OF IrgER^gT III ROAD. 3LTIII>Iiya 

■Uu-'ing 1815, the aurfacs of the York Hoad v/as i.iacarianiized, 
but from then to 1890 there v/as little or no attention paid to the 
roacl, although in 1847, there vas an act pasE^ecl to locate the bound- 
aries and to liiark the Clistancos. This lack of interest in the 
building of th"e road vma due to the Baltimore and Ohio "railroad and 
other railroads v/hich so held the public attention, that the inter- 
est in the roads lapsed, 
MODEPoTIZATIOH OF THE YOTxli HCkD 

The firct awakening of r.iodarn road interest cg.no in 1390, 
Y/itb the increase in popularity of the bicycle. In 1894, an act 
VR3 passed to v/iden the Baltimore to York I'ovrn '^urnplke Eoad bet- 
v?3en Baltimore and To-.Tson to a ?/idth not to e:cceed one hundred ins- 
tead of the existing sixty-si", feet. It rrave the corporation the 
power to condemn any land or any interest therein required for the 
widenlnc^ of the road, ijuch power yT-ovided under the la™ titled 
"Condemnation of Property by Corporations." I'he authority and 
pov/er to cede to county conmissloners of Baltimore County the 
Baltimore and York 'Aarnpike i^oal, v/as granted to the President and 
Managers in the event they graded that portion of the road between 
Baltimore and Tovfaon so as to conform to the grades of that propor- 
tion occupied by the City and [..urburban ^-ailroad Company, aii^ to 
afford a clear space of thirty feet in breadth outside the railroad 

for public use, twenty feet of this to be an artificial road, bed 



- 7 - 



to be stone well compact eel and faced v.'ith f-;raver. . At the sa?'ie tl^ne, 
tbe 3altL:io-o County CoMniss loners r/ere given authoi'it^- to purchase 
the Baltimore ancl York '-^urnpike Hoacl v/hen such vfork as just speci- 
fied vms e oraploted . The cost of pui"'cba3ins the road was not to ex- 
ceed ..f-sS >000.00. uhen purchaaed, tho road v/as to bo cone county 
road upon v/hich no toll could be collected. 

With the increase In the popularity of roads due to the 
use of bicycles In 1390, tv, V.', B. Clark, utate Geologist, and the 
Ainsrican branch of the League of iuier ican -"heslnen, an organization 
co:nposed of enthusiastic ovrnera of bicycles under the leadership of 
Conway " ■ . i-aus, interested some of the proralnent 3:ien in Iviarylaixi 
In Maryland's road probleraj and the Legislature of 1898 apxjropriated 
C^lO ,000.00 annually to the I.'.arylano Greologlcal .:iurv6y for the invef:- 
ti gat ion of Maryland's road problem. 
YORK ROAD BECOI,r-::S- x i STATE RO/il) 

J-tatG aid construction started in 1005, increased in 1906 
to 1903, and its. results vvere so effective in arousing public senti- 
ment for good roads that in 1903, the Maryland Legislature' took a 
radical step forv/ard and enacted the Ctate r.oad Act. Thlc provided 
for the creation of a ."-tate Koads Cojrt^iisslon, which was authorized 
to select a system of state roads interconnecting the county/- seats 
of ikryland , and to supervise the construction of this system and 
the maintenance of sections of it as completed. Tlie ssme Act provld- 
ed for a bond issue of $5,000,000.00 for the construction of the 

system. 

'The new Maryland ^"^oads Commission had its first meeting 



- 8 - 

i4:)rlX 30, 1008, and proceeded to select the State i>^oaci t'ystem. They . 
announced the selection of the system in April 1909. Part of the 
York Koad "ms picked at this time by the otate ^oaus Oo3-.v..ilssion, 
namely: the part bet^reen Baltimore and Pai'kton, On. July 22, 1910, 
the State -Li-oads GoKmisiiion bought out the right of way on the York 
Hoad, 

During the period right after the V/orld ".'iar, there was a 
decided change in the construction of the atats roads. This was 
acconplis '^ed by building concrete shoulders alongiiJlde the existing 
nacauam road, the shoulders being several Inches higher than the 
road and then filling in the space between the shoulders with r.iaca- 
dam. Tl^ls not only widened the i' oad, but r.iade it stronger, because 
of the greater dspth of the foundation and also decreased the crown 
of the road. This Is tte manner In v^hlct? the York r;oad was modern- 
ized. 'J-'here Is a 66 foot concrete boulevard run'nlng from Baltimore 
to i'ov7;jon. li'rora 'I'ovraon to Tarkton there is a road constructed as 
just described, with concrete shoulders on each sldej between Pajr'k- 
ton and the Pennsylvania state line, the concrete roadVias beon 
widened by the addition of s. concrete shoulder. 

In conclusion, I \70uld like to say that the York •^'•oad 
today is one of the best roads in the i^>tate , .although it is not 
one of tlie most travelled roads. 



piorir.a.:: ai" the you:' noM) 







PEmV.riLVj)Jl±A iJTATiJ j.li: 



cj?x roni-r mu- j.LuuTn xr i... 





/ CUT( FF AT P^UUrVOli, Ju\irxTj^iI!b. 



Yoir' iio^'J; inL'j; 'xwr^riT, 



-2- 





THU LiTL iV '•'(Itt:*;. T/'ATLli £-;lii^7jY 



I'lUll YOUIC HO AD AS IT INTERS YORK PA. 





.«I:i 








AN OLD TAViatN IN HAilYLAND ON Tim A PiCTU]U.H(ilJ]^ liPOT ON TJH] ^'( RF 'T. 



YOlUv 1U)J\1> 



-a- 




THE criD YGltK JXOMi JIJHT OFi-' TKlHTY- 



r 




Tin: iNviJi^ja.CTiDN op tid; old york 
iioAD Aim Tin: youk noM) in baTxTIkotie 
gi'aT, Tini; YoiiK noM) is ok tite lj:ft. 



^ 




TIffi INTKHSKCTKIN OF TlIE OLD YOlOC UOjU) j\}m 
TinJ YOIUC HOjU) IMi'ItK TifiiY AftAXN H]]]']!' AT A 

poiiiT ONK >aL]: I'lioiD: Tin; pKNNSYLVAiaA Limi:,