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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wrightsville in York County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The River: a Corridor and a Barrier

Lancaster-York Heritage Region

 

—Susquehanna River Water Trail —

 
The River: a Corridor and a Barrier Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 27, 2010
1. The River: a Corridor and a Barrier Marker
Inscription. Although the Susquehanna has long been a north-south transportation corridor, it was an impediment to east-west traffic. As early as the seventeenth century,ferries emerged at various points along the river to overcome this barrier. John Wright, an enterprising Quaker, began operating a ferry in this area in 1730.

During the Revolutionary War, Patriot forces put this east-west barrier to good use. With British troops occupying Philadelphia in late 1777, the Continental Congress retreated westward, crossed the Susquehanna on Wright's Ferry, and established a capital in nearby York City for nine months. The river helped protect the fledgling American government from hostile British troops.

In 1814, the first bridge connecting Wrightsville and Columbia was completed. It was the longest covered bridge in the world (5,690 feet). Since then, five additional bridges have spanned the Susquehanna at this site. Of the six, two were destroyed by natural forces, and one was burned in 1863 by Union militiamen and townspeople to prevent Confederate forces from invading Lancaster County and reaching Harrisburg.

In the decades before the Civil War, the Susquehanna served as a south-north escape route for fugitive slaves who traveled the clandestine Underground Railroad in their quest for freedom.
 
Location.
The River: a Corridor and a Barrier Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 27, 2010
2. The River: a Corridor and a Barrier Marker
40° 1.72′ N, 76° 31.689′ W. Marker is in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Walnut Street and North Front Street, on the right when traveling east on Walnut Street. Click for map. Located at the end of Walnut Street, along the Susquehanna River Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Wrightsville PA 17368, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Burning the Wrightsville Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Wrightsville's Lime Kilns (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Veterans Memorial Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Gettysburg Campaign (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wrightsville (approx. 0.2 miles away); American Legion Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal (approx. 0.3 miles away); Springetsbury Manor (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Wrightsville.
 
More about this marker. In the background of the marker is a copy of A postcard photo of the ferryboat "Mary" which ran between Wrightsville and Columbia, PA, taken near the beginning of the 20th Century. An inset photo on the right shows a View from Wrightsville towards Columbia, PA, of bridge burned down during the Civil War, June 28, 1863.
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsWar, US CivilWar, US RevolutionaryWaterways & Vessels
 
Veterans Memorial Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 27, 2010
3. Veterans Memorial Bridge
The modern concrete bridge now spans the Susquehanna just down stream of the wooden covered bridge mentioned on the marker. Piers for that wooden bridge still stand beside the modern bridge.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 838 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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