“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Columbia in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Columbia: a Transportation Hub

Lancaster-York Heritage Region


— Susquehanna River Water Trail —

Columbia: a Transportation Hub Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 7, 2019
1. Columbia: a Transportation Hub Marker
Inscription.  During the mid-nineteenth century, Columbia was a bustling transportation hub. Turnpikes, ferries, bridges, canals, wharves, and railroads made Columbia a major transshipment point in the movement of lumber, coal, grains, pig iron, and people.

Because the Susquehanna is rocky and shallow, most large boats could not navigate the river's treacherous waters below this point. Even rafts were unloaded and broken up here in town, where warehouses stored cargo, and sawmills cut the rough-hewn lumber into planks.

In 1832, a canal was constructed linking Columbia with areas to the north and west along the Susquehanna. Another segment of this vast transportation network was added in 1834 when a railroad line connecting Philadelphia and Columbia was completed. It subsequently became a part of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

In 1840, Baltimore businessmen, not to be outdone by their Philadelphia rivals in the north, constructed a canal along the York County shoreline. The Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, as it was known, connected nearby Wrightsville to the Chesapeake Bay in the south.

The river transported people as
Columbia: a Transportation Hub Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 7, 2019
2. Columbia: a Transportation Hub Marker
well as goods. With large African-American and Quaker populations, Columbia was a way station on the Underground Railroad. Here, runaway slaves from the Chesapeake Bay region found safe haven on their way to freedom.
Erected by Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRBridges & ViaductsRailroads & StreetcarsWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania Railroad 🚂, and the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal series lists.
Location. 40° 1.862′ N, 76° 30.551′ W. Marker is in Columbia, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker can be reached from Walnut Street west of Locust Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 220 North Front Street, Columbia PA 17512, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Columbia and Its Railroads (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Old Columbia Public Grounds Co. (about 400 feet away); Columbia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Railroads During the Civil War (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Columbia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln Highway
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); Susquehannock Apartments (approx. ¼ mile away); First National Bank (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 109 times since then and 54 times this year. Last updated on March 5, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Nov. 26, 2020