A historic marker along Mount Rose Avenue received a new coat of paint and some tender loving care to restore its former glory. The sign is believed to be
A historic marker along Mount Rose Avenue received a new coat of paint and some tender loving care to restore its former glory. The sign is believed to be part of a state highways department project in the first half of the 20th century. (Bil Bowden photo)

A historic marker, possibly the last of its kind in York City, is back where it belongs.

A new coat of blue and yellow paint has replaced the rust that covered the face of a cast-iron sign that's greeted motorists on Mount Rose Avenue for decades. The marker tells of York's 1741 establishment date and the city's connection to England.

And, by the way, it's seven miles to Manchester.

The city's public works department, motivated by the concerns of some history buffs, spent days rescuing the marker from years of neglect. The marker was, in fact, facing the wrong direction.

It must have been hit by a car or truck at some point in the past, said David Rudolph, superintendent of the city's electrical bureau and building maintenance department.

"It was just in bad shape," Rudolph said.

Restored to its former glory, the marker was returned to its post Monday.

How it started: A group of volunteers who call themselves the Keystone Marker Trust contacted the mayor earlier this month asking

what the city could do about its deteriorating sign.

"A project of the former state Department of Highways, these were placed at entrances to cities, towns and villages across the state on what were then the 'state roads,'" the group said in an email to Mayor Kim Bracey. "As many state routes converge at York, your town undoubtedly had several."

Bracey forwarded the message to public works Director Jim Gross, who said the marker on Mount Rose Avenue is probably the only remaining marker in York City.

"At one time I guess they were fairly common," he said.

The Keystone Marker Trust estimates the markers were posted in towns across the state between the 1920s and 1940s. The group's website, www.keystonemarkertrust.org, features black-and-white photos of old-fashioned cars driving by markers.

It's unclear exactly how long York's marker has been around.

"It was in pretty poor condition, so we decided we would fix it up," Gross said.

-- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.