Members of the 87th Pennsylvania Volunteers demonstrate with muskets in Penn Park in 2011. Re-enactment camps will be part of the Civil War anniversary in
Members of the 87th Pennsylvania Volunteers demonstrate with muskets in Penn Park in 2011. Re-enactment camps will be part of the Civil War anniversary in York City. (York Dispatch file photo)

Sure, the main event might be in Gettysburg.

But York County tourism officials are hoping the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg will bring some visitors -- and their money -- to this side of the border.

After all, the Civil War came to York as well.

In the days before the Union and Confederate armies clashed in Gettysburg, many troops marched through parts of York County.

Southern rebels passed through Hanover and Jefferson boroughs, destroying railroad bridges along the way.

Upon their arrival in York City on June 28, 1863, Confederates replaced the American flag with a rebel flag in the town square. The threat forced Pennsylvania militiamen to burn the bridge

across the Susquehanna River between Wrightsville and Columbia.

In terms of Civil War history, York County is perhaps best known for the Battle of Hanover, which hosted a cavalry skirmish that included the famous Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart.

'Great stories:' With the Gettysburg anniversary expected to draw tens of thousands to southcentral Pennsylvania during the next few weeks, the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau isn't passing up the opportunity to promote York's history with an unprecedented list of commemorative and educational events.

"If you need a break from the crowds ... there's a lot of history here in York County," spokeswoman Allison Freeman said. "We have great stories to tell here as well."

Among the events planned this summer: a walking tour of York City's Confederate occupation; a re-enactment of the Confederate raid on Hanover Junction; a commemorative luminary show marking the 150th anniversary of the Wrightsville-Columbia bridge burning; the opening of a Civil War exhibit at the York County Heritage Trust Museum; and a living-history Civil War encampment at Codorus State Park in Hanover.

Economic impact: The potential economic impact of the 150th anniversary in York is hard to estimate, but, "We're hoping it'll be significant," Freeman said.

Some York County hotels, especially those in Hanover, have been booked for months. Others, including campground spots, are filling up fast, Freeman said.

There should be benefits to local stores and restaurants too, she said.

Smart tourists will realize York County eateries will offer a reprieve from the congestion in Gettysburg.

"You won't have to wait three hours to get a table," Freeman said. "I think a lot of the restaurants in the Hanover area will probably see a lot of traffic."

Tourism officials have been planning for the 150th anniversary for years. The visitors bureau's 2013 guide features a re-enactor on its cover and Civil War history about each part of York County, Freeman said.

"As we get closer, it'll be on everybody's mind," she said. "Even if you are local and you've lived here for years, I think that you'll be sparked to maybe look a little deeper into Civil War history."

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

For a list of events planned in York County in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of The Civil War, head here.