Bob Bair was reading an Old Farmers Almanac when he came across something interesting.
"It was something about York County, Seven Valleys," said Bair, 53, of Wrightsville. "The article indicated that a gentleman in the 1850s built a commercial ice cream factory in Seven Valleys. He really made York County the birthplace of the ice cream industry."
The gentleman was Jacob Fussell, a Baltimore milk dealer who is the first person to commercially distribute ice cream in the United States.
"He perfected the ice cream and built a tremendous market in Baltimore," Bair said. "York County products were being sent to Baltimore."
Bair, president of Red Lion Grange No. 1781, a community service organization, said he researched Fussell and learned that Fussell also used ice from Codorus Creek for the ice cream.
Thanks to Bair's research and a request form the Grange, a new Pennsylvania historical marker will be placed in the Seven Valleys area to honor Fussell's achievement.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission approved that marker and 13 others at its April 23 meeting.
There are close to 2,200 blue-and-gold lettered signs installed along roadways in the state, honoring notable people, places and events.
The organizations receiving markers are responsible for installation costs, Bair said. He said the Grange has set aside more than $2,000 to pay for installation and to hold a ceremony for the marker's unveiling when it's ready.
"We hope the marker will be ready in July," Bair said. "That's National Ice Cream Month."
There are two possible locations for the marker, he said. One location is along Route 214, where Fussell's factory was located until about 1854. He eventually moved his business to Baltimore, according to Bair.
The other possible marker site is the York Heritage Rail Trail area near the Route 214 bridge, he said.
"More people would see it and be made aware of another historical event that occurred in York County," Bair said.
-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at 505-5438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.