Travel through York's long history at Saturday event

Jason Addy
York Dispatch

The York County History Center will throw a free family-friendly bash Saturday in downtown York City to launch the next phase of its fundraising campaign to build a historical campus.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Colonial Complex at 157 W. Market St., families can meet famous historical figures, learn how to dance like the old days, compete in history trivia competitions and learn about their ancestry, according to a news release.

From left, the Golden Plough Tavern and Gen. Gates House, both part of the Colonial Complex, are shown in York City, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Actors portraying founding father Ben Franklin and Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette will be at Saturday’s event to meet youngsters, and Lafayette will provide the opening toast for the event.

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Several performers will provide a Civil War music soundtrack for portions of the day, and families will be able to compete in old-fashioned games such as hoop-rolling relays, cup-and-ball competitions and nine pins, according to the release. 

Instructors will lead swing-dance lessons and presentations throughout the day, teaching the history and movements of the Balboa and the Lindy Hop.

An array of exhibits from the country’s first three centuries will be on display Saturday. 

A pitching cage will be set up for attendees to try their hand at throwing a baseball from the 1800s, while Civil War re-enactors from the 45th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company K will be handing out war-themed toys and doing 1860s magic, according to the release.

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The history center also will be guiding tours of the General Gates House and the Golden Plough Tavern during its event Saturday.

The center’s rare, locally manufactured 1911 Hart-Kraft truck will be on display, and a local antique auto restorer will speak about the vehicle’s history, according to the release. 

The center’s “Travel to the Past to Power Our Future” event will kickstart the public donation phase for its $20 million “Placing History at the Center” capital campaign. 

The $20 million goal includes $2 million in grants, $3 million in new-market and historic tax credits and $5 million from the silent and public fundraising phases. The $10 million raised in the capital campaign will then be matched with a $10 million redevelopment grant from the state, officials have said.

The public phase will run until Sept. 30.

History center officials are trying to raise the necessary funds to downsize its properties and holdings into a centralized campus near the Codorus Creek and West Philadelphia Street, using the former Met-Ed Steam Generating Plant.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit