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Colonial York Day takes locals back 275 years

Christopher Dornblaser

Locals walking by the colonial complex Saturday afternoon got to see what life was like for Yorkers in simpler times.

Sariah Cooper, 15, of Springettsbury Township, plays The Game of Graces during Colonial York Day on Saturday. Amanda J. Cain photo

Colonial York Day, a free event hosted by the York County History Center, took over South Pershing Avenue between West Market Street and West Philadelphia Street, where re-enactors had the opportunity to show and tell people what life was like back in the time of the Revolutionary War.

Celebration: Dara Kane, museum educator for the history center, helped organized the event, which she said was started to celebrate the 275th birthday of York City. About 60 people came dressed  for the part to help with the day.

Dan Roe, vice president of interpretation at the history center, said the event was a good way to teach people York City's role in the Revolutionary War, such as the courthouse being where the Articles of Confederation were drafted.

"Many Yorkers played an important part in the war," he said.

The replica colonial courthouse was open to the public, and those who went in had a chance to ring the bell. Additionally, Roe said, it was a good way to teach people what life was like for York residents in that time period.

Re-enactors: Among the many re-enactors was Windsor Township resident David Hospador, commander of the re-enactment group Third Pennsylvania Regiment Light Infantry Co. They were dressed in Revolutionary War-era attire and were situated in a tent that had displays of various pieces of clothing and muskets.

"Everybody's like 'I had no idea how important this place was!' " Hospador said.

Rich Pawling, a history interpreter and former Millersville University geography professor, was also educating those in attendance. He was teaching people about Conestoga wagons, and he showed a cigar called the "Conestoga cigar," which helped popularize the term "stogie."

He said he was also teaching people the connections that the area has with history and emphasized its importance.

"You understand the past and you can understand the present," he said. "Then you have a view into the future."


For the younger audience, re-enactors were out in the street playing games such as bowling, hoop and stick, and a game called "graces," where players were tasked with catching a small ring with a stick. Jonah Rodriguez, 13, of Springettsbury Township, was with his family playing the game.

Jonah said he had been there before on a school field trip, but this time it was different. He had spent more than two hours there.

"It's cool to experience what the colonials used to experience," Jonah said.

Brad Weirich of York City was walking around the Bobb House, where many Revolutionary War items were on display.

"There's just so much history in York," he said, adding it was wonderful that people were getting to experience it.

Those looking to experience more York history may visit to find out about upcoming events and tour times.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.