COVID-19 case counts rise in York County alongside increasing demand for hospital beds

'Fabric of York' reborn: Century-old rail building overhauled

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
The recently renovated Western Maryland Railway Freight Office, now home to The Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County, is shown in York City, Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Renovations to a more than 100-year-old building that York City officials have called "the fabric of York" are complete, and the new tenants say the makeover has left them with a great new office space.

The Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County, which works to preserve agricultural and environmental landscapes, on Oct. 1 officially moved into the historic Western Maryland Railway Freight Office at the intersection of North George Street and Arch Street.

“I’ve been here pretty much every business day since the start,” said Sean Kenny, executive director of the trust. “And I absolutely love the building."

Before the renovations, the 2,684-square-foot brick building long sat vacant. It was one of the few remaining buildings in the area that had been left untouched by repair. 

Sean Kenny, the executive director of The Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County, is shown in his office located in the recently renovated Western Maryland Railway Freight Office in York City, Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. The Farm & Natural Lands Trust moved into the building on Oct. 1. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The freight building was built in 1896 and was last used as a transfer station for grain.

In September 2019, however, the city's Historical Architectural Review Board approved Kinsley Properties' design to renovate the building.

Kinsley Properties did not respond to multiple phone calls inquiring about the costs of renovations.

While Kenny said both the location and the view it provides is a big improvement over the trust's previous office, COVID-19 mitigation efforts have prevented him from feeling the full experience.

However, he said, he looks forward to a return to normalcy.

“This block really has a lot going on,” Kenny said. “It’s going to be exciting when all the activities commence here.”

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.