December 9, 2022


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Mifflin House preservation just latest land-use battle in eastern York County

Susquehanna National Heritage Area’s Paul Nevin after gave a talk titled “Hero or Hooligan? The Thomas Cresap Story.”

His talk was promoted: To Pennsylvanians, Cresap was a monster. To Marylanders, he was a protector of the state’s northern frontier.

For his headquarters, Cresap chose potential Reduced Windsor Township’s Enjoyable Backyard, today’s Susquehanna NHA’s Zimmerman Center.

Cresap’s raid in 1737 and its aftermath triggered Britain’s King George II to buy the two warring provinces to stop their dispute by drawing a line, a border that later on was reinforced by the surveying team of Mason and Dixon in the 1760s.

That was the 1st of many periods that Lessen Windsor and neighboring Hellam Township have been concerned in land-use and environmental disputes.

The Lauxmont Farms residence dispute, circa 2005, was the most controversial problem in recent yrs. Susquehanna NHA was among the the opposition that finished in a settlement that resulted in today’s Highpoint and Indigenous Lands county parks and preservation of other stretches of the very best undeveloped farmland overlooking the Susquehanna in York County.

And Susquehanna NHA was a husband or wife in yet another major gain for preservationists in recent days: preserving Hellam Township’s Mifflin House.

Gateway to York County

Why have Hellam and Decrease Windsor townships been challenged by numerous land-use and environmental troubles that demanded citizen mobilization above the decades?

The controversies probably have occur since these townships hosted land settled by early pioneers moving across the Susquehanna just after 1730.

And Hellam Township right now remains the important gateway into jap York County and points west, with its greenery even now welcoming to these heading west.

Additional, the attractiveness of the Decreased Susquehanna location attracts each developers and good-progress backers, generating clashes inevitable.

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Good-growth champs

Warren and June Evans had been amid the most efficient wise-growth advocates in jap York County following they moved there in 1990.

The Evanses assisted sort the Horn Farm Middle in 2004 in the aftermath of an endeavor by Harley-Davidson to construct a new plant on pristine county-owned farmland in Hellam Township.

Eleven years afterwards, Warren Evans wrote a visitor column in the York Day by day File battling the excellent combat versus an previously mentioned-ground menace: air air pollution in Hellam Township.

In the clash above soybean processing plant emissions, Evans and others were being battling a freak of geography. The proposed Lancaster County processing plant was truly west of sections of Hellam Township. So prevailing winds carrying any pollution from the plant would clean throughout the York County aspect of the Susquehanna.

In his guest column, Evans was trying to find a variety of middle ground so that the processor could deliver a current market for soybean farmers and have clean air, way too. He called for installation of an emissions handle tool.

About the very same time, the Mifflin Property controversy erupted in Hellam Township, prompting comparable negotiations with a developer, Kinsley Equities. That clash targeted on proposed demolition of a stone household, the Mifflin Home, which had served as an Underground Railroad station, to make way for a warehouse. The Mifflin House’s grounds also served as a Confederate artillery position in the Civil War.

A person 2017 conference drew these kinds of a huge group that it experienced to be moved to the township garage. June Evans was element of that overflow viewers.

Susquehanna NHA played an crucial preservation job. Last week, the Conservation Fund procured the 88-acre Mifflin Dwelling house for $5.5 million. The fund is the momentary owner right until associates Susquehanna NHA and Preservation Pennsylvania acquire funding pledged for the Mifflin Household and its property.

Susquehanna NHA will spearhead a Susquehanna Discovery Middle, a visitor centre that will check out the region’s historical past.

Warren and June Evans, element of so numerous smart-expansion initiatives, died in 2017.

“I know June and Warren have been each passionate advocates for preserving Hellam Township’s specific rural landscape, natural environment and historical past,” Susquehanna NHA’s Mark Platts reported in an job interview, “so they’d be energized to know the internet site is saved and will grow to be a place for children and households to master about our vital heritage.”

Discovery heart explored

In the interview, Platts unpacked Susquehanna Discovery Centre programs.

He also responded to a query about the newest challenge going through the green hills of Hellam Township: a Love’s truck stop upcoming to the Horn Farm Heart.

Q. You should capture us up on the standing of the Susquehanna Discovery Heart.

A. The Discovery Heart involves adaptive use of the historic Mifflin barn advanced as a planet-class visitor spot for our two-county Countrywide Heritage Spot, comparable to what travelers practical experience at a National Park. It will function interactive reveals, galleries showcasing Susquehanna River art, program/occasion space, silo lookouts around the historic landscape to the river, reward shop/café and office room for our group and associates. The Mifflin Home will be restored as an Underground Railroad learning heart. The web site will be a put to welcome and introduce visitors to the nationally critical stories of our Susquehanna NHA, share the loaded historical past of the Mifflin web page alone and manual them to other heritage web-sites across York and Lancaster counties. We envision the SDC as part of a “big three” network of heritage hubs for our area, together with York County Record Center’s new steam plant website and LancasterHistory’s museum advanced. Guests will also be directed to heritage and outdoor attractions together the river and the quite a few scaled-down historic internet sites spread across each counties.

Scheduling for the SDC, Underground Railroad understanding centre and related heritage park services at the Mifflin farm will consider some time, very likely two to 4 many years, and involve lover organizations, other regional stakeholders and the Nationwide Park Support. Susquehanna NHA has arranged an invited group of neighborhood leaders to provide on a new Susquehanna Discovery Heart Activity Power to support us with task preparing and redevelopment of the site. We anticipate the project to be created in phases, commencing with preliminary general public accessibility like drives, parking and some trails, then renovation of the historic residence and finally adaptive use of the historic barn intricate as the Susquehanna Discovery Centre and installation of an Underground Railroad Heritage Path to a new riverfront park. All of this will need a significant two-county group funds campaign to raise personal money for the undertaking, alongside with further public grants. Complete cost for venture progress is believed at $10 million to $11 million and will likely choose five to eight many years. Operational funding will appear from federal and point out grants as a specified State and Nationwide Heritage Location, personal donations and endowments, and gained profits from people and facility use expenses.

The Mifflin House is a stone Hellam Township farmhouse with much of its original interior, as it was

The Mifflin Home is a stone Hellam Township farmhouse with much of its first interior, as it was

Q. What is the history powering the Mifflin Home?

A. We’re not the experts on this, at minimum not nevertheless, but we know a great deal from area historians and exploration by Preservation PA for National Sign-up of Historic Areas eligibility. Throughout the early 1800s, the Mifflin Property was a protected haven for independence seekers passing by means of Central Pennsylvania. Built for Susanna Wright and Jonathan Mifflin, a Revolutionary War veteran, upon their relationship in 1800, the property and farm, named “Hybla,” brought two distinguished Quaker households with each other — the Wrights of Columbia and the Mifflins of Philadelphia. The Mifflins, their sons and fellow Quakers from York and Columbia ended up lively in the Underground Railroad all through the early 19th century, with the Mifflin Dwelling serving as an important station in the clandestine network.

The Susquehanna River was a purely natural barrier to migration north by freedom seekers and the protected bridge at Wrightsville the only crossing concerning Port Deposit, Maryland, and Harrisburg. With support from local citizens like the Mifflins and Susanna’s spouse and children in Columbia, individuals escaping slavery identified safe and sound passage around the bridge or across the river by boat. 1 of their most dependable associates in these risky things to do was Robert Loney, a qualified Black boatsman from Columbia born enslaved in Virginia about 1815. Operating with the Mifflins, Loney ferried people across the large river, usually at night to steer clear of detection by slave catchers preserving enjoy at the bridge crossing. The nationally sizeable, very well-documented part of the Mifflin loved ones and their property in America’s historic Underground Railroad motion has been discovered suitable for listing in the Countrywide Sign-up and inclusion in the Nationwide Underground Railroad Community to Liberty.

After sale of the Mifflin farm to Jacob Huber in 1846, the site was at the center of American historical past the moment all over again through the June 28, 1863, Civil War battle amongst Union militia and Accomplice troops, just before the included bridge across the Susquehanna was burned to halt the invaders’ progress. Accomplice cannons positioned on the entrance garden of the Mifflin residence fired on Union defenders in Wrightsville. Historians say only a single fighter was killed in the fight — an African American house guardsman preventing for the Union. This engagement set the phase for the Battle of Gettysburg 3 times later on.

Which is a ton of historical past for one particular house and farm in jap York County!

Q. What are the times in historical past and individuals from historical past that the Susquehanna Discovery Centre will spotlight?

A. We have a good deal of arranging, study and community engagement however to do just before we work that all out. We know the home will be restored as a studying center focused on the Underground Railroad tale and the surrounding heritage park will include interpretive trails centered on both that record and the Civil War struggle that engulfed the farm in 1863. We specially want the Underground Railroad center to spotlight the braveness and sacrifices of individuals escaping slavery, since they ended up the individuals in the community to liberty who took the biggest dangers of all. The Discovery Heart in the barn complicated will provide a much larger purpose, introducing readers to the nationally critical stories of our overall two-county Nationwide Heritage Region. From our just about completed NHA Management Plan, we know these tales will incorporate how the Susquehanna has formed this put and its individuals, the Native People who to start with inhabited this area, our area’s position as a cultural fireside for our nation and the main turning factors in American record that played out throughout York and Lancaster counties. In other text, we have plenty to share here!

Q. What else would you like the general public to know about the Susquehanna Discovery Heart?

A. This is a huge, visionary venture that will choose a lot of several years to entire, so we ask individuals to be affected person as we determine it all out, find the cash to make it materialize and open up it to the public in phases. Every person can help along the way, by taking part in the arranging to occur and building donations to aid us pay back for it all.

Q. Is Susquehanna NHA element of the opposition to the proposed truck stop or associated in any way?

A. Susquehanna NHA has not yet engaged publicly in the Love’s truck halt concern. Nonetheless, I am incredibly involved about its influence on our plans for the Mifflin web-site and on the adjacent Horn Farm Centre, whose board I served on as a charter member with June and Warren Evans practically 20 a long time ago. This just does not appear like the appropriate web page for a major trucking centre. Also, as a previous urban planner, I’ve seemed at Hellam Township’s zoning ordinance, which supplies for at least a person other zoning district elsewhere in the township where this kind of a truck prevent is authorized by exclusive exception. In that scenario, Love’s should not be ready to get approval for the venture on the web site along Route 30, because it’s not permitted there by right or by particular exception.

Sources: York Every day File data files,,

Jim McClure is the retired editor of the York Daily Document and has authored or co-authored nine guides on York County background. Access him at [email protected]

This short article initially appeared on York Everyday Document: Mifflin Property preservation most up-to-date land-use battle in japanese York County