Click photo to enlarge
The repairs being made to the Stewartstown station platform overhang is part of a longer-term project to upgrade the main roof on the station building and repair and repaint its exterior woodwork (including windows). The Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad has been helping the railroad both financially and with volunteers on this project and also the roof repair project on the railroad's Turnpike station. submitted

This cover story is a continuation highlighting the historical and preservation societies in York County.

The Weekly Record will feature information on others in the months to come.

These groups preserve the stories of our small towns; some have museums, others sponsor walking tours, lectures and other special events.

Spring Grove area

THE SPRING GROVE HISTORICAL & PRESERVATION SOCIETY operates a museum in the community center at 50 N. East St., Spring Grove.

The items on display tell the story of the town, from the Glatfelter Paper Mill to the historic homes and churches, museum curator Robert Spangler said.

"We have three rooms, each with a different theme: schools, community and artifacts. When school children come, we like to show them an appreciation of their heritage, how people lived years ago," Spangler said. "We have a kitchen set up with a cook-stove and kitchen table, an ice box and a Hoosier cabinet, a small rope bed and a baby crib."

The society publishes the Ripplet, a newsletter named for the newspaper once published in the town. It continues to develop its museum and searches for a way to preserve the Hoke farmhouse, he said.

The stone house, built circa 1749 and once a tavern along the Monocacy Trail, now sits vacant, in poor condition and facing an uncertain future.

While Rutter's, the current owner, has no immediate plans for the site, it is possible the building will be torn down at some point.

The historical society would like to see it relocated, restored and used for tours. Spangler admits it would be a costly project, but he is not ready to give up on the dream of saving the building.

The historical society museum is open from 9 to 11:30 Thursdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays, except for holidays and holiday weekends.

For details, call 717-225-0732 or e mail SGAHPSociety@comcast.net.

Codorus Valley

THE CODORUS VALLEY AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, organized in 1988, has a museum in the former schoolhouse on Baltimore Street in Jefferson, President Terry Koller said.

The group holds nine formal meetings that feature a guest speaker with discussion on a variety of topics, he said. There is a strawberry festival in June, a picnic in August and a Christmas party in December.

"We're not real active. We have a lot of older members and they don't like to take bus trips. I would like to get them interested in a trip to Dill's Tavern and a trip to East Berlin," he said.

Topics for future programs might include the history of Seven Valleys, covered bridges, former mills and quarries and a walking tour of Jefferson, he said.

The society will be part of the dedication of a plaque to be placed along the Heritage Rail Trail to commemorate Seven Valleys, thought to be the first place to ship ice cream by train.

Next summer, the society will participate in events at the Hanover Junction train station marking an attack by a battalion of Virginia Cavalry in the days leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg.

The museum is open by appointment only. The society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Call Koller at 717-292-4512 for more information.

Wellsville area

THE WELLSVILLE AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY was organized, at least in part, to restore the town's one-room schoolhouse.

"That has been our main project," society President Attorney John Bergdoll said.

The effort to restore the Little Red Schoolhouse on Ziegler Road was led by society member and retired teacher Judy Weber, he said.

The restored brick school, built between 1860 and 1890, gives visitors a first-hand look at schools of an earlier time, when classrooms included blackboards and pictures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and computers did not exist.

A new hardwood floor replaced the original, damaged thanks to a leaky roof, and appropriate furniture was added.

"We have had people donate desks that are historically appropriate. People have reached out to us with a variety of donations, including Indian artifacts," Bergdoll said.

The desks were arranged in rows and students sat side by side, he said.

Much of the town was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"We have a different array of historic buildings in Wellsville," Bergdoll said.

Wellsville was named for Abraham Wells, who started a whip factory there in 1843. The whips, of excellent quality, made it one of the of the leading establishments of its kind in the country.

During the Civil War the firm made artillery whips and army belts for the U.S. government.

Meetings of the Wellsville Area Historical Society are held quarterly, at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of February, May, August and November, in the Little Red Schoolhouse.

Northern York County

THE NORTHERN YORK COUNTY HISTORICAL AND PRESERVATION SOCIETY continues to gather the history of the area as it looks to make history available to more people.

The society covers the townships and boroughs that make up the Northern York County School District including Dillsburg, where Dill's Tavern and the Maple Shade Barn are located. Both are owned by the society, Vice President Peggie Williams said.

The barn includes a gift shop and a museum with displays on the history of each township and borough, and stories of the early industries and families.

The society meets there, and the building is also available for rental for meetings and social functions, she said.

Future plans include the addition of a larger museum with permanent and rotating exhibits and period rooms, Williams said.

A variety of activities take place at Dill's Tavern, which also includes a Wheelwrights Shop and soon will include a historic barn.

"We are dismantling a log barn built in the 1800s in Franklin Township. It will be rebuilt, beam by beam, on a stone foundation being built next to Dill's Tavern," Williams said.

The tavern, at 227 N. Baltimore St., Dillsburg, offers dining and features preservation workshops, cooking classes using the squirrel-tail oven, a weekend seminar on 18th century subjects titled Tavern Days, a blacksmithing class, a home-brewing beer festival called Balderdash and Pirate Night featuring a pirate band from New Jersey performing 19th century seafaring songs. More information is available at DillsTavern.org.

The Northern York County Historical and Preservation Society meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, at the Maple Shade Barn, 35 Greenbriar Lane, Dillsburg. For details, visit www.northernyorkhistorical.org. or call 717-502-1440.

Stewartstown Railroad

FRIENDS OF THE STEWARTSTOWN RAILROAD is a nonprofit organization hoping to preserve the 7.4 miles of track between Stewartstown and New Freedom.

The Friends are independent of the railroad company and hope to raise money to pay off a debt, make necessary repairs to the track and get the railroad up and running again.

"We ran excursions in the 1980s and had a list of volunteers who were interested in keeping the railroad in operation," said Raymond Reter, a founding member of the group.

In order to do that, the group has to raise money to pay back loans provided over time to keep the railroad in operation, he said.

"While we thought they were gifts to the railroad, we learned that actually they were loans and must be repaid," Reter said. "We had lots of questions and, as friends, decided the one thing we can do is to try to start a fund and save the railroad."

He estimates it will cost $500,000 to retire the lien and other debts and to get the railroad back in business. Once it is up and running it can sustain itself, he said.

The group has made repairs to the most seriously deteriorated portions of the station roof. They plan to repair the remaining sections of the roof, pave the parking lot and try to do repairs to the track, he said.

"We started in 2009 to raise funds and now we are in a different economy entirely, with people concerned about jobs. The donations are coming in slowly, but we are hopeful that we will reach our goal," Reter said.

More information is available at www.stewartstownrailroad.com.