YORK, PA – Wrightsville is leading the charge to attract history buffs to York County, Pennsylvania. Two new Civil War Trails signs were installed at historically significant locations across the borough on December 8, 2021. These sites give insight into the unique role Wrightsville played in the Civil War.
The first, located at Wrightsville Commons Park on Walnut St., tells the harrowing tale of Pennsylvania militiamen retreating across the Wrightsville-Columbia Bridge before burning the bridge to prevent Confederate troops from advancing into Lancaster County. The second, located on Hellam St. near the intersection with N. 3rd St., recounts a conversation between a Confederate general and the wife of a union army doctor the morning after the infamous bridge-burning.
Together with the initial signs completed in June 2019 on Cherry Street, the borough is bringing the road to the Battle of Gettysburg to life for Civil War enthusiasts. The Wrightsville signs are networked with over 1,400 other Civil War Trails sites across six states. Marketed internationally by state tourism offices, destination marketing organizations, and municipal partners, these signs attract an eager audience to see the educational product and provide an economic boost to the communities that house these signs.
Wrightsville community leaders, historians, and other stakeholders in the local tourism industry will celebrate the completion of this year’s long project with a ribbon-cutting on December 21, 2021, at 2 p.m. in Wrightsville Commons Park.
According to the Civil War Trails team, their sites saw record visitation in 2019, and they are experiencing an increasingly younger traveler. Since these signs are part of an “open-air museum” experience, the program promoted safe and responsible travel throughout 2020 and 2021.
“We deliver economic development by the carload,” said Drew Gruber, executive director of Civil War Trails, Inc. “As visitors explore these sites and stories, they also enjoy local eats and drinks, arts and antiques, places to hike, bike, and they are always looking to stay in unique lodgings, too.”
Not only was Wrightsville’s geographic position a strategic target for the Confederate army but also today as a gateway from the northeast into the Civil War Trails. These new signs place Wrightsville at the northernmost section of the six-state program, making it a perfect place for history travelers from the north to start their journey.
“I want the rich Civil War history of Wrightsville, Columbia, York, Hanover, and all points in between to lead up to the yearly three-day gathering at Gettysburg,” said Borough Councilman Don Bair. “These Civil War Trails markers will act as one beacon, after the next, after the next, until the final destination of Gettysburg has been reached.”
Explore York, the county’s destination marketing organization, is excited to see the program expand. “Visitors interested in the Civil War consider the central Pennsylvania region to be a treasure trove of information,” said Melissa Beaverson, marketing director for Explore York. “The more hidden gems we can provide these avid consumers of information, the more they will linger and hopefully return to our area for years to come.”
To learn more about the Civil War Trails program, visit http://www.civilwartrails.org and @civilwartrails on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Explore York’s Mission is to maximize tourism expenditures and their economic impact in York County, PA, through comprehensive tourism sales and marketing programs. Explore York’s Vision is for a York County where tourism is recognized for the value of its economic impact and its role in raising the profile of York County as a sought-after destination. For more information on the Explore York, call 1-888-858-9675 or visit www.yorkpa.org.