York, Pennsylvania (population 40,862) began in 1741 when Thomas Cookson, deputy surveyor for Lancaster County, surveyed a parcel of land at the intersection of the Monocacy Trail and the Codorus Creek. His goal was to lay out a town in grid formation, similar to Philadelphia. One of the first buildings to be erected was the Golden Plough Tavern, which is still standing over 260 years later.
In September 1777 the Continental Congress, under threat of the advancing British, moved the colonies' central government from Philadelphia to Lancaster. Since Pennsylvania's state government was also located in Lancaster, officials decided that a move across the Susquehanna would separate the two sufficiently, and the Continental Congress set up shop in the Town of York.
It was in York that the Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving, and signed the French Treaty of Alliance. York remained capital of the United States until June 27, 1778.
Today, visitors to downtown York can view historic homes; a century-old farmers market; the York County Colonial Courthouse, where the Articles of Confederation were adopted; and 18th century buildings housing a museum complex. The Strand Performing Arts Center occupies the former Capitol Theatre, built in 1906 as a one-level dance hall and opera house, and the Strand Theatre, which opened in 1925 primarily for vaudeville and silent film.
Designated a Preserve America Community in May 2006.
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