If you are a follower of York County, Pennsylvania news, you probably heard about the former York city hall building being renovated for use by the city’s police force. The city leadership should be commended for utilizing the building rather than starting from scratch on new construction.
A major task that needed to be performed was clearing out the attic area which was filled with old records and assorted paper memorabilia from the past century, as shown in the photograph below. Some items were donated to either the Pennsylvania State Archives or the York County Heritage Trust Library. The city will display other items that they felt were too valuable to part with.
Emily Opilo, City Reporter for the York Daily Record, spent some time with the crew performing this task, and was gracious enough to allow me to share some of her photographs. You can read the story she wrote here.
I was sad to learn that truckloads of paper items were discarded as they were not deemed historic enough to preserve. Some were scanned and preserved digitally, only to have the originals tossed away. I was invited to visit to see the work being performed, but scheduling prevented me from doing so.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…
I’m a firm believer that what one considers trash, another may find to be quite valuable. The value I’m referring to is not meant to mean monetary, but instead means historical value. It’s an unfortunate fact that items connected to York County’s history are discarded each and every day because the owners no longer find them valuable, or they do not have the means to care for them any longer.
What people fail to realize is there are some who find these items historically significant and would gladly save them from a life in the local landfill or incinerator. For example, take a look at the meat and milk ordinance booklets above. These are obscure pieces of local history, but would certainly be an interesting read for the right person.
Every item has a story to tell…
Each and every piece of local memorabilia has a story to tell, but the key is taking the time to listen to what it is trying to teach us. One of my favorite things to do is take an ordinary item, such as the vaccination certificate from my collection and shown below, and research the purpose it served as well as the people who are connected to it. It’s amazing what we can learn from such pieces of history.
Let me take this time to plead with you…
Before this story swerves into the path of me just rambling on, let me share the point I’m trying to get across. If you come across any old local memorabilia that is no longer valuable to you, DO NOT THROW IT AWAY no matter how plain and ordinary it may seem. There are many people that would be happy to care for items like that, including myself.
To learn more about the items in my current collection and what interests me, feel free to visit my York County Memorabilia Page.
I love sharing the memorabilia in my collection with the community as a way to teach them about the past. The photograph above shows one of the display boxes that I use to share my items with others. When an event that I’m participating in takes place I can easily transport the boxes and the memorabilia inside is safe and sound. Why have something if it will spend it’s life tucked away in a box or a drawer?
With that said, be aware that the box of York County “junk” you are ready to toss out to the trash might be a real treat for another person. When in doubt, ask!
- What is the item you cherish most in your collection, whether it has a York County connection or not?