Goldsboro Borough

York County, Pennsylvania

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Goldsboro municipal offices are located at 53 North York Street, Etters PA 17319.
Phone: 717‑938‑3456.

Beginnings [1]

In a speculative venture during the construction of the new line in 1849, a York physician, Dr. Alexander Small, hired Daniel Ettinger to lay out the new town of Goldsboro[1], named for the civil engineer of the York and Cumberland line. Goldsboro was the first planned rail community in York County, and the last county town to be laid out on a Philadelphia grid plan with a center square. Of the other York County towns which were laid out during the mid to late 19th century, none were planned quite so formally as Goldsboro; in many of these later towns, modified grid plans were simply imposed over an existing spider web of roads.

When the railroad opened in 1851, Goldsboro became the only water stop on the line. Because of this, and because of its favorable location at the mouth of the productive Fishing Creek Valley, Goldsboro soon developed into a locally important shipping point and commercial center. Much of the business of the Fishing Creek Valley passed through Goldsboro, and with this interaction, the standard array of small town businesses sprang up in part to serve Goldsboro, but more importantly to serve the rural hinterland. The coming of the railroad brought several industries to the area as well. The Goldsboro vicinity had a grist mill since c. 1750, which by the mid to late nineteenth century, under the A. & S. Small Co., had grown to process most of the grain produced by the Fishing Creek Valley. A brownstone quarry near the site of Goldsboro had been operating since the 1810's, and had produced the columns and steps for the state Capitol building at Harrisburg, as well as stone for the Cumberland county jail at Carlisle. However, the railroad, in conjunction with the large amounts of raw lumber moving down the Susquehanna during much of the nineteenth century made river towns such as Goldsboro ideal spots for sawmills.

Goldsboro is described in the 1856 York Gazette and Business Directory as "...a flourishing village...doing a large business in lumber and produce. There are two steam saw-mills in the place! One manufacturing upwards of three millions of feet of sawed lumber, of various kinds, annually. It has two upright saws, one slitting saw, and a gang slitting saw for manufacturing siding, and six circular saws, set in operation by a '80' horsepower steam engine, owned and conducted under the firm of Small and Stair and Co." (Life and Times of Goldsboro, p. 18-19) The other mill mentioned was begun by Isaac Frazer in 1853. Frazer became over the next 35 years, the dominant business force in Goldsboro. In addition to his sawmill, he operated a wholesale business, and in 1873 took over the Small and Stair Sawmill, which had become known as the Atlantic Sawmill by that time. "In the lumber trade he did on an immense business, supplying not only supply orders of purchasers of the surrounding country, but even those of other towns and cities." (The Life and Times of Goldsboro, p. 39) Frazer was the major employer in Goldsboro through much of the late nineteenth century. "It was mainly through his industry and thrift that the town prospered." (p. 39) Other industries in the town included cigar factories, box factories, and more recently, a sewing factory. A small garment factory still operates in the former school building.

  1. Barshinger, Jay R., Historic York Inc., Goldsboro Historic District, nomination document, 1983, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Nearby Towns: Fairview Township • Manchester Boro • Mount Wolf Boro • Steelton Boro • Swatara Township • York Haven Boro •

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