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Shrewsbury Historic District

Shrewsbury Boro, York County, PA

The Shrewsbury Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1]

The Shrewsbury Historic District, part of the Codorus Creek drainage system, lies within a shallow, basin-shaped depression formed in York County's southern upland; originally delineated as an elongated rectangle, roughly 1 by 1/2 miles; its long axis paralleled the Baltimore-York Turnpike and its central crossroads was situated at the basin's lowermost portion. The historic structures radiate from this intersection, especially lining N. and S. Main Street (the Turnpike), the main cross street, and two ancillary streets in the basin's bottom.

The earliest structures (pre-1800), characteristically German, are of log. The borough's outlying area has a few stone, 1 1/2 story settler's cabins, many built over springs. Eleven homes are of Georgian/Federal influence, five are Flemish bond; these reflect the wealth of Shrewsbury's Turnpike Period (1810-40); they have fine interior and exterior appointments; some have moulded-brick cornices. Particularly interesting are the foundations of S. Main's west side. Many are done in fine, blue-grey shist ashlars; one foundation has interspersed blocks of contrasting brown sandstone. Coevally constructed were lesser houses of log, frame and brick; many reflect a blend of English and Germanic styling.

This blending metamorphosed into a strong vernacular style evident in post 1840 buildings. It is typified by a 2 1/2 story, 3 bay (from modified 2/3 Georgian) balanced facade — built in log, brick and especially frame — with single or double-end chimneys and 6/6 fenestration. Decoration was limited and trim and cornices remained simple although subtle variations are evident. This vernacular reflects the inhabitant's character and pragmatism; also architecturally manifest are the borough's paradoxical development patterns: the borough and its inhabitants alternatively shaping the other, the synthesized status quo then confronting a radically different wave of immigrants.

Evident, especially in the cornice work of antebellum buildings, are adapted elements of Classical and Greek Revivalism. The 1853 Odd Fellows Hall stands as the area's finest example of the period. Post 1860 structures were functional, but certain Victorian decorations were eagerly adopted; particularly sharp-peaked V-dormers and Queen Anne bay windows. Numbers of the both of these were added to earlier structures. There exists one outstanding 1870 Victorian mansion and two well executed Romanesque Revival Churches.

It should be noted that the District contains 27 log cabins and that approximately 50% of Main Street's streetscape was constructed prior to 1860.

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

See: Shrewsbury Borough — Beginnings

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Church Avenue West • Forrest Avenue East • Forrest Avenue West • Highland Drive North • Highland Drive South • Linden Avenue East • Linden Avenue West • Main Street North • Main Street South • Maple Avenue East • Maple Avenue West • Park Street North • Park Street South • Pine Street • Playground Avenue • Reservoir Avenue • Sunset Drive North • Sunset Drive South • Walnut Avenue East • Walnut Avenue West