"The Susquehanna Trail Association was established in Williamsport, on February 2nd, 1917; it
was modeled after the successful nationwide Lincoln Highway Association, founded four years
earlier.The Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association immediately selected
State Route 4, which had existed for several years between Harrisburg and Williamsport, as their
first road segment of the Susquehanna Trail.... By the fall of 1917, the Board of Governors
selected the route they would champion north from Williamsport to the New York State line.
Williamsport Chamber of Commerce favored placing the Susquehanna Trail through Gettysburg
over a route through York, However, the full Board of Governors would ultimately decide if
Gettysburg or York would get the Susquehanna Trail."
"Yorkers sprang into action to attract the Susquehanna Trail. They planned for the visit by the
Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association, who favored a York County route
through Dillsburg, Wellsville, and Dover. The York Committee planned to propose a better route
through Emigsville, Manchester Borough, York Haven Borough, and Newberrytown. For those
familiar with the Susquehanna Trail, north of York, you realize that neither of these routes
ultimately became the final route of The Trail."
"In 1923, it had been five years since York was selected over Gettysburg as the southern
extension city on the Susquehanna Trail. The concrete Trail from York to the Maryland line was
completed by the end of 1923. However, the laying of concrete over most of the Trail between
York and Harrisburg was barely underway by the end of 1923. York had been successful in
diverting funds to improve the roadway between York and York Haven, before doing hardly any
work on the Trail route between York and Newberrytown. This was the reason why over100
people traveling the unimproved Trail between York and Newberrytown were still getting stuck in
the mud during 1923."
This prompted the Williamsport Chamber of Commerce to send speakers to push for their
original Trail route through towns, such as Gettysburg, Thurmont, Frederick and Rockville. They
believed this would provide more travelers from the South going to New York to stop in
Williamsport. They actively fired-up these communities on their cause to bypass York and
demand a route change. Susquehanna Trail route signs where even put up by them on the route
they wanted. These actions backfired because it only kick-start the work on improving the
Susquehanna Trail between York and Harrisburg. As a result, York County did not lose the
Susquehanna Trail. In 1927, PA Route 4 Susquehanna Trail was renumbered and became US
In 1952, a new expressway opened from Yocumtown to the PA Turnpike. In 1956, it opened to
Strinestown. Then in the early 60's, the expressway known as I-83 (one of PA's first interstates)
was finished in York County. By 1963 (less than 40 years of primary use in York County), US 111
(Susquehanna Trail) was decommissioned.
Ironically, I-83 parallels the Susquehanna Trail, connections Baltimore through York County but
stops in Harrisburg. On the other hand, Route 15, which starts in the South and goes to New York
State, does go through both Gettysburg and Williamsport, bypasses York, and follows much of
the original Susquehanna Trail once it is above Harrisburg. It is still the main route from
Harrisburg to Williamsport. The Williamsport Chamber of Commerce got their wish. However, the
route still goes through many towns and is mostly two lanes. Instead of getting stuck in the mud,
you get stuck in traffic. Today, the main route from the South to New York State is I-81 which
bypasses both York and Williamsport.