Old York Road
|Old York Road|
|Existed:||1711 – present|
|South end:||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|North end:||Elizabeth, New Jersey|
Old York Road (originally York Road) is a roadway that was built in the 18th century to connect Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with New York City, New York. Through New Jersey it was built along the Raritan (Unami tribe) "Naraticong Trail". The Swift Sure Stage Coach Line completed the journey between the two cities in two days and cost only a few dollars.
Old York Road was laid out from New Hope to Philadelphia between 1711 and 1771. Its start (or end) point was at the intersection of Fourth and Vine Streets. A 1960s urban redevelopment project removed most of Old York Road between Vine and Spring Garden Streets, although a remnant remains as the unmarked alley midway between 5th and 4th Streets at Willow Street. North of Spring Garden Street, the Old York Road ran through Lower North Philadelphia along today's Fifth Street.
A section still named Old York Road begins at the intersection of Germantown Avenue and West Westmoreland Street in the Rising Sun/Franklinville neighborhood of North Philadelphia. The road continues north and runs concurrently with PA 611 at the intersection with North Broad Street and Oak Lane in the East Oak Lane neighborhood in North Philadelphia.
Old York Road deviates from PA 611, at the intersection with Easton Road in Willow Grove where it runs concurrently with PA 263. North of the Abington Twp.-Upper Moreland Twp. border at PA 63, this section is called York Road, as some sections of the original road deviate, carrying the name Old York Road. This occurs in the village of Hartsville, which sits astride the border of Warminster and Warwick Twp. as well as the village of Bridge Valley in Buckingham, about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of where PA 263/York Road joins US 202. A 7-arch stone bridge, built in 1799, still stands on Old York Road in Bridge Valley, but was only open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic since that section of road was bypassed by the 4-lane York Road in 1965 until the bridge was closed to foot traffic by a cyclone fence at each end in 2010. The section of PA 263/York Road from Sugar Bottom Rd. to PA 413 in Buckingham Twp. was resurfaced in 2008-09 for the first time since the 1965 widening, and the section through Warwick Twp. was scheduled to be repaved in 2010-11, but as of the autumn of 2012, that repaving had not yet taken place.
In Lahaska, Old York Road follows US-202 as Lower York Road. Old York Road follows PA 179 into New Hope, as Bridge Street. It briefly deviates and rejoins PA 179. The road forks ahead, with Ferry Street going southeast and Bridge Street going northeast. Bridge Street carries PA 179 across the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge, into New Jersey. The original bridge was built in 1814 and replaced twice after floods. The newest bridge was built in 1904 and provides the closest route to the original Old York Road.
Ferry Street ends at the location of the first ferry dock of John Wells. In 1719, John Wells was given a license to establish a ferry at this location, two years after he bought the land. The Pennsylvania Assembly eventually gave John Wells sole right to operate a ferry from this spot after Thomas Canby attempted to compete with the service. The small village became known as Well's Ferry. Thomas Canby's son, Benjamin later bought the ferry service from Wells. In 1764, John Coryell, who operated a ferry from New Jersey bought the Pennsylvania ferry service from Benjamin Canby. The village later carried the names of Canby's Ferry and Coryell's Ferry before receiving the name New Hope after a 1790 fire.
Old York Road began at Coryell's Ferry, which was on Emanuel Coryell's property between Church Street and Swan Creek (for which Swan Street is named) in Lambertville. Although this was not the first ferry operated from the New Jersey side, Coryell purchased land here and began operating a ferry service in 1732. The village on the New Jersey began to be known as Coryell's Ferry. The original route followed Main Street to York Street and briefly joined up with NJ 179, the modern Old York Road.
It continues on NJ 179 with three deviations, including one at Mount Airy, before crossing under US 202. NJ 179 ends in Ringoes and Old York Road continues on the beginning of CR 514. At Reaville in East Amwell, Old York Road leaves CR 514 and joins CR 613. CR 613 ends at Pleasant Run Road in Centerville in Readington, but Old York Road continues across it and crosses US 202 in Branchburg. Old York Cellars is a winery located on Old York Road in Ringoes.
Centerville was so named because of its position between Philadelphia and New York, which made it a resting place for the coaches, which originally took two days to complete the journey. Old York Road then follows CR 637 across US 202 again and joins CR 567 until Raritan, New Jersey.
In Raritan, it follows Somerset Street (CR 626) and joins up with Main St (NJ 28) in Somerville. Old York Road continues to follow East Main Street, which becomes concurrent with CR 533 in Finderne in Bridgewater.
A ferry left from Elizabethtown Point in Elizabeth to Holland's Hook (now Port Ivory) on Staten Island beginning in 1736 by Adoniah Schuyler. Holland Hook was named for the early settlers, who came from Holland, but later the name evolved to Howland Hook.
- Old York Road Historical Society (Covers the history of the Pennsylvania portion, which goes from Philadelphia to New Hope.)