york haven early

Heritage: York & Cumberland Railroad, Northern Central Railway

CT 1000, 1945: Eastern Region, Central Pennsylvania Division, Philadelphia Division, Northern Central Railway

Maryland Division ETT, 1954: Eastern Region, Philadelphia Division, Northern Central Branch

York Haven, located at the foot of the Conewago Rapids of the Susquehanna River, was laid out in 1814. The town was an important port on the Pennsylvania canal system and was the site of many mills. Keel boats brought wheat to the town for milling, after which time it would be wagoned to Baltimore. Business at York Haven would remain brisk until the railroad was built in the 1850s.


The York Haven Paper Mill was constructed in the late 1880s and was water-powered.

The York Haven Quarries, of pure dolerite, were owned by the Northern Central Railway and provided stones for many bridges and public buildings. The stone was used in 1883 for a decorative wall outside the Capitol in Washington, as well as for a new railroad bridge in Harrisburg.

Valuation Maps

PRR.NC.v2.PA 033 1919 MP68 York Haven M001361

PRR.NC.v2.PA-033_1919_MP68_-_York_Haven (PRRT&HS)

PRR.NC.v2.PA 033 1948 MP68 York Haven M011180

PRR.NC.v2.PA-033_1948_MP68_-_York_Haven (PRRT&HS)


PRR.NC.v2.PA 033 1955 MP68 York Haven M001362

PRR.NC.v2.PA-033_1955_MP68_-_York_Haven (PRRT&HS)


Sanborn Maps

York Haven1913 sheet01 York Haven1913 sheet02
york haven early York Haven 1972 York Haven in June 1972, during Tropical Storm Agnes. The paper mill and the station are visible.


Order is south to north. Distance from Baltimore (passenger station)...

Station (MP 96.4)

ykhaven yorkhaven
yorkhavenstation 1971 York Haven station in 1971.  YHPb

Southern Kraft Corp. Nos. 2, 3, 4 & 5 (MP 96.4)

Southern Kraft Corp. No. 1 (MP 96.6)


Metropolitan-Edison Co. No. 1 (MP 96.6)

Metropolitan-Edison Co. No. 2 (MP 96.7)

The York Haven Paper Company was incorporated January 1, 1885. In addition to building the paper mill, the company constructed a crib dam just below the Conewago Falls and widened the old canal to use as a headrace for its water turbines. The crib dam was required because the paper mill required a much bigger pool of water, compared to the pool of water required for the flouring mills. The York Haven Paper Company extracted 2,100-horsepower of hydropower, from the fall of the river water, to operate their paper mill.

At the time it was built, the York Haven Paper Company was the largest ground pulp paper mill in the United States. Between 1885 and 1895 the biggest customer for their newsprint was the New York Herald Tribune.

In 1895, the York Haven Power Company built a power plant to the riverside of the paper mill. To get the necessary water flow to the power plant, this necessitated expanding the southern part of the crib dam even further out into the river. Also by 1904, the Power Company constructed a shallow wing dam above the falls, running diagonally across the river to Three Mile Island; this provided better assurance of water levels to operate the hydro turbines.

The following Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, from 1887, shows the young York Haven Paper Mill, only two years after it was established. This Sanborn map section is from Penn State Libraries on-line digital collection of older Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.

The headrace, labeled Basin, is in the path of the lower end of the historic 1797 canal. The canal was widened by the York Haven Paper Company to get sufficient water flow to the five turbine water wheels powering the paper mill. There were four turbine water wheels powering the ground wood mill; having a capacity of 350-horsepower each. The beater wheel was powered by a single turbine water wheel having a capacity of 700-horsepower. In this mill, the manufacture of the raw material, wood, into pulp and preparing it for the paper machines was entirely dependent upon waterpower.

The production flow in the York Haven Paper Mill was northward; the wood entered the mill at the south end and the finished paper completed at the north end. In 1899, when the paper mill was producing manila & wrapping paper, production averaged 57 tons of paper every 24 hours. The following 1919 ad for the York Haven Paper Company is from the June 18, 1919, issue of PAPER, a Weekly Technical Journal for Paper and Pulp Mills.

During December, 1936, Southern Kraft Corporation, a subsidiary of International Paper Company, acquired the York Haven Paper Company. The York Haven Mill specialized in making kraft paperboard. The History of International Paper Company notes, that during 1971 cost cutting measures by Paul Gorman, the specialty paper mill in York Haven was closed; being considered an inefficient facility.

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes heavily damaged the vacant mill and it was ultimately torn down.

York Haven post card York Haven Plant