Place

Codorus Creek

Pencil drawing of river with bridge over it lined by trees with buildings on one side
Codorus Creek

Olmsted Archives

Quick Facts
Location:
York, PA
Significance:
Olmsted Designed Park
In 1907, community leaders in York, Pennsylvania wanted to create a linear park, and knew they wanted to hire the best landscape architecture firm to do the work. The York Municipal League raised the required funds, and League secretary R.Z. Hartzler visited Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. at his Brookline office to ask him to look at park possibilities, as well as other needed improvements, such as a sewer system and paved streets.

Olmsted’s fee for York was $600, almost $20,000 today. Olmsted arrived in York on April 10th, 1907, meeting with League members and taking a tour of the city. Olmsted believed sewage treatment should be top priority, though he was also pleased with the potential park sites. Looking at Codorus Creek, Olmsted wanted his design to be able to handle the area's frequent floods.

Olmsted had been told by a local that ““not too many years ago, the Codorus was a pretty natural park with boating,” and if the sewage was handled, flooding addressed, and boundaries of the Codorus were wide enough on the banks to keep people from dumping, and erecting buildings, boating could once again return. Even though the rail trail has made the Codorus embankment walkable, it still is far from the “water park” that Olmsted envisioned.

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site

Last updated: October 10, 2023