The Seitzland Story
Seitzland Village is located in Pennsylvania’s Southern York County, just over the Mason Dixon Line, less than an hour’s drive from Baltimore, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Gettysburg.
The Village of Seitzland evolved in the mid-1800s, after Nicholas Seitz established a mill adjacent to the new North Central Railway on the outskirts of the established town of Glen Rock. The rail service stopped to pick up the goods produced at the mill, and housing and services quickly flourished around the new facility.
During the Civil War, Seitzland was on a key rail line for the Union Army defending Washington; a heavy volume of rail traffic passed continuously through the town. After the war, train traffic increased substantially, as large amounts of coal and other commodities were transported over the Maryland line. In 1881, for example, 79 trains passed through Seitzland in a single 24-hour period—a train every 18 minutes.* Records show that by 1892 an assortment of at least a dozen businesses had sprouted to support the Village.
“In June 1903, Teddy Roosevelt passed through on his way back to Washington, D.C., from Cleveland, Ohio. The funeral train carrying the body of the fourth President to die in office, Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States, passed through in 1923, heading for Marion, Ohio, for his burial, and the late 1930s saw King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England pass through on their tour of the American continent.”
In 1915, Edwin K. Krebs, the owner of the Seitzland Store, filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent Office for an improved train coupling designed “to compensate for vertical and transverse movement” in a moving train, while keeping rail cars “in tight engagement.”
Like all towns along the rail line, Seitzland had a hundred-year run of prosperity before trains were replaced by alternative modes of transportation of goods, raw materials, and people. After the demise of the rail line in 1972, Seitzland lost the diversity of businesses that had fueled the small town, and it became a residential community.
With the foresight of a few individuals and the cooperation of York County government, the rail line remained intact; the York County Heritage Rail Trail was established; and the communities along its corridors once again began to develop services.
The Seitzland Village project proposes an adaptive re-use of a group of heritage buildings in the immediate vicinity of the York County Heritage Trail. Originally, the rail line gave entrepreneurs the opportunity to establish businesses along its corridor. Today, we envision re-purposing the original structures in more contemporary applications, to reclaim and revitalize this historic and under-utilized area.
For over four decades, the Seitzland Store had been used by an absentee landlord as a multiple-unit rental. Over the years the building had suffered serious decay. When we purchased the Seitzland Store in 2011, our initial vision was simple: to renovate this neglected country store as a residence, studio, and gallery. Along the way, circumstances and opportunities aligned to expand our modest quest into a unique opportunity to restore the architectural integrity of the Village and showcase local heritage, resources, and talent.
Working together with Shrewsbury Township, a zoning ordinance was created and adopted for an Historic Village Overlay District (“HVO”). The new zoning model is designed to encourage local business and increase interest in the history and culture of the community. As a result of this new zoning, a larger plan became feasible. The location of the buildings in the Village supports this expanded vision of a Heritage Village renovation.
PUBLIC SEWER SYSTEM
2012 saw the implementation of a public sewer system. The capacity of the community sewer will support the growth potential permitted by the new zoning.
STEAM INTO HISTORY
A 9.8 mile stretch of track along the Heritage Rail Trail has been completely renovated to accommodate an 1860s-replica Civil War era train, carrying passengers from New Freedom, just north of the Mason-Dixon Line, to Hanover Junction, where Abraham Lincoln changed trains en route to Gettysburg to deliver his Gettysburg Address. The Steam Into History organization details the rich history of the area during their excursions. The Seitzland Store sits midway on this excursion route.
HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL
The Heritage Rail Trail was given the DCNR’s Pennsylvania Trail of the Year Award for 2015, bringing added attention and interest to one of the nation’s oldest rail corridors.
Its location along a local commuter pathway makes Seitzland an attractive business site that can establish the Seitzland Village community as an exciting go-to destination.
RAIL TRAIL PARKING
People currently use our Seitzland Store parking, believing that it is an access area. We don’t discourage the use of the building’s parking for Trail parking, but overflow parking will be needed when the Seitzland Store is open for business and more people are coming to the Village.