Come Visit the First Capital of the United States

Someone mentions York, Pennsylvania to you and the historical significance might not hit you immediately. You might think of peppermint patties, barbells, and air conditioning. What you might not think about is York being the first capital of the United States. Many would view that statement as erroneous. If you walk around the streets of York City, you might see markers and banners proclaiming their initial capital status. A quick history lesson is below, but let us visit one of the most historical cities in the United States.

York sits in a cross of three major cities and the capital of Pennsylvania along the Mason Dixon line. The metropolitans Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is to its east and west, and Harrisburg, PA and Baltimore, MD are to its north and south. It is a small city surrounded by farms and rural areas, and is situated very close to the Amish community across the Susquehanna River.

Parts of downtown York historical district are still intact. Brick sidewalks, statues, and old colonial buildings still stand. At the corner of Market Street and Pershing Avenue sits an old courthouse which housed the meetings for Congress in the 1700’s. You can tour it along with other colonial style buildings in the area.

As for the history lesson, York came into existence in 1741. It was the capital of the thirteen colonies from Sept. 1777 to June 1778[1]. In fact, several cities were capitals as Congress kept moving to avoid capture from British forces[2]. What York’s claim is that the Articles of Confederation were approved there in November of 1777[3]. The Articles of Confederation changed the original thirteen colonies into the “United States” and with York being the capital at the time, you have your proclaimed “first capital of the United States.”

Although the town is rich in history, it’s starting to modernize and power into the future. Older buildings are being replaced and/or remodeled. York’s downtown area is starting to bustle. You can catch a play at the Strand Capitol or you cheer for their minor league baseball team at the spectacular Sovereign Bank Stadium a few blocks from The Square. Relax and grab a bite to eat at the Central Market at the corner of Philadelphia and Beaver Streets, or go directly across the street and dine at the White Rose Bar and Grill. As York, Pennsylvania continues to go forward, its past will always be prevalent wherever you decide to go.

You can swing into York City along either Route 30 or Interstate 83. If you need more information on what to do in York, visit Come and get a session that no textbook or history class can match. There is plenty to learn and see in York, Pennsylvania, the first capital of the United States.

[1]York County History, Retrieved June 15, 2009, from

[2]Lists of capitals in the United States, Wikipedia, Retrieved June 15, 2009,

[3]York, Pennsylvania: First capital of the United States?, The Straight Dope,