The Avenues Story

The Avenues began in 1882 when William “Captain” Lanius, president of York Bank and Trust, purchased 52 acres of meadows. His own home was built in 1884 at 401 Roosevelt Avenue (then called West York Street). 

Captain Lanius cut in and named the streets, laid out the lots and planted trees. The Avenues development, then referred to as the West End Improvement began on Linden Avenue from North Hartley Street, where three more Queen Anne Stick style houses were built in 1887, and reached West Street by 1890. 

Captain Lanius also organized York Street Railway Company which, from 1886, provided this “new desirable district” with trolley service to connect Linden Avenue to Center Square York, via Roosevelt Avenue, (West York Street).


 A 1903 map shows half of Madison Avenue, most of Pennsylvania Avenue and all of Maryland Avenue, empty. As the decades went by, new styles became popular, Second Empire, Colonial Revival, Prairie, Mission, Tudor, Bungalow and later, Ranch.  Examples of these can be seen throughout the Avenues. 

As you stroll through the Avenues, you will notice the mix of large, single family homes, semi-detached and medium sized homes, and modest row homes. This mix reflects a classic community, where wealthy industrialists, middle management and factory workers all lived and worked together, attended the neighborhood churches and mingled at social events. This classic community has largely been lost in modern America, but we are very fortunate to live in a neighborhood where this is preserved.

“The White Rose Trolley”

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The White Rose Trolley was reincarnated for a time in May 2011.  It is pictured here, on The Avenues, during a tour introducing local realtors to some of the many treasures living quietly in York City. (York Daily Record/Sunday News, Jason Plotkin)