New Freedom – Northern Central Railway of York

Ride along the same route that carried President Lincoln from Washington, DC to Gettysburg, PA, where he delivered one of the greatest speeches in American History!

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New Freedom

New Freedom, Pennsylvania

A postcard view of The Summit Building shortly after the turn of the 20th century.
New Freedom was established in 1883, after the United States Postal Service determined that enough people were living in the area to warrant a post office. While the area was locally known as “Freedom”, the official name of the town was to be “New Freedom” as there was already a town called “Freedom” in the Pittsburgh area. Prior to the arrival of the railroad, New Freedom was a farming community, but the railroad allowed the town to blossom into an important industrial town. Multiple industries were located in of New Freedom, including Summer’s Cannery, Atlantic Refinery, and the New Freedom Wire Cloth Company. 
The original Northern Central Railroad Depot in New Freedom, PA. This depot now houses a museum and small restaurant. (Photo by Scott Butcher)
The turning point for New Freedom came in 1959 when Interstate 83 passed through neighboring Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. The opening of the highway slowly led to most of the freight traffic along the railroad to be transferred to trucks. New industries were now established in Shrewsbury and New Freedom started to return to its roots. In 1971, Hurricane Angus destroyed all of the bridges along the railway, which were not all rebuilt, ending approximately 140 of the rail service for New Freedom. Since the mid 1970’s, New Freedom has shifted primarily back to agriculture and has also become a residential community for families and people working in both Harrisburg and Baltimore. In the past decade, New Freedom has enjoyed a bit of resurgence. Older businesses such as Mann & Parker Lumber and Crescent Industries have been complemented by newer industries such as Eden Tool Shop, Seiling and Jones, and Gunpowder Brewing Company, encouraging small businesses to open throughout the town. Click here to discover some of the attractions New Freedom has to offer. 
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