According to history books, prior to 1870, York County had been attached to Seward County for judicial and revenue purposes. In March, 1870, Governor David Butler issued a proclamation in response to a petition signed by the voting population of York County, authorizing the permanent organization of the county.
Meanwhile, the city of York was founded in 1869 by the South Platte Land Company. It was officially declared a municipality in 1870.
So this year, 2020, marks the 150th anniversaries/birthdays of the county and the city.
Yorkfest, this year, will celebrate these milestones with a number of activities. Festivities will be held to commemorate the past and look forward to the future.
In celebration, our contribution is Thursday's edition of the York News-Times. In it, you will see a multitude of stories and photographs from the past – celebrating not just York and York County, but also all the communities within the county’s borders.
I used old newspapers and a variety of history books to gather up this information – as well as some firsthand accounts about the early days of the place we call home.
In my search for interesting tidbits from the past, I ran across a great story from another special edition of the newspaper celebrating a past anniversary of the community. It was about the controversy surrounding baseball games and movies – and no, they weren’t in the middle of a pandemic at the time like we are.
Anyway, I thought I’d share this little tidbit from our past. Here’s what the article chronicled:
It takes a lot of selling to convince York voters.
That has been demonstrated down through the years when a variety of proposals were turned down the first and sometimes the second time they were submitted to the electorate.
But in the area of Sunday amusement – like baseball and movies – the resistance to change was not only strong, it was enduring.
Back in 1921, for example, it was more of a sin to see a motion picture on Sunday than it was to play baseball.
On April 5 that year, the twin issue was submitted to the York voters – an action the joint sponsors later admitted was an error.
Sunday baseball was turned down by a 1,388 vote to 819, but the majority against Sunday shows (movies) was even greater – 1,499 against compared to 640 for.
Sunday shows, however, won endorsement of the York voters before Sunday baseball.
Sunday shows were first approved July 16, 1929, at a special election by a vote of 1,353 to 1,185.
Two years later, on April 7, 1931, opponents of Sunday shows succeeded in having the issue resubmitted to the voters. On that particular occasion, voters rejected a proposed ordinance which would have banned Sunday movies. The vote was 1,676 to 1,093 and Sunday shows were here to stay.
It wasn’t until April 1, 1935, that Sunday baseball won the blessing of the populace. The vote was 1,093 to 945.
Back in the late 1920s, then York was a member of the Nebraska State Baseball League, its Sunday games had to be moved out of York County. Most of the Sunday home games were then played at Fairmont.
I guess I just found the information fun, interesting and just slightly ironic during the times we find ourselves in right now as we now cherish things like sporting events, movies and other gatherings more than we ever have before.
That said, please read our special newspaper (Thursday edition). I hope you enjoy it – as well as all that this week’s Yorkfest celebration will offer.
Hopefully, it will make you remember old times, think of the stories your parents and grandparents told you and appreciate this place where generations have worked and lived.
It’s just our way of celebrating 150 years.
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