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Original courthouse cornerstone is safe . . . and empty

Original courthouse cornerstone is safe . . . and empty

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Courthouse Cornerstone

This is the original cornerstone from the county’s former, historic courthouse. It has been in storage at the county road department for many years. Some had hoped a time capsule was left behind by the founding fathers – but gentle, non-destructive probing this week showed that there is nothing encapsulated within the cornerstone.

YORK – The original cornerstone from the county’s former, historic courthouse is safe and sound . . . and unfortunately, empty.

In June, 2015, the cornerstone was found in a building at the roads department and some had hoped that a time capsule might be encapsulated inside it.

This week, York County Commissioner Bill Bamesberger said he was present, at the roads department, where staff did some non-destructive probing on the historic cornerstone and confirmed that there is nothing in it.

“It’s just a rock, just a cornerstone. But it’s still really neat, with all the old etching on it and knowing where it came from, from so long ago,” Bamesberger added.

Carved into the face of the cornerstone are names of those responsible for the stately historical building (which is no longer standing). It appears that it lists Building Committee members as A.C. Corey, J.W. Bullard, D. Graves, W.H. Bagnell and C.J. Hurlbut. The name of the architect is included – but the etching is difficult to read. The builder is listed as D.B. Howard.

It was believed that the cornerstone had been stored inside the garage area of the current courthouse for a considerable amount of time – and then eventually moved to storage at the county shop area, approximately 25 years ago.

The cornerstone is an approximate 2 ½-foot cube.

There are also two large flat slabs, which appear to be marble, being stored there as well. It is believed that these slabs had come from the front of the old courthouse. The top slab is carved to say, “Erected 1886.” No one knows what the bottom slab says because they are so incredibly heavy to move without using mechanical equipment.

“So, it’s still in storage, but it is pretty neat,” Bamesberger said. “I don’t know what we want to do with it.”

“Maybe could move it all to this commons area out here, on the main floor of the courthouse, so the public could see it and it could be on display,” said Commissioner Kurt Bulgrin. “I think the public would like to see it.”

No decisions were made about the future home of the cornerstone, as the conversation was held during committee reports and no action could be taken. But it is likely the commissioners will look further into putting it on display . . . especially because this year commemorates the county’s 150th birthday.

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