A reception was recently held to celebrate B&O Railroad Museum’s acquisition of the 1831 Locomotive “York”. In attendance were some of the Museum’s most generous supporters along with elected officials from Baltimore and York, PA, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore and Mayor C. Kim Bracey of York. Guests also included members of the Historical and Heritage Societies of both cities.
In 1831 the B&O Railroad planned a locomotive competition. The winning locomotive was the “York,” named for York, Pennsylvania where the locomotive was constructed by Phineas Davis (1795-1835), a watch-maker and early steam advocate, with the help of his partner Morris J. Garner. The “York” represented an important technological step in railroad motive power development that would define how steam engines were built well into the 1950’s.
The “York” was purchased at auction from the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry with a grant from the France-Merrick Foundation. This acquisition is significant because it completes the Museum’s collection of the three working replicas of early B&O locomotives built by the B&O’s own Mount Clare Shops in Baltimore for “The Fair of the Iron Horse” held in Halethorpe, Maryland in 1927.
Pictured (l to r): Courtney B. Wilson, Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum, Francis X. Smyth, Chairman, B&O Railroad Museum Board of Directors, The Honorable C. Kim Bracey, Mayor of York, PA, The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, and Chris Reilly, York County Commissioner.