Remaining in York County, our next abandoned/closed/forgotten roads come from Codorus State Park.
Codorus State Park is a 3,500 acre park that encompasses Lake Marburg and its 26 miles of shoreline. Lake Marburg is not a natural lake, but the result of a paper company damming one branch of Codorus Creek in the 1960s. The result was a huge manmade lake, and an underwater ghost town. The former village of Marburg lies sunken beneath the lake, the ruins sometimes still visible when the water level is low.
Where there was a village, there must have been roads that lead to and from said village, right? Most definitely.
There is an easy hike on a ghost road on the west side of the park.
This relatively straight road is now a wide, well maintained trail. Banks of trees and brush flank each side, with the occasional side trail running in either direction. The occasional rabbit and plenty of birds keep me company along the way. I followed this ghost road until the end and was rewarded with the sight of a fine old Quaker meeting house accompanied by an aged graveyard.
This is the Wildasin Meeting House - built in 1841, though people were being buried here as early as 1782.
|A small window in the foundation of the meeting house.|
There are some great old tombstones here - very old, hand carved, with German text.
Some years back I found a witch bottle on one of the graves in this cemetery.
Moving to the southwest side of the park, I went to the location of an old iron furnace. The Mary Ann Furnace was the oldest iron forge west of the Susquehanna River - it was in operation during the Revolutionary War. Here they manufactured cannons, cannon balls, and grapeshot for the Continental Army. The Mary Ann Furnace is no longer standing, and I've yet to locate exactly where it stood - though I have a good idea where to look - but there is a trail here that bears its name. It is worth the time to explore.
I have, as yet, been unable to find a ghost story or mystery light/UFO sighting in the area of Mary Ann Furnace. I am certain they exist however, as these things seem drawn to these old forges. I have collected bigfoot sightings from close to its location - as well as from the area of the mines east of Codorus State Park, where much of the iron ore for Mary Ann Furnace was obtained. (If you know of any strange tales associated with Mary Ann Furnace or Codorus State Park, please contact me!)
Following the Mary Ann Furnace Trail, I came upon this little ghost road:
A small stretch that disappears quickly into the woods ... Where did it start and where did it end? It's like a fading memory of a road; one last piece slowly being swallowed by the landscape.
On the southeast side, what is now Landis Road dead ends at the park. But if you follow it through the parking lot, it becomes obvious that this road once ran directly through the park. I do not know if it was called Landis Road in the time this road was in use, but now a ghost road extends from the parking area into the woods.
A short way into the trees there steps on the southwest bank...
These lead to another old cemetery, known variously as Old Wildasin Cemetery and Manheim Union Burial Ground.
Here the tombstones lie broken around a central (newer) monument with the names of all those interred herein. There used to be a church associated with this cemetery, but it too is long gone.
Down the steps and back onto the ghost road, I followed it out toward the lake.
This road goes through the lake!
I followed the banks of the lake around until I found where the road rose up on the far bank.
The road then makes a turn and heads back into the trees.
The cemetery on the other side is still maintained (mowed, at least) so the road on that side of the lake is still in relatively good condition. Here the road seems to crumble away. It's still there, and it's in far better shape than Toad Road, for example, but nature is taking it back from man. It feels stranger on this side. More lonesome and forgotten.
I believe this ghost road dead-ended at this spot. It is hard to tell from the photo, but there is a large mound here. These were sometimes placed on rural roads at dead ends and turnarounds.
As I glanced over the mound, something white caught my eyes. Moving closer, I saw a deer skull. Then I noticed something very strange. Sitting next to this white, sun-bleached skull was another: this one black and weathered. Sister skulls sitting there like some strange yin yang symbol.
This is as I found them:
I began to look around me and soon noticed bones everywhere:
I had walked into some sort of bone pile. I can not say the reason for this. Hunters seems unlikely, for there seems to be bones from multiple animals (mostly deer). Perhaps this is where, long ago, the now-flooded village of Marburg dumped their roadkill? An odd end at the end of an odd road.
On the return hike I followed another ghost road - this one is now but a short side trail off of the road I followed to the bone pile. The DCNR "Road Closed" sign was the most interesting part ... but then again it would be hard to top the yin yang skulls.
I have obtained a 1922 topographical map which shows the roads through the park but, unfortunately, not the names of those roads. Neither does it tell any legends or spook tales associated with the roads or the submerged Marburg village. For those, I will keep searching.
More ghost roads to come...
For the first part of this series click here.
For more tales of ghosts, cryptids, and other strangeness in South Central Pennsylvania, see Beyond the Seventh Gate.
If you have had a strange experience or if you've seen something weird - in South Central Pennsylvania or further abroad - please email and tell me your story.