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Underwater ghost town: Codorus State Park celebrates 50 years

Written by Jennifer Wentz, York Daily Record | Aug 12, 2015 6:00 PM
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Nearly 50 acres was added to Codorus State Park by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in April 2015. The land is located at the southern tip of Lake Marburg where Long Run is located and runs along Blooming Grove Road. Photo by York Daily Record.

(York) -- A small town disappeared half a century ago, and a state park took its place.

Friends of Codorus State Park celebrated the 50th anniversary of the park's construction Saturday with historical presentations and park tours.

Although the park's Lake Marburg was completed in 1970, the park opened in 1965, according to the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

But Codorus was not always a park; in fact, its centerpiece - Lake Marburg - wasn't always a lake.

P.H. Glatfelter Company, a national paper manufacturer based in nearby Spring Grove, dammed Codorus Creek in the 1960s to supply its paper mill with water, according to "The Spring Grove Years," Spring Grove's centennial book.

The project also fit with the state's Project 70, which aimed to create a state park within 25 miles of every resident in Pennsylvania by 1970. Glatfelter ultimately took responsibility for the lake and dam, while the state purchased the surrounding land and turned it into a recreation area, according to "The Spring Grove Years."

The lake gained its name from the town of Marburg, which was flooded during the damming process. The state acquired the needed 3,253 acres of land using Project 70 grant money and eminent domain authority, according to DCNR.

When water levels are especially low, visitors can catch a glimpse of the building foundations that once made up the town.

By the numbers

3,490: Acreage of the park.

1,275: Acreage of Lake Marburg.

26: Miles of shoreline on Lake Marburg.

15.8 billion: The number of gallons of water in Lake Marburg, as reported in 1966.

Source: The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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During a drought in 2004, a land bridge, probably an old farm lane, connected the marina at Codorus State Park s Lake Marburg to Long Island, or Long Peninsula. The island contained the remains of an old farmhouse and bank barn that made way for the lake. Its waters covered the town of Marburg Flats and part of old Route 216. Photo by York Daily Record.

Read more

Blog: Private, public interests built Lake Marburg for manufacturing, recreation

100 years: Most memorable local news stories

Read about Codorus State Park's famous eagles


This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF. 

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