Camp Security: A Revolutionary War POW Camp
Camp Security. Photo by Kyle Shenk/The Conservation Fund
At A Glance
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Camp Security one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2005.
- Camp Security is one of only a handful of Revolutionary War-era POW camps that have not been lost to residential or commercial development.
- In addition to preserving a historic place, saving this land offers open space for outdoor activities and protects the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by promoting groundwater infiltration and better stormwater management in the area.
“This accomplishment stands to benefit not only York County, but the entire nation, through the preservation of a piece of our collective history.”
— York County Commissioner Doug Hoke
We helped Springettsbury Township, in York County, Pennsylvania, save Camp Security, the site of a Revolutionary War prisoner-of-war camp. Camp Security is one of only a handful of POW camps established during the Revolutionary War era that have not been lost to residential or commercial development. The camp held approximately 1,500 captured British soldiers and their families between 1781 and 1783. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named the site one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2005.
But what makes saving Camp Security truly great is that, while preserving our history, it also offers outdoor recreation opportunities and larger environmental benefits in the region. About 8,000 people live within a 15-minute walk of Camp Security Park and tens of thousands more live within a 15-minute drive. These local residents now have open space to enjoy for hiking, picnicking and other outdoor activities. What is more, preserving this land helps fulfill Pennsylvania’s commitment to protecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by promoting groundwater infiltration and better stormwater management in the area.
This project is a win-win for our nation and nature.
Our work began in 2011 with the protection of a 115-acre refuge of green pastures known as the Walters Farm, in Springettsbury Township near York. The property, about six miles from the Susquehanna River, was a new addition to the already establish Camp Security Preservation Area. It features wooded areas and open fields with impressive panoramic views. Though the land sat practically undisturbed for more than two centuries, in the past decade development began to threaten these green pastures.
We continued our efforts in 2012 with the purchase of nearly 50 acres that was the primary site of Camp Security POW camp. This property is located adjacent to the 115-acre Rowe Farm, where a portion of the camp is believed to have been situated. After an extensive fundraising effort in partnership with the Friends of Camp Security, we were able to transfer this land to the Township in December 2013, fulling preserving the historic footprint of the POW camp. York County, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Springettsbury Township also provided funding for the project.
Starting in 2014, the Township will work with the Friends of Camp Security and the Pennsylvania Museum Commission to develop on-site interpretative information about the history of Camp Security.