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.
We’re working with the city of York in Springettsbury Township, Pennsylvania to help save Camp Security, the site of a Revolutionary War POW 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. We intend to transfer ownership of the property to Springettsbury Township once fundraising is complete.
The total cost of the project—which includes the purchase price of just under $940,000, pre-acquisition expenses, closing fees and carrying costs for one year—will be about $1.05 million. Springettsbury Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) have already committed $350,000 in project funding. The Conservation Fund will need to raise approximately $700,000 to ensure preservation of the property. The Friends of Camp Security and the Fund have embarked on a local fundraising campaign to raise a portion of this remaining need from donors throughout the region.