Undoubtedly, The Emig Mansion is the most significant home in the history of Emigsville, PA, and it puts this quiet, little village located North of York, Pennsylvania on the map.
The Emig Family Farm
In 1802, the property came into the Emig family when it was purchased as a farm by patriarch, Valentine Emig. The farm later passed to John Emig Jr., Valentines grandson. In 1850, John, Jr. built The Emig Mansion on the family homestead. He was hard working man: a farmer, entrepreneur, and honest and fair Christian.
For the times, York County and the Lancaster Valley were the bread basket of a growing industrial center in the Northeastern United States. Blessed with some of the country's most fertile soil, the up to 200 acre land was an asset, and perfect for a hard working Palatine immigrant family. This combination provided the opportunity for growth and wealth. Visionary John Emig Jr. seized his opportunity to grow along with it.
John realized that the railroads were the key to the nation's transportation system and the main line between York and Harrisburg, and the state's capital ran through his property. He became the local railroad agent and profited from the growing activity that was generated by the local farmers who shipped their crops and grains to the north and craftsman that worked in the factories in nearby York.
The thriving port of Baltimore also supplied generous activity to the local rail industry. John also ran a thriving lime production business with much of the product being shipped to Baltimore for export. He also was the local post master and ran a General store. His influence was without question the most influential in the area and the local residents were moved to name the town after him, thus Emigsville was born.
The Civil War
In June of 1863, General Robert E. Lee, under the command of General Jubal Early, sent troops North. General Early's goal was to capture Pennsylvania's state capital, Harrisburg. General Lee's goal was to strike deep into enemy territory by destroying railroad infrastructure that supplied the Union troops, cutting the vital supply channel of goods from the Northern states to Washington and Baltimore.
A major event took place nearby in Wrightsville Pa. when Confederate troops attacked Union militia. The incident resulted in the total destruction of the mile long railroad bridge that crossed the Susquehanna. Other rail bridges in the area were also destroyed. The 17th Va. Calvary under the command of Colonel French came to the Emig Mansion on the evening of June 28th , occupied the mansion and its grounds.
The officers are reported to have had dinner served by the Emig Daughters, and afterwards ordered John to open his store and the confederates bought provisions with confederate dollars leaving with the statement often repeated. ..."hold onto that money, you're going to need it when this war is over." History also records that a large contingent of confederate troops were camped on the hill that exist just behind the Mansion and John Emig fired several shots at the unwanted occupiers. He was quickly confronted and subdued by confederate infantry.
Before they could move further north to Harrisburg, orders were dispatched for the 8000 man force to head back south towards Gettysburg where a large contingent of the Union Army had been discovered. The confederate army would never again move this far north into Union territory, thus the engagements in York, Emigsville and nearby Manchester Township were the true" High water mark" for Lee's army.
Acme Wagon Company
John Jr's. son, Edward, continued in his father's entrepreneurial spirit when he opened the Acme Wagon Company in the 1880s. It quickly became one of Pennsylvania's largest companies, selling over 2000 wagons per year. The original factory buildings still stand across the street from The Mansion on North George Street. Edward then used the family's wealth to expand and improve the family homestead. Many of his improvements still exist in the home and add to its unique beauty. They include beautiful stain glass windows, Italianate marble foyer and bathroom, marble fireplaces, and Philippine mahogany paneling and carved wood moldings in the formal dining room.
The Bed and Breakfast
The Emig Mansion has been used for many different purposes over the years, but fell into disrepair.
A local Realtor by the name of Mary Llewellyn made the decision to save the home in the 1980s. With painstaking research and resourcefulness, she restored the home and saved most all of Edward's work.
The Mansion was then opened as a bed and breakfast and continues to operate as such to the present day.