53 Miles to Philadelphia 9 Miles to Lancaster - Paradise, PA
N 40° 00.541 W 076° 07.470
18T E 404024 N 4429363
Quick Description: Granite milestones continue to mark the distance between Philadelphia & Lancaster on the Philadelphia-Lancaster Pike. Chiseled deep in a stone mile marker along the Old Philadelphia Pike near Paradise is this 200 year old mile stone, still standing.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 1/7/2012 9:02:58 PM
Waymark Code: WMDF7F
There are about 40 of these mile markers still standing along this part of the Lincoln Highway, originally part of the Philadelphia-Lancaster Pike. The Philadelphia to Lancaster Pike is one of the historic roads that were incorporated into the Lincoln Highway in the early1900s. This SITE has pictures of those markers which still survive today in the 21st century. The stone is literally inches from the highway in front of a flat-stacked, long stone retaining wall, in front of Country Patches Bed & Breakfast located at 3157 Lincoln Highway East.
This particular marker is one of those old granite stones that resembles a grave stone with its curved top and inscription on the front. It is in decent condition with the usual weathering would might expect to find after two centuries. The carved letters and numbers are still somewhat deep. They were originally chiseled deep into the stone, supposedly so that those traveling at night could feel the lettering and know their location, even without a light. The stone is about 3 feet in height and almost a foot thick. The writing on the front reads:
M. to P.
All of the markers 10 or so miles out of Philadelphia heading west beat both the P for Philadelphia and L for Lancaster as these were the termini of the Turnpike as well as its namesake, so it makes sense. The Lancaster Turnpike was revolutionary when it opened in 1794 for both its width and surface. The Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, first used in 1795, is the first long-distance paved road built in the United States, according to engineered plans and specifications. It links Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia at 34th Street, stretching for sixty-two miles. However, the western terminus was actually at the Susquehanna River in Columbia.
So, this particular marker told Colonial travelers that they stood 53 miles from Philadelphia and about 9 miles from Lancaster. There are at least 13 original stones which just have a number (1 through 13) and nothing else. Milestones 5 through 9 were erected on the north side of this roadway in 1795 by Joseph Price who was awarded the contract by the State of Pennsylvania. It’s important to note that the Lancaster Road milestones used a different starting point of reference from the other two roadways. These marked the distance to the Market Street Bridge (30th Street) at the Schuylkill River. Therefore, there is a difference of two miles in their measurement to Philadelphia. On the front side, which faces the roadway, appears the appropriate mileage numeral followed by "M to P" or "Miles to Philadelphia." SOURCE I found another resource which lists the later stone markers, further away from Philadelphia, as being installed about 1805.
I crudely measured the 53 mile distance inscribed on the stone using GoogleEarth and found the Philadelphia mileage to the South Street Bridge is 51 miles, a deviation of two miles. Perhaps the stone was moved? The measured distance to Lancaster of 9 miles is right on point, however.