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What's the origin of Himes Hill in New Holland? What is the history of the War of the Roses? [We the People]

New Year's Eve Celebration in downtown Lancaster

The red rose dropped at midnight at the New Year's Eve Celebration at Binn's Park in Lancaster on Friday, January 1, 2016. K

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"Why is Himes Hill in New Holland called Himes Hill? We have asked many, many lifetime locals and no one knows."

In short, it's a nickname for the area that has been around since the 1900s, said New Holland historian Brian Frankhouser.

Before that, it was called Laurel Hill, said Frankhouser. 

In 1899, a farmer named Rufus Himes purchased the area known as Himes Hill from George Bair. He tended the farms there for years before becoming a mail carrier, said Frankhouser.

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Himes lived in that area until 1926, when he sold a tract of land to Anna Smoker for $8,750.

Himes died in 1929.

Question submitted by Karen S.

"I would like to know about the real War of the Roses, which lasted 30 years."


The red rose for Lancaster's New Year's Eve celebration was delivered to Lancaster Square by Shumaker PDT Monday, Dec 31, 2018. The rose, drops from a tower that is above North Queen Street at midnight.

In the 1400s, England had a series of civil wars which would later be known as the War of the Roses. The war lasted a little over 32 years.

House Lancaster and House York both tried to lay claim to the throne due to family ties, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. (Fun fact: Neither side identified themselves by the red rose or the white rose; soldiers wore many pins on their uniforms, and House York's troops just happened to have a white rose pin. The red rose would later be adapted for Lancaster, according to Evan Andrews at

Family lines were tricky to follow at the time, so there were a few discrepancies on which house should have control over England. Technically, both houses had equal right to the throne.

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This was just one of many disputes, however. After the Hundred Years' War, England was in a poor state; tensions rose over finances and social conflicts.

After the war started, both sides saw many wins and losses. "In total, the Wars resulted in five different rulers in the span of only 25 years, three of whom were killed or executed by their rivals," wrote Andrews.

Eventually, Lancastrian Henry Tudor (who would be later known as Henry VII), defeated Richard III, essentially ending the war. He would then marry Elizabeth of York, and unite houses York and Lancaster.

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There are many factual, detailed accounts of this war; here are some sources to check out:

- Encyclopedia Brittanica

- War of the Roses Wikipedia entry

- 9 Things You Should Know About the War of the Roses,

- eHistory - has entries about each individual battle and the key players

- Historic-UK; a timeline of events

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Impact in Pennsylvania

York and Lancaster have a reputation of being friendly rivals from across the Susquehanna River. 

Lancaster is known as the Red Rose city, and York is known as the White Rose city. Both cities drop their respective symbol during New Year's celebrations.

Often, when there are city-wide competitions, battles between York and Lancaster will be called "The War of the Roses." Last weekend, a basketball tournament was held with the same name. (York won).

Question submitted by Bob G.

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