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Wrightsville is named for John Wright, an early pioneer who originally settled on the east bank of the Susquehanna in 1728. Shortly thereafter, he took land for farming on the west bank under the Penn licenses and in 1730 established a ferry to move other settlers to the west bank.


The Borough of Wrightsville was incorporated in 1834 with the merger of two settlements, the original village of Wrightsville and the town of Westphalia to the south. That same year, a covered bridge was constructed between Columbia and Wrightsville. This replaced the ferry that could operate only seasonally. The regular transfer of goods and people helped Wrightsville to grow. In 1840, the Susquehanna & Tidewater Canal was finished which connected Wrightsville south to tidewater ports on the Chesapeake Bay. 

On Sunday, June 28th, 1863, Confederate and Union soldiers met in Wrightsville. The Confederate leaders planned to cross the bridge and take Lancaster. Union militia were ordered to retreat when they were outnumbered by more than a thousand Rebels. After a failed attempt to blow up a span of the bridge, militia men lit the bridge on fire.

Rebel troops tried to extinguish the fire, but easterly winds quickly fanned the spread of the flames. Embers dropped on Wrightsville homes and businesses causing fires in the town. Rebel troops fought the fires alongside residents. 

Today, Wrightsville boasts a beautiful riverfront park as well as one of the only waterfront restaurants in the area - John Wright Restaurant. A bridge diorama, the Wrightsville Historical Society and quaint architecture can be found all round this little town.

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