Ask Joan: Questions and memories edition

What’s inside
1. Remembering Alice Hoffer’s dress shop
2. Was mall gym Fitness America?
3. Seeking name of Queensgate restaurant
Continue reading “Ask Joan: Questions and memories edition” »

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Ask Joan: Groves and lions and landing crafts, oh my!

I have a fun, very random mixed bag of Ask Joan questions and follow-ups to share today!

What’s inside
1. Wondering: Where was Himmelright’s Grove?
2. Remembering pet lion in York
3. Seeking name of Red Lion factory
Continue reading “Ask Joan: Groves and lions and landing crafts, oh my!” »

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Ask Joan: Lots of follow-ups edition

When I share Ask Joan questions that I don’t yet have an answer to, when I hear information, I often just pass that info directly on to the original question-asker. There are just so many questions that I could write five times a day for a year and not follow up on all of them in columns!

But today, I do have a few miscellaneous follow-ups to share on topics both recent and older. I hope you’ll enjoy them. (And check back next week for more in the “clearing up some lingering topics” vein, too.)

What’s inside
1. Boeckel’s Landing by the river
2. Another recipe for bacon dressing
3. Lemon sponge pie’s possible location
Continue reading “Ask Joan: Lots of follow-ups edition” »

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Mail call: Yet more downtown York memories

About this time last month, I shared another selection of readers’ memories of downtown York, PA.

Guess what? (You’ll never guess.)

I have more memories to share today!

Oh, wait, you guessed that? Oops.

One letter I received came from Betty J. Neff of Springettsbury Township. She writes, “I, too, would like to give some thoughts, memories of downtown shopping since I worked in the downtown area from 1946 to 1990. Walker’s Men’s Store was at the corner of East King and South George Street prior to Sunny’s Surplus. Next to Leed’s on East Market Street was Herbert’s and next to them was Stillman’s store – both two floors of apparel, etc. I don’t think anyone mentioned Stanwyck’s Shoe Store on South George Street.” She concluded with a list of the jewelry stores she remembered: “Shaffner’s on East Market Street right before National Bank and Fluhrer’s on West Market Street, close to Bell’s Ladies Shop.”

I also had a really cool letter from Lea Akin of Dover Township, who wrote, “My late husband, Jerry Akin, had a terrific memory and wrote these memories in a journal. This appeared in his 2006 journal. It is his paper route from the early to mid ’60s. It lists businesses from the route that I thought might bring back some memories for your readers.”

She listed the following from Jerry’s journal:

“From the College Avenue bridge west to Penn Street, past Mary’s Sub Bar on Penn Street, Charlie Myers’ grocery on Penn and College, across from Sam’s Bar. To the north on the left side of Penn Street, Hoffman’s Meat Market. Up further to the right Princess Street School at Penn and Princess Street. Miss Cassimatis, Mrs. Young, Mrs. Kelly, first grade teacher, second grade teacher, principal, in that order. Go back to College Avenue, right turn to the west. One block on left, two doors from Green Street, Jerry’s house. Across from Lancaster’s Restaurant and across from Hymie Malask’s Store. Before Jerry’s house, Stotler’s Venetian Blind Hospital and Beauty Shop. Further west on left, “Tooth Factory,” from Green Street to West Street, with Grantley Street in between. Corner of College AVenue and West Street, Rosie Krylywicz’s Store. End of route handed down from brothers Eddie to Mike to Ronnie to Jerry Akin.”

Lea signed her note, “Hope you might find this interesting for your readers,” and I definitely do – those were some places I’d not yet heard about and would certainly love to hear more regarding!

Finally, another reader who didn’t give her name sent me a note saying she was born and raised in York, and loved and still loves the downtown. She said she is now 88 and recalled a drive-in theater near the Road House on East Market Street, the Ramona, the Hiway Theater on West Market Street, the Golden Glow, the Rainbow Grill in the Valencia Ballroom’s basement and a brewery between King and Queen streets. I don’t recall the name of that brewery but we have definitely talked about several of those places in previous posts and it’s always nice to hear from others who share the same memories!

Previous posts
· Dec. 20, 2010: More memories of stores in downtown York
· March 5, 2011: An amazing treasure trove: A walking tour of historic downtown York
· March 15, 2011: Downtown memories from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s
· March 29, 2011: Memories of shopping on West Market Street, and a wonderful gas price of 17 cents a gallon!
· April 29, 2011: Letters about even more downtown stores and restaurants
· April 30, 2011: Remember our downtown walking tour?
· June 18, 2011: Mail call: A downtown map and thoughts on Green Stamps from the Staub family
· Oct. 21, 2011: Some possible additions to our detailed map of downtown stores
· Dec. 13, 2012: Mail call: Downtown York photos from Charles V. Goodwin
· Feb. 21, 2013: Business advertisements from the York High Weekly in the early 1940s
· Apr. 5, 2013: Yet more memories of downtown York from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s
· Feb. 13, 2014: More memories of downtown York cafeterias
· May 22, 2014: Some more memories of downtown York, PA

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Ask Joan: Third-grade teacher edition

Today’s Ask Joan features a bad-news update; the cat I mentioned last week had to be put to sleep, which was devastating for our family; but in good news, my week was made by receiving a letter from my third-grade teacher in response to a previous Ask Joan, which I’m glad to share today!

What’s inside
1. American Toy, Novelty Works sled
2. Seeking photo of Frederick St. Acme
3. Italian Oven recipe book sought
4. Info on Brook Leaf Love Nest
5. Memories of Weigelstown’s North Pole
Continue reading “Ask Joan: Third-grade teacher edition” »

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Ask Joan: Sick cat edition

This week has been rough – we’re having a problem with our air conditioner at home, but more worrisome, our oldest cat, Salem, is pretty sick. He’s been at the vet since Sunday, and he’ll be there til at least Friday. I’ll be honest; when he comes home, I’m not sure how much time he’ll have left.

I try to keep things pretty happy here as it relates to telling you what’s up with my life in York County, and I do have a slightly fun story to tell – I’ve gone to visit Salem a few times, and in the next cage to him is a lovely cat called Skittles, belonging to one my middle-school teachers and his wife! Very York County. So send good thoughts for Salem and Skittles, OK? And if you want to help me answer some questions, I’ve got a few I could use a hand with!

What’s inside
1. Liberty Bell replica follow-up
2. Looking for copies of yearbooks
3. Information sought on Washington House
Continue reading “Ask Joan: Sick cat edition” »

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Ask Joan: Summer fun edition

Today’s Ask Joan questions all focus on fun summer things to do. We’re officially done our eighth-grade homeschooling year, having finished our evaluation and gotten our portfolio ready for the school district, so we’re in full-on summer mode!

What’s inside
1. Where is this mystery bell?
2. Looking for summer kids’ activities
Continue reading “Ask Joan: Summer fun edition” »

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Some more memories of downtown York, PA

The late Betsy Baird, who grew up in York and later lived in  Springettsbury Township, shared these photos a couple of years ago featuring the interiors of some former downtown York businesses, including Wiest's.

The late Betsy Baird, who grew up in York and later lived in Springettsbury Township, shared these photos a couple of years ago featuring the interiors of some former downtown York businesses, including Wiest’s.

Today I’ve got a few more of readers’ memories of former stores in downtown York, PA, to share – I hope you’ll check them out and share your own memories in the comments!

Roy Flinchbaugh wrote and said, “I wonder how many of your readers remember when there were 5 men’s stores in the first block of North George St.? … The stores were: Griffith-Smith, Lehmeyer’s, Gregory’s, Flinchbaugh Bros. (most recently part of First National Bank), and McFalls’. In the same block were also 2 restaurants (The Golden Glow and the Ramona). Where Bistro 19 is now were (in addition to the Ramona) 2 vacant places owned by Mrs. Frysinger Rohrbaugh (daughter of the original owners of Smutz’s leather store across the street). The Penn Hotel was at the northern end of the block, across from the Strand and Capitol. Bear’s shoe department and Whelan’s drug store (on the square) are all the other places in that block that I can remember. Perhaps your readers can fill out the block. I really enjoy reading your columns for both the nostalgia and the new information.”

Interestingly, I was just wandering around in that first block of North George last week when I went to a concert at the Strand, and it’s amazing to me to think about all of the things that have come and gone just in that one small area!

I also heard from Joyce Moul about downtown memories a couple of blocks over; Joyce writes, “I grew up in York in what I guess would have been considered an alley. It was called Grant Street and had a big gas tank behind a fence. Bentzel’s Poultry House was on the corner of Grant and Philly. The next real street going West on Philadelphia was Newberry and, if you turned north at the corner you would come to an auction house on the right and then, across a small alley, was Warner’s grocery store. Down that alley used to be Smittie’s Soft Pretzels. I think my dad’s first job after the war was making pretzels with Les Smith who owned it. My mom always said she wished he would have gone into the business with Smitty when he had the chance. Warner’s was a mom and pop place with a pickle barrel and a candlestick phone. Further north on Newberry on the other side of the street was a cigar store where my grandpa used to play poker in the back room. Cross over the railroad tracks and there was a building on the left that used to get the most amazing huge icicles in winter! Many times on the way walking to Garfield Elementary, I would try to break one off so that I could chew on it. I guess we were poor when I was a kid but we never felt poor. We had such great adventures in that neighborhood, putting pennies on the railroad track for the “fair train” to flatten in September, riding the seesaw in the small park on Cottage Hill Road, even sleeping in the living room in front of the open front door in the summer because it was too hot to be upstairs. It was a short walk down across Philadelphia Street to the butcher shop on Market St. where mom bought meat. The “Food Fair” was up on Philadelphia and Beaver where a garage now stands (I have a pack of needles with their ad on it that they gave out at possibly their grand opening. It belonged to my mom.) We could walk up to the Bon-Ton and try to dip our fingers in the perfume fountain or go to Wiest’s to see the big bird on an upper floor, get a grilled hot dog when we had money from one of the 5 and 10 cent stores. Walk west on Market and get rock candy from Mike’s Nut Shop. Yes, we had a better home when we moved to the suburbs and left the old neighborhood behind, but we took a lot of memories with us.”

And on the other side of Market, longtime commenter Audrey Lerew recalls, “24 S. George St. was a clothing credit store that was called Livingston’s. They were there through 1959. It was a chain store not locally owned. I became a bookkeeper there when I graduated from high school. Terminal Luggage was across the street at 25 S. George St. They moved across to 24 S. George when Livingston’s went out of business. 24 S. George was a larger store. I can’t remember the name of the people who owned it. When Livingston’s closed, I moved up the street to 152 S. George St (where McDonald’s is located today) to Regal Clothiers Inc. That was a privately owned credit clothing store owned by Charley Lyons. I was a salesperson and bookkeeper there. When Livingston’s closed, Terminal Luggage moved into their location, Charley moved down to the old Terminal Luggage location at 25 S. George St. until he closed in the mid ’60s. He use to go to Schmidt & Ault paper mill Wednesdays and cash the guy’s checks and they would automatically give him money to put on their accounts they had with him. He sold a lot of work clothes to them. KayBee clothing store, another credit store, was located on the corner at 101 S. George St. They were there through 1961.”

I’m very interested in hearing more about all these areas and their various stores and businesses through the years, as well as from other neighborhoods in downtown York and elsewhere around the county. I get tons of memories, but I’m trying to share and document as many as possible so we can, as Joyce mentioned, keep these memories with us!

Previous posts
· Dec. 20, 2010: More memories of stores in downtown York
· March 5, 2011: An amazing treasure trove: A walking tour of historic downtown York
· March 15, 2011: Downtown memories from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s
· March 29, 2011: Memories of shopping on West Market Street, and a wonderful gas price of 17 cents a gallon!
· April 29, 2011: Letters about even more downtown stores and restaurants
· April 30, 2011: Remember our downtown walking tour?
· June 18, 2011: Mail call: A downtown map and thoughts on Green Stamps from the Staub family
· Oct. 21, 2011: Some possible additions to our detailed map of downtown stores
· Dec. 13, 2012: Mail call: Downtown York photos from Charles V. Goodwin
· Feb. 21, 2013: Business advertisements from the York High Weekly in the early 1940s
· Apr. 5, 2013: Yet more memories of downtown York from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s
· Feb. 13, 2014: More memories of downtown York cafeterias

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Ask Joan: Seeking more memories edition

I’m spending this week fighting a spring cold, or some other kind of upper-respiratory “ick.” Seriously? It’s May. That’s ridiculous. I hope you’re feeling well, and I hope you enjoy today’s trip to my mailbox; these are all questions that were sent via postal mail – in some cases quite a while ago – all seeking memories of former locales!

What’s inside
1. Heard of Boeckel’s Landing?
2. More memories of People’s Drug Store
3. Seeking Pilot Haven Garage info

Continue reading “Ask Joan: Seeking more memories edition” »

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A couple more memories about Ernie McCall

Today’s trip to my mailbox brings a quick set of memories about Ernie McCall, known through the years as the owner of many restaurants around York County.

Previous posts

Feb. 23, 2011: Diners and drive-ins: Gino’s news, plus Burger Chef, Western Sizzlin’, Ernie McCall’s and more
March 23, 2011: Eating at Ernie’s, and memories of The Flamingo
May 24, 2013: Even more memories of the North Pole and Florida Room
June 10, 2011: Temperature opposites? Memories of the North Pole and The Florida Room

More memories of Ernie McCall and his restaurants

Reader Dareen Angel wrote after seeing an item in my print column in August of last year, “I read … about Ernie McCall’s subs. Well, maybe you didn’t know but Ernie started his sub business in the first block of North Beaver St. My sister worked at Bell Telephone as a long distance operator and she brought Ernie’s subs home in 1947. After North Beaver Street, Ernie had a restaurant up by Shiloh. I don’t remember the location, everything is built up around there now. I used to drive there on my lunch hour for Ernie’s subs. That was all before the North Pole.”

You can see the North Pole pictured above in a photo shared by commenter Steve Kohler, at the area of Whiteford Road and Sherman Street, for reference!

From Roger Brunner, I received the following: “I would like to reflect on the write-up about the North Pole and Florida Room. Ethel and Ernie McCall were my aunt and uncle. Back in the 1960s my brothers and sisters would stay with Ernie and Ethel. There was a pool with a bathhouse and palm trees. My oldest sister Barbara and my older brother Stacy worked at the North Pole. My mother worked as a hat check and coat check person. I can remember the wishing well with a waterfall inside the Florida Room. The remainder of the pool is still there – it was just filled in – there are trees that grew there. My aunt Ethel and Ernie McCall were really good to us.”

Larry R. Reiber wrote, “Interesting article on the North Pole/Florida Room … One of your readers mentioned there was NO pool. Others said there was. The fact is, there was. And they also offered one of the first York sidewalk café services. I have a Yellow Pages ad, as well as the complete phone book, from 1961. The ad is a little larger than a 1/4 page… advertising these facts. The address was 1225 N. Sherman St. Even points out that it is Air Conditioned, and they have a Television Room. Important features of dining out comfort at that time.”

Larry also recalled Mr. McCall’s earlier business, and wrote, “Here is a more interesting fact about Ernie McCall. His prior business, late ’40s into the ’50s, was Ernie McCall’s Delicatessen, located at 52 N. Beaver Street. Next door to the upscale Alberta Lee’s Dress Shop. And now the southern tip of the White Rose Bar and Grill property. They (WRBG) purchased it when he moved to his new business on Sherman St., around 1959-60(?). While on Beaver Street, his reputation was build around those wonderful submarine sandwiches. And his very likeable personality. I know these facts because I grew up about 200 feet from his Deli, and my family was close friends with him.”

And George Figdore who had shared memories with me about working at the Avalong Dairy Bar, also wrote, “I also worked at Ernie McCall’s North Pole on the corner of Sherman Street and Whiteford Road. Believe it or not but there is still a remnant of Mr. McCall’s home still visible in the ground close to where 11th Avenue cuts off from Sherman Street. I was about 12 at that time. My duties included picking up the trash from the parking area, peeling potatoes and slicing them into five gallon milk cans filled with water. I also sliced all the cheese, salami, bologna, tomatoes, hot dogs, pulled stems from chili peppers and ground them for the sub. I learned how to clean soft ice cream machines and to fill them with mix from Crowley’s. I am not sure of this, but Russell Hoffman who lived up the street from me also worked there. On another note, child labor laws were not what they are today, some of these tasks are forbidden today. I think you can tell I have some very fond memories of those days.”

Discussing years of these various restaurants, dear helper Ann Funk from the Martin Library reference desk shared notes from the York City directories showing the first reference to a North Pole Candy & Nut Shop (Ernest E. McCall) at 9 W. Philadelphia St. in 1954, then a North Pole Drive-In, 1225 N. Sherman St., in 1958, same Ernie. In 1962, the listing appears for the North Pole, but adds The Florida Room restaurant, also to Ernest E. McCall, at the same Sherman Street address. That listing shows up until 1967, and by 1969, the North Sherman Street address is listed as “vacant.”

On a final note, regarding earlier commenter Dareen’s note about there having been a restaurant of Ernie’s in the Shiloh area, I had earlier received this question from fellow Yorkblogger Stephen H. Smith of Yorkspast: “Were there two North Pole Drive-Ins? Were they owned by the same people? I’m well aware of the North Pole Drive-In on the corner of Whiteford Road and North Sherman Street; ate there many times. I was told today that there was a second location, at least in the late ’60s along Carlisle Road near Weigelstown.”

Anyone have any information on that? Was it a North Pole? Was it owned by Ernie McCall? Comment and let me know what you recall!

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