Sending memories from Las Vegas to York, PA

Today, I have a fun letter to share that is also thematically appropriate!

It’s from Greg and Dottie Woolridge of Las Vegas, Nevada, and it’s fun for me because I just got back from a short vacation to Las Vegas in the past couple of weeks!

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Remembering C.J. Helfrich Delicatessen



Reader Robert Keller shared the images above with me and wrote, “My wife’s relative had a deli on S. George Street and it seems a blog would help with information from other members of the public about the store. A friend said her grandmother lived over a deli on S. George Street.”

Robert asked if I’d add this deli to our “York County’s stores and restaurants of the past” directory, which I have. “We collect info from the public familiar with the store,” he added, and I’d love to be able to collect any memories of Helfrich’s for him as well!

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Ask Joan: Fitbit edition

Since January, I’ve been using a Fitbit to track my steps. In the past week, I’ve joined some challenges with former coworkers and fellow homeschoolers and high school classmates scattered around the country, and my competitive side is really causing me to freak out when I’m not in the lead in each of them.

But on the positive side, I’ve had the chance to explore wonderful parts of York County this spring, like the newly opened section of the Heritage Rail Trail County Park, where we were treated to the sight of two bald eagles. If you haven’t been there already, I encourage you to check it out, as well as checking out the new Ask Joan questions I’m sharing today.

What’s inside
1. Details on White Roses players
2. Do you remember Legion shows?
3. Seeking Girl Scout cabin photo
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Memories from the York Haven area

Larry R. Good shared this image of an Elm Beach Park photo card

Larry R. Good shared this image of an Elm Beach Park photo card.

In February of this year, I had shared a letter from reader Lynda Shaffer Pendergraft about growing up in the York Haven area, and seeking others’ memories of that part of the county.

I often hear memories of growing up in the city of York, but I really love getting to share stories of other parts of town too, so I was excited when I heard from other readers about the more northern part of the county in response.

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Memories of Alice Hoffer’s dress shop in York

Around the middle of last year, reader Becky Carr asked if anyone remembered Alice Hoffer’s dress shop in downtown York.

Well, wow. The answer was a resounding YES! Today, I have many, many memories of Alice Hoffer’s, also known as The Fabric Shop, to share. What I do not have are any photos of this establishment, so if you have any, please do share… and read on for more memories!

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More music-lesson memories: Recalling Keyboard Studios and Gingerich music


Today, I have a few notes to share about one of my favorite topics and one we’ve discussed in the past – music and music lessons around York County.

From Don Frey, I received the following letter in response to that previous post. “You caught my attention when I read your story on Keyboard Studios, which was very good. I can give you so many, many more names who taught trumpet, french horn and guitar. All those names have history which I can give you. I also can give you the name of the touch up man who did touch ups on pianos and organs and the three men that did electronics on the organ, guitars and amps. Of course I know the names of the girls that worked in the office in the ’50s and ’60s. John Pickard and I opened up the 615 musical lounge and from there I got Don Frey and Naturals, my band practiced on the second floor where they held accordion concerts. Bobby Doran taught guitar there in 1960 and 61, left and went with Guy Lombardo. Lloyd Baddorly, trumpet teacher at Keyboard, married Sue Keeney who worked in the keyboard office. He went with the Hershey Ice Capades. I taught drums 35 hours a week from 1955-1960 and than 1960-1967 I taught 35 hours a week and repaired instruments 35 hours a week for a total of 70 hours.”

Don, I’d love to hear more; please definitely comment and share with everyone so we can all recall those names together!

A commenter named Bobby also recalled Keyboard Studios, which was in the 800 block of East Market Street. Bobby wrote, “They sold musical instruments and gave music lessons. I won free organ lessons at the fair one year and got a small organ and lessons for 6 weeks. Then Monroe Brandt took over the building and sold and serviced pinball and I think vending machines.”

And from Jim Shindler, I heard about another related location. Jim writes that after reading the previous post, “I realized another Market Street music store that gave music lessons was unmentioned. Gingerich Music House was located on the north side of West Market Street west of Newberry Street. Two Gingerich brothers were owners but I can only recall Clair’s name. Experienced youth musicians, students of their school, would demonstrate various instruments in the elementary grades of public schools which would result in creating the desire of the pupils to learn how to play a particular instrument which could be rented from the Gingerich’s. I was one of them and I rented a cornet, took lessons from them and eventually my parents bought me my own cornet. Many children received their early musical education from them at least in the 1940s.”

The photo at the top of today’s post is of the 1947-48 Gingerich Band School band and comes from Royce Campbell, who also recalled that in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Clair Gingerich gave private music lessons and had a band operating out of a studio on West Market Street.

Campbell said he’s in the second row, and among others pictured are Jerry Gingerich, David Goodling, Dale Boyer, Tom Rutland (now deceased), Marlin Krebs, Neil Bentzel, Dwight Chamberlain, Wilbur Wolfe, Barry Albright (now deceased), Donald Zech, Robert Hartsough, Ed Hollinger (now deceased), Red Alwood and Roger Goodling. “It would be interesting to hear how many recognize themselves!” he wrote.

He added, “Eleven of the 28 members shown were from West York. It would also be interesting to know more about Mr. Gingerich and his ‘school'; was it in the ‘Blue Moon’ building, how long did he have a band, anybody remember him, etc.”

I would love to hear more about Gingerich Music School!

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Letters about York, PA, and its food, hangouts and more

Today, I have a few letters to share about snippets of things around York County – including some very tasty-sounding ones. Want to hear about some great candy, local cafeterias and more?

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Seeking information on York Fair postcard


A quick note today from Cindy Roach of Dover, who shared this image of a postcard purchased in November 2014 at the York International Postcard Expo at the York Expo Center.

On the bottom of the card, the date of Oct. 11, 1906, is handwritten.

Cindy said nothing is written on the back of the card, and it is not postmarked.

She was curious about the date, writing, “I know that the York Fair was held in October in the early 1900s, but the dates were earlier in the month, not on the 11th. I was wondering if any of your readers know if this card is indeed from the York Fair from that year. The card says it is the ‘President’s Escort, 13th U.S. Cavalry, York County Fair,’ and the card was published by L.G. Harpel, Lebanon, PA. Any help you can give me in researching this post card will be appreciated.”

Any information for Cindy? I’m curious as well!

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Memories of the western part of York city

Some time ago, I received a letter from Joyce Brenner Whitcraft, now of New Freedom and formerly of York, regarding some businesses and memories she recalls from the ’50s and ’60s on the western side of York city.

She writes, “You have covered the western York area and also ’50s-’60s. I remember a lot of the businesses etc. you mentioned before. I have a few memories that were from ’50s-’60s era being raised in 900 block (of) West Poplar St. Remembering Hartley Elementary School, currently a CVS store and Turkey Hill mini mart. Hartley was located on land (at) S. Richland Ave. and 900 block of West Princess and 900 West Poplar St.”

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More memories of York’s Teen Age Center


I think it’s been almost two years since we last talked about York’s Teen Age Club or Teen Age Center, a popular hangout on South George Street.

Since then, I have received not only more memories but a neat piece of memorabilia, which I’m thrilled to share here today.

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