Memories of shopping on West Market Street, and a wonderful gas price of 17 cents a gallon!

I had a really nice letter back in February from a reader named Lorraine in York.

She writes, “I have memories going back to the late thirties and forties. Does anyone remember how you could do most of your shopping in the six and seven hundred blocks of West Market St.?”

“There was a drug store at the beginning of the six hundred block… Veterans of Foreign Wars building, photographer, Strathmeyer grocery, Daron’s Hardware, Reisinger Spring Works, Smittie’s Newsstand, Dr. William Stine (dentist), Dr. Charles Posey, M.D., barber shop, Bennie’s Restaurant, and on corner of Belvidere Ave., Wheler’s Window Blinds and Drapery. The opposite side across from Wheler’s was 5 and 10 cent store, also Pensupreme ice cream parlor and later Yvonne Strathmeyer’s dance studio. Archie May Jewelers, Bob Frisby’s dry cleaners, Zeigler’s restaurant; oh, yes, Jim’s Radio Shop was at the Pensupreme when they moved. When you crossed Belvidere going west it was H.M. Rehmeyer’s, the HiWay Theatre and Acme Food Market.”

She continues, “You could have lunch at any one of the restaurants, do your shopping and then catch a trolley or later in the forties, a bus. My father had Smittie’s news and I spent a lot of time in the six hundred block. … He also had gasoline service and I would pump many gallons of gasoline at 17 cents a gallon!”

trolleydowntown.jpg

York County’s trolley system, already struggling at the start of the Depression-era 1930s, did not motor through the end of the decade. The last car rolled through York’s Continental Square, seen here, in 1939.

Lorraine adds, “May not forget Lincoln ice cream parlor on the northwest corner of Belvidere, they had the best milkshakes in town. … In the late thirties, the trolley cars would travel the middle of Market Street then later during the beginning of the Second World War, the buses took over.”

And she concludes, “Thank you for letting me reminisce. Wonderful memories, wonderful times when we didn’t have a key to our doors. Love was shared by everyone; by giving a helping hand. Yes, it was wartime, but we all cared for one another.”

Thank you, Lorraine, for sharing that with us!

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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One Response to Memories of shopping on West Market Street, and a wonderful gas price of 17 cents a gallon!

  1. Garnet Taylor says:

    How wonderful to know there’s someone else who appreciated this era. I walked home from Bill Penn on Market St. to home on Carlisle Avenue 1948-1951. Bennie’s Restaurant was the place to go after games for their burgers-fried-coke; the 5-and-10 across the street carried lotsa items close to home w/out going uptown; Rehmeyers was a supermarket for furniture/appliances; the Highway Theater was packed on Saturday night (where I had a huge crush on an usher in uniform); the Acme Markets trained me as a cashier for my first fulltime job at the new Acme Market opening on Roosevelt Avenue. All that you mentioned happened in an era of innocence that will never come again but remains in our hearts of a better-time-better place!:)

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