Mail call: A downtown map and thoughts on Green Stamps from the Staub family

Today’s letter is one of the most detailed I’ve ever received. It’s from Richard Staub of the Dallastown area, who got together with his wife, Cheryl, and his sister Jean to create both a map and a description of downtown York in the 1950s and ’60s.

His note stirred up some ideas, as it referenced some things I and other bloggers have talked about in the past, so be on the lookout for my notes with links to further reading!

Richard writes, “There were restrooms … ladies’ and men’s room in square; also had a barber shop and shoeshine stand. These restrooms were underground. Bear’s Dept. Store housed S&H Green Stamp Redemption Center.”

“In 1968, I worked at A.M.F. which is now Harley-Davidson, I worked on the bomb line building bombs for Vietnam War and received Green Stamps for making quotas. We would redeem them for all kinds of things. It was nothing to get enough stamps to fill numerous books at a time.”

Note from Joan: I loved, loved, loved Green Stamps. The YDR did an installment of its “Remember” series on them; you can read that here. And my husband wrote about them recently on his blog, in conjunction with their cousin, Top Value Stamps.

Anyway, Richard continues, “Bear’s also had a cafeteria and bake shop. They made the best sticky buns in York County at the time. The cafeteria and bake shop were in the basement. Jack’s Dept. Store bought out Beck’s Shoe Store in 1960 or 1961. When I was in my junior and senior year at York Catholic in summer I worked for R.S. Noonan as a laborer making $2.10 an hour; we worked in the basement of Beck’s Shoes, putting a walkway between Beck’s and Jack’s. The wall was stone on Beck’s side with 4 feet of clay dirt in the middle and cement block on Jack’s side. This was done by hand.”

He continues, “Bon-Ton had a tea room on the balcony and Apple Brown Betty. Other eating places and lunch counters in center city were located at Woolworth’s, Grant’s, McCrory’s, Peoples Drug Store. I used to meet my sister at H.G. Bancroft on Duke St. and we would walk down to Les’s Cafeteria on Cherry Lane behind the Central Market. We would have supper and then come around the corner to the Strand or Capitol Theatre for a movie and then walk home to Wayne Ave. in East York.”

“There was Regal Stationary Store at 102 N. George; my dad repaired umbrellas for William Cross, who was the owner. Out in East York, east of New York Wire Cloth, where they made screen for windows and doors, was the York (Holiday) Theatre.”

We talked more about that theater in Tuesday’s post – good timing, Richard!

Richard adds, “At the railroad was L&H 5-and-10-cent store. Behind the theatre was Eastern Market in bottom of building, and at top was a roller skating rink. This burned down in late 50s, early 60s.”

Note from Joan: June Lloyd has more details on the market and the fire on her Universal York blog.

He continues, “Above the L&H store was a bowling alley where they rolled duckpins. East on Market from there on the south side of Market was Miller’s of York Auto Store, Hardware, Paint, Sporting Goods. This store burned out in the fall of the early 1960s. The store had a square counter in the middle of the store with cash registers. Around the counter were all kinds of ammunition for the hunting season, of course between the aerosol cans of paint and ammunition exploding it was pretty unsafe for firefighters. The fire supposedly started when the neon sign that was across the front of the building exploded when they turned it on that evening.”

“There was a state liquor store at the corner of State and Market St. on the northwest corner. U-Need-A-Tailor was east of the state store, on the same side of the street. This turned into a dance spot with live music and then a bar. East of that was Stiner’s Clothing at Ridge and Market on the northwest corner. On the northeast corner was a beer parlor; at the northeast corner of the next alley was York Bank and Trust; next to that was L&H 5-and-10-cent, moved from down the street after the old building was torn down.”

He continues, “On the northwest corner of Sherman and Market was a drug store. Harry Allaman had a Maytag store. Across the street from these stores, on the southeast corner of Market and Sherman, where the (M&T) Bank is now, used to stand a home that was once used by the state police as a substation. Across Sherman St. was Connolly’s Pain Store, where up to about 8 years ago I bought paint for many projects. Way out east, where Route 83 crosses Market St., was an ice cream parlor called Melvin’s. They had frosty malts and pork BBQ. This was a nice walk from home on Wayne Ave.”

Note from Joan: We just talked about Melvin’s last Saturday!

And Richard concludes, “Across the street was Weis Market, they built this building just a couple of years before 83 was built. Speculation was that they knew that 83 was coming through and built there for the money they would make on the demolishing of their building.”

That’s an awesome list that Richard sent, but even cooler were the maps that he, his wife and his sister created. I’m including one here, but I have plans to share the others in future posts.

You can click on this one to see a larger version; I hope that might help you read some of the details.

Please check it out and let me know what other memories this sparks for you. And Richard, thank you so much for the time you put into this! How awesome, that was have this digitally now!

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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5 Responses to Mail call: A downtown map and thoughts on Green Stamps from the Staub family

  1. Connie Morningstar says:

    Speaking of a fire at Miller’s Hardward Store, the event happened on Feb. 9, 1959 around suppertime. It was a cold and very icy night making fighting the fire difficult, I was five years old at the time and live two houses down from the building.
    Was a very scary night for my family. When you opened our front door the flames came right by us until the firmen came. We had to evacuate and the firemen push all our furniture in the center of rooms and covered with tarps since the fire already started on the house next to us.
    In our yard area the firemen where carrying people from second and third floors of the apartment on
    ladders to safety. When the fire hit the paint department the wall blew out into our yard.
    I applaud the Fire Department for a job well done in saving people from this fire and appreciate just how important they area plus all the volunteer firemen who helped.

    • Jim Fahringer says:

      Thanks for sharing. I remember this fire very well. I also remember good things about Miller’s Hardware like visiting Santa Claus and sitting on his lap and receiving a wrapped gift from him. It was also great meeting you two weeks ago at Morningstar Antique barn in Thomasville when we were looking at post cards and you told me about the fire.

  2. Kathleen Campbell Beaverson says:

    On this map of Richard’s there was a jewelry store between York Bank and Trust and the Lafayette Club,on the first block of East Market St., called Rittenhouse Jewelers. Uncle Ritt and his wife, Jessie, used to own this. Also we can’t forget about Sol Kessler’s on the second block of S George St, that was the place to goo for all the new records. And thank you for remembering Shaffner’s Jewelers!!!

  3. Nancy says:

    I was going to mention Sol Kessler’s, too–I only went there once or twice with my dad when I was a kid, but I do remember it!
    One really picky quibble with Richard’s recollection–I’m pretty sure the Bon-Ton tea room was on the Mezzanine floor, only because it was the first time I ever encountered that word, and I am sure I knew it because they served a soft drink called a Cherry Smash, which I loved. I don’t remember anything about the food I had there, but I definitely remember that maraschino-colored Cherry Smash!

  4. Paul Ilyes Jr. says:

    Love the map from Staubs.

    To add a few things, there was a hotel on the corner of N. George and E. Phila street, and next to it on Phila street was the Pennsylvania garage. On S. George there was the Duke Hotel I think next to the Colonial and then there was a grocery store on the north west corner of S. George and King with the Hub store on the south west corner of S. George and King. On the other side of S. George there was and still is Reinabergs Shoe store and on the north east corner of King and N. George was Sunny Surplus. Further up S. George from King was International Jewelry store. Further back in time the York Lincoln and Mercury was on the South West corner of S. George and Country Club Road. A gas station is there now. There was a big Plitts Ginger Ale sign on top of Newswangers store in the square and the street curb in the square was on a radius. I believe you can see some of it yet in the joints in the sidewalk. This is why the railing to the entrances of the underground rest rooms are radiused. Oh and don’t forget the Tropical Treat on S. George as you go up the hill to what is now Apple Hill medical center. There is mkore but have to stop.

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