A plethora of city memories from Greg Halpin

I’m thrilled that Greg Halpin has been commenting since earlier this year on stores and restaurants of York County’s past. That list is ever-growing, so when I get notes like Greg’s, I try to add the missing businesses to our directory as soon as I can!

Today, I’m going to share one of Greg’s earliest letters to me, but first, I’ll let him introduce himself.

bon-ton-santa.jpgGreg writes, “I’m a life-long resident of York City, and recently hit the big 5-0 so I’ve got a lot of memories left in my head. … I’m an assistant fire chief in the city fire department, and have been there for 30 years. I also am an unofficial department historian, so I’m probably your ‘go to guy’ should you have questions about the fire department’s history.

In that capacity, Greg was able to shed some light on the “big ladder” that you see Santa on at The Bon-Ton in this post by Jim McClure, which I referenced back in the April 11 edition of Ask Joan. That ladder, he writes, “is one of the city fire department’s ladder trucks. The fire department always showed up at the Bon-Ton with the ladder truck to help Santa get down off of the roof where presumably he landed his
sleigh. I guess the Bon-Ton didn’t have a suitable chimney to go down through. Some of the older guys in the fire department talked about being a part of these events through the years.”

Regarding some other business memories, Greg was almost unsure where to start – because he remembers so much! He wrote, “I’m going to restrict myself to the restaurants for now, with the exception of the following about a few stores.”

“Sol Kessler’s Hi Fi Shop was in the 100 block of South George Street, across from what is now Sovereign Bank. Many of the 45s in my record collection were purchased at Sol Kessler’s back in the 1970s. I’m also surprised that Sunny’s Surplus wasn’t on the list. They used to be at George & King Streets, then moved up George Street near where Sol Kessler’s was, and later ended up on Memory Lane.”

He continues, “A few restaurants that I remember that are not on the list: Bud’s Drive-In – This was on South George Street on the west side beyond Tyler Run Road about half-way up that hill. I can remember two things specifically about the restaurant… one, was the telephone handset at each table where you ‘phoned in’ your order to the kitchen one when you were ready. You never saw a server at your table until you placed your order. They also had these small, round deep fried dinner rolls that I’m sure were cholesterol laden, but who knew back then … they were delicious! I also remember that the restaurant exploded in what was suspected to be as the result of the owner failing to pay a debt to some unforgiving person or persons. I seem to recall that they opened a different restaurant in the Longstown area under a different name with different food.”

He continues, “Another restaurant missing from the list is J’s Steaks and Subs which was on Roosevelt Avenue just off of Philadelphia Street. It’s now a parking lot at the Industrial Plaza. Up until the end they were the ‘home of the 99 cent steak sandwich’ which may have been part of the reason they had to close.”

Another restaurant Greg mentioned was the former Majestic Restaurant at Market & Newberry streets in York; as he surmised earlier this year when he wrote to me, once that business reopened, it was no longer the Majestic. (It reopened in about the past month as Li’s Kitchen.)

Of course, the most famous thing for many people about the Majestic was its flag mural, now gone, seen here in a 2006 photo from our archives!

majesticflag.jpg

On to other memories of Greg’s: “Conrad’s Deli at 95t1 South Queen Street probably qualifies for the list as well. They had a tremendous carry out lunch business, selling sandwiches, soups and salads. There’s also been a plethora of pizza/sub shops that have come and gone in town through the years, and it would probably be close to impossible to name all of them.”

I definitely feel that sometimes my quest to help chronicle all these old businesses is unending. So, impossible, maybe, but we’re certainly willing to try!

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!
This entry was posted in It used to be..., Local memories, York City/Suburban. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A plethora of city memories from Greg Halpin

  1. Connie Morningstar says:

    Good to hear the memories Greg. I know you know plenty of them. Glad to hear you have kept so much history of the City of York. I also do history on the York City I know from living here all my life and working for the City (especially as restaurant Health inspector.
    Really appreciate your work and Joan’s blog.

  2. Kathy Campbell says:

    I remember when Greg lived on South Queen St. He was one of the cutist boys in the neighborhood. I remember this picture of the Bon Ton so vividly, I was there somewhere. Sol Kessler’s was the best!!!

  3. shirley cover says:

    i was looking for the name of a drive in that was at the cornor of rt.30 and sherman street .I send e-mail early and as i was sitting here it hit me the name was the polar palace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>