Ask Joan: New round of questions edition

In many of my recent Ask Joan columns in the print edition of the York Sunday News, I’ve been following up with answers to past questions. But today, I want to put a few of the dozens of not-yet-asked questions I’ve received out there. Maybe you can help get one of your fellow readers an answer!

What’s inside
1. Hershey Baking Co., five-and-dime
2. Lion as pet in York
3. Jay’s lemon sponge pie recipe

1. I, too, am a life-long Yorker and have many ancestors from this area, including Jacob Stauffer Hershey, who founded the J.S. Hershey Baking Co. around the year 1889. What can you tell me about this company and do you have any photos of it? … He was my great-grandmother’s brother. I have another question about a former York business that was owned by an ancestor of mine, Abram S. Hershey. The business was a five and ten cent store which, I believe, was located on West Market St. He passed away in 1925, but I remember the store being there when I was a young child in the 1950s. Any info or pictures of this store? Thanks!
– Sharon Mindemann

Sharon asked for these memories QUITE a while ago, and I made some attempts to dig up information on both companies. I did find a photo of a J.S. Hershey Co. bin here on the Fresh Vintage website, which includes the information that it was a bread bakery founded in 1889 in York, but found little on the five-and-dime. Any info on both would be greatly appreciated!

2. This isn’t your normal memory of a store or restaurant, but I remember a lion as a pet in the city of York in the 1970s. I can remember going to parades in the city and the lion would be on a leash and though it was odd, he was around a lot. I’m guessing this was in the early to mid-70s since it was around the time my dad worked at the YMCA. My dad remembers that the owner lived near the YMCA’s half-way house because new tenants would come to live at the house and the lion could easily be seen from the half-way house and would “scare” the new tenants. Does anyone else remember this? My family does, but when I bring it up to other Yorkers, they don’t seem to believe it.
– Cyndi Page

Cyndi, I haven’t heard of such a thing, but I would in NO way have trouble believing it! Anyone have any info? (Also, to my husband, Chris, if you’re reading this: No, we cannot get a pet lion.)

3. Today’s last Ask Joan question is one I have been promising to get an answer to for a LONG time. Dawn, who is the best nurse I could ask for at my family doctor’s office, has been asking me for a year to find out the recipe for the lemon sponge pie they used to serve at the Jay’s grocery store restaurant.

I would love, love, love to help her out! Anyone have that recipe or remember that pie?

Got any questions? Ask Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

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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3 Responses to Ask Joan: New round of questions edition

  1. Nancy Markey Swonger says:

    Hershey’s Bakery was located on Jefferson Ave. in York. They baked bread, rolls, cakes and cup cakes. They sold products wholesale to stores but they also had retail outlets at two York markets—Central Market and York City Market. They also had a counter in Murphy”s 5 & 10 store on the square in York. There is a picture of the stand in Central Market in the archives of the market at the historical society.
    My grandmother was a clerk at the market stands. This would have been in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

  2. VICKI BAKER says:


    2 Tablespoons butter melted
    2 Cups white sugar
    4 eggs separated
    5 Tablespoons All-purpose flour
    2 Cups milk
    2 Tablespoons grated peel from 2 lemons (grated lemon zest)
    1/3 Cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
    2 unbaked pie shells.

    Preheat oven to 425

    In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.
    Beat the egg yolks, flour, salt, milk, grated zest, and lemon juice into the creamed mixture.
    In clean bowl with clean beaters beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.

    Gently fold the egg whites into the filling.

    Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells

    Bake in 425 oven for 5 minutes

    Reduce heat to 350 and bake 25 minutes longer or until top is golden.

    A silver knife in the center should come out clean.

    Remove from oven and cool on rack

  3. Sam Manbeck says:

    There was a lion kept as a pet in York in the 70s. When I was 14 or 15, I babysat one summer in the 300 block of West Market Street, in the first or second building on the south side of the street. The lion lived in the same building. I worried all summer that the lion would make its way into the apartment where I was alone with an infant. This was not the only pet lion in the York area. When I was younger, maybe 10, my parents came home from a night out and woke my sister and me. They took us to the parking lot of a bar on the east side, where two adult lions were lounging in the back of a station wagon. For years there was also a lion at Mack’s ice cream in Hellam.

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