Ask Joan: Seeking more memories edition

I’m spending this week fighting a spring cold, or some other kind of upper-respiratory “ick.” Seriously? It’s May. That’s ridiculous. I hope you’re feeling well, and I hope you enjoy today’s trip to my mailbox; these are all questions that were sent via postal mail – in some cases quite a while ago – all seeking memories of former locales!

What’s inside
1. Heard of Boeckel’s Landing?
2. More memories of People’s Drug Store
3. Seeking Pilot Haven Garage info

1. I was wondering if you have ever heard of Boeckel’s Landing. It was a place we went to when we were children. Mr. Boeckel – “Joe” – had his landing on the Susquehanna River. You go down Route 74 south to Sunnyburn, turn left on Slab Road, turn right on River Road. He had a little store, rented boats, picnic area. I was wondering if anyone has heard of it or been there.
– Erma Dettinger of Red Lion

Would love to share any Boeckel’s Landing info for Erma!

2. Does anyone remember Gibbs’ Peoples Drug Store on the corner of West Market and Beaver streets in downtown York? Bon-Ton, Jack’s and Weinbrom’s Jewelry stores were on opposing corners. Mr. Klock was the manager and Mr. Morningstar was the assistant manager. I worked at the soda fountain for a short period of time. It was my first job after getting “working papers” at 16 years of age, about 1944. Just wondering.
– Phyllis Witmer

We do have some previous posts about Peoples Drug in general, but we have not heard too much about the one at Market and Beaver, the “Gibbs’ Peoples Drug” Phyllis mentioned. I’m including our general memories of Peoples here, but would love to hear more about this store specifically for Phyllis!

July 15, 2011: Mail call: Memories of Peoples Drug
Jan. 27, 2012: A couple of quick memories about Peoples Drug
March 1, 2013: Ask Joan: Seeking recipe for Peoples Drug sandwich
April 15, 2013: Yet more memories of downtown York from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s
Feb. 20, 2014: Even more memories of Peoples Drug

3. Wondering if you and/or the readers could share any information about… Pilot Haven Garage, which was located on South Main Street in Dover, PA, on the left side when traveling south on Route 74. This garage did service on Jeep vehicles (CJs, station wagons, pick-up trucks, forward-control trucks, snowplows, etc.). They were all things Jeep (Willys and Kaiser). Perhaps someone or many people know about this 4×4 service center of years gone by.
– William M. Reigle of Spring Grove

Would love to hear your memories of this service center! We’ve talked about service centers in the past, most recently in this February post, and I”d love to hear more about this one from the area where I grew up!

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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5 Responses to Ask Joan: Seeking more memories edition

  1. Jim Fahringer says:

    Yes, I remember Boeckel’s Landing quite well. During the 1960’s I belonged to Boy Scout Troop 132 of the First Moravian Chuech in York, PA. We often travelled to Boeckel’s Landing and rented a boat or two and travelled to Big Bear island which was about a 1/2 mile to a mile from the Landing. There was a small store there and we we sometimes bought sodas and snacks and bait before we travelled to the island. We would camp on the island for the weekend. I remember one time when a fellow scout forgot a lantern and his his dad and he took the only boat we had and boated back to Boeckel’s. Before they left they took two of my fellow scouts and me to a large rock that jutted out of the river about 200 to 300 ft off the island where we were going to fish. This rock was about 8 feet wide and about 20 or so feet long. We stood on the rock with our fishing gear and watched as the other scout and his dad sped back to Boeckel’s Landing. Meanwhile a severe thunderstorm came up while we were standing on this rock. I still remember seeing the lightning come out of the sky and strike the water just next to the rock we were standing on. We were so frightened that we dropped our fishing rods into the river. There we were at the mercy of the weather being drenched and very frightened as the lightning was striking around us and the thunder roared. About an hour and half to two hours later the other scout and his father returned with the boat and picked us up and took us back to the island. On another occasion I rented a boat from Boeckel’s and took a friend to Big Bear island. This time I didn’t have an outboard motor and I rowed to the island. My friend was collecting wild water lillies that grew in some of the many ponds on the island and a thunderstorm came up. I told my friend that we have to leave because I didn’t want to gert caught in the storm. He wanted to eat supper on the island. He asked me if I wanted to eat with him but I told him I was too nervous and wanted to get off the island before the storm came. He persisted and I watched as he ate. Finally I got him off the island but it was now almost dark because of the impending storm and sunset. We got about 200 feet off the island and suddenly we saw a bolt of lightning come out of the sky and strike the water not too far from us. I was scared stiff. My friend couldn’t swim an inch and we were in waters over 150 ft deep(according to topographical maps). We didn’t have any lights or life preservers. The wind became very fierce. As hard as I tried to row the boat in direction of Boeckel’s Landing, I couldn’t. The wind decided to steer us another way. I kept rowing and praying. After what seemed like days, we finally reached land in front of Boeckel’s Landing. I was so thankful that I wanted to bow down and kiss the solid land under my feet. I think Boeckel’s went out of business after Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 destroyed much of the landing. Someone told me they opened for a brief period after that but I am not sure about that. I believe another boating busines has opened not far from where Boeckel’s once stood.

    • JOANN says:

      Yes,as young chid, my parents would spend weekends there with aunt & uncle who had a place there. I don’t remember how to get there any more but would like to take a ride. How far from the Red Lion square on Rt 74. Please email me. Thank you.

      • Jim Fahringer says:

        I do not know the exact amount of miles from the square in Red Lion but the next time I get down i will measure it. However if you travel south on Route 74 until you get to Route 372 close to Delta. Turn left on Route 372 and travel to the Norman Wood Bridge. Just before crossing the Norman Wood Bridge turn right on that road and follow it south about a mile or so and you will be at the approximate location where Boeckel’s used to be.

  2. Dona Crouse says:

    I remember Pilot Haven Garage in Dover. It was owned by Joe Boeckel and his wife, Norma. Norma was my childcare provider in the early 70’s. We lived at 57 S. Main Street and they were two doors down from us at the bottom of the hill. It was across from a gas station (can’t remember what kind) and Mundis Supply Company. Joe had what appeared to be the largest Jeep repair/service/sales around. When Agnes hit in June of ’72 I remember the water running through the Boeckel home and business. They survived the damage and Joe continued in business. I’m not sure what year they sold and moved. They had 4 children; 2 girls and 2 boys and I remember especially the girls, Belinda and Cindy as they were my evening babysitters when the need arose. Belinda is an exceptional cook/baker and has won many awards at the York Fair. I’m not sure what happened to the whole family as we moved at the end of June that year. They were wonderful people and very helpful to a young mother whose husband was out of town a good deal as a truck driver.

  3. Rose Wise says:

    I remember Gibbs Peoples Drug Store very well. I worked downtown during the 50’s and 60’s, and it was a good lunch stop. The lady who made the sandwiches could remember all the orders without writing anything down. The waitresses would just yell out what they wanted, and she remembered everything. I used to order egg salad “on – with”, which meant I wanted it on toast with lettuce and mayo. It cost 15 cents, and with a Pepsi for a nickel my lunch would be 20 cents. Great deal for a working gal who made about $25.00 a week.

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