Memories of York’s downtown and surrounding parts of the city are a topic that I never seem to be able to exhaust! Today, I have more to share, but first, I want to share just a few links to earlier posts on the topic you might have missed. I hope you’ll take a look through these memories, both old ones and new.
· Dec. 20, 2010: More memories of stores in downtown York
· March 5, 2011: An amazing treasure trove: A walking tour of historic downtown York
· March 15, 2011: Downtown memories from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s
· March 29, 2011: Memories of shopping on West Market Street, and a wonderful gas price of 17 cents a gallon!
· April 29, 2011: Letters about even more downtown stores and restaurants
· April 30, 2011: Remember our downtown walking tour?
· June 18, 2011: Mail call: A downtown map and thoughts on Green Stamps from the Staub family
· Oct. 21, 2011: Some possible additions to our detailed map of downtown stores
· Feb. 21, 2013: Business advertisements from the York High Weekly in the early 1940s
· April 5, 2013: Yet more memories of downtown York from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s
Reader Terri Wolf writes, “My parents had a store in the middle of the block at 427 Smith St., right up from Williams Park. They sold everything. Penny candy, ice cream, bread, soda, milk, known for their cheap and delicious hamburger in sauce and their lemon blends. At Christmas we would have a big time with Santa and gave out candy and ice cream. I remember when Vo-Tech first opened and it was located at the Jefferson school building and all the boys would come there for lunch. Great memories.”
I also received a question from Jean Henle Poole, who asks, “There was a Chinese restaurant off West Market near the Codorus Creek. Does anyone remember the name? I keep thinking the Dutch Kitchen but that doesn’t make sense since it was Chinese food. I remember there was a Chinese laundry? Would have been in the ’50s. Also remember the Deb shop where all the teenage girls shopped.” I do not know for sure the name of the restaurant, but I feel certain we’d talked about it in the past and I’m just not turning it up for some reason, so I’m hopeful that some readers will be able to shed some light.
Fred A. Baker wrote after reading some of the earlier memories, “I really appreciated all the information about (the) ’50s and ’60s in York. What a pleasant time of life that was. The good old Hiway Theater where right next door was a Giant Market.” He also mentioned several other theaters, including the Rialto, the Ritz, and the Charles McDonald Southern Theater. “For 10 cents I could see and be entertained by a movie,” Fred noted.
He continued, “I do remember the underground public restroom at the square on the corner of South George Street. The public restrooms and the shoe shine stand along the right wall were operated by a Greek family by the name of Roupas. I went to school with the daughter who was in one of my classes… Across the street was a Murphy’s 5 and 10 cent store where my mother would buy me a 10 cent comic book.”
He added, “I remember at the Rittenhouse Jewelers store is where I bought my wife’s engagement and wedding rings. The Sears and Roebuck Store was on Market Street right up from the railroad tracks… There was the Eagle Fire House on the corner of Jackson and Jessop… It housed one fire engine and was two stories. Upstairs was a game room and snack bar. Walled off was a sleeping quarters for the firemen.” He also recalled an ice cream parlor named Arnold’s and the Eagle Bakery and Long’s Bakery, as well as fountains at Penn Park filled with water and live fish.
Longtime reader and commenter Roy Flinchbaugh wrote “My father’s father owned a hotel (called the Lafayette House – pronounced “Lay fay ette House”) in the building across the alley from the present-day McDonald’s on the west side of the second block of South George St. Dad told about the stagecoach from Red Lion stopping there. The first floor was a “saloon” (the term then); the family lived upstairs and there were rooms above that. My mother spoke of riding the stagecoach to Strinestown as a girl with her mother to visit relatives (her mother was a Strine). Later, as a young woman, mother said she rode the trolley car from York to Reading (changing trolleys in the square in Lancaster) to visit other relatives.”
Reader Jean Mummert, who retired to Florida after living in York County for many years, noted that she graduated from York Junior College in 1958, at the corner of Duke and College. “It was a huge beautiful building with a large center hall and an open staircase. It was formerly the York Collegiate Institute and my dad graduated from there in 1932,” she noted.
Bill Unger of Shrewsbury recalled Paul Schiding and the Checkered Flag hobby shop very well. “I spent a lot of time and a little money there when I was a kid,” Paul noted. He also recalled what he described as “a very good shop,” Skelly’s, in the 2200 block of West Market Street outside the city.
Finally for today, I had a note from Kenneth Summers, who says, “I remember the J.S. Hershey Baking Company very well. The baking company was located on the right hand side of Jefferson Ave. going east between N. Beaver Street and N. George Street. During the 1950s and early 1960s I grew up on the 100 block of Hamilton Ave., which is about a block and a half from the plant. When J.S. Hershey was baking bread the smell from the plant in our neighborhood was heavenly. The baking company also had a building at the corner of N. Pershing Ave. and Hamilton Ave. across from Williams Park where they kept all of their bread trucks. The plant where the bread was made had an outlet store where you could buy their products at a discount. I remember my mother sending me to the outlet store for discounted bread. The outlet store was located in the back of the plant and you would have to enter through the front door and walk through all the bread slicing and baking machines to get to the outlet store. It was very noisy with lots of flour on the floor. It was really scary for a young boy to walk through the plant to get bread for his Mom. This was in the days before OSHA. In later years, the outlet store was moved down the street towards N. George Street into another building. No more of an adventure going for bread for your Mom.”
Kenneth, and everyone else, thank you so much for sharing those memories!
Have questions or memories to share? Email me at email@example.com or write to Ask Joan, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. We cannot accept any phone calls with questions or information.