Today, instead of a series of new questions or follow-ups, I want to share a sampling of memories I’ve received from readers about two former York County businesses with similar names: the J.S. Hershey Baking Co. and A.S. Hershey 5-and-10 store.
I hope you’ll enjoy!
Longtime reader and commenter Tom Keasey wrote to me about the Hershey bakery. He said, “The J.S. Hershey Baking Co. was owned by a family whose last name was Laucks, and they lived in the Park Village neighborhood, in the northwest area of York City, where I grew up. The bread they sold was called ‘Tip-Top.'”
He said they also sold other baked goods and added that, in addition to the bakery on the first block of Jefferson Avenue, “next to the Penn Dairy complex which included a Pensupreme Restaurant (now the Central Family Restaurant),” that sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s, the J.S. Hershey Co. built a truck warehouse at Hamilton and Pershing avenues and Cottage Hill Road by Williams Park.
“The bakery would ultimately close following a major fire which destroyed the aged multi-storied building. As for the warehouse, it was sold to Barney Thomas around 1968 and would become the home of Brewery Products Co. until 1979,” Tom added.
He continued, “Like many of the local bakeries (Fishel’s, Fox’s, Barton’s, etc.), in the ’40s through the early ’60s, Hershey’s delivered their products door-to-door… This door-to-door method of sales wasn’t limited to bakeries. The many local dairies (Green’s, Rutter’s, Warner’s, Borden’s and others) delivered their products in this manner. Almost every house had a small insulated milk-box sitting by a door. These boxes were provided by the respective dairies and advertised the brand of milk the family preferred. Milk was bottled in unreturnable glass bottles. The waxed paper and today’s plastic bottles would come later. Orders and payments were left in the milk box.”
Interestingly, my mother grew up in Delaware County with bread and milk delivery as well. She still remembers her milk coming from Abbott’s – and that other neighbors got Seal-Test. And her bread was Freihoffer’s! Those aren’t York County businesses, of course, but it amazes me how memorable those names are now, almost 80 years later in my mom’s case. She remembers bringing the milk in fast when it was cold, because in the glass bottles with cardboard tops, the milk would come out the top if it froze!
Regarding the “other” Hershey store in York, I heard from Sharon Mindemann of the Thomasville area about the Hershey 5-and-10.
She wrote, “When I was a youngster, I also remember going into the Hershey’s 5 & 10 store on West Market Street in York. My mother used to tell me it was owned by one of my ancestors, but being a young girl at the time, it didn’t mean much to me. Now I would like to know exactly where it was located. From what I recall, it was on the south side of West Market Street near an intersection. My aunt also remembers it as being on the south side, but neither she nor I know if the crossing street was Belvidere Avenue or not. However, I have no memory of it being where the York Rescue Mission is now located.”
Sharon continued, “My great-grandmother, Katie (Hershey) Weigle, was a brother to Abram S. Hershey and Jacob Stauffer Hershey. Abram and his wife, Sarah, adopted Paul P. Hershey when Paul’s birth mother, Anna (Pfaltzgraff) Hershey (wife of Jacob S. Hershey), died about two months after his birth.”
She added, “According to the obituary my mother and I obtained from the York County History Center, Abram ‘conducted a five and ten cent store on West Market Street.’ Jacob S. Hershey’s obituary states that ‘Jacob S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Baking Company died suddenly…by a paralytic stroke.’ I do not have a copy of Paul Hershey’s obit, but would be interested in getting a copy.”
A reader named Robert wrote to me and said he has a photo of a 5-and-10 store at West Market and South Belvidere that is labeled “Bond’s Store,” and previously we have talked a lot about that location being one of the L&H 5-and-10s, not Hershey.
As you can see from the photo with today’s column, the Hershey 5&10 was closer to downtown – 367 to 369 W. Market St. (where the former Rescue Mission, now LifePath Christian Ministries, is now). Belvidere would have been further west, and Penn would have been the cross street Sharon was probably thinking of.
Richard did provide street addresses from the 1948 York City Directory for the Hershey Baking Co. It is listed at 667 W. Market St., but also J.S. Hershey Baking Co. is listed at 40-48 Jefferson Ave., with the warehouse mentioned by Tom at 38 Jefferson Ave.
Finally for today, I have a letter that combines memories of the Hershey Bakery with a recent Ask Joan question about Penn Dairy.
It comes from Robert Meckley, or Bob, as he signed his letter, and notes, “I have so many memories since I grew up on the 500 block of North Beaver St. Penn Dairy was just down the hill from us. One memory that I have is in late spring when strawberries came in. There would be a large circle of women capping and slicing the strawberries and putting them in a barrel to make strawberry ice cream later. As a little boy, we would go down there and watch the ladies and they would always say, ‘Open your mouth,’ and give us strawberries to eat. This happened again later in the year when the peaches came in.”
He continued with similar memories of home food delivery. “Prior to 1933, most of our food was delivered to our home. That included milk or dairy products; bread and baked products; butcher wagons; produce; eggs; and ice. These were all delivered prior to 1933 by horse-drawn vehicles. The horses used by Penn Dairy and many of the other vendors were stabled along the Codorus Creek. The flood of 1933 washed a lot of these stables away. Hundreds of the horses were washed downstream and drowned. After that, most of the vendors changed to trucks rather than horse-drawn vehicles. The flood that washed away the George St. bridge was only half a block from Penn Dairy, and the Dairy was under water.”
Bob continued, again very similarly to what Tom recalled, “To my memory, there was always a restaurant where the (Central) Family Restaurant now resides. We always referred to it as the Pensupreme Restaurant.”
Bob had some very specific memories of that location. “As teenagers, we often hung out at the Pensupreme Restaurant and had an ice cream cone and played the pinball machine. The night before I went in the service in 1944, my buddies who weren’t in the service took me to the dairy store and they each bought me my favorite – a strawberry sundae. I had seven strawberry sundaes that night.”
“Another interesting thing about Penn Dairy,” he continued, “was that right behind the dairy facility, they had a lighted soft ball diamond, one of the first lighted fields in the area. Pensupreme hosted their team; many of the players were the same players that were on the 13th Ward team, namely Dave Brillhart, Larry Petrey and Jake Barnhart, to name a few. After the softball games, many of us would climb the bank in center field, which brought us to the rear of Hershey Bakery.”
And this is the part that I liked most about Bob’s letter: “If it was a particularly warm night, the doors would be open and we would be standing there mesmerized by that new industrial marvel: freshly baked bread, on a conveyor belt, fed into a machine that simultaneously sliced the bread and wrapped it. We’d stand and watch that for a half-hour, it was so interesting… Our favorite Sunday night meal was ice cream from Pensupreme and icing buns fresh from the bakery at Hershey’s.”
Well, now I’m hungry, so I’m going to wrap up this tasty column and go find a snack. Thanks to all for sharing memories of these different Hershey businesses!
Have questions or memories to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.