Ask Joan: Sewing factory, shoe store and gas station recalled

This week, I’m digging into my email with some unanswered questions. Hopefully we can shed light on a few of these topics!

What’s inside
1. Photo brings memories of Bernstein & Sons
2. Seeking Delco Plaza shoe store
3. W.C. Lauer gas station info sought
4. Do you remember H.S. Schmidt in York?

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Memories of York County’s swimming pools

Jill Schaffner shared this photo from the former Meadowbrook Swim Club in Saginaw, run by her father and grandfather from 1952 to 1981.

Jill Schaffner shared this photo from the former Meadowbrook Swim Club in Saginaw, run by her father and grandfather from 1952 to 1981.

Insert your favorite appropriately dumb “It’s hot” joke here.

In honor of the obvious topic of the weather, I thought today I’d share some of the many memories I’ve received about swimming pools in York County’s past.

Meadowbrook Swim Club

We talked a bit about the Meadowbrook Swim Club in the Saginaw area of northeastern York County in a post last summer. After reading that, Barbara Geesey wrote, “Joan, I recently read your note about Meadowbrook Pool. I have many fond memories of the pool as my family belonged there the entire time it was open, my mother gave swim lessons there a few years and we spent many summer days picnicking and playing in the huge field and stream. Many a water skipper was caught by cousins and family friends and we always had a watermelon cooling in the creek. As my cousins and siblings grew older and had families of our own we also became members and still talk about our wonderful memories there. We were sorry to see it close, there really needs to be more places in York area that provide family enjoyment at an affordable price.”

I also heard from Jane Crowder, who wrote, “I remember Meadowbrook Swim Club very well. It was a fun place in the ’60s, ’70s and later and was very well managed by Odessa Bangak. She ran a very tight ship and kids did not rough house in the pool or run on the wet walks. Odessa tried to keep everyone safe. We lived in Saginaw at the top of the playground hill. I drove my daughter, Kate, and my older son, George, to the pool many times. It was too far to walk there from our hillside home. My daughter loved Meadowbrook, but I disliked the extremely cold water. But, I did get in and swim. That was the coldest water I’ve ever experienced. What a beautiful area with large shade trees and picnic tables where a family could enjoy an outdoor picnic supper. I also remember the juke box playing songs like “The Days of Wine and Roses!” The music floated way up the hills to my home. I think the juke box was silenced in the later years. Too bad.”

Reader Jill Schaffner, who had previously shared photos of the Meadowbrook Swim Club (one of which you can see above today), said there are many posts of memories of Meadowbrook in the Facebook group titled “I grew up in Manchester/Mount Wolf and surrounding areas -Pennsylvania.”

From Cheryl Snyder Huber, I heard, “My family belonged to Meadowbrook Pool for many years, probably starting in the ’50s. I remember a small baby pool for very young children and the larger pool for everyone else. The large pool ranged from about 2 1/2 feet deep at one end to 6 feet deep at the other. There was a juke box with a small dance area, a stream with trees and lots of picnic tables and a large area for various ball games. There was also a refreshment stand where my favorite was frozen Zero bars. My brother, sister and I all took swimming lessons at Meadowbrook. The water was quite cold, especially in June. We were told it was piped in from the nearby quarry.”

And finally on the topic of this pool (at least for now!), I received a note from Eileen Snyder, who wrote, “I caught an article about the Meadowbrook Swim Club and that started bringing back childhood memories. My family and my aunt and uncle and cousins all belonged to this swim club. We would go up every weekend and go swimming. We would pack our lunch and stay the whole day. I remember my parents and my aunt and uncle sat at a picnic table and played cards while us kids went swimming. The adults would eventually get in the pool with us! There was a tire swing that we used to play on. I also remember they had frozen Milky Ways at the snack bar and we would always get one. It was such a clean facility and we always had so much fun. What good memories I had as a child at Meadowbrook Swim Club!”

Springwood Pool

At the same time that I last wrote about the Meadowbrook Swim Club, I also shared memories of the Springwood Pool.

Of that location, Mary Brandt wrote, “In regard to Springwood Park and Pool… I spent my childhood living in Yoe. I have many fond memories of walking the railroad tracks with mom, my sister and friends every Sunday with our picnic basket. We swam in the pool and could get additional food and drinks at the food stand that was also a part of the pool. We loved playing on the swings. What a happy time of my life.”

And Jim Botterbusch of East Manchester Township wrote, “About Springwood swimming pool… I was life guard for four years. … It was all cement with slanted sides. It went down from about one foot to about 7 foot. The movie screen was between the house and the dance hall; on the hill we had movies Sunday nights. Once in awhile we had square dances Saturday nights with a live western band. We cleaned the pool every Wednesday night. We dammed the creek along the side of the pool and pumped water from it. It took all night to fill the pool. That made the water cold for the first couple days. It went through a filter system. Later on we dug a well to fill it. We had to watch it, because when it rained hard in Delta it would cloud the water and we would have to turn the pump off.

Finally, I heard from Charlotte Sheffer Baker, a member of the Class of 1941 at York High, who wrote, “My friend Rae and I visited Springwood Swimming Pool every day of sunshine during our summer high school days at William Penn. Our place of blanket was next to the Harry Hackburger family. The pool at that time (1930s) was owned and operated by the Ruhl family. Mr. Ruhl was a druggist in York at the time (and had) 2 sons, Henry and Joseph. Yes there was train transportation by then. Later, it was owned by Greenewalt who lived in the house across from the pool. We also attended dances in a building across from the pool. Ah! For the Springwood pool days!”

To read even more about the Springwood Pool, consider these posts:

March 5, 2013: Ask Joan: Hollander’s, Springwood Pool and pizza (includes a few Springwood Pool photos)

April 19, 2013: More thoughts on Camp Betty Washington Road (includes a few details about Springwood Pool in some reader comments)

Pigeon Hills swimming

An Ask Joan question last fall brought up the topic of a swimming spot in the Pigeon Hills area outside Spring Grove. On this topic, I heard several different ideas.

One commenter who didn’t give a name said, “When I was a child my mother’s cousin lived on the farm across the road from the swimming pool. The only name I can remember was Altland’s Ranch.”

From Monica Barrett, I heard, “Hershey Heights Swimming Pool was the name of the swimming pool in the Pigeon Hills. Good memories from the 50s and 60s.”

And later, Monna Hormel wrote, “The swimming hole was a pond in Pigeon Hills Park that was an old ore hole. I found this postcard by searching ‘Pigeon Hills Park’ on the Internet. I enjoy your column. I went there as a child. Don’t know if it is still accessible, but there is a Pigeon Hills Park Road off of Beaver Creek Road off of Route 194 going out of Hanover.”

So I’m not sure if we can shed any specific light on the original question asked by Jerri Bitner, but there are some leads, at least!

Finally on pools, I heard from Bill Unger of Shrewsbury. He also read the previous notes about pools and says, “Yes, I remember when York was full of pools. I think you missed one. It was way out west of York. It was on Wolf’s Church Road west of 616 and south of old Route 30. Does anyone remember its name? I don’t.”

Any ideas on that one for Bill? Obviously in closer is where the Lincolnway Pool is now, but this would be further west, and I’m drawing a blank!

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Ask Joan: Murder mystery edition

Nope, no real York County murder mystery here! But I did have a blast last weekend taking part in the first murder mystery at Escape Games Live in York, and laughed when I found reporter Abbey Zelko there taking part for this article!

My character was a hula dancer with a particular talent for … falling asleep. I think anyone who knows me can agree that it was a good casting choice.

Anyway, I’ve woken up long enough to share some Ask Joan questions today!

What’s inside
1. Where was the Menu-Ette restaurant?
2. Seeking memories of the White Roses
3. Information on Bear’s teddy bear
4. Memories on various York locations

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More memories of the former W.T. Grant stores

I’ve written a few times in the past about the former W.T. Grant stores following a 2013 Ask Joan question from Rami Norris, who was curious about whether what’s now a Kmart on Haines Road in Springettsbury Township used to be a Grant’s or not. (Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.)

Later that year, several readers shared details on where there were Grant’s stores in York County, and I realized later that I’d first written about Grant’s in a 2011 post from a woman who worked as a window-dresser there.

Since all of that, though, I’ve received yet more Grant’s notes and memories, and I wanted to share those today! One thing I do not have is a single photo of W.T. Grant, so if you have a picture or postcard depicting it, I’d be glad to see it!

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A central Pennsylvania way to store your recipes


Longtime reader and source of neat York County information Jo Ott shared something with me several years ago that I just found in my files today and wanted to publish. It’s about the cabinets above, which were seen and photographed by Jo in a home outside Gettysburg.

When she originally shared her photos with me, Jo mentioned this 2012 York Town Square post by Jim McClure, which talked about members of the West Manchester Township and Greater Dover Area historical societies visiting the 1860 Yingling farmhouse near Gettysburg, which was under restoration. Workers during the restoration found several interesting items; some are seen in Jim’s blog post, and others can be found in this June 2012 article.

“There is, however, one other item not mentioned in either story,” Jo wrote.

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Do you remember the Red Lion bean strike?


School’s out! But I do have a fun school-related post to share today, which I’ve held onto for some time. It was shared with me by Trudy Wise on behalf of Treva Grim Grove.

Treva had noted that in October 2012, the Red Lion High School Class of 1962 celebrated its 50th high school reunion with a weekend of events and memory-sharing.

Treva noted, “One of the highlights of our senior year was in February of 1962. Our class initiated a ‘strike’ against the cafeteria. We were being served government surplus navy beans numerous days in a row,” she said, noting that you could soak and soak those beans “and they just wouldn’t get soft.”

Treva continued, “At the time of this strike the school had 800 pounds of this variety of beans in storage. The boycott lasted for three days. This news made headlines as far away as California, and as close as the local newspapers reporting on a daily basis.” (And you can see an example of that in the image at the top of today’s post!)

Then, Treva added, “This ‘bean strike’ was featured at our 50th class reunion and was once again ‘as in the spirit of good clean fun’ as our then supervising principal, Mr. Frederick P. Sample, stated 50 years ago.”

She added, “Each attendee at (the) Sept. 8, 2012, event at Kerry’s Green, the former Red Lion Country Club, received a laminated place mat with numerous newspaper articles featured. This was a nice memento of our 50th celebration which brought back many memories and many laughs. The table centerpieces were fresh flowers with a bean can serving as the vase.”

Finally, Treva concluded, “There are several members of this class residing in York County that have first hand knowledge of how this ‘strike’ came to be. Maybe some of them have more to share on this event.”

I would certainly love to hear more too – like how we came to have hundreds of pounds of surplus beans! I love a good clearance at the grocery store as much as anyone, but…

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Ask Joan: Fun follow-ups edition

Today I want to follow up on a couple of previous Ask Joan questions, one recent and the other from a while ago.

What’s inside
1. York T&T manhole cover details
2. Following up on Grantley restaurant

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Ask Joan: GRE edition

Just a random sampling of questions to share today. I’m preparing to take the GRE (Graduate Readiness Exam) this weekend, so my brain is FRIED and I can’t write a proper introduction. Hopefully you’ll forgive me!

What’s inside
1. What were those chocolate squares?
2. Seeking Grantley Road restaurant name
3. President Lincoln in Hydra-stone
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Remembering Ahrens and other York County butcher shops of the past

It’s been about two years since we last talked about York County butcher shops of the past. You can read previous posts on this topic here, here and here.

In the intervening time, I’ve received several other notes about butcher shops from the York County area, and I wanted to share those today.

Reader Emma Witmer wrote, “I recall, as Jim Fahringer recalled, the Ahrens Butcher Shop. As a kid growing up in York, there was an Ahren’s Butcher Shop on South Queen Street, which was a block down from where I lived. I also recall the Ahren brothers’ snow white hair. Does anyone recall the Herb’s Brewery located on the corner of South Queen and King Street in York?”

Ahrens hot dogs

I received this photo from William Greenawalt in relation to the Ahrens hot dogs. “Here you can get one on a bun for 5 cents,” he said of this photo, which he said shows the inside of the concession facility at Springwood Park in the early 1940s.

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Receipts from York, PA, businesses of the past


Some time ago, Lorie Redding, a friend from a church my family used to attend, shared some images with me of receipts from former York County businesses.

“My mom, Rosella Linebaugh, still has some of the receipts from the furniture her and my dad, Glenn Linebaugh, purchased when they were just married,” Lorie wrote. “We thought you might find them interesting.”

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