York square of Christmases past

Southwest corner of York's square, c.1949

Southwest corner of York’s square, c.1949

Here is a tour of York’s Center/Continental Square, featuring the big star that was the centerpiece of the decorations from the late 1940s through the 1950s.

Looking up East Market Street, c.1950

Looking up East Market Street, c.1950

I’m not sure when the star was first fabricated and when it was replaced with other decorations. These photos, showing the square from various angles are dated approximately. They are from the York County Heritage Trust Library and Archives, and are often donated without dates. The photo catalogers then have to make an educated guess based on the stores and automobiles.

Northwest quadrant of York's square, c. 1951

Northwest quadrant of York’s square, c. 1951

As I remember, a similar star was used again not too many years ago, but it too ran its course. Decorations that are subjected to winter rain, snow, ice and wind don’t last forever, so we owe the mid-twentieth century photographers thanks for preserving these scenes so many of us remember from our youth.

Looking north on George Street from the square, c.1953

Looking north on George Street from the square, c.1953

Back when there were no malls and just a relative few stores in the downtowns of most of the county’s larger boroughs (except sizable Hanover), many county residents “went to York,” to do serious shopping. Even if your grew up in Chanceford and Windsor townships, like I did, you were quite familiar with the Bon Ton, Bear’s and Wiest’s as well as all the five-and-tens and clothing stores concentrated in York’s center.

The northeast corner of the square, c.1955

The northeast corner of the square, c.1955

Closer look at Santa and his reindeer in the northeast corner of the square, c.1955

Closer look at Santa and his reindeer in the northeast corner of the square, c.1955

This link will take you to more posts on York County Christmases.

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