RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 3

RAILCAR GOLD    Chapter 18 . . . David   add 2 blanks after GOLD

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 18 . . . David

RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.  This is Part 3 of Chapter 18 . . . David.  A new part will be posted every Thursday.  Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.

Continue reading “RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 3” »

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Bury’s in Springettsbury Township was not just Hamburgers

2014 and 1964 Aerial Photos of 2700-Block of East Market Street in Springettsbury Township, York County, PA (2014 Aerial from Bing.com and 5/30/1964 Aerial from York County Archives; Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)

2014 and 1964 Aerial Photos of 2700-Block of East Market Street in Springettsbury Township, York County, PA (2014 Aerial from Bing.com and 5/30/1964 Aerial from York County Archives; Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)

These 50-year-difference aerial photos show the 2700-block of East Market Street in Springettsbury Township; i.e. the vicinity just east of Northern Way.  Recent research in Directories at the York County Heritage Trust shows that at one time or other, Bury’s had various businesses at 2709, 2710 and 2720 East Market Street in Springettsbury Township; locations that I have as so noted at the left side on the 1964 (lower) aerial photo.

Bury’s was where our family ate, the evening of the day our family moved from York Township to Springettsbury Township in January 1958.  I can’t recall exactly which location we ate at, however I do distinctly remember, after eating, that my parents took our family inside the Playland Skating Rink, for my first time; just to have a look around.

Andrew Diehl poised as question to Joan Concilio in an Only in York County post Ask Joan some history questions.  He asked: “Can anyone recall what was to the right side of Playland skating rink as you looked at it head-on from East Market St.? Some say a restaurant/lounge or something else?”

A similar question has been on my list of future posts for several months; I know at one time, 2710 and 2720 East Market Street were Bury establishments, however for how long and was anything else on the west side of Playland?  The question to Joan and my curiosity got the better of me; so I bubbled a post on this subject to the top.  After my post: 35 Participating Restaurants for March of Dimes Coffee Day in 1958; Avalong, Paddock, Bury’s/Playland Steps several readers commented or saw me with comments; all except one agreed that Bury’s was immediately to the west of the Playland Skating Rink, which was on the south side of Market Street.  However one reader was certain Bury’s was on the north side of Market Street; he thought during the 50s.  My previous post included a 1958 Ad, it had the address for Bury’s as 2710 East Market Street; i.e. the south side of Market Street, however the question remained, was there ever a north side location?

Refer to the aerial photos at the beginning of this post.  In the 50-years since the 1964 aerial photo was taken, only two buildings remain standing in the field of view.  On the left side, at 2700 East Market Street, the very distinctive shaped building that was Nello Tire Company in 1964.  On the right side, at 2816 East Market Street, the two-story, now white brick building where Sigafoose & Jackson Family Chiropractic is located in the structure to the rear.

PlaylandStepsThere is one small structure between these two buildings that dates prior to 1964.  That structure is shown in this 2014 photo; concrete steps that are a reminder of a place from my youth.

Pappy’s Pizza was built in the front part of the Parking Lot that existed immediately to the west of Playland.  Pappy’s Pizza was built in the 1970s; when the Playland Skating Rink still stood.  The Pappy’s Pizza building eventually housed an Arby’s and now it is a Wendy’s.  On the east side of Wendy’s, the concrete steps, which had always existed to step up from the parking lot level to the Playland Skating Rink entrance, still remain, even after the Rink was demolished following the 1985 fire.

The Directories at the York County Heritage Trust start to include entries for this area of Springettsbury Township during 1955.  Here are my EAST MARKET STREET address findings for the Bury establishments:

  • 1955-1958 : at 2720, Bury’s Diner & Bury’s Ice Cream Bar
  • 1959-1961 : at 2720, Bury Motors
  • 1959-1965 : at 2710, Bury’s Famous Hamburgers
  • 1959-1965 : at 2709, Bury Bros. Soft Ice Cream
  • 1962 : at 2720, Bury Bros. Restaurant
  • 1963-1965 : at 2720, Bury Amusements & Rides
  • 1966-1969 : at 2720, Bury’s Raceway East (Go-cart track to the rear of building)
  • 1966-1969 : at 2710, Bury Bros. Catering & Bury’s Famous Hamburgers

The 2710 and 2720 East Market Street addresses are listed as vacant in the 1970 and 1971 Directories.  In 1972, the first Car Wash moves into these locations.  The widening of Northern Way from a narrow driveway back to Haines Park took most of what was the 2710 East Market Street lot.

The following photo is from the Archives of the Springettsbury Township Historic Preservation Committee.  The photo is a police Polaroid taken September 26, 1965, at 8:50 a.m.  The view is looking west from the front of the parking lot between Playland Skating Rink and Bury’s.  The 2720 E. Market St. building is to the left and the 2710 E. Market St. building is in the center, with Nello Tire Company building behind it.  Looking west, down Market Street, in the distance, one sees the York County Shopping Center sign on the north side of the street.

September 26, 1965 photo of Bury’s at 2720 & 2710 East Market Street, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA (Source: Archives of the Springettsbury Township Historic Preservation Committee)

September 26, 1965 photo of Bury’s at 2720 & 2710 East Market Street, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA (Source: Archives of the Springettsbury Township Historic Preservation Committee)

This photo shows, per the Directories, that in 1965, the 2720 location was the business address for Bury Amusements & Rides.  The 2710 location housed Bury’s Famous Hamburgers, and directly across Market Street, out of camera view, at the 2709 location was Bury Bros. Soft Ice Cream.

Joan Concilio’s Ask Joan column, in the August 24th Sunday News, contains the birds-eye-view aerial photo that appeared in her post.  The undated aerial photo is from the time an airfield existed north of the 2700 Block of East Market Street; that airfield closed about 1953.  That aerial photo does show the 2710 and 2720 East Market Street buildings; however no 2709 East Market Street building appears.

Even though the Directories list no 2710 East Market Street before 1959, both 2710 and 2720 buildings existed per the Ask Joan birds-eye-view aerial photo.  My previous post contained an 1958 ad noting Bury’s was located at 2710 East Market Street.  It is evident the eating establishment was given a separate address in 1958/1959, when the 2720 East Market Street location was converted from Bury’s Ice Cream Bar to Bury Motors.

Summarizing Bury’s along 2700 Block of East Market Street

Bury’s Famous Hamburgers

  • 2710 East Market St. (south side, next to Nello Tire)—from sometime prior to 1953 through 1969

Bury’s Ice Cream

  • 2720 East Market St. (south side, next to Playland)—from sometime prior to 1953 through 1958
  • 2709 East Market St. (north side, directly across the street from Bury’s Hamburgers)—from 1959 through 1965

Bury Motors and other assorted Bury businesses

  • 2720 East Market St. (south side, next to Playland)—from 1959 through 1969
  • 1959-1961 : Bury Motors
  • 1962 : Bury Bros. Restaurant
  • 1963-1965 : Bury Amusements & Rides
  • 1966-1969 : Bury’s Raceway East

A reader told me that when Bury’s Ice Cream was located next to Playland (i.e. through 1958, from my research, at the 2720 East Market Street location), a large room in the rear was used for everything from overflow seating to Bingo to estate auctions.  Please comment with your stories about any of these Bury businesses or if you know what year Bury’s first went into business along this stretch of East Market Street in Springettsbury Township.

Related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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1860 Buildings 21-30 in East Region of Springettsbury Township

Stony Brook area of East Region in what is now Springettsbury Township; from Shearer’s 1860 Map of York County, PA & Penn Pilot Aerial Photo, from Sept. 15, 1937, of Same Area (Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)

Stony Brook area of East Region in what is now Springettsbury Township; from Shearer’s 1860 Map of York County, PA & Penn Pilot Aerial Photo, from Sept. 15, 1937, of Same Area (Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)

Within this illustration, I’ve pointed out ten 1860 buildings and their corresponding location on a 1937 aerial photo.  I’m working my way around Springettsbury Township, ten buildings at a time, until all buildings from 1860 are visited.  The present commercial corridors are being visited first.  See the post: Springettsbury Township building tally during 1860, for my specification of the four regions.

Other posts in this series include:

Shearer’s 1860 Map of York County contains the owner/occupant of most buildings; for example (e29) is J. Kauffman.  Additional information on J. Kauffman can be found by consulting the 1860 Census of the United States; where one discovers this is 58-year-old farmer Joseph Kauffman.

The results after consulting 1860 Spring Garden Township census records are shown below.  Spring Garden Township records must be used because Springettsbury Township was formed from the northeast part of that township on April 20, 1891.  The order of visitation, of the census taker, often provides assistance on who are neighbors and the tabulation of “value of real estate” separates the landowners from the renters or tenants:

StCensusE21to30

Five of these 1860 buildings still stand at these address:

  • [e22] – 3691 East Market Street: although the present building has extensive additions and modifications, the 1860 tavern structure is still contained within the Road House Restaurant
  • [e23] – 3697 East Market Street: residence
  • [e24] – 3743 East Market Street: this is pictured inset on 1860 Census graphic; it now houses Sky’s the Limit Salon
  • [e29] – 241 Stonewood Road: residence
  • [e30] – 344 Campbell Road: residence

Deed and early family history research concerning the history of these properties is ongoing. In an “East of Stony Run in Stony Brook” post, next Monday, I’ll focus on the region within the white-dashed-square; that I’ve placed on the 1937 aerial photo at the beginning of this post.

My goal is to get community involvement.  If anyone has a story associated with past owners of these properties, please post a comment.

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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The Susquehanna Trail lands York, PA at the Crossroads of PA Routes 1 & 4

Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement: Part 4

1925 Map of Major Pennsylvania Route Numbers in booklet Pennsylvania Facts Motorists Should Know, published by Department of Highways, Harrisburg PA in 1925. (Source: Penn State University Library)

1925 Map of Major Pennsylvania Route Numbers in booklet Pennsylvania Facts Motorists Should Know, published by Department of Highways, Harrisburg PA in 1925. (Source: Penn State University Library)

In Part 1 of the Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement, I asked my readers to solve the mystery location of a Susquehanna Trail road sign in York County by identifying the full name of the intersecting road.  Nobody commented with the correct answer following the Manchester Township and the sign is at a “Y” intersection clues, therefore here is your next clue: the “Inn is in the Y.”

Pennsylvania’s 1911 Sproul Highway Act authorized the state to purchase and convert selected county and private toll roads into state-owned highways.  In many counties, the responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of these roads was quickly turned over to the state.  In a few counties, including York County, the roads were not sold to the state for a few more years.  Pennsylvania immediately identified their major state roads by route numbers; with east-west highways generally odd numbers and north-south highways generally even numbers.

We have the Susquehanna Trail road name in York County as a result of the Good Roads Movement in Pennsylvania.  The Susquehanna Trail Association was established in Williamsport on February 2nd, 1917; it was modeled after the successful nationwide Lincoln Highway Association, founded four years earlier.

Just as with the Lincoln Highway, the Board of Governors of The Susquehanna Trail Association deliberated and made site visits to select the existing road segments that would be part of the Susquehanna Trail.  In February 1917, Board of Governors immediately selected State Route 4, which had existed for several years between Harrisburg and Williamsport, as their first road segment of the Susquehanna Trail; see Part 1.  By the fall of 1917, the Board of Governors of The Susquehanna Trail Association selected the route they would champion north from Williamsport to the New York State line; see Part 2.  Besides having the Susquehanna Trail label, Pennsylvania’s Department of Highways also extended their State Route 4 designation along the association’s chosen route to the New York State line.

The following is an enlarged section of the 1925 Pennsylvania Road Map shown at the beginning of this post.  This Map of Major Pennsylvania Route Numbers is from the booklet Pennsylvania Facts Motorists Should Know, published by Department of Highways, Harrisburg PA in 1925.

Enlarged Section of 1925 Map of Major Pennsylvania Route Numbers in booklet Pennsylvania Facts Motorists Should Know, published by Department of Highways, Harrisburg PA in 1925. (Source: Penn State University Library)

Enlarged Section of 1925 Map of Major Pennsylvania Route Numbers in booklet Pennsylvania Facts Motorists Should Know, published by Department of Highways, Harrisburg PA in 1925. (Source: Penn State University Library)

Running north out of Harrisburg, the Susquehanna Trail followed the already established William Penn Highway (State Route 3) until it reached Amity Hall, where it branched off, on its own, and followed the Susquehanna River to Williamsport; see Part 3.  During the spring and summer of 1918, the competition was on between Adams County and York County as they advocated for the southern extension route of the Susquehanna Trail to pass through their respective territories.

The remaining posts in this series will examine details of that competition; however jumping forward to the fall of 1918, the Board of Governors of The Susquehanna Trail Association selected a York County route they would champion south from Harrisburg to the Maryland line.  Besides having the Susquehanna Trail label, Pennsylvania’s Department of Highways also extended their State Route 4 designation along the association’s chosen route to the Maryland line, thus landing York, PA at the Crossroads of PA Routes 1 & 4; as seen on the 1925 map.

Pennsylvania Routes 1 & 4 did not cross in York’s Continental Square much longer, since over the years 1925 to 1928 the “modern” state route numbering system was implemented throughout the states.  Pennsylvania was in the minority during the nationwide implementation and converted to the “modern” system of identifying major state roads with east-west highways generally with even numbers and north-south highways generally with odd numbers.  Thus PA Route 1 became Route 30 and PA Route 4 became Route 111 over all but the Harrisburg to Sunbury part of the Susquehanna Trail, which became Route 11.

Related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 2

RAILCAR GOLD    Chapter 18 . . . David   add 2 blanks after GOLD

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 18 . . . David

RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.  This is Part 2 of Chapter 18 . . . David.  A new part will be posted every Thursday.  Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.

Continue reading “RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 2” »

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Avoiding Sour Beer’s Eddy on a Perilous Voyage from Wrightsville to Peach Bottom

Lumber Rafts on the Lower Susquehanna River

Engraving Entitled “Lumbering on the Susquehanna—A Raft Descending The River” (1880 Magazine Illustration, Collections of S. H. Smith)

Engraving Entitled “Lumbering on the Susquehanna—A Raft Descending The River” (1880 Magazine Illustration, Collections of S. H. Smith)

The origins of this post stem from looking through the newspaper microfilms at the York County Heritage Trust and coming across the following article in the April 30, 1883, issue of the York Daily:

Rafting.

On Saturday, four young men, students of the Collegiate Institute, made a trip from Wrightsville to Peach Bottom on a lumber raft.  Six hours were consumed in making the trip.  Beyond striking a rock or two, nothing of incident occurred.  They speak in high praise of the courtesy of the raftsmen.  We congratulate our young friends upon the happy termination of their perilous voyage.

The 1880 engraving likely depicts the type of perilous voyage the York Collegiate students encountered when they hitched a ride on a lumber raft in 1883.  I purchased the 1880 Magazine Engraving entitled “Lumbering on the Susquehanna—A Raft Descending The River” to use as an illustration in the eventual hardcover Railcar Gold.  Lumber rafts show up several times in my historical novel about Billmeyer & Small; installments which appear, in YorksPast, every Thursday.  Here are two examples:

Within RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 13 . . PeachBottom . . Part 2, I quote an 1872 York Daily article describing Billmeyer & Small’s business.  Part of that article notes the following:

This firm has also extensive lumber yards and saw mills at Wrightsville.  The mills at that place have a capacity of from seven to ten million of feet per year, and the amount of lumber used may be inferred, when it is remembered that they are the largest buyers of rafts along the Susquehanna River.

Within RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 17 . . Production . . Part 1, a clipping from the June 9, 1882 issue of the York Daily is utilized:

Seven Thousand Dollars for Three Rafts of Timber.

John H. Small, Esq., yesterday purchased at Marietta, from Ramadell and Duffy, three immense timber rafts for the Billmeyer & Small Company.  The timber is of remarkably fine quality and is acknowledged to be the best that ever came down the river.  The rafts contain about 27,000 cubic feet of white pine, for which the handsome sum of $7,000 was paid.

I searched for additional details about lumber rafts on the Lower Susquehanna River and found an 1888 source.  On page 13 of the 1888 publication Development of Transportation Systems in the United States, John L. Ringwalt writes about rafting lumber and timber on the Lower Susquehanna River:

The rafts floating on the Susquehanna in 1885 were usually 29 feet wide, 300 feet long, and composed of 120 logs or “sticks.”  The logs are 30 to 40 feet long, and the entire structure contains 11,000 cubic feet of lumber.

From the limber regions, pilots floated rafts to Marietta for $75 to $80 each; Marietta to Peach Bottom, 28 miles, $40 to $45 per raft; Peach Bottom to Port Deposit, 16 miles, $22.50 per raft.  The pilot paid his hands $3.50 and steersmen $5 per trip from Marietta to Peach Bottom; Peach Bottom to Port Deposit hands get $2.25 and steersmen $2.75.  When the river is in good condition the run from Marietta to Port Deposit could be made in eight hours.

Almost every rock and projection along the Susquehanna, from Marietta to Port Deposit, has a name familiar to the raftsmen.  In many instances these points received their titles from the fact that rafts were once stove on them.  Here are a few of the odd names:

  • “Spinning Wheel”
  • “Sour Beer’s Eddy”
  • “Blue Rock”
  • “Turkey Hill”
  • “Brothers”
  • “Old Cow”
  • “Hangman’s Rocks”
  • “Horse Gap”
  • “Ram’s Horn”
  • “Slow and Easy”
  • “Hollow Rock”
  • “Hog Hole”
  • “Sisters”
  • “Old Port Bridge”

The lumber raft that the four students of the Collegiate Institute hitched a ride on, struck a rock or two.  Maybe they hit a rock or two on this list; hopefully they did not tangle with “Sour Beer’s Eddy.”

Related posts:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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Adventures in a South Seas Paradise

The 138-passenger World Discoverer docked at Palmyra Island (S. H. Smith Photo; Sept. 14, 1994)

The 138-passenger World Discoverer docked at Palmyra Island (S. H. Smith Photo; Sept. 14, 1994)

The National Geographic Magazine came in the mail on Saturday; it contains an article on the Southern Line Islands in the South Pacific.  The article also featured a nice aerial photo of Caroline Atoll; one of my favorite places visited on a September 1994 voyage covering 3,500-miles of the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to Tahiti.

For my autobiography, I used the aerial photo to pinpoint the sites visited on Sept. 21, 1994; and thought why not use it for a post.  Besides, the voyage has a York County connection; and not just the fact that I took the trip.

The cruise was billed as a voyage of discovery and adventure; sailing on the 138-passenger World Discoverer.  In 20 years of small ship expedition service, our ship had become legend with an impressive history of firsts.  This was the first cruise ship to ever visit several islands on this inaugural itinerary.

The first Line Island was encountered 1,112-miles south of Hawaii; Palmyra Island.  At the time, a family in Hawaii owned this island and the only inhabitant was a caretaker that they had living there.  However, during World War II, the United States built a runway on the coral reef; a refueling stop for planes being ferried across the Pacific.

The owner of island had the channel into the lagoon and the dock area dredged, in anticipation of our visit.  The captain eased the ship alongside what was left of an old PT-Boat wharf.  Lines were fastened around the wharf’s aging bollards, however it became quickly evident that they were unfit to hold the ship.  Hastily the crew wrapped lines around a couple of nearby palm trees, which held; resulting the photo at the beginning of this post.

We had a whole day to explore the island and snorkel in the lagoon.  The snorkeling was fabulous.  The hiking around the island was a rare experience; especially when we got to the old airstrip, with trees now growing up through the runway.  One of the passengers had spent time on Palmyra Island during World War II.  He indicated that the difference was staggering.  During the war, the island was devoid of vegetation.  In 1994, it was completely covered in lush vegetation.

Roger, the caretaker, was a virtual modern-day Robinson Crusoe, with all his unique gadgets and giant pet coconut crab.  He lived on the island during the day and spent nights on his sailboat in the lagoon.  I could have spent hours just relaxing in his homemade hammock; hanging between two palm trees, just inches above the waters of the lagoon:

Stephen H. Smith on a Hammock over the Lagoon of Palmyra Island (Passenger Photo; Sept. 14, 1994)

Stephen H. Smith on a Hammock over the Lagoon of Palmyra Island (Passenger Photo; Sept. 14, 1994)

We next visit two of the Northern Line Islands, Fanning Island and Christmas Island, in the Republic of Kiribati, before crossing the Line.  Sailors often refer to the Equator as the Line, and since these islands are on both sides of the Line, they were called the Line Islands.

After crossing the Line, we spend a day each on three uninhabited Southern Line Islands: Malden Island, Starbuck Island and Vostok Island.  As we awake the morning of September 21, 1994, we off the east side reef of Caroline Atoll.  I urge you to purchase the September 2014 issue of National Geographic Magazine to see the much larger and clearer aerial photo of Caroline Atoll.

Caroline Atoll from September 2014 Issue of National Geographic Magazine (Annotated by S. H. Smith, 2014)

Caroline Atoll from September 2014 Issue of National Geographic Magazine (Annotated by S. H. Smith, 2014)

The bottom aerial view shows the whole Caroline Atoll.  At the right is Nake Island, located at the northern end of the 6-mile long atoll.  At the left is South Island in the atoll, the island where we landed and which I’ve enlarged and annotated in the upper half of the illustration.

The only useable passage into the island was a narrow Blind Passage through the nasty reef that encircled Caroline Atoll.  This uninhabited grouping of islands was the epitome of a South Seas paradise, with lush undergrowth punctuated with a forest of palm trees overlooking deep blue lagoons.

Zodiacs Scouting Snorkeling Locations in Lagoons north of South Island in Caroline Atoll (S. H. Smith Photo; Sept. 21, 1994)

Zodiacs Scouting Snorkeling Locations in Lagoons north of South Island in Caroline Atoll (S. H. Smith Photo; Sept. 21, 1994)

Passengers congregate on the north side beach of South Island while the Zodiacs scout snorkeling locations in the blue lagoons.  The scouts reported the whole area as superb; with undisturbed corals virtually covering the whole seabed.  The grayish-brown area between the beach and the blue lagoons contained about 2 feet of water.  We used zodiacs for transport from the beach, out to the deeper blue area, so that the corals in the shallow areas did not get damaged.

Corals and Fish the Blue Lagoons of Caroline Atoll (S. H. Smith Photo; Sept. 21, 1994)

Corals and Fish the Blue Lagoons of Caroline Atoll (S. H. Smith Photo; Sept. 21, 1994)

I have yet to top the snorkeling experience in the Blue Lagoons of Caroline Atoll.  No photos can do justice to the never-ending, unspoiled coral formations, however this is my favorite photo.

The crew offered lunch on the beach for those that did not want to leave this island paradise.  After lunch, I went on a birding walk, then back into the lagoon for more snorkeling.  Several of us walked the perimeter of South Island; it was about a three-mile hike.  About the only shade that we had was as we neared the gathering point; I thought this particular palm tree was picturesque.

Palm Tree overlooking the Blue Lagoons of Caroline Atoll (S. H. Smith Photo; Sept. 21, 1994)

Palm Tree overlooking the Blue Lagoons of Caroline Atoll (S. H. Smith Photo; Sept. 21, 1994)

We returned to the lagoons to cool down from our hike and do some more snorkeling, for the longest time.  It started to get overcast and everybody was rounded up to immediately return to the World Discoverer.

Stephen H. Smith sitting on South Island beach of Caroline Atoll (Passenger Photo; Sept. 21, 1994)

Stephen H. Smith sitting on South Island beach of Caroline Atoll (Passenger Photo; Sept. 21, 1994)

Here I am sitting on the South Island beach of Caroline Atoll waiting for the last zodiac back to the World Discoverer; which can be seen out beyond the reef.  The most nimble passengers were asked to return in the later groups of zodiacs, because with the storm approaching, later rides and transfers into the World Discoverer were going to be rougher.

Several more islands were visited before our September 26, 1994 disembarkation in Tahiti.  My favorite island remains Bora Bora in French Polynesia, however my favorite lagoons remain those in Caroline Atoll.  It is nice to see that they will be protected as part of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project.

At the beginning of this post I noted this voyage had a York County connection; and not just the fact that I took the trip.  The ships staff was augmented with one archaeologist, two ornithologists, two naturalists and two marine biologists; who lectured and accompanied passengers as we explored the islands, ocean and lagoons.  At Malden Island we saw our first 4-foot reef sharks below us while snorkeling off the island and more would follow at other islands.  Both marine biologists, however most emphatically Jack Grove, lectured that the reef sharks would not bother anybody.  We discovered that these sharks were indifferent to us and soon we were observing them along with the other fish species.

A few days later, a group of us were reporting our sightings to Jack Grove, who was keeping a detailed list of all the fish species by island.  I had a YORK shirt on that day.  I soon discovered Jack Grove was a native of York County.  Just out of high school he got a job as a Milkman delivering for Warner’s Dairy in Red Lion.  When I got home, I told people that I was in the ocean with 4-foot sharks because a Milkman from Red Lion said it was safe to do so.  Actually Jack Grove has the credentials to make that statement; see this site.

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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The Susquehanna Trail forks at Amity Hall

Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement: Part 3

Intersection of Wm. Penn Highway and Susquehanna Trail at Amity Hall in 1930s (Postcard from Collections of S. H. Smith)

Intersection of Wm. Penn Highway and Susquehanna Trail at Amity Hall in 1930s (Postcard from Collections of S. H. Smith)

In Part 1 of the Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement, I asked my readers to solve the mystery location of a Susquehanna Trail road sign in York County by identifying the full name of the intersecting road.  Nobody commented with the correct answer following the Manchester Township clue, therefore here is your next clue: the sign is at a “Y” intersection.

We have the Susquehanna Trail road name in York County as a result of the Good Roads Movement in Pennsylvania.  The Susquehanna Trail Association was established in Williamsport on February 2nd, 1917; it was modeled after the successful nationwide Lincoln Highway Association, founded four years earlier.

Just as with the Lincoln Highway, the Board of Governors of The Susquehanna Trail Association deliberated and made site visits to select the existing road segments that would be part of the Susquehanna Trail.  By late 1917, you learned in Part 2, the Board of Governors had selected the road segments they would champion as the Susquehanna Trail between Harrisburg, through Williamsport and north on the Williamson Road through Tioga County to connect with improved roads in New York State.

In Part 1, I noted that the 1925 Official National Survey Maps and Guide for Pennsylvania listed the principal named highways in Pennsylvania and their State Route numbers.  I summarized the history of State Routes 1 to 4 in greater detail, since I’m looking at the beginnings of the Susquehanna Trail:

  • Lincoln Highway . . . . . . . . . State Route 1
  • Lackawanna Trail . . . . . . . .  State Route 2
  • William Penn Highway . . . . State Route 3
  • Susquehanna Trail . . . . . . . . State Route 4

Recall that the William Penn Highway dates from 1916 as an east-west highway from Easton, through Harrisburg, then north a distance along the Susquehanna River to the Juniata River, then west to Pittsburgh. The 1930s postcard, at the beginning of this post, shows the Susquehanna Trail forking off, to the right, of the William Penn Highway at Amity Hall.  Between Amity Hall and Harrisburg, the Susquehanna Trail followed the already established William Penn Highway.

Two of the early, prominent Pennsylvania highways converge at tiny Amity Hall.  In traveling back home from Penn State Football games with my Dad, Harold Smith, every now and then, he’d have a comment or two about the Amity Hall gas station upon seeing the Amity Hall sign along Route 322.

RiverTrailDuring the 1930s, Dad worked as a truck driver, primarily during late fall and winter, when he was on furlough from the Pennsylvania Railroad.    Amity Hall was always a stop, to get gas and grab a bite to eat at the inn, when he hauled into north central Pennsylvania or New York State.  I regret not taking the Amity Hall exit one of those times, when Dad was alive, although a few years ago, I did just that.  I did not see the gas station as I drove past the ruins of the inn, however I did discover some nice scenery in the vicinity.

While reading the Susquehanna River Trail signage, I questioned a nearby older cyclist if he knew where the old Amity Hall gas station stood.  He offered to show me the location and filled me in on some of the local history and lore.

YouAreHereThis YOU ARE HERE detail is from the larger Susquehanna River Trail sign.  In green, I’ve annotated the Susquehanna Trail forking off of the William Penn Highway.  The original William Penn Highway is now known as River Road in this area along the Juniata River.  The original Susquehanna Trail is now a very short road segment connecting on and off ramps from the four-lane highways in the area.  This historic original intersection of the William Penn Highway and the Susquehanna Trail still exists; it is just “hidden” next to the modern four-lane Route 322.

The Amity Hall Inn, shown at the left side of the postcard, was built in 1828.  In the 1800s, it served travelers along early wagon roads and the nearby Pennsylvania Canal next to the Juniata River.  In the 1900s, a gas station was added to serve the motoring public and eventually a Motor Lodge was added to the rear of the Amity Hall Inn.  The cyclist thought the gas station was trucked off to be reused some time before the Amity Hall Inn & Motor Lodge shut down in the late 1980s.

The following is a 2014 Bing.com Birds Eye Aerial Photo of Amity Hall; that I’ve annotated with the original locations of the William Penn Highway and the Susquehanna Trail.  If one takes the Amity Hall off ramp when heading to Harrisburg, it leads directly to the original intersection of the William Penn Highway and the Susquehanna Trail.  I’ve noted the location of the former gas station, pictured in the postcard at the beginning of this post.  Vandals started a fire in the shuttered Amity Hall Inn & Motor Lodge in 2009.  Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it entirely consumed the structure.  The 2014 aerial photo shows the ruins still stand.

2014 Bing.com Birds Eye Aerial Photo of Amity Hall, PA (Annotations indicating original intersection of the William Penn Highway and the Susquehanna Trail by S. H. Smith, 2014)

2014 Bing.com Birds Eye Aerial Photo of Amity Hall, PA (Annotations indicating original intersection of the William Penn Highway and the Susquehanna Trail by S. H. Smith, 2014)

Following my visit to Amity Hall, I purchased the postcard, shown at the beginning of this post.  I’ve indicated the postcard viewpoint direction in the lower left of the 2014 Bing.com Birds Eye Aerial Photo.

Amity1938This 1938 Aerial Photo of Amity Hall is from the Penn Pilot web site containing historical aerial photographs of Pennsylvania.  It is orientated with North at the top and is a straight down view; as opposed to the Bing.com angled birds eye aerial view, although still the same northerly direction.  The Susquehanna Trail forks off to the right at Amity Hall.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT – My cyclist guide, during my visit, explained he has talked to people claiming to have witnessed and/or experienced paranormal activity in the vicinity of the Amity Hall Inn & Motor Lodge; both before and after the fire.  He realizes the place is historic however he is convinced the place is haunted; and it is his impression that is really the reason why not much is being done with the ruins.

Further posts in this series will examine the 1918 competition between Adams County and York County as they advocated for the southern extension route of the Susquehanna Trail to pass through their respective territories.

Related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 1

RAILCAR GOLD    Chapter 18 . . . David   add 2 blanks after GOLD

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 18 . . . David

RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.  This is Part 1 of Chapter 18 . . . David.  A new part will be posted every Thursday.  Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.

Continue reading “RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 1” »

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Searching for Photo of WWI Veteran George B. Hoffman for submission to U.S.S. President Lincoln memorial site

The WWI section within Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing and Peace Garden, York, PA and Close-up of Memorial Inscription for George B. Hoffman (2014 Photo, S. H. Smith)

The WWI section within Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing and Peace Garden, York, PA and Close-up of Memorial Inscription for George B. Hoffman (2014 Photo, S. H. Smith)

The earliest inscriptions within the Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing and Peace Garden memorialize the 195 York County Veterans that were Killed in Action during World War I.  The names of these veterans appear in the first six columns, plus about one-half of the seventh column; as shown in the photo.  A close-up of the memorial inscription for George B. Hoffman, Sailor, follows the general view photo of the WWI section.

Sally Hoffman commented to my post The President Lincoln Torpedoed on Return Trip; York sailor KIA.  Sally volunteered to help with locating a photograph of George B. Hoffman for submission to U.S.S. President Lincoln memorial site.  Sally asked if I would provide some more details on the family of George Hoffman, to help in the search for his photograph.

After I e-mailed Sally the additional details last week, she informed me that her Hoffman and Billet relations are not those of George B. Hoffman.  With this post, I’m turning loose the information to my readers, to see how good you are at being History Mystery Detectives, to locate a photo of George B. Hoffman for submission to U.S.S. President Lincoln memorial site.

The prior post contained some family connections for George B. Hoffman; within the article in the June 4, 1918 issue of the York Daily.  I used those connections to find the relevant 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 U. S. Census Records at Ancestry.com.

Census1880Billet

The 1880 U.S. Census record is for the Nathaniel Billet family residing on Arch Street in York, PA.  This census record contains the names of all three of George Hoffman’s stepbrothers.  Using this census record as a starting point, other records revealed Nathaniel Billet was born in York, PA on Oct. 26, 1855 and died in York, PA on Jan. 15, 1908.  He was married to Mary Long and he worked as a Blacksmith.  Thus Mary Billet was widowed in York during 1908.

Census1900Hoffman

The 1900 U.S. Census record is for the Michael B. Hoffman family residing at 16 14th Street in Harrisburg, PA.  This census record contains the names of George Hoffman’s parents, Michael & Rosie Hoffman, and siblings Elizabeth M. Hoffman & Charles J. Hoffman.  It was reported that George B. Hoffman was born during May 1897.  Note: U.S. Census ages are not always reported or recorded correctly.

Census1910Hoffman

The 1910 U.S. Census record is for the Michael B. Hoffman family residing at 1415 North State Street in Harrisburg, PA.  This census record contains the name of George Hoffman’s other sister Naomi R. Hoffman and his sister Elizabeth is now going by her middle name Melissa [Molica per Census taker spelling].  The age of George B. Hoffman was given as 9-years old, i.e. born in 1901.  In my family history research, I have seen the death of a young child occasionally result in naming the next child with the same name; is that the case with George B., born 1897 and George B., born 1901?  This census record also notes that Michael Hoffman is a widower in 1910.

Census1920Hoffman

The 1920 U.S. Census record is for the Michael Hoffman family residing in Ridley Township, Delaware County, PA.  Michael is now married to Mary Billet and his widowed stepson Jacob Billet and children are living in the household.  Death Certificate indicates Mary Long Billet Hoffman was born Nov. 8, 1854 and died Mar. 15, 1928.  Michael B. Hoffman outlived his second wife, therefore any photo of George B. Hoffman possibly was passed down to his children:  Melissa E., married to Walter W. Matchett and living in Harrisburg; Charles J. Hoffman, residing in Ridley Park, PA; and Ruth Naomi Hoffman, residing in Ridley Park, PA.

Another possible source of a photo of George B. Hoffman is through his stepbrother Alfred Harman Billet, who resided in York, PA and was a long time wallpaper printer; initially at York Wall Paper in York and then at J. C. Eisenhart in Hanover.  Alfred died in 1940; survivors were his wife Nancy A. Billet of Hanover, and two brothers, Luther of Norristown and Jacob of 223 North Richland Ave., York.  Alfred’s widow Nancy died in 1952; no survivors were listed in her obituary although her pallbearers were John Billet, George H. Billet, Norman E. Billet and Israel J. Billet.

I located the reason why George B. Hoffman ended up in York, PA.  The clue was in locating an article on the marriage of his widowed father Michael Hoffman (from Harrisburg) to the widow Mary Long Billet (from York).  Quoting the December 3, 1910 issue of the York Daily:

HOFFMAN—BILLET WEDDING

Michael Hoffman and Mrs. Mary Billet were married at noon Thursday, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Harry Daniels, pastor of the West Street Methodist Episcopal church at the residence of the bride, 483 West Philadelphia Street.

The employees of the boiler shop at the York Manufacturing Company received boxes of perfectos from the bridegroom in honor of the event.  Mr. Hoffman was formerly of Harrisburg, but is now employed at that plant.

In the evening at 6 o’clock Mr. & Mrs. Hoffman gave a wedding supper.  This was followed by a reception, which was attended by the following persons: Mr. and Mrs. John Herbert, Mr. and Mrs. Luther Getz, Mr. and Mrs. William Williams, Mrs. Lila Pfeffer, Gettysburg; Mrs. Hannah Forsyth, Harrisburg; Mrs. William Heiser; Miss Helen Pfeffer, Gettysburg; Miss Mary Hoffman, Harrisburg; Miss Anna Geiselman, Harrisburg; Miss Anna Williams, Miss Naomi Hoffman, Harrisburg; Misses Emma and Florence Lingler and Henrietta Lang, John Luther Getz, Frederick Pfeffer, Gettysburg; Charles Keppel, Philadelphia; Thomas Slade, Charles Hoffman, George Hoffman.

Therefore George B. Hoffman moved to York with his father Michael, during the last half of 1910, when his father got a job at the York Manufacturing Company.  George likely started his job at the plant of the American Chain Company prior to his father and stepmother, Mr. And Mrs. Michael Hoffman, moving Ridley Park, Delaware County; possibly in 1916 or early 1917.  George B. Hoffman decided to keep his job at American Chain, and stay in York, living with his stepbrother, Albert Billet.

Related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

Posted in all posts, Family Histories, Memorials, Pennsylvania, York County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments