Museum goer: ‘I really like these old pictures of Glen Rock’

The lobby of the Arthur Hufnagel Public Library of Glen Rock plays host to an unsung, off-the-beaten-path museum. Local collectors John ‘Otts’ Hufnagel, Terry McFatridge and Roger Butz and historian Don Swartz created an exhibit that displays letters, bills of sale, calendars and items from former businesses. ‘I really like these old pictures of Glen Rock. I grew up in New Freedom so I don’t remember a lot of these buildings, but I think it’s neat to look at them and figure out where they were,’ Lee Cook said. Cook and Jay Miller looked at the display in 2005. Background posts: Former York County CCC camp now on map and The unsolved mystery of locomotive No. 1689.

Everyone in Glen Rock knew Willis Rohrbaugh.
The handyman at the Glen Rock post office carried bags from the train station to the post office starting in 1955.
Sometimes the train didn’t even stop but slowed enough for someone to throw the mailbags in Willis’ direction. And occasionally, two trains would stop at once, giving Willis double the work.
When the Sears & Roebuck catalog came in, he would haul up to 12 bags at once.
All this for $15 a week… .


He quit in 1972, but not voluntarily.
Tropical Storm Agnes knocked out rail bridges and essentially ended regular train stops in this southern York County borough.
Gone were the five- to six-times-a-day trips from the train station to the post office. Gone was that occasional midnight run.
More on that late run in a second.
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Willis Rohrbaugh’s story and push cart are on display at a small, permanent museum at Glen Rock’s Arthur Hufnagel Public Library.
Numerous large photographs of Glen Rock line the library’s lobby telling the borough’s story from its founding in 1838 onward.
Several artifacts linking the town and railroad are in cases.
A wooden water pipe sits near a pot belly stove, too.
It would take someone a good hour to digest the busy information imparted by this quiet exhibit detailing the life and times of Willis Rohrbaugh and his fellow Glen Rockians.
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One midnight run, the pushcart sat idle.
Rohrbaugh had fallen asleep.
“I had a glass of beer that night and I felt pretty good,” he told a newspaper reporter.
He faced a $15 fine and perhaps worse. He asked for a reprieve and developed a system so he wouldn’t again snooze through a mail stop.
As he awaited the late train, he held his key ring in his right hand.
That way, if he dropped off to sleep, he would drop the keys and the noise would wake him up.
Willis Rohrbaugh figured a lot out in life. He died at the age of 102 several years ago.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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