Downtown thrived in post-WW II York – 9/31 iconic images

Notice in the photo the two women looking down on Santa as he climbs up the ladder on his annual visit to the Bon-Ton and downtown York, Pa. Background posts: Ho, ho, ho – uh, Santa, hold on, The Grumbachers: ‘Builders and Heroes,’ Part III and What was famed architect John Dempwolf’s own house like?

Continuing the series of photos that capture York County, Pa.’s, history:

In plain view: This photo captures the excitement of the downtown holiday shopping season in post-World War II York. Every year after Thanksgiving, Santa made his visit to York’s bulging downtown. He flew into the area by plane, and later, helicopter and parked his sleigh outside city limits. A fire truck escorted him to the downtown. As part of the advent of the holiday shopping season, York’s big three department stores – Bon-Ton, Bear’s and Wiest’s – competed for window decorating prizes.
Behind the scene: The 1950 census placed the City of York at just shy of 60,000 as military men and women came home, married and started families. These were the magic years for the downtowns in York and across York County. Subsequent censuses would show declines in York’s population as the city ran out of room and residents soon found the suburbs. Today, the population of the city is slightly above 40,000.
Further details: This photograph, courtesy of Bon-Ton, was used as a closing image in James McClure’s “Never to be Forgotten.”
Posts in this series:
400 years ago, John Smith explored Chesapeake Bay – 1/31 iconic images
Declaration signer James Smith tops York County patriot list – 2/31 iconic images
Going to market a longtime York County pastime – 3/31 iconic images
William C. Goodridge: From slavery to success story – 4/31 iconic images

Rebs’ short York visit creates long memories – 5/31 iconic images
Artist Horace Bonham captured everyday life – 6/31 iconic images
York County farm vs. factory tension relieved in overnight raid – 7/31 iconic images
York County stood firmly behind Allies on all fronts in WW II – 8/31 iconic images
Downtown thrived in post-WW II York – 9/31 iconic images
After WWII success, Farquhar sells assets to out-of-town outfit – 10/31 iconic images.
Sears, York County Shopping Center in the middle of things – 11/31 iconic images
Three Mile Island emergency indelibly written into memories – 12/2 iconic images.
People of varying religious groups founded York County – 13/31 iconic images
President Reagan: ‘Harley is back and standing tall’ – 14/31 iconic images
York’s mayor: ‘We are no longer unprotected’ – 15/31 iconic images
Grange Hall represented past way of York County life – 16/31 iconic images.
York County Honors Choir product of proud moment – 17/31 iconic images.
Meeting of riot victims brought hope for racial accord – 18/31 iconic images.
Property rights foundational factor in Lauxmont dispute – 19/31 iconic images.
New baseball diamond serves as York cornerstone – 20/31 iconic images
Season 2 of York’s campaign to come back – 21-23 of 31 iconic images
York on knees as its men storm Normandy beaches – 24-25 of 31 iconic images
One image illustrates two long-neglected subjects in York area – 26-27 of 31 iconic images
Images explain changes in York County factories, farms – 28-29 of 31 iconic images
York County still home to unvarnished beauty – 30/31 iconic images
Latinos most recent migrant group to call York County home – 31/31 iconic images
For additional iconic photos of York County, see this blog’s iconic photo category.
To see the full series of iconic photos in a special York Daily Record/Sunday News publication, click here.

About Jim McClure

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