York Valley Inn: ‘a building reduced to Stonehenge-like pylons’

A construction worker breaks up what’s left of Springettsbury Township’s York (Pa.) Valley Inn this week. There’s no word on what will take the place of this old Lincoln Highway landmark. Background posts: 1730s York Valley Inn may outlast its namesake, Forgotten York Valley Inn may be discovered and York Valley Inn confused with historic predecessor.

Remember the York Valley Inn where so many York countians had that special dinner, attended a car show or enjoyed a best friend’s wedding reception?
Well, 50 years after it opened and 10 years after it closed, the wrecker’s ball has found the sprawling resort that bore so many memories.
York Daily Daily Record/Sunday News reporter Tom Joyce described what remained standing early this week:


“The most intact structure left was the first floor of a building reduced to Stonehenge-like pylons, a staircase peeking out from their midst and terminating in empty air. Doors still covered the entrance, adorned with a sign bearing the incongruous message, ‘Please, no bathing suits or bare feet in lobby area.’ ”
Here’s Tom’s full account:

John Bernard of York said he met his wife, Kathy, at a singles dance at the Olde York Valley Inn.
That was more than 20 years ago. Bernard, 69, said they slow-danced a few times. He liked her personality and got her phone number before she left.
Monday afternoon, Bernard was hanging out at the Colony Park Lanes East bowling alley in Springettsbury Township, where he drives a bus for the after-school bowling program.
He and three other employees were reminiscing about the hotel, located next door.
Or, rather, its component parts are located next door.
A construction crew appeared to be far along in the process of demolishing the buildings that once comprised the resort hotel. The expanse where buildings once stood now resembled a real valley, ringed by mountains of broken concrete. Construction machinery scooped up the remaining rubble or battered away at exposed foundations.
The most intact structure left was the first floor of a building reduced to Stonehenge-like pylons, a staircase peeking out from their midst and terminating in empty air. Doors still covered the entrance, adorned with a sign bearing the incongruous message, “Please, no bathing suits or bare feet in lobby area.”
Sheree Sanders, assistant manager of Colony Park Lanes East, said she’s worked at the bowling alley for 22 years now.
The hotel used to generate a lot of business for them, Sanders said.
Although members of the small group gathered in the bowling alley said
they had good memories of the hotel, not a single one felt bad about seeing it torn down.
The building had been sitting empty for a decade. Sanders said kids would come around and knock out the windows.
With each year, it became more of an eyesore. Then, in September, a fire broke out on the property, nearly destroying the place.
The county lists the property’s current owners as a corporation called Bay View Partners.
John Holman, Springettsbury Township manager, said the demolition is taking place at the request of the township.
Township code doesn’t allow for abandoned buildings to sit vacant in perpetuity, Holman said. Officials requested the owners either restore the building or tear it down. They didn’t make that request specifically in response to the fire, Holman said.
Holman said the property owners have submitted no new building plans for the property. But, he said, he wouldn’t be surprised if they try to develop it eventually.

ABOUT THE HOTEL
The Olde York Valley Inn at 3883 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township opened in 1958. It eventually included more than 163 rooms and became a popular local resort. It closed in 1998, reportedly in heavy debt. PeoplesBank, which foreclosed on it, sold it to an investor.

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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