From Meadowbrook Mansion to York County farmhouse

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The Meadowbrook Mansion is pictured after renovations in the 1980s. Christmas Tree Hill now operates out of the former home of cigarmaker Edwin Myers and, later, the family of Clair Long. Background posts: From top dog and hot dogs to dogfight and dog days in York County, Pa., Before Geno’s made news in Philly, Gino’s headlined in York and Property rights foundational factor in Lauxmont dispute.

Clair Long remembers when his parents, Alva R. and Mary Long, lived in Springettsbury Township’s Meadowbrook Mansion.
And he and his wife Jorene resided in another house on the farm. Borders Books stands today in the vicinity of Long’s former living room.
He shared memories of his former 180-acre farm after reading about the Meadowbrook and its former grounds in the news. The saga of Mother Goose and her goslings made it to the front page. It was a story of a Canada goose trying to subsist among sprawl… .


But Clair remembers the busy site today as a quiet, productive farm operating in the middle of the 20th century on land now covered by the Galleria and Caterpillar. Developers covet that land today, and it’s a miracle that the Meadowbrook Mansion still stands.
Here are some memories:
- One of the barns on the farm most recently has housed the Pfaltzgraff pottery outlet.
- At one time, the Long farm supplied five milk trucks from its 100 or so daily cows.
- Other structures were part of the farm, including a still-standing tenant house across the road from the Meadowbrook.
- The Long family operated the Avalong restaurant, forerunner of the Rutter’s restaurant that operated on the Whiteford and Mount Zion Road intersection. Commerce Bank stands on that site today. The restaurant served chicken, steaks and fish and had a big meeting room in the back.
Today, Clair Long lives on four acres atop nearby Mount Zion, behind the cemetery.
He can see the former Meadowbrook farm from his spread.
In its day, he acknowledged, the Meadowbrook Mansion was “a pretty nice farmhouse.”

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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3 Responses to From Meadowbrook Mansion to York County farmhouse

  1. Joe says:

    The following links will take you to historical aerial photos of this area. You can see how undeveloped this area was.
    From Nov. 1937: Use the intersection of Market St. and Mt. Zion Road as a reference point.
    http://www.pennpilot.psu.edu/photos1940s/york_1938/york_1938_photos_jpg_800/york_112537_ahi4412.jpg
    From Aug. 1971: Use Mt. Zion Rd. & Rt. 30 interchange for reference point.
    http://www.pennpilot.psu.edu/photos1960s/york_1971/york_1971_photos_jpg_800/york_081171_ahi_2mm_53.jpg

  2. Betsy Baird says:

    Wasn’t it the Long family who owned all that land sold for building the
    Caterpillar? And adjacent land, later. Think what money they would
    receive for that land now days (and likely got plenty for it in the early 1950s).
    I was only 5-6 years old and have pictures of Mother and I standing on
    the CAT land when they first began breaking it up and grading it. Dad
    was standing around Whiteford Rd. In the background: Fields, trees. Not
    all the houses and shopping centers now there. Not many houses on Market
    Street, either. Dad was field foreman of the CAT building project and of
    Memory Lane.

    • Jim McClure says:

      Betsy, I appreciate the email you sent to Joan Concilio and me that’s related to this:

      I was looking at a company bulletin of the Caterpillar, October, 1952.
      My Dad was field foreman when they built the Caterpillar, and I see
      pictures of the place going up, the railroad tracks, and other features.
      Nothing in the far background of all the stores and shopping centers now
      there. Just fields, farmland, barns, which I wish were still there. They followed
      what I’m looking at. So did Haines Acres.

      I was, however, trying to find out if Avalong, the Christmas Tree Hill building
      or any other buildings of the Long lands were in the background. I cannot
      find any. They must have been further to the east. One, I’m not certain about.
      One farm, they show barns in one picture, and a couple months later, the said
      barns are GONE.
      This company bulletin I have is really falling apart! It’s been through many hands!

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