In this York Daily Record/Sunday News file photo, Spring Garden (Pa.) Township’s Stephen Sechrist sits near his 51st Strathmeyer Christmas tree. Strathmeyer has been selling trees to customers in York County – and beyond – for more than 75 years. Background posts: York-area full of memory-spawning landmarks and Interstate lined out Melvin’s swan song and York artist Lewis Miller’s depiction of a Christmas tree part of the York County Heritage Trust’s collection.
In the recent post E-mailer links Roosevelt Avenue Airport, Downtown York’s Bon-Ton – and Santa, JoAnne Everhart wrote about an annual rite of York County’s past.
She and her father would welcome Santa at the Roosevelt Avenue Airport, watch as he was shuttled into York’s downtown to climb a ladder into the Bon Ton, then pick up a Christmas Tree from a side yard of a home in The Avenues.
She believed that the yard was the home of the Strathmeyer family, operator today of the massive Dover-area-based Christmas Tree farm.
She compared notes with a friend and confirmed that The Avenues home was indeed that of the Strathmeyers.
She wrote: … .
“They cut the trees down fresh each day. The trees sold fast. Sometimes people would have to return to the stand the next day as the trees were sold out. Those trees were fresh and their scent filled our home for the entire holiday season. Back then though people did not put up their trees until a week or so prior to Christmas. In most families it was the tradition for fathers to take the children to select and buy the tree while mothers stayed home and cleaned thoroughly before the tree was put up. Then everyone in the family would help decorate the tree.”
The friend believed this was the original Strathmeyer stand.
Strathmeyer’s Web site says Charles H. Strathmeyer, the family patriarch, initially sold wild evergreen trees at the Strathmeyer Grocery and Meat Store on York’s Philadelphia Street.
In 1932, his son, Charles W. Strathmeyer, planted pine tree seed on land in northern York County.
“These would become the first cultured Christmas trees grown in the area,” the site states.
That was the start of the Strathmeyer business that, as JoAnne Everhart attests, has become an iconic part of York County.