About Avalong’s and Melvin’s: ‘I am some what familiar with the history of the area’

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Springettsbury Township’s (Pa.) Avalong Dairy house, aka Meadowbrook mansion, aka Christmas Tree Hill has long captured the imagination of motorists traveling on Whiteford Road. At one time, it served as the office of the dairy. Also of interest: Before Geno’s made news in Philly, Gino’s headlined in York and Druck Valley, Glades area offers beautiful scenery for Sunday afternoon drive and York-area full of memory-spawning landmarks

As a kid, York, Pa.’s, R. Stephen Bancroft would ride his bike up to Avalong Dairy Farm from his home in East York and help with the cows and play in the barn.
As a teen, he delivered office supplies – for his father’s business, H.G. Bancroft, Inc. – to the back door of the house.
“So I am some what familiar with the history of the area,” he wrote to York Town Square in an e-mail.
He provided insight into that popular Whiteford Road/Mount Zion Road corner plus some information on Melvin’s Drive-In, another nostalgia-inducing landmark for many York countians: … .

- The Meadowbrook Mansion was the residence of Ava Long and his family as well as the office of the Avalong Dairy.
- The west wing of the house was the dormitory for the farm hands.
- There were originally 2 dairy barns to the east of the house but the northern most one was struck by lightning and burned down. The other one was the now-closed Pfaltzgraff pottery outlet.
As for Melvin’s:
- Melvin Kaufman lived in a stone house on the 1st block of North Russell Street in old East York.
- His original store was torn down for the Interstate 83, Market Street South bridge embankment. A Weis Market was across the street where the north embankment is now.
- A blacksmith shop was just to the east of Melvin’s.
- Melvin typically closed for the winter and went to Florida.
- He built a new store on Haines Road several years after the old store was torn down. It closed and a tire distributor moved in. The covered drive-in slots, where motorists ordered food, became the car bays. A new Wachovia bank branch is there.
- There was an auction at the Springetts fire hall of antiques, oriental rugs and other items from Melvin’s estate. Stephen said he bought some of them.

Springettsbury Township – with its Sears, Bury’s Burger restaurant, Avalong Restaurant- and other such sites continues to capture the memories of many York countians, who clearly spent hours in that part of the county.

Was broasted chicken introduced to York County at the Avalong Restaurant, replacing plan fried as the cooking method of choice? Weigh in this blog’s commenting section or on The Exchange?

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.
This entry was posted in Archives, all posts, Farms & fields, For photo fans, Local journalism & Web, Local landmarks, Mail bag, Nostalgia & memories, Small-town life, Unsung/obscure sites, YorkEats: Hogmaw & such. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to About Avalong’s and Melvin’s: ‘I am some what familiar with the history of the area’

  1. Paul Ilyes Jr. says:

    Great write up. It did bring back memories for I ate many a burger at Bury’s, ice cream at Mells along with lunches and hit a few golf balls at Avalong dairy. I forgot there was 2 barns there at the mansion and was glad to hear that Christamas Tree Hill bought and preserved it.
    Does anyone have any pictures of the AMC show room on the NE corner of E Market and Memory Lane and York Lincoln Mercury showroom that once stood on the SW corner of S George and Country Club Road? E-mail of so.
    Paul

  2. Melissa Fitzkee says:

    Being in the tail end of the baby boomers I am probably among one of the last generations to have frequented Avalong’s. It was a big deal to have a “car hop” bring your meal out to the car. For me, if it wasn’t broasted chicken it was the pulled pork sandwiches with sweet pickle relish. I have never found one to come close to it.
    My parents had a restaurant in the 70′s but we’d sneak away every now and then to go there. It was a fun place to be.
    Thanks for preserving our history.

  3. I miss the farm, and the dairy store. I grow up there most of my life my dad worked on the farm. I Lived in the place that is now the bank 9white one with green shutter. Loved the golf course as kids we would go in the feilds with the cows to collect golf balls so we could hit them off again. when I get out that way I always think of the good times we had growing up on the farm.

  4. Jack R. Truett, Sr. says:

    Jim: I stated the fact before and I did not see any response. So much talk is generated about Avalong Farms as though Alva Long founded the farm. Mr. Long bought the farm from the estate of John C. Robertson or Robinson that had a swine farm there for years. When I was a kid from 1933 to 1939 we had two collections of garbage; one was dry garbage that was collected on a certain day of the week and one was WET GARBAGE that was all the left overs from kitchens. The wet garbage was collected by a man with a horse drawn garbage truck and the wet garbage was delivered to the swine farm for the hogs to eat. The swine farm encompassed a huge area or land and when Mr. Long bought it he sold a huge parcel to Caterpillar Tractor Co. on Memory Lane and back to the Mt. Zion Road. Many years ago U.S. 30 went past the Robinson or Robertson farm home. It was a very impressive home that is now a store for Christmas Tree Hill. Mr. Long was a late comer to York County. Why didn’t you ever mention these facts in your writings?
    Remember I told you about theHESBINIDE AND THOMPSON feed mill and the large storage bins that Mr. Thompson had built just before he sold the business. I didn’t see a remark about that when your made comments about housing to be built on that land. *Edited by Jim McClure

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