Only in York County

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17 Ask Joan questions + 50 replies in a day = Busy Joan

To start this year, I shared 17 Ask Joan questions for 2017 based on some short inquiries I’d received over the past year but not yet published.

Within a day, I had more than 50 replies via email, as well as a number on social media and a pile of mail I haven’t yet gotten to pick up at the YDR’s office.

This reinforced two things for me: First, all of you reading this are awesome! So many people are willing to share their memories and knowledge, and it makes my work fun. Second, I need to never share 17 questions again without first planning for when I’m going to publish the inevitable deluge of answers. Today, I’ll tackle at least a few, and we’ll revisit more in the coming weeks!

Theater and nightclub

Carl Diehl had asked for the name of a movie theater on East Market Street, and also the name of the nightclub between that theater and Grove’s Sporting Goods.

Dolores Sterner was the first to reply, noting that the theater was the York Theater. Doug Charleston and several other people thought it was the Holiday Theater, and it turns out everyone is correct – the theater was first the York Theater, then later changed owners and became the Holiday. That address was 525 E. Market St.

Donna Cochran of Dover wrote, “I remember the old theater; it was located where the old Danskin Inc. was, directly across from Joe Bury’s and down the street from Alberto’s Pizza. I remember going to The Holiday Theater when I was a kid to see the movie ‘Shaggy Dog.’ I don’t remember the year but it had to be in the early ’60s. Hope I’m not the only one pushing 70 that remembers some of this stuff.” Donna, I hope today’s column serves to confirm that you definitely are not!

Meanwhile, the night club, Doug confirmed, was the 615 – named for its address on East Market Street, right nearby. Joann Hano described it as “the hottest spot in town,” and also recalled the York Theater, where, she wrote, “In the late ’40s and early ’50s it cost a quarter to go to see cartoons for three hours on a Saturday. Those cartoons were funny and harmless… Donald Duck, Popeye, Elmer Fudd and such.”

Donna Snyder of Jacobus wrote, “My mother took my brother and me to the movies every Monday night while my dad and grandfather attended band practice with the York City Band which was held on the second floor over the White Rose Skating Rink, which was behind the theater… this would have been about 70 to 75 years ago.”

Joe Devilbiss of Fawn Grove remembered the theater as the Holiday in the mid-1960s, where he saw Dr. Zhivago. Carol Smith remembers going to the Holiday with her brother and writes, “I was 7, he was 14… and the movie playing was 40 Pounds of Trouble with Tony Curtis. I know the year of this event, because I have the movie on VHS and movie was made in 1962. It is one of the few memories I have as a child and is special to me.”

In other specific film memories, Vic Shanaman of Springettsbury Township noted, “I used to watch Three Stooges movies there and the last movie I recall seeing there was ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ back in 1964.”

Readers Tom Stover, Bill Miller, Mike Sexton, Barry Ness, Fred Callahan and Paul Leash also wrote about the 615 or the theater, and speaking of Paul, he also had some notes on our next topic!

Music store

Reader Ken had been wondering the name of the old music/instrument store on East Market Street, just east of Sherman Street, on the south side of the street across from the fire station.

Paul let me know that this was Keyboard Studios, and wrote, “We went to church across the street at Emmanuel UCC and every Sunday I would admire the drum sets in the window and fell in love with them. I still play today at age 61!” That’s awesome, Paul! Dave Adams also confirmed this and gave the exact address – 830 E. Market St. Doug, who helped out with the movies, knew this one too, as did Bob Horn, who wrote, “I know because I took music lessons there for years when I was a kid.”

Sam Laucks of Dallastown recalled of Keyboard Studios, “Instrument sales on the first floor, with pianos in the rear. Second and third floors were studios rented to private music teachers… accessed by an old freight elevator!”

One more fun Keyboard Studios story came from Renay Zartman Wolf, who wrote, “I took accordion lessons at Keyboard for a number of years with Mrs. Alice Mae McDowell, who was the best teacher a kid could have had. She was very patient and encouraging to her students. Lessons were $2.50 for 30 minutes back then. Years after Keyboard Studios closed, another music store moved in to the building called Zeswitz. They were there for a number of years until they moved up along Interstate 83 near York Barbell. A friend of mine and his family owned what was known as ‘The Big Z.’ I even bought a second accordion from them.”

Carl Young remembered both these iterations as well. He wrote, “My mom, Shirley, taught piano lessons at the old Market Street location, and I bought loads of musical gear there in the late ’60s and early ’70s.”

And local organist Don Yost, who name will likely be familiar to many, noted that he began his musical education as an organist at Keyboard Studios in 1963.

My accountant extraordinaire (no, she didn’t pay me to say that), Barbara (Tice) Kindig, is a wealth of York County memories, and she also wrote to me about Keyboard Studios, “I, my brother and my sister took music lessons there from George Ward. The building had the coolest elevator that was like a cage and you could see all the pulleys. I took the first lesson and my sister took the third lesson. While my brother took his lesson, my sister and I would get a soda and candy. Our Dad always gave us a dime for a treat and we would share so we could both have candy and soda. We had so much fun while our brother took his lesson. In later years, the name changed to The Big Z and my husband taught private lessons until it closed.”

Another Barb, Barb Vowles Murphy, also recalled Keyboard Studios, noting, “My best friend took accordion lessons there, and her teacher was Mr. Kadilak. (Spelling?) I was always fascinated with the name that was the same as a car.”

Barb Murphy also recalled something about another topic…

Franklin School

Reader Tom Rinehart had been seeking memories of Franklin School in York, and Barb Murphy had some to share. “Franklin School was a wonderful elementary school where we went from kindergarten to sixth grade,” she wrote.

“It had two floors and a basement where we took French classes. An addition was built on somewhere in the late ’50s, I believe, that was a ranch style. Franklin School was full of great teachers, every one of which I can remember. Even the maintenance man was like family, Mr. Shade. There was the ‘Taffy Lady’ who would sell taffy out of her red wagon for 2 cents… We had doughnut sales several times a year, and after they would deliver them to the basement, the entire school smelled awesome!”

She concluded, “In fourth grade, I had to recite the Gettysburg Address in front of the whole school, and my parents were so proud! (Couldn’t do it today probably, even though I remember parts of it.) As you can tell, I have wonderful memories of that little school.”

Well, those are wonderful memories, and make a great note on which to end today’s follow-ups. As I said, I have many more on some of the other topics (and even more on these, which I’ll share if I can), so stay tuned!

Have questions or memories to share? Email me at or write to Ask Joan, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. We cannot accept any phone calls with questions or information.