Only in York County

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Ask Joan: Sewing factory, shoe store and gas station recalled

This week, I’m digging into my email with some unanswered questions. Hopefully we can shed light on a few of these topics!

What’s inside

1. Photo brings memories of Bernstein & Sons
2. Seeking Delco Plaza shoe store
3. W.C. Lauer gas station info sought
4. Do you remember H.S. Schmidt in York?

1. Sometimes, the biggest problem with my Ask Joan mail is its scope.

I don’t just mean how much I get, though it’s a lot. I also mean that sometimes I get things that are actually very large and hard to share in blog format!

Take this photo (which you can click to enlarge):


This was shared by reader Susan Rosenberry, who found it with some photos belonging to her late mother. Sue’s mother had worked at William Bernstein & Sons sewing factory in York, and this photo is dated July 17, 1951 and includes all or most of the company’s employees at that time. The original photo is 28″ long and 8″ wide, and even in email, it was quite sizable!

I was glad to share it, though, as I hope it will bring up some memories of this and other sewing factories in the York area; if you worked at one, I would love to hear your experiences!

2. A few of us were talking about the Delco Plaza. There was a shoe store right next to Grant’s/Kmart. I bought sneakers here back in the 1980-1982 for school. I thought the name of the shoe store was Tagmart, or Tagless or something like that. Any help you or anyone can give would be appreciated! Thanks!
– Diane Gettys

Any information for Diane? We’ve talked extensively about Delco’s various incarnations in the past, including posts here and here, but I don’t personally recall such a shoe store nor have any notes about it, so I’m hoping we can reopen the topic and shed some light on that for Diane!

3. I have an old bottle opener with the name of W.C. Lauer Mobil Gas & Oil on Zinn’s Quarry Road in York. I am trying to find some information about it. If you have any ideas please share. Thank you very much!
– David Fox

I can find a few references to what I believe to be the same W.C. Lauer in a couple of 1942 issues of the YDR’s predecessor The Gazette and Daily. He seems to be a local businessman who helped lead other service-station owners in a drive to collect rubber during World War II, but I don’t know much about his Mobil station.

Any information for David would be greatly appreciated!

4. While going through my friend’s parent’s closet, we found an old wooden hanger with the following stamped on it. H.S. Schmidt & Co. Clothiers, Furnishers & Hatters, York, Pa. It sounds like a pretty fancy store or business. I can almost picture this store in downtown York. What was their specialty? Let me know what you can find out about it.
– Jeanne Spahr

Jeanne is a longtime friend of my family, and I told her I’d be glad to see what I could find out about H.S. Schmidt. Any ideas about this clothier, furnisher and hatter? I’d love to know!

Have questions or memories to share? Ask (or Tell) Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer or share them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

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