Only in York County

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Ask Joan: Bonus follow-up edition

What, two Ask Joan columns in one week?! You bet! I’ve got a couple follow-ups I wanted to share, and in fact, I have SO MANY Ask Joan notes that I could probably do four a week for many months and not be caught up. A nice problem to have!

What’s inside

1. Food store before Bentz’s Furniture
2. Info from dance teacher Persing
3. More on Blum, Eyster plumbers

1. Here comes a follow-up to a follow-up! When I shared information about the restaurant that was once The Flamingo and The Belmont Grill, one of the responders was C. Scott Buchart. He shared a lot of memories and information, and then asked a question of his own. He’d said, “Alfred Bentz had the furniture/decorator store at the corner of Market and Belmont. Prior to that, the building was, I think, a food store, the supermarket of its day. Does anyone know the name of that store?”

Well, Jim Fahringer wrote, “Interesting that that furniture store which stood in front of the Flamingo at the corner of Belmont anbd East Market Street was actually originally a super market. My mother and grandmother used to tell me that in the late 1930s or 1940s it was, if I remember correctly what they told me, an Acme store – probably one of the first in the area.”

My friend Ann at the Martin Library information services department confirms Jim’s thought! She said that the York City Directories between 1962 and 1944 give Bentz Interiors as being at 1638 E. Market St., and the 1943 edition lists Acme Markets as being at 1638 E. Market St. So there you have it – an Acme!

And Richard Puckett writes, “In the 1940s and early 50s I lived at 1405 and 1041 East Market Street, worked at the Lincoln Highway Garage and at the Acme Store, corner of East Market and Belmont. That area included the Flamingo, Melvin’s and several garages. While working at the Acme I vaguely remember certain shortages of coffee, butter, cigarettes and the use of rationing stamps. One of the benefits of working at the Acme during this period was fairly easy access to some of these grocery items for my family. That area has certainly changed but your column brings back many fond memories.” He added, “The Alfred Bentz that you refer to is the family that also owned the Vern Mar Apartments at 2100 East Market, where my family also lived, as first tenants in 1937.”

As an addendum to the ORIGINAL question about the nearby restaurant, in addition to it being called The Flamingo and The Elmwood Grill, I also heard that it was called The Grapevine. Many thanks to Joann Hano and Shirley Sitleer for sharing that information!

And one last Elmwood/Flamingo memory, from Bill Hoffmeyer: “Before it was the Flamingo, it was The Elwood Grill. The East York Lions Club initially met there when I was a kid and my father was a founding member of the Club. It had a soda fountain and was a restaurant with no bar. Ray Bahn was the manager of the Flamingo when I was a member of the Club and we met there after having met at The Lincoln Woods for many years where Ray was the maitre’d for many years before he relocated to the Flamingo. Ray’s wife, Mary, was a nurse, a delightful person, who was also well known around York. Further, when The York Little Theatre was The Elwood Theater, a foreign film venue, I spent many Saturdays at the theater since it was only 3 blocks from my childhood home on Manheim St. Finally, the summer before my senior year at York High, I had my front 3 teeth knocked out by a golf club (3 weeks after the braces were removed) at the Elwood Minature Golf Course which was next door to the theater. Almost fond memories, except for the teeth. I had a plate within 3 weeks, just in time to resume my role as a tuba player in the York High Band with good old Spike Sprigel, our tough as nails/heart of gold, band director.”

2. In this November post, I shared a request from Joyce Troxell, who remembered taking dance lessons at a York-area brownstone from a man she recalled as Mr. Pershing. She wanted to know if anyone else remembered this dance teacher!

Well, I got a letter just this week from … the teacher himself! His name is actually Charles H. Persing, no H in the last name, and he now lives in Delaware. He received a copy of the print column containing Joyce’s request and wrote to correct the name and to mention some details. He adds, “Among some of my past students was the granddaughter of President Eisenhower, George Ramos dancer with the renowned Jeoffrey Ballet Co., and Joyce Freeman who became a well known dance instructor and choreographer.” He said he had still been teaching until recently in the Rehoboth, Del., area at the senior center – and rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated, to borrow a phrase!

How neat! I love when we can get information on these memories straight from the source! A few other notes shared (I’ve taken the liberty in these notes to change the spelling to Persing but they’re otherwise unchanged.)

Patricia Spangler writes, “I enjoy your columns. In response to Mr. Persing, I personally knew him, as my late aunt Mary Sipe, of York, use to be a receptionist of his, and even made the costumes for the recitals. My cousin, daughter of Mary, used to help with instructions. My sister and I took tap dancing for a while. I know of some of the recitals that were held at the Yorktown Hotel. My cousin and Aunt were privileged to travel to New York With Mr. (Charles) Persing. The last my cousin heard of or saw him… was out at Christmas Tree Hill Shop, along Rt. 30 West.”

Leslee says, “I took ballet lessons from Mr. Persing in the old brownstone building that was Blatner Studios near or beside the Martin Library. The lessons were given in the basement of the building. I don’t remember much but I do remember going there and Mr. Persing.”

3. In November, Christine Weaver of Manheim had asked about her grandfather, J. Nevin Blum the plumber. She mentioned he might have been in business in York with a Mr. Eysler and was hoping for more info.

Well, I don’t know if they’re related to each other, but I also received a note from Victoria Swayne of Manheim, who says, “I am interested in finding any information about a plumbing company that was active in York City in the late 1800s or early 1900s. The name of the company was Blum and Eyster. I would appreciate any information or directions to obtain information. This is being requested from a family history research perspective.”

So I think I can help with both ladies’ questions (and we can confirm, the other plumber’s name was Eyster, not Eysler).

Ann at Martin Library information services comes through again here. She writes, “According to the 1917 York City Directory there was a Walter J. Blum, plumber, 334 Reinicke Place.” She also said that there wasn’t a plumber Blum listed in the 1919 directory, but adds, “Elmer J Blum (wife: Violet M.) is listed as having a plumbing, heating and tinning business, 1510 W. Market St., in the 1921 York City Directory.”

And a commenter Robert writes, “My books show a family with the name of Blum, living in West York in the year 1948. Names as listed, ELMER J. BLUM (PLUMBER), VIOLET M.(WIFE), CARL L. BLUM (PLUMBER), with two other names also listed, CHARMAINE L. & LUELLA G. Listed at the address of 1202 W. Market St. Just west of the railroad crossing on W. Market St. Another book shows an E.J. Blum at 1510 W. Market St. in the years 1923-1924.” Robert also has a toilet-paper holder in his shop with the names listed as Blum & Eyster, Plumbers, York, Penna. The holder was manufactured by Good Mfg. Co. of New York.

While none of these are J. Nevin Blum, I hope this info helps point our Manheim researchers in the right direction!

Got any questions? Ask Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer 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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