Only in York County

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Ask Joan: Undecorating edition

We’ve started “undecorating” from Christmas. In this in-between time when the Christmas decor is down and the other pictures and whatnot aren’t back up, the white space is incredibly appealing. Would it be weird to just keep it like that? Super-minimalist Joan?

What’s inside

1. Where did the barn go?
2. D.E. Jones still in business?
3. How was Violet Hill named?

1. Twenty-some years ago we acquired a property in Laurel Estates that used to be a farm. Our property had the old barn foundation and the stone rubble that was left of the farm house. We had been told by someone back then that our barn had been moved somewhere else. We followed up leads to find our barn to no avail. We asked locals and the historic society but we were not able to glean any useful information. We’d still like to find our barn or any info about it. What happened to it? Was it moved or just torn down? If any readers out there have any information on the old barn and farmhouse that used to be where Laurel Estates in Hellam is now, please get in touch with me via email at
– Bonnie White

Bonnie, I hope we can help you find what became of your barn! Please do email Bonnie directly if you have info – I know she will be very glad for it!

2. Are there any D.E. Jones stores still open for business anywhere?
– Shirley

While we haven’t been able to find any – at one point, I heard there might be an open one in Camp Hill, but I’ve been unable to find such a thing in my travels – I do have a LOT of people who remember this regional chain! We’ve talked about it several times in the past:

Dec. 7, 2010: Do you remember D.E. Jones?
Dec. 18, 2010: More memories of D.E. Jones
May 28, 2011: Even more D.E. Joens memories

Even since that last installment, I’ve heard about the stores a couple more times.

Commenter Crystal remembers, “There was one in Frederick, Md., at the FSK mall. Loved it!!” And Jim Grim writes, “I recall a D.E. Jones in Mount Holly, NJ which always had the best selection of the cheapest stuff. It was like JC Penney’s quality at dollar-store prices. Pillows, pillow ticks, covers, shoes, underwear and batteries… just loads of stuff for rock bottom cheap prices. What ever happened to them? I last remember the stores in NJ before I moved to TN in 2004, when I returned to visit in 2005 it was as if it never had been. Did they go out of business or run in to problems with their business practices?”

I wish I could find out for sure, so if anyone knows HOW D.E. Joens ended, or exactly when (most guesses put it in the 2004-2006 range), let us know!

3. For a long time I’ve wondered how Violet Hill got its name. There are some paulownia trees in the woods to the right on George St. They get purple flowers in the spring. Could that be the answer?
– Roy Flinchbaugh

This neighborhood, which is alternately “part” of Spring Garden and York townships, is beautiful – and like Roy, I’ve seen those paulownia trees (which, by the way, are considered an invasive species; who knew?!) when they’re in bloom and thought, “Oh, that must be why it’s called that!” But I don’t know for sure, and I haven’t been able to find any conclusive source. The neighborhood isn’t among those even mentioned in Spring Garden Township’s brief online history, and it appears just once that I could find in a book in the paper’s library from the York Township 250th anniversary celebration, with no mention of the name’s origin.

There are a bunch of references to people living and working at Violet Hill in George Powell’s three-volume “A History of York County,” but again, nothing related to the village’s origin. So if there’s anyone who can suggest another source for research or shed any light, we’d be glad for it!

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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