Only in York County

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Ask Joan: Following up on stores and more

Today I’m playing catch-up with some mail I’ve received about past questions; I hope you enjoy today’s fun follow-ups in reverse chronological order.

What’s inside

1. 5&10 in downtown York
2. Remembering Stillman’s Store in York
3. A note on Himmelright’s Grove

1. Earlier this month, Mary Johnson had asked for the name of a 5&10 store on West Market Street in the 1940s – across from Jack’s Department Store.

I’d suggested it might have been Kresge’s, which matched some memories of other readers, but had a letter from Peter Maul of Springettsbury Township with the following info.

He wrote, “The 5&10 next to the jewelry store on Market Street was F.W. Grand. Kresge’s was further east on Market Street between Wiest’s Department Store and Trinity Church. I was the men’s buyer at Wiest’s Department Store for 30 years in downtown York. My sister worked at Kresge’s while she was going to high school.”

Meanwhile, I heard from Nancy Lipschutz, “In the late 1930s until the 50s there were five 5 & 10s located on the south side of West Market Street from the square to Beaver Street. McCrory’s was the first, then Wiest’s Department Store, next was Kresge’s then the church, still standing. Next was Grant’s, Woolworth’s and last was the Grand next to whatever was on the corner before the jewelry store. I believe it is the Police Museum now.”

She continued, “Inside the Grand they had a photo machine. Every year around my birthday, my mother took me there to have my picture taken. There was a lady at the counter next to the photo booth with paint and brushes and she would tint the photos for you for a fee of course. Further west on West Market Street below the Bon-Ton was the J.C. Penney’s store. When you made a purchase they sent the cash in a little metal box on a track that ran above the counters. In a bit your change came back. I remember the sound of that box running along the track. Good old days remembered.”

Linda Richardson of Manchester Township had her own memories of a 5 & 10 to share. She wrote, “The question about the 5 & 10 on West Market Street reminded me of my first job experience. The name of the store was H. L. Green 5 & 10. I believe it was an affiliate of McCrory’s 5 & 10. My first job was at H. L. Green 5 & 10. One of the tasks that I had that summer was manning each of the cotton candy, popcorn, and snowball machines that were placed on the sidewalk in front of the store during the summer. Some days these machines presented quite a challenge for me. The popcorn machine’s favorite problem was not only putting forth the smell of fresh popcorn but also the smell of oil that got too hot. The cotton candy machine would sometimes turns its wheels and go rolling down the sidewalk with me chasing it while trying not to let the popcorn burn. The snowball machine was just downright sticky. You might think with all these adventures I may not have kept my job very long, but somehow I did manage to stay employed until after the Christmas rush. I remember doing all my Christmas shopping at that 5 & 10 that year.”

From longtime commenter Roy Flinchbaugh Jr., I heard, “If I remember correctly Kresge’s was located next to Trinity Church, on the east side, and between Trinity and Wiest’s Department Store. It seems that I recall a W.T. Grant’s (which we called the ‘quarter store,’ as opposed to the others, like Kresge’s, which were ‘dime stores’) on the west side of Trinity. I do believe there was another ‘dime store’ down next to Weinbrom Jewelers but I can’t recall what its name was. Woolworth was up one store off the square on that same side of the street, and a later addition was G.C. Murphy on the square (northeast corner). That’s what I remember, but don’t hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong according to Polk’s City Directory.”

Ding ding ding! That’s where we can shed some light on this, as frequent helper Ann at the Martin Library Information Desk took a look at the 1945-46 Polk Directory, which showed SS Kresge Co. at 22 W. Market St., with William K. Ross as the manager. Trinity Church is (and was) at 32 W. Market St., so we’d be going just slightly closer to the square than that for Kresge’s, likely in what later became the York County Community Foundation building, which has an address of 14 W. Market but which takes up what I’m sure used to be several separate storefront addresses.

So Kresge’s was in the “most downtown” part of that block – and likely we’re talking about the Grand 5 & 10 next to the jewelry store, then, I think!

2. In September, Jerry Gingerich asked for memories and details about Stillman’s in downtown York on East Market Street. We had talked about them in the past, which you can find links to here, but since Jerry’s note, I received a few more Stillman’s memories that I want to share today.

Betty J. Neff wrote about Stillman’s, “Yes, it was located between Crider’s Card Shop and Herbert’s Department Store inthe first block of East Market Street. I bought many outfits there.”

And Mae Bolton Tracy of Glenville wrote, “I remember Stillman’s… When I babysat for 50 cents a week I could layaway things for even 25 cents a week. I am now 91 years old and still have fond memories of Stillman’s and some of the things I bought there.”

From Connie Haller of West Manchester Township, I heard that Stillman’s was across the street from the “old” courthouse. “I worked in the beauty salon from 1961-1966,” Connie noted. “We used to run specials on perms for $5.95 – regular price was about $12 and a haircut was $1.50. Jerry asked what the store sold – I remember the drapery department, the dress department and the notions, and also there was a baby department on the second floor. The 3 girls who worked in the salon, and myself, remain in touch adn share all the memories when we have our get-togethers.”

3. Back in July, I shared a question from Herm Myers about Himmelright’s Grove, in the Long Level area, where his family would go listen to music.

I did receive a letter more than a month ago that I had not yet gotten to share, from Phyllis M. Himmelright Harris.

Phyllis wrote, “I am a ninety year old Himmelright. I was born and raised in York County – my parents were Maryland folks, George L. Himmelright (father) and Carrie E. Damuth Himmelright (mother). Searching years ago we found Himmelrich Grove was in Lancaster County. Originally the park was spelled differently and changed to Himmelright. I’m not positive but two versions I believe were Himmelrich or Himmelwrite. Raised here in York County, we could never locate any relatives. Our family was 2 boys and 5 girls. Hope this shows a little light for Mr. Myers. Friendship always from George and Carrie’s only living child.”

Phyllis, thank you so much for that info – I’m glad to have heard from a Himmelright about the family’s name through the years!

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!