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Ask Joan: Shoe House vacation, Happy Johnny’s Gang and more

Sheila Myers shared this clipping of a 1990 article about her great-aunt and uncle, John and Liza Baum, who were the first couple gifted with a one-week stay at the Haines Shoe House back in 1948. Mahlon Haines went on to gift such stays regularly for milestone anniversaries and other occasions.

I’m diving back into some older emails again this week and have a wide variety of topics on which to share questions, answers and memories – eight, about which I have short pieces of info to share that I hope and assume will lead to longer future columns.

What’s inside

1. Couple gets Shoe House vacation
2. Memories of Happy Johnny’s Gang
3. Queensgate store, restaurant draw memories
4. Recalling Tales From the Tomb
5. More thoughts on West York businesses
6. Pinpointing location of Rustic Cabins
7. Willow Beach Park in Hanover
8. More details on Chantiles Parking Lot


Some time ago, reader Sheila Myers wrote to me and shared a clipping from the Community Courier in 1990, describing the first couple gifted a one-week stay at the Shoe House by Mahlon Haines, the “Shoe Wizard,” in 1948. Haines began gifting couples such getaways for milestone wedding anniversaries and other occasions, and Sheila noted that her great-aunt and uncle, John and Liza Baum, were that first lucky couple. The story notes that the Baums were not given to relaxation, being used to hard work, so Mr. Baum plowed a garden while he was there!

I’ve heard about those Shoe House vacations in the past, but did not have any information on that earliest couple before! I’d love to hear more about others who stayed there as a Mahlon Haines gift.


Reader Bradley W. Buchar wrote to me about a year ago with some information tangential to a topic we talked about last week – York County’s musical groups. He said, “My father, ‘Lefty’ Buchar, was a guitar player and singer in Happy Johnny’s Gang.” He said the band was on WORK radio in the early 1940s, then on WBAL in Baltimore. “They were quite popular in York County and Baltimore, until the war came along,” he noted.

“I have an album full of articles and signed pictures that my dad collected of the many performers he knew and played music with, such as Roy Rogers, Roy Acuff, Tex Ritter, etc., and the many places they played music,” Bradley wrote. Those places included Sunset Park, Brendel’s Manor Park, the Hippodrome in Baltimore and many more. I’m curious if it included Valley View Park, as I’m pretty sure I remember Happy Johnny’s Gang being among the groups I’ve heard performing there. Would love to hear more!


Two readers shared follow-ups to earlier columns on past stores and restaurants in the Queensgate Shopping Center. One, Kerri J. Chairamonte, talked more about The Squire’s Pub, which has been the subject of several past columns. (You can read those by searching for “Squire” at

Kerri recalled, “It was in the Queensgate Shopping Center. The last owner was Tom Nicholson, I believe. It burned sometime in the ’80s, I think. Fire and restaurants seemed to be a common problem! They has the best turtle soup around!”

Meanwhile, another reader, Cathy Staab, noted that she remembers the Peoples Drug in Queensgate was the first local store to be open on Sundays, and people picketed in protest. “My how things have changed!” Cathy wrote.


We’ve talked a bit before about a popular former TV show called Tales From the Tomb. Another reader, David, had this memory to share about that show: “Tales From the Tomb… hosted by Leroy the Ghoul, and sponsored by BonTon (potato chips). Came on every Friday late night. My pal Clifford and I would watch it with lights out. When it ended, we’d always ‘fight’ over which one of us would get up in the dark, turn off the TV (no remotes back then) and get back in bed… all in the dark… It was a terrific spook show with Wolf Man, Dracula, Frankenstein, all the good old ones that left everything up to the imagination… Such fond memories.”

David, I appreciate those memories. I wish that show was still around, because it sounds like it would be right up my daughter’s alley. She loves classic horror!


Longtime reader Sarann C. Boring wrote to me with a few memories of the West York area to share. She mentioned that her cousin is Bob Rudisill, another longtime reader and commenter. Their great-grandfather, the two had both told me, lived on a farm in West York, moving there in the early 1880s, and the farmhouse is still standing next to the Reliance Fire Company going east.

Sarann added, “I think your column is a great idea for us Yorkers since it brings back those good memories… going to the Hiway Theater, which my sister and I did every Saturday like most kids in the area. I wanted to mention that I worked at the Jolly Cow when I went to West York High and also worked at the Old Homestead Inn which was next door going west… The owners, Minnie and John Becker were very nice people as were their employees, and the food was wonderful.”

She also clarified the location of a West York business we mentioned in a previous column. “Bud Eppley’s Used Car Lot was not at the corner of the East Berlin Road and Market Street. That was and still is Bill Boring’s Used Car lot. Bill was my father’s cousin. Bud Eppley’s was next to the house on the corner of those roads going east. I think Bud was a cousin to Bill Boring on his mother’s side.”

And, she concluded her West York memories, Max Anstine’s Funeral Home was built by my grandfather Worley F. Rudisill for his family in 1925, the date on the chimney was put there when he built it and is still there.”


In a previous column, we were trying to find out some details about the Rustic Cabins. Reader Larry Good said, “Friend of mine who sold insurance and ran all over the county told me they were located between Lewisberry Road and Susquehanna Trail North, just over the knob north of Stillmeadow Lane. The owner was Jesse Hollerbush and he had a daughter, Nancy, who was a classmate of my friend at North York High School. He has been found to still have a 20/20 memory so I’m thinking this information is correct.”

20/20 memory – I love it. (And I wish I had it!)


Moving away from the York area, some time ago, I shared several memories from the Hanover area that included Willow Beach Park, pool and skating rink. A reader named Mark Nusbaum was hoping to pin down this park’s exact location, and Mike Becker was able to provide that information.

Mike noted Willow Beach “was located to the rear of the alley on the south side of the 800 block of York Street. It was entered through the alley beside 849/847(?) York Street,” he added.

Mike, thank you for clearing that up!


Last fall, reader Gina Hamme wanted to know if anyone remembered Chantiles Parking Lot, which was on the corner of Philadelphia and Beaver streets where the White Rose is now located.

Longtime reader Bill Landes noted that his father’s cousin was married to George Chantiles who owned a haberdashery (hatmaker) at that site. “George later became a magistrate of some sort. He had brothers who were a dentist (Fred) and a policeman (Pete),” Bill wrote.

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.