Only in York County

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A mailbag miscellany: Baseball, restaurants, department stores, pools and more

Sharon Mindemann of Thomasville shared this photo that includes her grandfather, Elvin Ira Diehl, who played for several local baseball teams. She’s looking for more information on any of the three teams her grandfather played for.

Today’s notes and questions from readers are truly a miscellany, found while sorting through my emails.

Baseball teams

Sharon Mindemann wrote of the picture you see with today’s column, “I recently came across this old photo of a York ball team that my grandfather played on. He was born in 1899, so I’m not sure what year this photo was taken. His name was Elvin Ira Diehl, and he is pictured on the far right-hand side, back row. I also have photos of two other teams that he was a member of… the logos on the players’ shirts of the other two teams are ‘BEL-MAR’ and ‘Panthers.’ Unfortunately, none of the photos are dated or have any other identifying features on them. I’m curious if anyone knows anything about these teams – the dates they existed, who they played, how good they were, etc. I’m a longtime York County resident, now living in Thomasville, who loves researching my family’s history.”

I’m interested in lots of York County history, and baseball in particular, so I am hoping to find out more information for Sharon!

Do you remember…

Next up, I have a series of topics from readers that may make for some neat future columns if we get more memories.

First up is Donald Arsenault, who writes, “Does anyone remember the Race Track Inn on old Route 111 in Shrewsbury? It was a 24-hour restaurant and Sunoco gas station. Our family owned and operated it from 1945 til 1952.”

Then there’s Mary Jenru, who writes, “Don’t forget the Jolly Cow Dairy Bar on West Market Street between Williams Street and Forest Street.” We’ve talked a little about this great-named place in the past, but I’d love to hear more.

Glenn Flinchbaugh had some memories of former York eateries; he wrote, “How about Seahost restaurant in the 2300 block of West Market Street, now I believe, a beer distributor. Or Gladys Restaurant on the south side of Princess, between Queen and Pine Street. Great breakfast, went there a lot in the late ’70s, early ’80s.” He also recalled the Bel-Mar on South Belvidere Ave., which he described as “a wooden-floored bar with a few tables… I grew up 1 1/2 blocks from there and knew it very well; they did have very good turtle soup along with a typical bar menu.”

Some lingering questions

As questions go, these few are particularly interesting.

There’s a fun one from Bea Sweitzer, who wants to know how the neighborhoods of the Swamp and Red Front got their names. You might know the Swamp as the area near the York Revolution stadium, but I’m not sure about Red Front; I’d love to hear more about both!

And a note from reader Ann asks, “I recently toured the Shoe House and was told Mr. Haines outfitted women contestant winners at Murphy’s Department store. Where was that located? Not the five and dime store.” I know a good deal about the G.C. Murphy Five-and-Dime, but I’m not familiar with a different Murphy’s.

I did also hear from Joan Walters on the same topic; she wrote, “Was there ever a department store called Murphy’s? This would have been a good quality store. It’s not G.C. Murphy’s either. Someone suggested that it might have been called Murray’s. Any ideas?”

Certainly this points me in the direction of there having been another Murphy’s or Murray’s, so I’d like to know more!

And some updates

In several previous columns, readers recalled Fitness America, a former gym in the West Manchester Mall.

I received a neat follow-up to that from John Kerchner, who siad, “Just wanted to let you know we morphed from Fitness America to Unique Physique Fitness Center. Still have members from both locations at our facility on East Market Street. Myself and my sister both started at Fitness America in the ’80s and still are at it today. Great memories of both locations.” I have been to Unique Physique with a friend in the past, and had no idea the two were related!

And finally for today is a note from Ann Diviney, who wrote in response to a 2015 column about a pool in the Pigeon Hills area outside Hanover.

Ann wrote about that topic, “The pool in question was called Paradise Pool and was owned by my parents, Jake and Ann Spangler Diviney. Surrounded by pampas grass and persimmon trees, it had a jungle-like setting, with a black snake living in the men’s changing room. I was in grade school then and worked the concession stand, with permission to help myself now and then. To this day, I can’t stand the thought of a Zero Bar! We had swimmers from Hanover, but we also had a lot of swimmers from York. Another pool in the area was Hershey Heights Pool, popular with teens because of its jukebox.”

Especially since we’ve had some warmer weather, it seems like a great time to start talking about more summery topics, and I loved hearing about this; thanks, Ann!

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.