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Mail call: Sports memories, a Bon-Ton poem and Springettsbury memories

Aerial view of York County Shopping Center
This photo, courtesy of Gene Schenck, shows the York County Shopping Center in 1955, center, which served families that spilled out from the city to the suburbs of Springettsbury Township and beyond. The Haines Acres neighborhood grew up in the fields, upper right, and beyond.

Next up: More letters from readers that were mailed to me over the past year or more. 2017 will be the year of cleaning out the mailbag, I promise! (Of course, I say this every year…)

Today’s letters offer thoughts on Springettsbury Township’s business history, a poem about The Bon-Ton and some sports questions asked and answered. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Springettsbury memories

Reader John “Jack” Krug wrote to me some time ago. He shared that he’d been asked to speak during the celebration of York County’s 250th anniversary celebration in 1999, specifically to the people of Springettsbury Township. Jack spoke about some of the well-known commercial and industrial names from the township, and was kind enough to send me his notes from the occasion so that I could add to my list of former businesses in that area.

He told the story of how much of the township was farmland, and developers like the Epstein Brothers and Bob Yost began to build neighborhoods like Fayfield and Haines Acres. “The people came east and business was here or was soon to follow,” he noted.

Businesses he noted included Caterpillar, Rutter’s, Edgcomb Steel, Weis, Campbell Chain, Motter’s, McCrory’s, Shipley, Bowman’s, York Valley Inn, Beasley, York Valley Airport, Lincolnway Florist, Long’s, Fox Pools and Melvin’s Drive-In. “I am not a native Yorker,” he said, “but I still marvel at the stories about the good times at Melvin’s and the Long’s golf range… and let’s not forget the roller rink or Playland.”

He went on to discuss the York County Shopping Center, including its anchor, Sears, as well as Acme, Feller’s, Food Fair, McCrory’s, Joe the Motorist’s Friend, Rogers Toys, Ray’s Barber Shop, a bowling alley, a music store and Jack Horner Shoes. Sears was of special interest to Jack as he had worked for that chain in Boston, New York and Philadelphia before being promoted to the general manager role in the York County Shopping Center store in 1969.

Jack closed his talk and I’ll close my notes from him by a memory I share and love – “How many of you remember the Sears hot dog?” I have talked about these many times before; they were a staple of my diet growing up!

The Bon-Ton

Reader Sandy Ludwig sent me something I don’t get too often in mid-2016 – a poem. This poem was written by Lynn Fetterolf about a York County business of note that, in fact, I shopped at just this weekend – The Bon-Ton!

Lynn’s poem, titled “The Bon-Ton,” begins:

Named in a day when Bon Ton was synonymous with fancy,
the store that anchored the corner of West Market & Beaver,
two of the most desirable addresses in York, Pennsylvania,
was a cornucopia of merchandise. The whole town was
thrilled when they installed the first escalator.

Their imposing entrance bisected windows beautifully decorated
in accordance with the season. Christmas windows were magical
with moving figures, changed yearly. Children stared in awe.
It was part of every child’s Christmas to visit and enjoy each December.

The poem continues with descriptions of the various departments, including hats and notions, as well as the well-known Bon-Ton Tea Room. It concludes:

A visit downtown was an adventure, pure pleasure. The Strand & Capitol
featured the latest from Hollywood and everyone ended up there on
Saturday night snacking on huge pretzels also available downtown for a nickel
and the churches were filled on Sunday morning at the ringing of their bells.

I greatly appreciated this poem; if you’d like to read it in full, you can do so at

Sports memories

The last topic I want to cover today is that of sports memories. Several readers have asked questions in the past about the York White Roses baseball team. I have had several offers of more information on that topic, including from George M. Trout Sr., formerly the public address announcer for the baseball club as well as a longtime local radio personality and past county commissioner.

Also, reader Tom Busch wrote with some information, since his grandfather played for the team in the 1950s. Tom noted that there is a picture of the team in the safe at the Girard Club at Prospect Street and Girard Avenue, saying “they are always glad to show; talk to the manager.”

I am always on the lookout for White Roses questions we might answer and stories to share, so please do let me know if you have any!

Also on the topic of sports, reader Dale Brenner is on the hunt for a football program from when the Dover VFW midget football program became the Tri-Town Tornadoes in 1965-1966. Dale has a large collection of sports memorabilia and shared with me some clips from the midget season of 1964, but more interestingly, he shared with me a 2015 GameTimePA story that described how Brenner himself helped to found Dover’s youth football program. Tri-Town is still active today, and many of my friends have children who cheer or play football in the smurf, rink, pony and midget divisions.

Dale is hoping anyone with this program specifically might call him at 717-259-8166. He’d love to speak with you!

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.