Only in York County

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This building at 517 Carlisle Avenue in York, PA, was formerly Wilson Elementary School. (Image from Google Street View.)

Ask Joan: End of Marching Band Season Edition

Most people think the notable thing about the end of October and the beginning of November is Halloween. But for me, this time of year will always be the end of marching band season. So I just want to take a second and give a shout-out to all those who marched in this year’s fall band shows and parades, as well as their directors and other adult helpers. It’s a ton of work, but dorky band alums like me love getting to see and hear what you do.

An image shows the phrase Ask Joan in large letters above a line and the phrase What's to love about York County below it.

What’s inside

1. More memories of bowling alleys
2. Seeking name of city school
3. Wondering about Sitler’s dress shop
4. What happened to pet cemetery?

1. More memories of bowling alleys

Reader Rod Caroll wrote, “I enjoyed your article regarding former bowling alleys in York. I remember going to a bowling alley in downtown York. I am not sure of the exact location but I think it was in an area near the 200 block of West Philadelphia Street. It was unique in that it was on the second floor of this building. Do any of your readers remember the location and if the building is still standing? Also, I think ‘Central’ was part of the title.”

Interestingly, Rod’s letter came within a few moments of another letter, this one from Mark Stetler, who wrote, “No mention of Central Bowling Alley? It was on the second floor of a now apartment building at 40 Grant St. in York. The first floor was storage for Snyder’s White truck dealership. It offered both duckpins and regular bowling.”

Those notes were a great coincidence and I’m glad to be able to add Central Bowling Alley to our list of lanes of the past. Any other memories of this alley?

2. Seeking name of city school

Reader Ray W. Hamberger wrote in with a question I’ve wondered about myself, so I’m happy to get to share it today.

He said, “I’ve been a lifelong Yorker (59 years) and have seen many things come and go over the years. I always get a kick out of old buildings being re-purposed instead of building new things all the time. Many schools have seen this happen over the years.”

Then he asked, “I was wondering if anyone remembers the name of the school on Carlisle Avenue almost directly across from the York Fair auto traffic entrance on Carlisle Ave. When I went to Edgar Fahs Smith for junior high in the early ’70s, I lived on the 600 block of West King Street (a half-block from Lincoln Elementary) and sometimes instead of walking home on Belvidere I’d walk down Texas Ave. to Carlisle and go home that way past this school. The west end had lots of elementaries with Lincoln, Hartley, Madison and my mother told me she at one time went to Stevens on Philadelphia Street (now apartments).”

He concluded, “I believe the building in question now houses an architectural firm or some such. I read over a list of schools from the ’50s in a York history link but none of them rang a bell as to the name of this school. I drive past this a lot for work and I just can’t pull the name out of my head. Any ideas?”

I’d love to be able to help Ray with this info! The building is at 517 Carlisle Ave., and an image of it from Google Street View appears with today’s column. My understanding is that the current occupant is New Insights II, a drug and alcohol treatment center. It had previously been the home of a property management company, and I’m not sure what came before that. Knowing about what school it was, as well as what else it may have become, would be great!

(Fun pop quiz: I actually began school only a couple of blocks away in another large building that is no longer a school. Can anyone guess which one?)

3. Wondering about Sitler’s dress shop

Reader Gloria J. Easter wrote to me with a question I am hoping readers can help answer. She wrote, “My sister and I recently found my 91-year-old mother’s wedding dress, who would have been married 70 years this past July 4. My mother, who has dementia, didn’t remember much, but after speaking with two of my aunts they think the dress was purchased at Sitler’s on East Market Street near Martin Memorial Library.”

Gloria wrote that she and her sister, Bonnie Thibault, would like to know anything about Sitler’s. “This would have been in 1948,” Gloria wrote about her mother’s dress purchase. Later, she wrote, “For being 70 years old, the dress is in great shape. It had long sleeves and was made of a heavy satin, and a long train. I can’t believe she wore heavy satin and long sleeves on the Fourth of July!”

I was also happy to hear that Gloria’s uncle is longtime reader and commenter Wayne Gross. I feel like I should start keeping lists of which writers are related. I could do an Only in York County/Ask Joan family tree!

All that said, I’d love to find out more about Sitler’s for this family. It was mentioned in passing in one of my 2013 columns, when reader Sharon Orendorff Carroll recalled shopping there in the late 1950s, but otherwise it’s not come up before. Any information is welcomed!

4. What happened to pet cemetery?

Finally for today, I have a note from reader Leann. She says, “Recently I found an old receipt from the early 1950s for a pet our family buried in the Seven Valleys pet cemetery. We can’t remember exactly where the cemetery was and are wondering what the address was and what is there now.”

She continued, “We paid for a marker and I wonder what happened to all the markers? Our family is very curious and hope you might have some information or perhaps your readers might.”

I found a small reference to that cemetery being located on Cemetery Road (perhaps 2124 Cemetery Road) in North Codorus Township, which would have a Seven Valleys mailing address, but I cannot confirm that in any reliable way. Any information is welcomed!

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.

3 comments on “Ask Joan: End of Marching Band Season Edition

  1. The school building was Wilson. It was an elementary school. I did not attend there but my grandparents and aunts live about half way up the block on Florida Ave. and we sometimes were allowed to go down there to play when the family gathered at their house. There used to be a big metal sliding board that we liked!!

  2. The school pictured was Wilson Elementary School in the York City School District. It had grades 1-4 each corner of the building was a classroom.

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