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Memories of York’s Curbside Market

Some time ago, I received a letter in the mail from Eugene “Gene” Gemmill, who was responding to some earlier notes about York County’s farmers’ markets past and present. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out…

Previous posts
March 1, 2008: Fun in Thomasville
Jan. 2, 2009: Market day
June 15, 2010: Candy-store memories
Jan. 3, 2012: More on the former City Market, and on York’s other farmers’ markets and their history
June 13, 2013: More memories of York County’s farmers’ markets

And once you’ve whetted your appetite, here’s what Gene recalls about a different market!

Gene writes, “I am going to relate to you my experiences of attending a market I question if you ever heard about. I was born and reared on a farm in Winterstown, a small rural community about 4 miles south of Red Lion on Route 24. My parents lived on the farm from the time of marriage in 1914. I had an older sister and brother. My dad grew potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, corn, pepper, carrot, squash, cucumbers, etc. I was born March 1921 and at the age of 9 I accompanied my dad to Curbside Market in York, in the 1st block of South George Street. My dad had a Model T Ford truck, a 3/4-ton load weight, but I remember he overloaded it a number of times. We would leave the farm around 4 a.m. and tried to arrive on South George Street around 5 a.m. and tried to get a space along the curb in front of Christ Lutheran Church beneath a street light or as close as possible to a street light. Dad would back the truck to the curb, set off a bag of potatoes, open up the bag to display the potatoes, had a number of bags on the truck to take orders and deliver to the home of a customer. This was in the years of late 1920s through early years of 1930s. Also he set off the truck baskets of cabbage, tomatoes, and others as before mentioned. It was customary for men walking to work to stop and pay my dad for 3 or 4 bags of potatoes that he would deliver to their house, after market ended around 10 a.m.”

He continues, “The same thing applied to tomatoes and cabbage. You must remember this was in the days of the Depression, when potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes were on the table many times. After dad attended market for possibly 6 to 7 years, some restaurant owners – Z Restaurant – 100 block S. George St., Golden Glow Cafeteria – first block of George close to Bear’s, Fisher’s Restaurant on West Princess Street, also Moser’s Restaurant on West King Street, also to Yorktowne Hotel (the chef – a black gentleman – had my dad come in the small street (alley) between the church and the hotel to deliver)” also purchased produce.

Gene concludes, “I could relate about the City of York in numerous ways, as I remember a number of businesses that were places of distinction, but it was my thought you can try to learn if some other people recall Curbside Market.”

Indeed, I would love to know more about this! Please do share any memories!

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