Only in York County

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Downtown memories from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s

I recently received a letter from Yvonne Leiphart of West Manchester Township in response to my “Do you remember?” column in the York Sunday News.

Yvonne made me smile; she started her letter by saying she didn’t expect me to read it all; she just hoped that writing down her memories of downtown York from the 1940s onward into the 1960s would help her stop laying awake at night, trying to remember even more!

She writes, “There wasn’t anything you couldn’t buy downtown in the ’40s and ’50s except maybe an automobile. But I even think there might have been an automobile dealership on East Market St. (Does anyone remember it?)”

In 2004, in a back room at Griffith-Smith, an upscale men’s clothing store on West Market Street, David Smith prepared a new suit before delivery. Smith started working at his father-in-law’s business in about 1959. His wife and fellow co-owner, Phyllis, worked as the store’s tailor, too, but that was all before the business’ closure later in 2004.

Yvonne wrote, “The stores (listed here) are not in the order that they were located, but were somewhere on the block. Going east from the railroad on Market Street: Cigar store, Mike’s Nut Shop, Sears/Roebuck’s, Julius’ Music House, Haines the Shoe Wizard, American Legion Post, Disc Mart, White’s Record Shop, Rialto Theater, People’s Drug Store, Jack’s, A.S. Beck Shoes, Deb Shop, Darling Shop, Fluhrer’s Jewelry, Griffith-Smith Men’s, Thom McCann Shoes, Kinney’s Shoes, Worth’s, Sullivan’s Jewelers, Gehley’s Carpet Store, Bear’s Dept. Store, Reed’s Millinery, Lovett’s Dress Shop, White Rose Restaurant, Whelan’s Pharmacy, Webb & Wolfe Sporting Goods, Fanny Farmer Candy, Mehl and Rittenhouse Jewelers, Thompson’s Ladieswear, Herbert’s, Stillman’s Department Store, Crider’s Card Shop/Stationary and Pollack Jewelers.”

She continues, “Across the street going west from the square: Newswanger Shoe Store (above which were the offices of Dr. Frank Tamarkin, optometrist, and Dr. Gustav Rubinstein, dentist), Futer Bros. Jewelry, People’s Drug Store, Western Union, Ormond’s, Eugene Jacobs Men’s, McCrory’s 5 & 10, Woolworth’s, W.T Grant 5 & 10, Adler’s, F.W. Grand 5 & 10, Joe Weinbrom Jewelers, The Bon-Ton, J.C. Penney, a fabric shop and Schaeffer’s Florist.”

“On North George Street there was Lehmeyer’s Men’s Store, Gregory’s Menswear, Smutz Leather Goods, Terminal Luggage, Golden Glow Cafeteria, Town Tavern, Monkey Bar (at which location I think earlier was Don Sternbergh’s York Diner, which later moved to East Market Street), Ramona Restaurant and at the Valencia was the Rainbow Grill.”

“On South George Street there was the Colonial Hotel, the Brooks Hotel, Kay Jewelers, Rothert’s Furniture, Ritz Theater, Crane’s Men’s Store, Hanover Shoe, Murray’s Menswear, Sunny Surplus, The Hub, Sol Kessler’s Music, Famous Restaurant, Terry’s Menswear, Reineberg’s Shoes.”

Finally, she lists the Lullaby Shoppe and Reese’s Variety Store on North Beaver Street and these on South Beaver: “Herman’s Shoes, The Corset Shop (above which was the radio station WORK) and The Village Peddler.”

Thank you, Yvonne, for sending those to me! I’m hoping that the fact I typed them serves as proof that I did read them all.