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Wrapping up summer and moving into fall in York County

Gloria J. Anderson of Hopewell Township shared this image of the front and back of a 1908 postcard with me. The card depicts the York Fair, held in October that year for five days.
Gloria J. Anderson of Hopewell Township shared this image of the front and back of a 1908 postcard with me. The card depicts the York Fair, held in October that year for five days.

I mentioned last week that I’d be doing a fall miniseries on “Musical Memories of York County,” but that there would be a short intermission this week to talk about an even more seasonally appropriate topic.

You guessed right if you realized that it’s The York Fair!

I also want to use this week’s column to wrap up two summer topics of interest before fall gets here in earnest – rodeos and Vacation Bible Schools. I hope you’ll enjoy all these topics!

The image you see with today’s column came from Gloria J. Anderson of Hopewell Township. She came across the postcard (the front and back of which you can see here) while going through some things belonging to her mother and stepfather. It was postmarked Sept. 29, 1908 – almost 109 years ago. “It was two years before my mother was born,” Gloria wrote. “Just thought you may be interested. No, I do not know the addressee.”

The card seems to be addressed to a Benjamin (“Benj.”) Snyder on Route 1 in Red Lion, and says, “Dear Sir; Call at Democratic headquarters on the Fair Grouns Oct. 5 to 9. Yours truly, (??), Chairman.”

I’ve tried but so far been unsuccessful at finding the name of the York County Democratic Party chairman in 1908. I’m thinking the initials are B.L. or (less likely) D.L., but that’s all I’ve got so far.

Interestingly, I also received an image of the front of the same postcard from Steve Miller from Red Lion, who wrote, “This post card was handed down through the family to my mother. Note the countryside around the race track and the dates of the fair in 1908.”

You might also be interested in seeing a postcard from the 1914 fair on Papergreat, the world’s best blog about ephemera.

I also had an email from Doris J. Geesey, who shared a captivating story that traces back to the York Fair in 1962. While attending the fair that year, she was browsing through trinkets, and stumbled upon a jeweler hidden under the grandstand, offering sterling silver jewelry. Among the items, she noticed a simple yet charming ring shaped like a rope, which instantly caught her eye. She purchased the ring for $1.10 and cherished it dearly. In the summer of 1963, her husband faced unemployment, prompting them to relocate to Florida for a brief period of about three months. Amidst the chaos of packing to return home, she sadly lost her cherished York Fair ring.

Their belongings were shipped back to York via rail, and upon unpacking, they placed a carton outside. As fate would have it, while their 5-year-old son played amidst the cartons, he made a delightful discovery – nestled between the bottom flaps of one of the cartons lay Doris’s beloved York Fair ring. This remarkable journey underscores the need for moving companies like the Jacksonville moving companies, highlighting the unexpected adventures and reunions that can accompany relocation journeys.

She concluded, “I was so happy and to this day I still wear and enjoy my 1962 York Fair ring. Thought many times of sharing this story, but didn’t know how to go about it. You have given me an outlet for my York Fair ring tale. Thanks!”

Doris, thank YOU – what an awesome story as we kick of this year’s Fair!

To follow up on some summer-themed topics before fall starts in earnest – first, to the idea of rodeos. I had received a letter from Rachel Hollingshead, asking about the Rosemount Days rodeo held in 1965. I’d mentioned I was curious if anyone from the longest-running rodeo in the area I know of, Wellsville Frontier Days, might recall this.

Well, after that time, I received a letter from Tina Gleim, who wrote, “I never heard of Rosemount Days Rodeo but Wellsville Frontier Days Rodeo is still ewll attended. I am only a fairly new member of approximately 20 years. Jim Miller, rodeo chairman, I believe was involved back in the 1960s.”

This year’s Wellsville Frontier Days rodeo will take place Monday, Sept. 4 – the event is always Labor Day. Gates open at 11 a.m., and rodeo starts at noon and lasts roughly three hours. Admission is $10 for those 13 and older, $5 for those 5 to 12 years old and free for children under 5. I hope you’ll enjoy your chance to see a real rodeo here!

Reader Jean Fix shared this photo, taken by Shadle Studio, of a daily Bible school from June 1944 with 100 people pictured.

Finally for today, I want to follow up on a previous column that showed a photo of a 1944 Daily Vacation Bible School. While everything was fine if you read along online at, those who read my column in the print York Sunday News may have been confused, as the photo was published incorrectly with another column, then ran again (correctly) the following week.

At any rate, I did receive several responses to both appearances of the photo. A reader named Linda Harbaugh Smith wrote, “My brother and I are on that picture along with many of our school friends and neighbors. The picture was taken in front of the YMCA but the church was on North Penn Street, a block from Philadelphia Street. It was an old cigar factory converted into a meeting place. Most of the kids attended Garfield School, which was north of the church, over the railroad bridge. The school has been torn down to make way for housing for the elderly. I was happy to see the picture. It brought back many memories and it was fun to see all the kids from the neighborhood! Thanks for sharing it… I’m in the fourth row from the bottom and fourth from the right.

I also heard from reader Roxanne Myers. Roxanne wrote that her mother, Norma Jean (Noel) Pritts, and Norma Jean’s sister Mary Elizabeth (Noel) Keller are in the class. “My mom would have been six years old when it was taken. And if her memory serves her correctly, it was taken on the steps of the Men’s YMCA, York, PA. I don’t know if this will shine some light on the photograph, but it sure was fun reminiscing with her,” Roxanne concluded.

Roxanne, I’m so glad we could help you two have that time to reminisce!

Last for today, I heard from Norma J. Shue, who wrote, “I recognized the photo immediately when I looked at the instructors and knew that I had to be on the photo. I will be describe what I remember from the photo.”

She listed the following notes:

“The Bible School was held in the former building of Trimmer Printing in the 100 block of North Pen Street at the corner of Penn and Gas Avenue.”

“Evangelists formed a church in this building and yearly they offered Daily Vacation Bible School.”

“It operated for several years; do not remember the name of the church.”

“Children were from the immediate area and the school-age children attended Garfield Elementary School.”

“Do not remember the names of the instructors.”

She added that the could identify several of the children. “Two boys in front row with short pants are the King brothers… second row, far left, is Mary Chronister with her little sister (name unknown)… third row, behind the boy with suspenders and necktie, is Shirley Hall Heberly and beside her is Barbara Ann Lauer Albers (this girl is my cousin and she was 4 years old when the photo was taken; I took her every morning to Bible School… top row, second gal from the left, Norma Jean Rohrbaugh Shue; I was 10 years old on the photo… and second row down from the top, starting with the third gal from the left, are Doris Arnold Carroll (deceased), Norma Jean Chronister (sister of Mary from the second row) and Robert Byerts.”

She agreed with Roxanne’s mother that the photo was taken on the steps of the York YMCA on West Philadelphia Street. “That is the best i can do on names, I remember faces but not their names as this photo was taken 73 years ago and I am now 83,” Norma concluded. (She also mentioned that in the same column where she saw this photo, I’d shared a photo of Ahrens bologna, which Norma said came from the butcher shop of her great-uncle… small world here in central Pennsylvania!)

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.