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Even more memories of photo studios in York County

I love when what starts as a simple post turns into a deep well of York County memories. Case in point? Photo studios of the past.

Previous posts

June 17, 2011More on York’s former photo studios
March 11, 2011Photos of photographers’ photos: Another type of York County memory

Today, to add to those previous thoughts, I have a letter to share from Arlene Hershner of Manchester Township, a note from my friend and fellow history buff Blake Stough, and questions from Chris Hake about Penn Park Studio and from Kate on photos of local bands. (And there are also some photos from Carolyn Woodring!)

Settle in – today’s post is a long one but full of fun stuff.

First up, let’s address Chris Hake’s question. He writes, “I recently found 6 photos down through the Stewartstown antique shops that have been marked as coming from the Penn Park Studio. I believe that these are my great grandfather’s but I can’t be sure. How can I figure this out for sure? But the other shops had tons of photos from about 7 studios with 8 blocks or so, the rumor is that my great grand also took nude photos. Could explain how he stayed in business for how ever long. Please anyone help me find information or please, please, please point me in the right direction!” Any suggestions for Chris, or any confirmation of the salacious-for-the-time rumor?!

Another question came from Kate, who writes, “I have many old photos (no idea who the folks are) from most of the photographers listed here. Among these are photos on postcards, 2 of these have photos of bands, City Band, York, PA is on the drum on one photo and Commonwealth Band, Springetts, PA is on the other. Looking for any information on either of these bands.
Also wondering why photos were put on post cards?” Any suggestions for Kate? I would be interested in hearing about how the photos-on-postcards traditions started, too.

Speaking of photos, here are some, from the collection of Carolyn Woodring.

Another resource in all of this comes in the form of friend and noted local blogger Blake Stough. Blake says, “An extremely knowledgeable person to speak to about early York County photographers is Eric Buttorff, who wrote ‘York Area Photographers, 1850-1995’ compiled in 1995. This is available for purchase from the South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. If I recall from my time volunteering at the York County History Center Library several years ago, Eric is a relative of the person who operated the Buttorff Studio in York.”

He continues, “This is a special topic for me as I have my grandparents photograph collection. These include family photos taken in York County from as early as the 1860s. I’ve been working to scan ALL of these photos so that I have digital copies as a way to safeguard them in case something would happen to the originals. I have scanned well over 1,000 to date.” (Um… WOW!)

And Blake concludes, “One of the most precious photos I have is my great-grandparents wedding photo, taken in 1897. I even own the actual clothing they wore in the photograph. It’s unfortunate that many early photographs are not identified, and we will forever be wondering who the person shown is. I am lucky enough to have had many of mine identified by elder family members, who were happy to assist in their identification.”

Finally for today, I have a wonderful letter from Arlene Hershner. Arlene read one of the previous posts when it was excerpted in the Sunday News print edition, and she said it motivated her to begin a search for photography studios among her old family pictures. “I can’t believe what I uncovered,” she wrote. “I will make an attempt to pass this information on to you, along with the verification I have. I’ll tell you first that I am an 87 year-old woman with a love of past family history,” she begins.

“Here is what I found.
1. My father’s baby picture was taken in 1897 at the Buttorff studio, 8-1/2 W. Market Street, York, PA.
2. I also have a picture of my grandfather as a young man from the same studio, same address, but no date.
3. A picture of my father and his sister in their early teens was taken at Swords Bros, York, PA – no street address
4. A lovely 3-way folder from The Gibbons Studio, 47 E. Princess St., York, PA – no picture in the folder.”

The Gibbons Studio, by the way, was one I had not heard mentioned in our earlier posts, so of course I was very curious at this point to see what else Arlene had found!

She continues, “Here are the names of other photographers that appear on some of my old pictures: M.J. Murnane, 227 W. Market St., “At the Bridge”, York, PA (and) Simon & Murnane, 227 W. Market St., “At the Bridge”, York, PA. I noticed that the line “At the Bridge” that appears in M.J. Murnane’s address at 227 W. Market St. also appears in the address for The Wilson Studio at 225-227 W. Market Street in a 1913 photo submitted by Elaine (Thoman) Miller.” (You can see those photos here.)

Arlene goes on to say that she has a picture from the same era as Elaine’s of a young man in a band uniform who was married to her father’s sister, and she continues with the following list of more studios: “Bosshart Studio, 57 S. Beaver St. My wedding pictures were taken there in 1944. Loring Studio was at 126 E. Market St., or thereabout, where I had my children’s pictures taken in 1947 through 1950s. Henry M. Blatner took my daugther’s wedding pictures in 1973. His studio was in the Brownstone House next to the Martin Memorial Library.”

She also adds, “My friend tells me there was a studio just east of Jack’s store in downtown York called Poist Studio. I don’t recall that one but she had her picture taken there. My niece has a very old picture that was probably taken very early 1900s, or even earlier, by W.P. Wampler, Excelsior Photo Co., York, Pa. – no address. The same niece also has an old picture of my aunt take at York Photo Gallery, Z. Kauffman, 22 W. Market St., York, pa. – no date. We had a family picture taken at Shadle Studio when I was about 19 years old (1943). It was a block or so south of Market Street, but I can’t remember on which street going south.”

And, Arlene says, “My favorite studio picture is of my grandfather and his parents and three sisters. My son has the large, framed picture and I asked him to remove the back and look for a studio name, but I regret there was none. My grandfather died in 1949.”

Finally, she concludes, “Sorry I can’t be more explicit about a few addresses. One thing I am absolutely sure of is that when I was in high school at William Penn in 1942 there was a studio on the second floor over McCrory’s 5&10. They displayed pictures in a case with a glass front on the wall as you started up the stairs to the studio. The studio probably was put out of business when McCrory’s store burned around mid-forties. That same building was where my grandfather had his picture taken as a young man and my father as a baby. It was the Buttorff studio at that time. That’s history.”

Arlene, thank you for bringing that full circle and sharing all of that with us! I am so thrilled to be able to preserve all these memories.

1 comment on “Even more memories of photo studios in York County

  1. Hi, I have an old west photo of Paunie Bill my father had who would have been 105 this year.
    The photo was taken at Pentza Swords professional photographers, York, pa.
    I have been trying to find out its worth. So I typed in the photographers name and found this.
    Interesting.

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