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Ask Joan: Farquhar Park, Gingerich’s Menswear and more

Mary Baum shared this clipping of a Sunday News item from 1981, showing a 1905 or 1906 photo taken in Farquhar Park. The man at left in the photo is Henry Kuhlman, longtime gardener of the park and the father of someone very important to Mary's family.
Mary Baum shared this clipping of a Sunday News item from 1981, showing a 1905 or 1906 photo taken in Farquhar Park. The man at left in the photo is Henry Kuhlman, longtime gardener of the park and the father of someone very important to Mary’s family.

This week, I’m dipping into some older emails to try to share memories and get answers to some lingering questions (in some cases, they’re more than a year old). Maybe my goal should be to answer all questions before they’re 5 or 6 years old and old enough to read the column on their own?

In all seriousness, it’s a good time to remind everyone that I do try to answer all questions eventually. I don’t, however, go strictly oldest-first. I do try to prioritize topics that either I have more information to provide, or more importantly, more reader questions about, but I like to mix it up and make sure we are addressing as many different topics as possible, too.

And I’m so grateful to everyone for writing with questions and memories. Having more than I can keep up with is a very good problem to have!

Joan Q&A

What’s inside

1. Clipping brings back Farquhar memories
2. When did Gingerich’s Menswear close?
3. Sharing memories from years in York

1. Clipping brings back Farquhar memories

I received an email more than a year ago from Mary Baum, who shared the clipping whose image you see with today’s column and wrote, “I came across this old newspaper article while helping my granddaughter with a family tree project. Here is a little background information. My paternal grandparents lived on Garfield Street and when I was a child I spent time in Farquhar Park. In those days there were violets everywhere and also a few fish ponds with large goldfish in them.”

She continued, “My mother also grew up on Garfield Street and sadly, the day after she graduated from high school, her mother died after bearing her fifth child. That left my mother to care for her baby brother. She always told me that she owed her sanity to Bertha Kuhlman, a friend of my grandmother’s who lived down the street. Whenever she was at a loss as to how to care for the baby she would get Bertha. The man pictured on the left with the gardening shears was Bertha’s father.”

Mary, I’m so glad you shared this with me. I’m very interested in seeing more memories of Farquhar Park, too, so if you have any, please do share!

2. When did Gingerich’s Menswear close?

When did the Gingrich’s Men’s Clothing Store close on North George Street in North York? I bought a jacket there during the close-out sale and still wear it.
– Dick Sweitzer

From a full-page ad in Daily Record predecessor The Gazette and Daily in 1959, I found the exact address and spelling as “Gingerich’s Men’s and Boys’, 1003 N. George St.” This is now the home of the Elite Staffing Services agency, but I do not know the year Gingerich’s went out of business.

I did find a woman who, on a 2011 blog post about the York Fair, identified herself as the granddaughter of Gingerich’s owner, and I’ve tried emailing her to see if she might have more details; if I hear anything, I’ll certainly keep everyone posted in a future column!

3. Sharing memories from years in York

I recently purchased a few “moo cow creamers” at a nearby antique mall and a thrift store. I remember these from the early 1970s when I attended Indiana University of PA (IUP). I am a native Yorker and in driving to Indiana we often stopped at a little restaurant that displayed and sold those cute little creamers. We always thought about purchasing one – but never followed through. So these recent acquisitions really hold some good memories for me. (What was the location of that restaurant – not far from Indiana? I don’t remember.)

I happened upon your postings and blog in looking online for info about the Whirley Company and Warren, PA – from labels on underside of the creamers. I grew up in York, PA – from the mid-1950s to more recently. My parents are deceased, and the home where I grew up in East York has been sold within the past (few) years. I don’t know if I’ll ever be back.

Well, just to conclude my comments… I remember the pair of soldiers advertising Masury Paint. And at Christmas time, seasonal music was played from the old dye factory – a really eerie and weirdly pitched sound that caused our dog to start howling. Do you remember that? And then, of course, the Shoe House. I went to high school at York Suburban. I now live in Decatur, Ga. – just east of Atlanta. And, of course, the broasted chicken at Avalong’s – and the miniature golf course alongside.
– Alan Sugar

Alan, I loved hearing all your memories, and I certainly do hope your travels will bring you back to York occasionally! I had fun googling Whirley Moo Cow Creamers to see exactly what you’re describing, and while I don’t remember ever writing about those in the past, I certainly know plenty about the steam-whistle Christmas concerts, though those were actually held at New York Wire Cloth Company since the 1920s!

The Shoe House and broasted chicken remain popular topics for this column as well, and I was glad to add your memories to the collection!

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.