Only in York County

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Memories of West York continue

Fellow Yorkblogger Stephen H. Smith had this image of the Lafean residence at West Market Street and Richland Avenue in his postcard collection. An Only in York County reader, Tom Keasey, remembers when that residence became the site of local businesses.

Around this time last year, I shared memories of the West York area from several readers, including Jim Knaub and Sis James.

After that time, longtime reader and commenter Tom Keasey of York Township wrote that Jim and Sis’ comments “rekindled memories and enlightened me about many of the businesses in West York during the late 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.” Tom also had more memories to share, and those are what I’d like to talk about today!

Tom wrote, “Starting at the intersection of Market Street and Richland Avenue, going west, there was an Amoco service station on the northwest corner. I think Amoco was an acronym for the American Oil Co. Amoco advertised their gas as being ‘lead-free.’ The service station and a successor must have been built on the site of the Lafean mansion. In addition to the service stations previously mentioned, there was also a Flying-A station owned by Addison Metzel. His family lived across the street from us in the city and I went to school with his youngest daughter. Mr. Metzel often recalled his friendship with Vic Wertz, whose parents lived close by his station. The Flying-A and one of the Esso stations sat back-to-back to each other across from the fairgrounds. Going further west, there was Mose’s Gulf Service, a Texaco station and Trone’s Sunoco. Unlike today, most of these stations really provided full-service; i.e. selling gas and oil; performing lube, oil and filter changes and doing repairs.”

Moving up the road, Tom noted, “Next to the Amoco station there was a Food Fair supermarket, which now serves as the home of Print-O-Stat; the business moved from the Acme supermarket mentioned in the previous article. Continuing west on the north side of the street, going past the businesses previously mentioned, you passed an entrance to the York Fairgrounds, and nothing more needs to be said on this.”

Then, he added, “Next to the fairgrounds sat the West Side Osteopathic Hospital, formerly known as the West Side Sanitarium, founded by Dr. Edmund Meisenehelter, who practiced in York. Built in 1920, the West Side went on to become Memorial Osteopathic Hospital now located in Spring Garden Township… the old West Side facility became the location of Thompson’s Business School” for a time, Tom noted. He also noted that when the new Memorial Hospital is completed in West Manchester Township, on the site of the former Hawk Lake golf course, it will be a case of the hospital “returning to its roots in the West York area.”

Tom continued, “As for the businesses of Black’s Hosiery and Franklin Discount, I remember my mother worked at the hosiery and we shopped at the discount store. You might say it was an early version of today’s Ollie’s Bargain Outlets.”

Back to service stations, Tom added, “Further west, where the Reliance Fire Company now sits, was Chris Schmidt’s Atlantic Station. Later on in the 1960s, this site became the home of one of the LeGore’s drive-ins. The building of the drive-up eatery was painted red with white stripes. They specialized in burgers, fries and shakes. Then there was Brown’s Meat Market on the corner of Market Street and Highland Avenue. Later on the market would become York Fruit & Oyster, and still later York Fish & Oyster. On the northwest corner of the same intersection sat the Industrial National Bank. Over the years, the bank has undergone many name changes, with the latest being a branch of M&T Bank.”

He continued, “As for the dentist, Gibson Stine, DDS, my visits were rarely pleasant. At the time, I  am not sure if the field of pediatric dentistry had come to the area. Years would pass before I started seeing Kenneth Krout, DDS, whose office just happened to be located in the 1400 block next to the West York Inn.”

Tom added, “West York Hardware sat on the northwest corner of Market & Adams streets. These neighborhood hardware stores carried the basics. Super-stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot, which cater to today’s DIY crowd, wouldn’t come to York for some time. The same could be said for the appliance business started by Chet Heidlebaugh; he and his staff offered sales and service of many brands of appliances and TVs with a local touch.”

“At the end of the 1700 block on the northeast corner housed the dealership for the DeSoto, one of the brands produced under the larger umbrella of the Chrysler Corp. Oddly enough Weist Motors (Chrysler-Plymouth) was only one block away. Even further to the west was Skelly’s Toys. I think they specialized in trains, train accessories and bicycles. At the corner of the East Berlin Road was Bud Eppley’s used car lot. Could this be the same business that was later owned by Bill Boring? I remember there was another used car lot less than a half a block away, just to the east of the East Berlin Road. Could this have been the location of Bud Eppley’s business?” Tom asked.

He concluded, “I never attended school in the West York district, but my brother attended William Shelly Elementary for a short period of time before we moved into the city. The only story I was ever told was that on his first day in first grade he was pushed off the top of a sliding board and he broke his arm. It just happened to be the same day that our family got our first TV. So that day he didn’t get to watch Howdy-Doody. I hope these few words coupled with the original article bring remembrances to long-time residents of West York Borough.”

Tom, they certainly were fun for me! I drive through this area more than once a week and now I am imagining these former businesses superimposed on the present ones as I travel through.

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.