Jacks clothing store was on the bottom floor of The National House building at Beaver and Market streets in York, where the Holy Hound is now. This pen-and-ink drawing was made by Jane Black, a former Jacks employee.
Even more memories of Jacks department store
Back in May, I had a column that featured many memories of the former Jacks department store.
The store was originally located at Beaver and Market streets, where the National House and Holy Hound are today. It was started by Jack Silverman, then later owned by Nathaniel and Josephine Newman (Josephine possibly being Jack Silverman’s granddaughter).
There were several other locations as well – the York Mall, West Manchester Mall and Park City Mall mentioned among them by readers. You’ll also notice that I always refer to Jacks with no apostrophe. That’s because the store signs themselves did not use one, and the Daily Record/Sunday News style is to follow the ways businesses describe themselves as closely as possible, so you’ll see us apostrophe-free throughout.
Since that column, I’ve received yet more memories about Jacks, and I’d like to share those today. First today is a letter from Donna Skaggs, who remembered that the son of Mr. Newman the owner graduated in 1963 from William Penn High School.
Donna recalled, “Many years ago, approximately 1950, my mother, Nedra Kuhns, and I (age 4) were at the store. One of the sales clerks was ‘babysitting’ me while mother tried on clothes. I managed to slip away long enough to get my left thumb caught in their front door. It was barely hanging on by a thread and bleeding a lot. Mr. Newman accompanied us in the ambulance to York Hospital. (Mom was still in a very expensive suit with my blood all over it!) The intern told her that the thumb couldn’t be saved and Mom was hysterical as I had recently started piano lessons. Mr. Newman directed the intern to get the best doctor on the staff and as a result, Dr. Taft (heart surgeon) sewed it back on and hoped there would be feeling in it. I still have that scar, and was able to continue piano lessons. I’m guessing there was a concern about a lawsuit, but Mr. Newman never charged Mom for the suit and took care of all medical bills.”
She continued, “About 20 years later, my husband (at that time) had purchased an expensive gift for his mother, and during divorce proceedings, I was not able to pay that bill. I visited Mr. Newman and after discussing my thumb accident, he considered that bill ‘paid in full’ and I shopped there for many years!”
Donna, I’m sorry about your thumb (and the Jacks bill from your former husband), but glad things worked out so well for you in the end!
I also heard from Gloria Aughenbaugh, who recalled Jack Silverman starting the store. She noted that he died in 1938, and that his son, Jack Jr., graduated from William Penn in 1945 and served in the Army before dying in Florida in 1989. “It was my favorite store,” Gloria recalled.
Another interesting note came from Tom Donley, who headed the York County Chamber of Commerce for many years. Tom and his wife, Cindy, wrote of the Newmans, “Nat and Josephine lived at 58 E. Springettsbury Ave. for many years. They raised four boys there, who were contemporaries of Bill Althaus, and Bill has often spoken about playing and hanging out there.”
He continued, “We purchased that home in 1993 from the couple that purchased it from the Newmans, and we lived there for 15 years until our kids were grown… a great old house built in the early 1920s.”
Tom recalled, “Nat was a very active business and community leader and was the volunteer head (title was president at the time) of the York Area Chamber of Commerce (predecessor to York County Chamber and then York County Economic Alliance).”
Reader Dorothy Cox Wynn wrote of Jacks, “I became an employee in the early ’60s when the downtown store gained the additional space next door of the previous tenant, Beck’s Shoe Store. The store was operated by Nat Newman. His floor manager was I. Herman, who was a great asset and much loved by all the associates. Occasionally on the floor and said to have her own office was a woman of advanced years named Miss Silverman. During that time frame, Jack Silverman’s name was only mentioned as the manager of a clothing store, not named Jacks, in Hanover. He did not have a presence in the York store. I’m assuming use of the name Jacks and the Silverman connection was because it was the maiden name of Mrs. Newman’s mother.”
Judi Butler wrote and recalled, “My friend Fran Sansone says she was a frequent customer at Jacks.” Judi wrote that Fran remembered Nat Newman as the main buyer and owner, and that she remembered two clerks, Thelma Lehr and Libby, who would always remember her exact sizes.
Perhaps the most interesting note I received was from Jane Black of Spring Grove. I was excited to find out that Jane is the creator of the pen-and-ink drawing of Jacks you see with today’s column, which was also published back in May. (We had it in the YDR archives via the York County History Center, but did not have the artist’s name – Jane, I am glad you reached out so we know it was you!)
Jane wrote of Jacks, “I worked there as a display person in the ’70s. There was a lot more to Jacks than the first floor. My boss and I had the entire fourth floor for display props. We were always in competition with Bon-Ton and Bear’s. As a matter of fact, the ‘Display Man of the Year’ was elected from Bear’s, Dick Lippard. He later became a salesman for D.G. Williams Manequins in New York City.” Jane mentioned that she has photos of the window displays at Jacks too; Jane, I hope you’ll share some of those with us!Have questions or memories to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.