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More memories of stores in downtown York

Moving into 2011, I’m going to try to be consistent with at least one “Do you remember…” post a week, every Saturday. But your memories are a lot faster than my posting!

So, for at least a little while, in addition to Saturdays, I’m going to fill in here and there with more memories.

Please keep them coming! I love hearing from everyone and sharing your stories!

Today’s post comes from some memories shared back over the summer, when we talked about some of the downtown businesses.

This postcard submitted to the archives of the York Daily Record/Sunday News shows Bear’s Department Store in downtown York in the 1960s-70s.

John Loeper writes, “As someone who was born and raised in York, I have vivid memories of the Bon-Ton Tea room (worked there as a bus boy while in high school from Sept 62 to June 63) and Bear’s shoe department. My mother took me there all through my childhood for shoes. she would never think of shopping anyplace else. They used to have this machine that kids would stand on and stick there feet into these slots and it would show an x-ray of there feet. I wonder how safe that might have been. Also, anybody remember Kay Jewelers in downtown York? Was originally located on S. George Street and then moved to 33 West Market Street. My father managed both of those stores for years. They didn’t just sell jewelry but also radios, record players, dishes etc. It was a booming business for quite a while.”

Suz also remembers her family’s work downtown – and the x-rays! She says, “My father worked for many years at that People’s Drug on the square. And we lived in West York, so I walked by the Robert Hall store twice a day on my way to and from school. Remember their jingle, ‘We’re doing our Christmas shopping at Robert Hall this year?’ My grandmother worked at the West Side Hospital. Does anyone remember Green’s and Beck’s Dairies? Yuengling Ice Cream Plant? York Fruit and Oyster, which always struck me as such an odd combination? And I remember the Bon-Ton Tea Room and the X-ray machine at Bear’s – also their cafeteria. What great memories!”

Jo was funny, regarding Bear’s. She writes, “I sold hankies at Bear’s one Christmas season,” when she was in high school. “When is the last time anyone’s seen a hanky?,” she asks.

This postcard submitted to the archives of the York Daily Record/Sunday News shows The Bon-Ton in downtown York in the early 1900s.

Commenter Bill Landes writes, “Jack’s was the upscale ladies store catacornered from the Bon-Ton. Wiest’s was a clothing store in the first block of West Market St. For shoes it was Wolfgang’s in North York.”

Meanwhile, Cindy Wilson had a different shoe experience. She writes, “I remember going to Thom Mcann for school shoes. I also loved going to McCrory’s; they had the basement where the sale items were. I also remember Robert Hall’s on West Market St. I also remember a store, there were 2 of them, one was at N. Pine St & Boundary Ave., and the other was on W. Market St., where the Giant is now. The one on Market St. had long wooden floors that creaked. There stairs to get inside were long also, or maybe it was because I was little!”

My brother-in-law Mike knows what those were! He says, “I think the store in West York and the one at Pine and Boundary Avenue were Franklin Discount Stores. We always stopped in the one near Hannah Penn after school for sodas. My step-mother had a heart attack while driving and drove into the Robert Hall store sometime in the 80’s.” (I had NOT ever heard that story, by the way! I’m counting on Mike to fill me in during Christmas dinner!)

Keep your downtown memories coming! In addition to regular posts, I’m still updating the big York County, Pa., stores and restaurants of the past directory!

4 comments on “More memories of stores in downtown York

  1. Bear’s cafeteria…..My mom and dad would take me there on Saturday mornings for breakfast before the market and other shopping errands….the real treat was the molasses cookies from Bear’s, they were made there, they were huge and tasty….a true favorite of mine, with milk or ice cream. Shopping in downtown York in that era was a scene out of a movie, the hustle and bustle, 3 department stores, the 5 and dimes stores and all the other shops, Jack’s women’s, the shoe stores. The comfort station’s in the square….Then came Sear’s, with their hot dog’s….The York Mall and other suburban shopping…and then the 1968 riot’s…..people were afraid too go downtown and did not have too with shopping centers, that era came too a sad end….a lost innocents.

  2. I remember York Fruit and oyster. And remember baskets of fruit in the front as you opened the door. It was a bus stop for St Rose of Lima on Richland. And mcrorys. Downtown with there restaurant also at aYork mall and west Manchester mall my mom worked at Jack’s York mall, and west Manchester mall in purple entrance up past the arcade make a right. Second store on the right. But not the one down town first block left side. Before Porky’s that was a grocerett. That sold some made food. I remember YATA York Area Transit Authority transfer point being on king street then market then they built the transfer center. And the store on the corner was a thrift store run by the Junior league. And maple donuts first off the square on the right hand side then McroryS and the distribution center on the other side of York mall about where Home Depot is. I miss Jays grocery store and Lunch counter. There cakes were a miracle. And what about Moser’s restaurant on King street. And my family would eat at the dinner part. And the lovely dinning room. And having video cards at both phar more’s. And all the blockbusters and Hollywood video stores and Triangle where my real dad bout stuff is a duck sporting goods or was pre covid And Archies upscale dining was where the back of Weis in East York is and Hills department store in east York was that entire strip mall is. And Gino’s was next up on the hill then The Lincoln Woods inn was next. And York mall oh such memories!!!!

  3. My mother Louise Lever Anderton started working at Bears Department Store when she was in her teens till her mid 30s with time out for maternity leave. She married Walter E. Anderton who started with the Gazette & Daily. They married in 1942.
    My mother’s family is from the Gehley family who owned and operated Gehley’s carpet house for decades.
    I believe there are current operating owners of the carpet house in York.
    I remember very fondly Newswangers shoe store in the quadrant that formed the four corners in the heart of the downtown. We left York in 1956 and settled in Miami Florida.
    Any photos of the businesses mentioned would be appreciated that we’re in operation prior to 1956.
    Thank you.
    Sue Anderton Borton

  4. I remember my mon and I shopping and stopping at Ramona’s for a sundae or icecream float or milkshake. They had delicious peanut butter ice cream. This was in the late 50 s and early 60 s.

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