Only in York County

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More memories of Playland, Mount Rose area and more

Cindy Roach of Dover shared this postcard from her collection, depicting the former Playland motel, pool and roller rink complex in Springettsbury Township.

It’s been close to a year since we last talked about Playland, the former motel/pool/roller rink complex in Springettsbury Township.

Looking back through some of my oldest emailed letters today, I realized we were due to revisit this former York County landmark, and in addition to Playland memories, I also have a great and more recent letter from a reader who recalls a number of other popular topics as well.

I hope you’ll enjoy!

Longtime reader and commenter Arthur Levine, who is now retired and living in Stewartstown, noted about Playland, “When I came home from overseas in the army in February 1970, my father-in-law was the manager of the motel. I stayed here a week, then my wife and I moved back to New York… now living here in Pennsylvania 25 years and loving every minute of it. Thanks for the memories.” Arthur, who ran a vending machine business around York County for many years, is a huge wealth of knowledge on many of the area’s former businesses, and a really interesting person to boot. (You can read more about him in a 2016 Gordon Freireich column at

Another longtime commenter and noted Yorker is William Hoffmeyer. He wrote, “I lived in East York on Manheim Street and also lived at the skating rink and the pool. I owned my own skates and for a number of years spent most of my Saturdays skating. It was a beautiful rink and great exercise.”

And from Jane Henise Snelbaker, I heard, “I grew up on the first block of Yorkshire behind Playland. So did my best friend Kim Bupp Smith. We would get memberships to swim at Playland Pool each summer (around 1969 to 1972 timeline). I graduated in 1973 from York Suburban and Kim in 1976. We would arrive as soon as it opened in the morning and stay till we were made to go home for supper. We would eat junk all day out of the vending machines and even walk to Hardee’s a few doors down the street for lunch. Loved every day there! Also we would dive down and look into the bar window regularly mooning the customers. They had the best giant slide and high dives that we also enjoyed!”

And, she added, “Also next door at the skating rink, I remember Kim fell and broke her arm. We walked there on rainy summer days! Both my mother and father worked every day and Kim’s also so we were on our own all summer and the Yorkshire area was a great place to grow up! By the way Kim and I are still best friends and get together regularly. Thanks for allowing me to share such great memories!”

Jane, thank YOU for sharing them with us! I am still best friends with my eighth-grade best friend from Dover Intermediate School, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

Finally for today, I have a great letter from former Yorker Laurel (Frisch) Freund. She had memories of Playland to share, but she also has a bunch of other great recollections that I wanted to make sure you got to see as well. She wrote to me over the summer after discovering Only in York County online by accident.

“I can envision an obsession developing!” she wrote. “My father was employed by General Electric in York from 1955 through 1958 when his division was taken over by York Air Conditioning, so our stint there was not very long. However, those were significant years for me, personally – early adolescence, first date, steady boyfriend, development of social skills, serious education, to name a few – and over the years I have found myself thinking back on a really remarkable number of memories from that time, all quite happy. Of the several cities where we lived, all brought about by my father’s transfers with GE, York stands out as playing a very important part in my formative years. In 1958 in the middle of my junior year at William Penn High, my family moved to New England, so I ended up graduating in 1959 with a group that I hardly knew. But I remember so many names and faces from my years at Bill Penn as well as Mount Rose Junior High, where it began.”

She continued, “Speaking of Mount Rose, several years ago I was working for a pharmaceutical company in the shareholder relations area and one day a phone call came to me from a shareholder in York. We didn’t get to his shareholder question until after we had a very nice chat about our common ground. I told him where I had lived and since he knew the area well he asked me if I had attended Mount Rose and when I said that I had, he asked me if I recalled a teacher named Richard Hassler. Did I!! He was my eighth-grade homeroom teacher, taught me American History, and coached the boys’ basketball team for which I was a cheerleader! I shared with the caller that my father used to attend the games not to see the team nor to watch his daughter cheer, but he loved to watch Mr. Hassler turn various shades of red and purple as he energetically coached the boys!”

And, Laurel added, “About four years ago one of my sons and I took a day trip to York and I visited some of my old haunts. The Rathton Road house looks great and the sapling my father planted in the front yard is a formidable shade tree now. And, since I always walked to school, the route to Mount Rose should have been imprinted in my brain, but despite many twists and turns, we could not find the school and have concluded that it was taken down at some point. The area now contains new housing developments and a college campus, so I was really quite disoriented in the end.” She also mentioned having read about some problems at William Penn High School this year, which she said was disheartening. “When I was there, the school population blended appropriately and compatibly in the halls, classrooms, cafeteria, gymnasium, the park across the street where we all gathered after lunch, and then again when we bumped into each other at the YMCA for the Saturday dance nights. All of this existed with a predominating sense of civility and courtesy toward one another,” she recalled.

“A few weeks ago, my sister, Marj, and I were talking and out of the blue she asked me where it was that we used to go swimming in York. Funny thing about really hot summer days, Zimmy’s came to my mind immediately and then came the reminder of Playland, whether for swimming or roller-skating. Marj is four years younger than I, but there were some very important growing-up years tucked in there for her as well. We fondly recall going into town on Saturdays with our mother and as we wandered from The Bon-Ton to Bear’s we always became aware of the aroma of apple pies overflowing onto the oven bottom as lunch was being prepared in one of their cafes. To think fondly of burned apple pie juices may sound a bit odd, but it signaled a positive event for us and we never found it to be anything but time for lunch.”

And, she concluded, “During the years that I lived in York I was busy with the things that adolescence entails, so I didn’t always pay attention to my surroundings enough to make lasting impressions. But, as I pondered several of your submissions, my memory was jarred enough to recall some things that felt good recalling and that was just plain fun.”

Laurel, that’s awesome! I’m glad you and Marj got to reminisce together and I hope you will both share more of your memories and enjoy those shared by other readers as well.

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.