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Ask Joan: Recipes, Red Front and a veterans’ memorial

What’s inside

1. Sharing Bear’s sugar cake recipe
2. Red Front, The Swamp and name origins
3. Where did Elmwood veterans’ memorial go?


Some time ago, we had talked about the recipe for Bear’s sugar cookies or sugar cakes, from the former department store, which as originally requested by reader Don Knaub.

Since that time, I received a note from reader Dolores Sterner, who shared her recipe for this treat. Dolores is in her 80s, and the recipe she shared came from her mother-in-law. She said she moved away from York County more than 10 years ago “and now realize how much I miss York County foods.”

Bear’s Sugar Cakes
1 cup shortening (Crisco)
2 cups sugar (granulated)
3 eggs (beaten)
4 cups flour (all-purpose)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk; I always use milk plus 1 Tbsp. vinegar instead)
1 tsp. baking soda (dissolved in the milk)

Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add the three beaten eggs. Alternately add the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) then the wet ingredients (milk and baking soda) into the shortening-sugar-eggs mixture. Fold in (don’t stir). Do this in 2 or 3 stages. End with the wet ingredients.

Drop on greased cookie sheet and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each. They spread somewhat, so give room.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes; yields 3 1/2 dozen cakes.

I also received similar recipes from Michele Trout and Sally Fadely; the biggest difference in the one Sally shared is the addition of a teaspoon or more of vanilla, which I know our family would enjoy.


Way back in 2013, I wrote about a 1960 plane crash near the Innerst Farm outside Dallastown. More recently, I had a note from Bonnie Kenny-Strayer about that area.

Bonnie wrote, “Maybe you can help me and some of my other ‘ancient’ friends who have a question about the areas that you mention in this article about the plane crash that happened near Innerst Farm in May of 1960. We all grew up nearby. I would have been 4 years old at the time of the crash, and my oldest sister was 16 at the time and still talks about the crash to this day! Anyway, a bunch of us started ‘talking’ on Facebook about this the other day after I posted a ‘meme’ about swimming in the creek as a child!”

She continued, “My cousin then reminded me how our parents used to take us to ‘The Swamp’ to go swimming in the East Branch of the Codorus Creek when we were kids. Then another Facebook friend wondered where ‘The Swamp’ was located, and after I finished writing directions to her, she said, ‘Oh, that’s near the area they always called ‘Red Front!’ Well… one post led to another and to another, and now we all have the same questions we would like to have answered… Why do they call the area ‘Red Front?’ I remember my parents always calling it that, but I never knew why they called it that?! How did it get that name?”

Finally, she concluded, “Second question is about ‘The Swamp,’ how did the Swamp get that name when it is obviously not a swamp? Was it a swamp at one time in the distant past? We are all now around the ages of 60 to more than 70 years old, and have been familiar with these areas all of our lives… but we don’t know the origin of the names of these areas! Can you answer this riddle for us? You’ve got your work cut out for you now, Joan! Thanks so much for any information you can find out for us! We are just plain curious!”

Well, I had also heard of this area being known as “Rye,” and while I don’t have great answers, I know from fellow blogger Stephen H. Smith that “The Swamp” is at the general area where five roads converge, two with swamp in their names: Hess Farm Road, Dunkard Valley Road, Arbor Drive, Swamp Hollow Lane and Swamp Road.

So why the roads are named that, I can’t say, but it does point us in the direction of an answer, I think. I do not have any info on Red Front, but I’m hoping our readers will! If you have any suggestions on the origin of these names, please do let me know!


To conclude today, I have a question from Carl Knoch of New Freedom, who wrote, “When I was growing up in Elmwood in the 1950s and early 1960s there was a veterans’ memorial at the intersection of East Market Street and Elmwood Boulevard. I believe it contained the names of the Elmwood neighborhood residents killed during World War II. It hasn’t been there for many years. Can you find out what happened to it?”

Jim McClure had actually fielded a very similar question on his York Town Square blog in 2013, but no one so far has been able to turn up what was known as the “Roll of Honor” in Elmwood. So I’ll put it out there again – any ideas? I’d love to know what became of it!

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.