Solving a mystery about Melvin’s in the East York area, as well as a pizza shop
Way back in March, I shared a letter from reader Bridget who talked about Melvin’s out on East Market Street.
That sparked some debate and, at first, some MAJOR questions on my part! Bridget wrote that she remembered Melvin’s being in the Village Green Shopping Center in the 1960s.
Keith Stouch brought up something that some other readers recalled, too. He writes, “I think Melvin’s was actually on the South side of East Market Street about where the I83 bridge is now, and I believe there was a Weis Market across Market Street from them before I83 went through.” (I had another letter saying about the same from Roger Stabley.)
And that matched up with what reader Joann Waltersdorff of West Melbourne, Fla., had to say. She says, “My grandparents and our family ate there every Saturday evening in the 1940’s and 1950’s and until Route 83 was built. Melvin’s was located where the route 83 overpass and the exit ramp on East Market Street is now. They tore down the drive-in to construct the new expressway.”
So what’s the deal, I’m thinking at this point. Where was this place?
Well, then came Mykl Lau, who you might remember from downtown walking tour fame, who said he did remember Melvin’s as well, but not in the Village Green center. He writes, “That’s not where I went to Melvin’s. What I remember is that Melvin’s was located on the South side of East Market St. (Route 30 in those days) right where Route 83 crosses over. I remember they had really good Ham BBQ sandwiches and we ate at tables in a covered area at the rear of the establishment. When we were done eating, our parents gave us the money to go around the front of Melvin’s (Market St. side) where we would get our Frosty Malts. These were the same that Wendy’s serves now.”
Mykl continues, “Behind Melvin’s there was a creek that ran down from the United Dye Works (Mt. Rose Ave.). On the other side of the creek there was a minature golf course and then the Elmwood Theater which is now York Little Theater. Side note: one day we were playing around that creek, closer to United Dye Works, when I slipped and my foot went into the water. When I pulled my foot out, my sneaker and sock were purple. You don’t think the Dye Works was dumping their dyes into that creek, do you? LOL.”
HA – Mykl, thanks for that story. I can’t believe your memory!
Well, anyway, after being thoroughly confused on the location, Keith wrote back with more info, and tied some pieces together for me. He says, “On Melvin’s, Bridget is correct that it was along Haines Road about where Walgreen’s and Wells Fargo is now. They moved there AFTER the old bldg was demolished. Sorry, I should have read it more closely the first time.”
In the same March post, by the way, we also talked about a pizza restaurant on Pine Street that my brother-in-law Mike remembered. He and some friends thought that the name was Pantano’s, but what we found out later is that it was actually the original location of Spataro’s, which is now on Roosevelt Avenue. A caller, Dottie, pointed that out, as did another caller, George O’Neill. (And you might remember me blogging about my first Spataro’s trip in 2009!)
George said the original Spataro’s location was at Pine and Philadelphia; when he was a kid, they had a junior high coed dance at the Y, and then they went and got “Near Beer” at Spataro’s. “That was a big thing, Near Beer,” he said. The place on Roosevelt is owned by the same family, he said. “That was a neat place. There’s a lot of neat places around York.”
George, I couldn’t agree more, and I’m glad we solved a SECOND “memory mystery.” I love it. I feel like we’re Wikipedia, but for York’s businesses of the past!