Only in York County

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Ask Joan: New questions and short follow-ups edition

As you’re reading this post (which I wrote in advance), I’m somewhere in the Midwest, driving with my boyfriend and 15-year-old daughter toward Phoenix, Arizona, as part of a two-week vacation. I miss York, but I bet I’m having fun!

What’s inside

1. Info sought on Stewartstown Hotel
2. Remembering marshmallow peeps and bunnies
3. Camp Betty Washington Road’s name
4. Something close to a Cho-Cho
5. Budd Company in Red Lion

1. Does anyone have information on the Stewartstown Hotel?
– Thomas Busch, Lewisberry

I find reference that the Stewartstown Hotel stood on the site of what is presently Memorial Park in Stewartstown, and to my understanding it closed possibly as early as the mid-1920s, but that could be incorrect and I’d love to know more. Any info for Thomas?

2. I would like to know if your readers remember the marshmallow peeps and bunnies that were made in the ’40s and ’50s. When I was a kid, we got these in our Easter baskets. They only came in yellow for the peeps and white or pink for the bunnies. I don’t know if it was the “Peeps” brand name or another candymaker. They stood up on a small, flat base. They had a denser texture. I hadn’t seen them for about 40 years, until my friend had some in a jar some time ago. I know the 5 and 10 cent stores sold them and Fitzkee’s Candy. I would love to see them again. I am 73 years old so it was quite a long time ago.
– Barbara Roth, Windsor

I was able to find some more information about these original Easter treats on a website called Joe Pastry. You can read more here, but a short excerpt that details some of the history:

“Originally Peeps were made by the Rodda Candy Company, a family-owned confectionary operation out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Though their main expertise was in jelly beans, the Rodda Company also dabbled in marshmallow, making marshmallow eggs and chicks in the springtime. … In 1953 the Just Born company of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, acquired the Rodda Candy Company. The owner, a Russian immigrant by the name of Sam Born, was intrigued by the little chicks and shortly developed a mechanized extrusion process that would allow him to produce them faster and in greater quantity.”

If you are able to check out the Joe Pastry website, there is also a great photo of some of these confections made by someone who’s using original Rodda molds, so the chicks actually stand up as Barbara mentions!

I am glad to hear about these; I have a real soft spot for candy since my parents used to run a candy stand at the Market & Penn farmers’ market and love talking sweets!

3. My son and I, going on Camp Betty Washington Road, were wondering how and when it got its name, so I decided to write you to see if you can find out.
– Bill Eyster, a lifetime York County resident

Bill, this topic is incredibly near and dear to the heart of one of my good friends, Jennell Moser, who studied it detail as part of her history degree at York College. Some of her notes are available in this 2012 blog post, and more memories are available in this one from 2013. But, in short, Camp Betty Washington itself was created in 1928 as a girls’ camp and holiday house for the Girls Friendly Society of the Diocese of Harrisburg, and the road (which was already in existence, though under a name I’m not certain of) took the name at some time after that.

Betty Washington herself was a younger sister to George Washington. Betty was an ancestor of Mrs. Lucy Neville (Mitchell) Smith, who had backed the creation of the Girls Friendly Society camp, and therein came the connection to naming the camp!

Thanks for bringing up this fun topic, Bill!

4. In a quick follow-up to a question earlier this year about Cho-Cho Bars, a malted ice cream treat, I received a note from Joann Kibler of Wrightsville, who notes that the Schwan’s home-delivery grocery service sells a chocolate malt push-up treat that is very similar to the Cho-Cho Bar and, as she notes, “delicious!”

5. Maybe someone can remember a period back in the later 1940s and into the ’50s when there was an operation of the Budd corporation out of Philadelphia in the Red Lion area? They were and I think still are manufacturing railroading stock, primarily passenger bars and bus bodies. A heavy steel construction rather than the wooden bodies that were so common earlier. Would appreciate your success in this undertaking!
– Karl H. Zimmermann

I did find that the Budd Company was a metal fabricator founded in Philly in 1912, and did make metal railroad car bodies as Karl noted. Since 1999 the brand has been part of German company ThyssenKrupp.

I don’t, however, know much about any presence in Red Lion. If anyone has details to share on that, I’d be very interested! (Also, I’ll note that you can see some Budd-built train cars at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, where I’ve been many times, so I’m sure I’ve seen one and not realized it!)

Have questions or memories to share? Ask (or Tell) Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer or share them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

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