Memories of shopping at Crider’s, Stillman’s, Reineberg’s, Hochberger’s and more
As I continue rounding up some memories from York County’s past, today, I’d like to share a bunch from some former York County stores.
I hope you’ll enjoy this shopping bag full of them!
(Previous Crider’s post: Do you remember Crider’s in downtown York?)
Betsy Baird writes, “I, too remember Crider’s. And I remember the toy department where I bought toys as a child and as a younger woman. I loved that department and should have kept some of the unusual things I got there. The store did have stationery, cards and books, and usual items of a store of its type. A massive fire in 1967 destroyed the building and two adjacent buildings, between the York Bank and the Municipal Garage.”
Audrey Lerew says, “Crider’s was definitely a variety store. In the front of the store was the card shop you mention. Both walls and the aisle in the middle had cards. Then you went up one or two steps and there was stationery kind of material and they also sold toys. Incredible little store. There used to be a small car lot on the right side of the store and also the Moose Club used to be there before they relocated to East York.”
From Scott Buchart, I heard, “Crider’s was at 31 E. Market Street. In the early 1950s, when I got my allowance, I walked from Elmwood to downtown York to the toy stores. Spending a nickel to ride the bus was a nickel I couldn’t spend on toys. Crider’s had the best toys and the department was on the second floor. McCrory’s was next best with a big department in the basement. Woolworth’s was a distant third. When Matchbox first produced toy vehicles, Crider’s had them. I bought the first thirteen issued and I still have them.”
Scott continued, “Crider’s had a candy, card, gift and sundry department on the first floor. Sometime in the early or mid 1970s Crider’s had a fire. Bob Chambers who owned the store asked me to remove the candy because is was unsaleable after the fire. It was a very fine brand but I don’t remember the name. I took the candy home; two pickup truck loads. There was nothing wrong with it. I spread it out on my living and dining room floors and invited anyone I knew to come help themselves. No one complained to me about dying from eating it. … Crider’s was demolished to make room for the Market Street Garage.”
I also heard from Michele Fogle, who commented, “My family would go downtown every other Friday night. We’d eat at the Ramona Restaurant and shop. My favorite place was Crider’s. The store sold cards, small gifts, toys and candy by the piece/lb. (May have been Fitzkee’s?) I would always head to the left hand corner of the store. They had expensive dolls on display in glass cases. I was more interested in the Barbie Doll section. I got a new doll outfit each time. We’d also go across the street to the gift shop located in the Market/Duke St corner of the Yorktowne Hotel.”
Carol Woodbury recalls, “Crider’s was my favorite place as a child. I remember it as being ONLY a toy store – could the other things people are mentioning have been child-related, not general store items? I seem to recall Crayola Crayons and other things, but the best part was the top floor. If I got through dinner without putting my elbows on the table, helped clear and did other specific things, I got a point for each. When I had enough points, we went to the top floor of Crider’s and I picked out a piece of a wooden train set with interlocking tracks. My grandkids and I still love to set it up at Christmastime.”
And Mary Linkous writes, “In the early ’60s our parents would drive a group of us elementary-age girls from southern York County up to the YWCA for swimming lessons. After our time in the pool we could bowl duckpins or play games in the gym. However, we would often skip out on those options and head for Crider’s. The main attraction was the collection of Barbie clothes available in the back of the store. These included the color-coordinated outfits from Barbie’s early days – all with matching high heels of course!”
Finally, I heard from Sharon Orendorff Carroll, who happened to be visiting York when the original column about Crider’s ran in print last summer. She wrote, “I grew up in York and still visit frequently. Part of my childhood memories in the late ’50s include Saturday shopping trips with my mother and 2 older sisters. The Bon-Ton, Bears, Jacks, Wiest, Sitler’s (Easter bonnets). I disliked these shopping trips VERY much. Except for the times we would go to Crider’s!!! My favorite store. I remember it as an ‘up-scale’ gift shop, with Steiff stuffed animals and wonderful things to attract my attention. Every year at Christmas I am reminded of this when I lovingly unpackage my Nativity set for under the tree. Until 2 years ago, it was still in the original box from Crider’s. The treat of going to Crider’s helped me get through an otherwise awful shopping excursion.”
Jim Fahringer remembered another store nearby. He recalls, “I don’t remember a whole lot about Crider’s, however, I do remember Stillman’s Department Store which was next door to Crider’s. I believe Stillman’s was a larger store than Crider’s. I would often shop with my mom and grandmother in that store. I remember trying on shoes in their shoe department. My mother bought a lot of things there and had a charge there – no credit card. You had to go in monthly and pay your charge. I went shopping there from about 1950 to 1959.”
(Previous Reineberg’s post: Mail call: Memories of Sievers & Devers and Reineberg’s from Joyce M. Rode)
Speaking of shoes, Bob Reineberg wrote and said, “Thanks for showing the postcard from Reineberg’s. I know the story is about Sievers & Devers but I like the picture. (Since it is about my family business!!) I have a number of old pictures from downtown York. My wife and also have a large collection of antique footwear that we display once a year at our store at 1031 Haines Road.” Bob mentioned that even more pictures are available at Reinebergs.com.
Friend Betsy Baird said, “Reineberg’s – Aah! How I must get to that store. Since I was a baby, Mother would buy my shoes there. We lived in Downtown, then, too. There has always been so much trouble finding shoes that would fit me! My feet are too small, and one foot larger than the other. Rob’s grandfather, father and mother, and now Rob have done great services to me. And they nearly always had to order my shoes! The arthritis I now have doesn’t make it any easier. I liked the X-rays they took of my feet. I found some trade cards of the old Reineberg’s store, at flea market co-op, and I gave him most of them. Selfishly kept some for myself. They’ve done a great job in properly fitting the feet of many York County residents.” I very much agree, by the way – my daughter learned to walk in a wonderful pair of Reineberg’s children’s shoes!
Jim Fahringer also recalls Reineberg’s. He writes, “When I was 4 years old I contracted Polio in my right leg. After some corrective surgery on the back of my ankle, I was required to wear big ugly brown high top corrective shoes. Oh how I wanted to wear those Keds sneakers that everyone else was wearing but I couldn’t. I had to wear those orthopedic shoes. My parents would take me to Reineberg’s to have these shoes correctly fitted and made. I, too, found the x-ray machine fascinating. You stuck your feet under the bottom of the machine and looked down from the top through a view opening. You could actually see your toes and feet through the leather shoes. These machines looked much like the old fashioned viewing machines that were found in Penny Arcades of long ago. The clerks at Reineberg’s were very friendly and understood children and made your visit quite enjoyable even though I hated the big ugly high top brown shoes I had to wear for support. It is interesting to see the large light up ‘Reineberg’s’ sign attached to the second and third story of the building in that early picture. The last time I looked, it was still there – above the “New Hub Store” on South George Street. I believe that sign to be a wonderful collector’s item. I am surprised that Reineberg’s Shoe Store in the former Jay’s Mini Strip Mall on Haines Road didn’t pay to remove that sign and somehow display it at their Haines Road location. It may be too expensive to retrieve, but someone should try to save it for its York commercial historical value. … By the way those shoe x-ray machines were declared a health hazard in the late 1950s and shoe stores stopped using them because of the radiation danger.”
Sievers & Devers
Speaking of Sievers & Devers, Jim Fahringer also wrote about that shop. He adds, “Thanks for helping me to visualize where Sievers & Devers Jewelry Store was. I knew the address, but didn’t visualize its location. They sold some really neat jewelry. I have seen some of their jewelry in antique shops. My great aunt actually gave me her husband’s aquamarine stick pin which came from Sievers & Devers. Stick pins were actually originally a man’s piece of jewelry from 1800s until the early 1950s. Men wore the stick pins just below the big knot in their tie or even sometimes right in the knot. Diamond Jim Brady made diamond stick pins quite popular.”
And Linda Grossnickle had a question; she writes, “Enjoyed your article identifying Sievers & Devers Jewelry Store. I have purchased (at an antique mall in PA) a set of 6 cocktail forks marked with the store name on the reverse side. They were certainly made especially for the store. Are there only local collectors since I have found very little on the internet? I would like to correctly date them.” Any time-period ideas for Linda would be great.
Finally, a few more memories today on Hochberger’s. Carolyn Hall writes, “Read the note from Greta about her family owning Hochberger’s, brought back memories to me. As a young girl my Mom, Grandma, sister and I went there for our fancy Easter dresses in the early ’60s. It was a big occasion to drive to the city from Manchester and shop. We’d park at Bon-Ton parking lot, checking out things there and then take the ‘long’ walk over the bridge to Hochberger’s to buy the dress because of the selection. Since grandma was paying, I’ll always remember everyone agreeing on style and price … LOL. One of my favorite dresses bought there was worn in a family portrait which reminds me of store every time I come across the photo.”
I also got an interesting side note from Carolyn. She says, “People tell me I look like you! My husband every Sunday tells me – ‘You’re in the paper again’ and a co-worker I don’t know that well wondered if I had a side job writing for the paper. I think you look more like my sister, LOL!” TOO funny. I’ve heard a few times I have some “doubles” around town, so it’s nice to meet one of them!
And I heard from Ann Funk at the Martin Library reference desk. She checked some York City directories for Hochberger’s women’s and children’s wear store and found it at 237 W. Market St. in the 1977 directory, but Haugh Furniture is listed at that address in the 1978 directory.
Thanks for sharing all these great store memories!