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Reader Rose Mitchell shared this screwdriver, which was her parents', following an earlier Ask Joan column.

Ask Joan: West Side Sanitarium, Green Hedge and pet cemetery details

I can’t say that I love fall – I’m not into pumpkin spice anything, and I like the temperature to be about 73 degrees, and I want it to stay light after 5:30 p.m. But the cinnamon apple smell everywhere is pretty inviting, and I got some warm, fuzzy sweaters, and soon I’m going to get to eat an amazing turkey, so I guess it can stay. Hopefully today’s memories – all follow-ups from previous columns – will be good to read while you’re staying warm indoors, prepping for Thanksgiving or starting your holiday gift-wrapping.

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What’s inside

1. Remembering Green Hedge Service Station
2. Seven Valleys pet cemetery details
3. Recalling West Side Sanitarium

1. Remembering Green Hedge Service Station

Back in the spring, I had a letter from a reader named Amy, who wanted to know if anyone had pictures of the former Green Hedge Service Station.

That station was in Dover Township on Route 74, where the CVS is today and where Brooks Drug Store and a hardware store were prior to CVS.

I received a letter in reply from reader Rose Mitchell that was really neat. She wrote, “I don’t have any photos, but found this screwdriver among my parents’ things after they passed away. Thought the family might like to have it.”

That screwdriver is pictured here, and I would love to get it in the hands of the family. Amy said her boyfriend’s great-grandfather owned the station, but I do not have their names. So, Amy, if you or your boyfriend’s family are seein ghis, please reach out to me and I will make sure Rose’s screwdriver gets to you. (And Rose, thank you so much for thinking of sharing this! I am sure the family will be thrilled to have this piece of memorabilia.)

2. Seven Valleys pet cemetery details

About a month ago, I shared a note from reader Leann asking what had happened to a pet cemetery in the Seven Valleys area. Her family had found an old receipt for a pet buried there, and they wondered what became of it and the markers that were there.

A reader named Charlie to let me know that there was a pet cemetery a bit down the road from Zeiglers Church’s cemetery. It was called Panther Hill Pet Cemetery, Charlie said, adding “This was back around the middle of the 1940s. It was a popular place around that time for pet lovers to bury their beloved animals… I have no idea who may now own that property.”

I was glad to get a note from Linda Spiese Dunavin, who said that her aunt Vera Spiese and Vera’s husband, John, owned the Seven Valleys pet cemetery.

Linda wrote, “They also owned the one across from Tall Oaks trailer park in Dover. Seven Valleys one was sold before Dover one. Not sure when, but they went back to Seven Valleys location at one time and saw that the cemetery was in poor condition. “You would have to know where it was to even find it,” she wrote. Linda thought that perhaps there had been an agreement to sell it to a neighboring property with a promise to keep it cared for, but if so, ,that had not happened at the time Vera went back to check it out.

“As far as the location,” Linda wrote, “I thought if you turned at the light on 30 West at Christmas Tree Hill and continued down the hill and at the bottom took a right, it was in that area. I was never there and don’t know when it was sold.”

She continued, “Dover one was sold in the late ’70s or early ’80s, as it was still there when I moved to Dover in 1975. Gone now. There were many pets buried there. My aunt Urith’s beloved cat “Mickey,” and even a horse. Markers are all gone; what happened to them a mystery. All I know was that it was sold to a man who was to keep it up as he was to mow my aunt’s yard. Neither happened (I think maybe they gave it to him, but I don’t know.) I hope this helps some.”

I heard from another reader whose friend owns the Seven Valleys property now, and am trying to get more details on some of the stories that come from living where people’s pets have been buried (I hear there are some interesting ones!) If that happens, I will certainly be glad to share those.

When Linda wrote, she did have a question of her own. She said she has a great-great-grandmother buried in the potter’s field at Prospect Hill Cemetery in York, but that no records were kept and she has no idea where to look for her ancestor’s grave. “Maybe someone can help,” she wrote. Linda, I am hoping that if anyone reading this has an idea, they will be in touch. I would recommend contacting the cemetery itself; I have heard from several people that its owners are very good at helping those in the community, though I don’t have personal experience with that.

3. Recalling West Side Sanitarium

In August of this year, I shared a column in which reader Lori Hash shared a copy of the hospital bill from her birth at West Side Osteopathic Hospital. This later became what is now UPMC Pinnacle Memorial Hospital, which has its new location under construction in West Manchester Township.

Earlier, it had been West Side Sanitarium, which operated from 1919 to 1945 under the direction of Dr. Edmund W. Meisenhelder, who previously had a surgical practice in the double house on the northeast corner of North Hartley and Lincoln streets in York.

Not long after that column was published, I heard from Betty Gromling, who recalled the West Side Sanitarium well. She wrote, “Dr. Ed Meisenhelder had that as a hospital. Our family lived on one of his farms. My father was raising all the vegetables. He also helped to do a lot of butchering… he would take vegetables and meat to the hospital to feed the help and patients. My mother worked in the laundry; they did their unifroms and aprons. She also helped to clean chickens for the hospital… We didn’t have inspectors in those days!”

She continued, “I helped Mrs. Meisenhelder in her house and with her flowers… I’ll never forget, she had flowers blooming every month. Her and I would bake cookies and ‘goodies’ and send them to people in service.”

Betty added about Dr. Meisenhelder, “He was a very good doctor. He saved my dad; he got an infection from a nail in his shoe and he was in his hospital (West Side). We thought he would die; he got very bad. But Dr. Meisenhelder got some medicine from an Army base and he got better and came home.” She added that the Meisenhelders had three children; two lived outside of York and one was a lawyer in York.

Her memories, Betty said, spanned the mid-1930s to the 1950s. When she wrote to me, Betty said she is now 91 years old and recalled being around 15 when she helped Mrs. Meisenhelder.

Betty, I was very glad to get your letter and hear those memories of West Side and your family’s deep involvement there!

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.

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