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Ask Joan: Last year’s letters edition

I don’t know about you, but I (and my thermostat) could really use a break from the recent crazy weather. Snow, warm, rain, fog… you name it, we’ve pretty much had it in February.

While the weather may change, what always stays the same is that I can never keep up with the awesome flood of letters I receive about York County memories. So today, here are a handful shared with me last year that I had not gotten a chance to share until now. I hope you enjoy!

What’s inside

1. Remembering York White Roses team
2. Memories of music, theater and more
3. The Gregory’s ties memories continue
4. Memories of many York places
5. Store where Biztown is now
6. Sol Kessler’s and the Record King

1. Remembering York White Roses team

First today, I have a letter from Don W. Peterson of West Manchester Township. He wrote in response to a column from about this time last year where we talked about the York White Roses.

At that time, reader Richard L. Brown wrote that when the York White Roses had a Red Sox farm team in 1962, that was the first baseball team in York since 1959.

Don remembered not the short gap in baseball between 1959 and 1962, but several of the older baseball teams. “There was a White Roses team in York in the 1930s,” he began. “They were part of the New York/PA (NYPA) League and played at Eagles Park on the north side of York.”

He added, “Also, there was a White Roses team in the early ’40s. They plaed at Martin-Parry Field at the corner of North Adams and Orange streets in West York. That land is now part of the West York High School athletic complex.”

(Martin-Parry, by the way, refers to the merged Martin Carriage Works and Parry Manufacturing companies, which you can read more about at

Anyway, Don continued, “This team (the 1940s White Roses) was a Class B farm team of the National League Boston Braves.” Don concluded by saying that he is in his early 90s and enjoys reading about older York County places and events.

Don, I’m sorry it took so long to share your notes on the White Roses, but I want you to know I’m glad you enjoy reading the kinds of things we share!

2. Memories of music, theater and more

At the beginning of last year, I shared 17 questions to kick off 2017, and I am STILL getting replies about those 17 questions! Some people, though, like reader Richard Adams, wrote to me right after that column was published with details on the topics mentioned.

Richard wrote, “My father worked at Weaver Piano for over 20 years. I believe they closed in the late ’50s. He never mentioned anything about Weaver making organs. Apparently if they made organs, it was during a much earlier period. My father became a salesman, then manager for Keyboard Studios, located at 830 E. Market St. The store sold pianos, organs and many types of instruments. They also provided music lessons. They were a competitor of Julius Music.”

And, he added about some other topics mentioned in that column, “I’m sure the name of the movie theater on East Market Street was the Holiday. The nightclub just east of that was the 615 Club. The store with the ramp was a Giant located on the west side of George Street, just north of Cottage Place. It was just south of the old Carl’s Newsstand and not far from the old Stetler Dodge building.”

Richard, thank you so much for all those details! I do have yet more memories in response to that column that I hope to share in some coming weeks as well!

3. The Gregory’s ties memories continue

A short letter from last year came from “Mrs. G” in York Township. She wrote in response to a column last April that mentioned Gregory’s Menswear in York, which was known for giving out ties to customers upon the birth of their children.

Mrs. G wrote, “I have a tie that was given to us when our son was born in July 1956. On the front of the tie it has ‘It’s a Boy.’ The label on the inside of the tie says ‘Gregory’s – York PA.’ Hope our son will hold on to this tie like I kept it for 60 years.”

Mrs. G, I hope so too! I have trouble with the balance of keeping things vs. decluttering, but that is something I know I would definitely keep, probably as part of a scrapbook (because I spend WAY too much time scrapbooking…)

4. Memories of many York places

Next up is a letter from Brian Jackson of York, who shared a variety of memories and a question.

He wrote, “Living in the east end, there was a soda fountain restaurant called Lamp Post Inn at the corner of York Street and Ridge Avenue next to Hudson Park and Delphia Restaurant (corner of East Philadelphia Street and Sherman Street)… I have some LPs with a sticker from The Record Room – York County Shopping Center. (Think it was next to Feller’s Clothing.)… on the way home from Phineas Davis Junior High there was a hangout soda fountain-type establishment east of South Harrison Street near the current Able Notary. I don’t remember the name! Do you?… On Carlisle Avenue near the current Route 30 there was Art’s, sold snowballs, drinks, hot dogs (about the size of a ballpark concession stand!)”

Brian, thank you so much for those memories! I’d love to know what your soda fountain on your walk home from Phineas Davis was, so if anyone has ideas, please let us know!

5. Store where Biztown is now

Another past column talked about a grocery store that used to be located where JA Biztown is now on South George Street, which had a slanted floor going in. Interestingly, that’s the same store Richard remembered earlier in today’s column as a Giant, and before that, readers have told me, it was a Food Fair.

Those Food Fair memories include a letter from Joan Hubley of York, who wrote, “Yes, there was a Food Fair grocery store at that location. We lived on Pershing Avenue, and would walk with my mother to the Food Fair. A few feet after entering the store, there was an incline going down to where the groceries were located. (It looked like a big hill to us little kids, and we liked running up and down the ‘hill.'”

She continued, “One time my mother took the three of us to shop there (we were about 3, 5 and 7 years old; about 1935-1940), and my sister Pat (3) walked out of the store unnoticed. I remember standing outside of the store with my mother frantically calling for Pat, but she was nowhere to be seen. A policeman came, told us to go home, and they would bring Pat home when they found her. All ended well; the police found and returned Pat safely home.”

“Just a few reminisces,” she concluded.

Joan, thank you so much for your reminisces. I am so glad you shared them!

6. Sol Kessler’s and the Record King

Last for today, I’d like to share a letter from Les Markel of York. Les wrote about Sol Kessler’s record and stereo store, which we’ve talked about several times in the past.

Les wrote, “As a young singer, songwriter, musician, I spent a lot of time at Sol Kessler’s. Not so much in the stereo/electronics department, but more so in the record department. The gentleman that ran the department was known to us as ‘Rit the Record King.’ Over the years we became very good friends. ‘Rit’ knew that I was a trumpet player and had my own band. He also knew what groups I liked and what type of music I liked, to the point where if something new came out that he thought I would like, he would put it aside until the next time I came into the store, and if I didn’t get in there for a while, he would call me.”

He continued, “Occasionally I would know before he did that a particular artist had released something new or was about to release something new. This would drive him crazy. I can hear him now; ‘Markel, how did you find this out?’ When Sol Kessler’s went out of business, it was like I lost my best friend. What memories!”

Les, I’m so glad you shared those memories with us. That’s the kind of store that I love to shop at – one where you really feel cared about, not like “just a customer!”

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.