Memories from Windsor Township, Red Lion and Yoe
Today, I’m headed down toward the southeastern part of the county with some emails about Windsor Township, Yoe, Red Lion and that general area.
First up is a note from longtime reader Dale Boyce, who had asked me some time ago about the sign you see with today’s column. “There is a sign at the corner of East Prospect Road and Freysville Road that is old and rusted. It looks like it could have been an electric sign with the lighted panels missing. I was wondering what the sign was for. Do you know?”
I, of course, have no idea, but had some fun exploring it up close via Google Street View, though their past photos of that site only date back to 2008, when, of course, the sign still looks as empty as it does today. I’m curious what my readers can tell us about this!
So from that area, I wanted to move on to a previous question about Red Lion. Well, sort of about Red Lion.
Back in 2015, Karl Zimmermann had asked about metal fabricator The Budd Corp., which was based in Philadelphia and which he thought might have operated in the Red Lion area in the late 1940s and into the 1950s.
Well, I thought myself pretty decently well-informed about manufacturing plants in the area at that time, and I couldn’t place that, but I thought, well, let’s see what everyone else remembers. And thankfully, I had two readers who helped clarify for me! Reader Jim Flinchbaugh noted that there’s a Red Lion Road in northeast Philadelphia which is near the original Budd plant, and then Robert D. Hess confirmed that and shared with me a link to some history of the Budd plant, which confirmed that, yes, Red Lion Road was the address, though in the Philadelphia area, not tied to our Red Lion here in York County. I’m glad we were able to clear that up, anyway!
Finally for today, I have a letter to share from the Yoe area, from reader Linda Bailey. Linda had read a column of memories of Yoe based on a letter from Laura Seitz, who’d recalled, among other things, Zech’s Bakery in that town.
Well, Linda explained, “There are not too many people still around from that area who knew or heard of Zech’s Bakery. It was interesting to read what Laura Seitz had written and to learn that she had worked for my grandparents was even more surprising.”
She continued, “I am the granddaughter of George and Elsie Zech who owned Zech’s Bakery. I was very young when they had the bakery but my father remembers a few things about the bakery that I hope are interesting to the readers. My mother Jean Zech Bailey and my Aunt Joan Zech Williams both are deceased or I am sure I could have gathered a lot more interesting stories.”
Linda writes, “My grandfather bought the bakery in the late 1940s; at that time it was called Smith’s Bakery. He had a store where you bought your baked goods in the front room of a house, which the house is still there on the Main St. in Yoe, and the bakery itself was in the rear of that property, where they made breads, cakes, pies, sticky buns, cream puffs and fruit cakes. One of the gentlemen my grandfather had as a baker left Zech’s Bakery to start his own business, which is the well-known Smittie’s Soft Pretzels in Dover.”
She continued, “I was 5 or 6 years old when I first went to market with my grandmother… We got up very early and went to the bakery to get the baker truck that the employees loaded with the baked goods for the day. On the way to Carlisle market we stopped at Smittie’s soft pretzel stand and got a box of soft pretzels. When a customer would want to purchase a pretzel, I would bag it and take their nickel; yes, the pretzels used to sell for only a nickel apiece.”
And, Linda said, “Along with a store in Yoe, they had one in Red Lion. They had stands in Carlisle Market, Columbia, Lancaster County, and Central and Penn Markets here in York. My father remembers my grandfather would put baked goods in wooden boxes and put them on the train in Yoe and send them to businesses in York. My mother and her sister, known as the Zech twins, would also drive the bakery trucks to the markets and tend the stands in their teen years. In 1969 or 1970 my grandfather sold everything from the bakery at auction and got out of the bakery business due to health reasons. I hope this information is helpful.”
Linda, that is incredibly helpful – thank you so much for sharing those details about your family’s business!