Only in York County

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More memories of York County bakeries

In August, I shared many reader memories of former bakeries in the York area.

Since then, I have received notes from yet more readers who recall pastry shops and bakeries of the past, and I wanted to catch up with those today, including thoughts about Knaub’s Bakery, the De Luxe Pastry Shop, the Patty Cake Bakery, the J.B. Fishel Bakery, Freihoffer’s Bakery and more!

Fred Himmelein of Springettsbury Township writes, “I enjoyed your … column concerning bakeries. Of particular interest to me was your reference to Knaub’s Bakery. As I think about it, I can almost taste a piece of cake. I arrived to York in the early 1960s when I was hired by the York Corp., Borg-Warner Division. It was a weekly ritual to go to Central Market Saturday morning and my wife and I had to visit Utz’s and Knaub’s without fail. Our favorite was a yellow coconut cake that was so sweet and soft that it melted in your mouth. How sad it was when we left York in 1963 so I could go to graduate school at Penn. We learned latery that Knaub’s was sold to, I think, Dawn Bakery. I returned to York in 1989 and had a cake then, but it wasn’t the same. Thanks for bringing some fond memories to mind.”

(I don’t even like coconut and that description made my mouth water, so thank YOU, Fred!)

From Barbara Baumgardner, I heard, “My father was a bakery supply salesman, so I did get to a few bakeries. He was also a friend of one of the owners of the DeLuxe Pastry Shop on East Market Street. Levere “Pappy” Wentz and Margaret Wentz. My first memory was when I was 4 years old in 1949. My father, Raymond Rudisill, and Pappy decorated elaborate cakes for competition. It was very exciting; I have a few pictures. Pappy and Margie lived above the bakery, at 723 E. Market, and owned the bakery I think until the mid-sixties. During the summer I would travel with my dad while he made deliveries to many I don’t remember. I do remember the Gruver’s Bakery, and Zeck’s Bakery in Yoe; there I could eat the sticky from the sticky bun paper.”

She concluded, “Also my mother-in-law Evelyn Baumgardner worked for Joe and Jeanette Arculin at the Patty Cake Bakery. Don’t know how long she worked there. Then she went to Jay’s Super Thrift’s bakery as a cake decorator for years, till 1969 or ’70. Thank you for the memories.”

(Longer-time readers might remember a particular topic of interest about the Jay’s bakery, their lemon sponge pie and the recipe for it.)

From Josie Dick, I heard, “Oh, the De Luxe Pastry Shop. De Luxe baked our wedding cake 51 years ago in 1964. I lived in the 700 block of East Mason Avenue until the houses were torn down to build the Wellington Project. I have great memories of the goodies that from the bakery. After reading about the bakery, I started to picture that block of East Market Street in my mind. Between Franklin Street and Sherman Street on the north side, there was the bakery, bank, children’s clothing store, Shultz’s Drug Store, a butcher shop, news stand, 5&10, Degen’s Bar, Jug’s Bar and the little deli/restaurant … There was Lehr’s Grocery Store on the northeast corner of Sherman and Market. Also, on the southeast corner of Sherman and Market stood the Big Soldier advertising Masury Paint. As a young kid I shopped for my mother at many of the stores. Those were fun times. I learned about being responsible at a young age.”

Finally for now on the bakery topic, commenter Renay Wolf of Shiloh writes, “After reading your Ask Joan column… about bakeries, I started to think about some of the big commercial bakeries we had in York. Of the ones mentioned in your column, I do remember Patty Cake Bakery in the old York County Shopping Center. They sold the best cupcakes in their store. I wonder how many people will remember any of the following bakeries?” she asks.

Her list: “Mrs. Smith’s Pies on South Pine Street.”

“J.B. Fishel Bakery located in the 1700 block of West King Street. After Fishel moved out, Manbeck’s Bakery moved in but didn’t do any baking in the building. They only used it as a distribution point for York, Baltimore and surrounding areas.”

“Hershey Baking Co. was on Jefferson Avenue. Back in their heyday, they had door-to-door delivery to the customer but that all changed with the emergence of the convenience store. Same thing happened to milk deliveries door to door.”

“Fox’s Bakery in the 100 block of North George Street. They had a killer chocolate cake called ‘Chocolate Silhouette’ that was very0 good. I always got one for my birthday.”

“Then there was Freihoffer’s bakery located in the 200 block of East Poplar Street. I wonder how many people can recall this one. I knew of it because my grandparents lived only a few doors away from it. In fact, I think the building is still standing today but I have no idea what business may be working out of there now.”

Finally, Renay concludes, “If there were any other bakeries back then, I don’t recall them at this time. Maybe some of your other readers could fill in the blanks that I may have missed.”

I certainly hope so too!

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