Memories from the York Haven area
In February of this year, I had shared a letter from reader Lynda Shaffer Pendergraft about growing up in the York Haven area, and seeking others’ memories of that part of the county.
I often hear memories of growing up in the city of York, but I really love getting to share stories of other parts of town too, so I was excited when I heard from other readers about the more northern part of the county in response.
Reader Brad Ely wrote, “In response to Lynda Pendergraft’s letter … there were actually four stores in the town, three in what we called downtown and one uptown. Rudy Latchaw, Mead’s Brothers and Brenneman’s stores were on Front Street downtown, and Lee Pugh’s store was on Landvale Street uptown. The old school was made into apartments, but I don’t know if it is still used for that purpose. The one room schoolhouse on Cassel Road was owned by Dr. Keller who was the town doctor who lived and had his practice on Fallsview Avenue, and yes he made house calls, he had Cassel’s school fixed and remodeled, he and his family used it as a second home. York Haven was a very unique town with four stores, three bar/restaurants and three churches. All three stores had a variety of merchandise from fresh meats, canned goods, jeans, bales of straw, rabbit pellets, every thing you needed was in town. There were also two gas stations/repair shops, Al Lindenmuth’s Atlantic Richfield and Glen Livingston’s Texaco.”
Brad continued, “If you wanted to go to York the bus came twice a day and used to drop off the York Dispatch in bundles for us boys who had a paper route. A lot of town people worked at the International paper company or the Met-Ed hydro plant. Our family moved to Cly in 1963, about three miles north of York Haven when I was twelve years old, but I continued to venture back quite often to Johnnie Bare’s pool hall. Before I retired from PPL Brunner Island I passed through York Haven every day on my way to work … seen it change as all things do, the stores are long gone, only two churches remain but all three bar/restaurants remain. There was a time when I think I knew everyone who lived there. Lynda, I believe I went to school with your brother George whose dad had the same name. I know I didn’t mention a lot of other businesses but I didn’t want this to turn into a book. Thanks for jogging my memory about those great times.”
Regarding the photo at the top of today’s post, that came from reader Larry Good, who has many memories of the northeastern part of the county. You can read more about Elm Beach Park on the website of the Conewago Inn, which talks about the history of this area along the Susquehanna River just a bit south of York Haven.
And back into the town proper, I heard from Diane and Ervin Garman. Diane wrote, “My husband grew up in York Haven and remembers both Latchaw and Brenneman stores. There was also another store between them called Mead’s. There was a small clothing store, Kohler’s, that I remember shopping at on Front Street near Mead’s, and Charlie the barber up the street. The Atlantic gas station was on the corner across from the laundry mat (it was the original Post Office), the York Haven Library was on the other corner. The York Haven Bank was at the top of the hill and Buser’s propane gas and furniture store was in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. Commercial Hotel (now Kickin’ Kadilaks), Hotel Haven and Shelly’s were thriving businesses serving the employees from York Haven Paper Mill, Foam Products,the Met Ed power plant and PP&L on Brunner Island. Dr. Keller had his office on Fallsview Street across from Sanger’s Paint and Body shop and Frannie’s Beauty Shop. James Craft & Sons was at the south end of town and Johnnie Bare’s Pool Hall on the north edge of town. It was the local hangout for the teens.”
Diane continued, “I remember when they would close the main street for the community block party every summer from the Library to Shelly’s, and the annual Halloween Parade that went the entire length of town. My family lived in Conewago Heights and we would ride our horses to town to participate in the parade. The Community Hall held several dances each year and were well attended. Officer Kope ‘walked the beat’ and was well known all over town and kept any rowdy kids in line. The old schoolhouse was bought by James Craft and converted into apartments in 1972 and we were one of the first tenants. I also attended the 4th and 5th grade in that ‘old school’ and remember riding the bus to go to lunch at the ‘new school’ every day. Occasionally, weather permitting, a teacher would walk us up to the new school by cutting up past the Foam Products plant. If we did this we got a longer lunch and never thought about the benefit of exercise. My husband spent many summer days fishing off the catwalk and swimming in the ‘horsey.’ In the winter they would close down Fallsview Street from Doc Keller’s to the old schoolhouse for sledding. Yes, we remember York Haven as a thriving community.”
And finally, from Barbara Rhinier Trimmer, I heard, “I also attended the fourth and fifth grades at the old school in York Haven. They bussed us to the old school from York Haven Newberry Elementary School in the morning, then back to York Haven Newberry Elementary for lunch, then back again to the old school, etc. I had Mrs. Beshore in 4th grade and Mr. Horst in 5th grade. There were two fourth grades and two fifth grades in the old building. This was 68-69 and 69-70. I have great memories of classmates at the building. Then Orendorf Elementary in Manchester opened in the fall of 1970. At that point, I believe, the old building was closed as a school. Going from the old building built in the 1800s to the 6th grade at Orendorf was quite an experience – it was state of the art at the time. I believe the old building was turned into apartments.”
What’s funny is that I have vague memories of some events I went to as, maybe, a sixth- or seventh-grader, at the same building. I had a longtime friend who lived right on Front Street near the former school, and we went to some kind of community program there. I remember an all-night lock-in (which now I’m thinking was maybe a Y or Girl Scout thing, but I have no idea for sure!) but I remember most that the building was a fallout shelter and I had to go home and ask my mom what that was!
Thank you all for jogging so many York Haven memories, including my own! (And if you want another fun fact about the borough, check out this 2012 post!)