Only in York County

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Even more York hobby shop memories

After sharing some memories on local hobby shops from shop owner Paul Schiding in September, I received a few more thoughts on these local stores – and the Schiding family – that I would like to share today. In addition, those who are planning to open a shop should pay attention to the shop front design, which reflects what they want the building to represent. They may hire shopfront design services to provide Bespoke Commercial Entrance Designs.

Ed Wagaman notes, “I remember a hardware & hobby shop on the east side of S. Queen Street, near College Avenue. It was called the DoodleBug Railroad store and it probably closed in the mid ’60s. I think the owner’s last name was Howie or Howard. The owner’s son, Ron, was a childhood friend and I still recall taking a piece of rope from this shop & using it for a swing over at the creek by Memorial Stadium. Fond memories.”

And Ivan Frantz Jr. wrote, “The hobby shop in the first block of S. George St. was THE MODEL CRAFT SHOP. Although they carried general hobby items, they specialized in model railroad items for the serious model railroader. High end brass models and ‘craftsman kits’ to build your own trains in HO, S and O scale, detail parts and accessories was their main business. In the same building, on the second floor behind the shop there used to be an ‘O scale’ model railroad club. ‘O scale’ trains are the size of LIONEL trains, but are accurate scale models that run on two rail track like the real railroads. LIONEL trains are considered to be ‘toy’ trains and run on three rail track. As a young kid building a model railroad in the basement I did a lot of business there getting kits, paint, decals, etc.”

And Betsy Baird notes, “I see Paul Schiding and I both are mentioned in the same column for the Colonial Hobby Shop = Checkered Flag Hobby Shop on W. Market St! I also remembered the Red Caboose in Red Lion, and the Hobby Shop he also had on 1500 or 1600 block W. Market St. I lived in the one at 401 W. Market St. He wrote in my autograph book that I was the customer who kept in him business! I lived three places from that store, and did I ever love going in there.”

T. Max Copenheaver said, “I just read about John Schiding’s Store (Schiding’s Yorktowne Service Store) in your column. It sure brought back memories. We lived on Wilson Court from 1940 to around 1947. During that time my parents had me, two older brothers and another on the way when our Father got drafted into the service. My mother would give us a list of groceries and send us up to Schiding’s. I didn’t know it at that time but the Schidings were extending credit to my Mother to buy groceries. In later years she often remarked that if it wouldn’t have been for the Schidings we would not have had food on the table during the time my Dad was in the Navy. I also remember that their son Paul opened the first Checkered Flag Hobby Shop in a small building behind the store. These were the kind of business people that are not around anymore, the type of people that looked out for others. Let me say thanks to the Schidings for helping our family in time of need.” Many thanks to you for sharing that story; I am pleased to pass on your kind thanks!

Jim Fahringer said of Paul Schiding’s photo and letter, “It was really great seeing the picture of Paul and Loretta. It brought back fond memories of the Checkered Flag or Red Flag Hobby Shop later known as the Colonial Hobby Shop on the northwest corner of Penn Street and West Market Streets. Actually Loretta was a friend of my mom’s when they were in High School along with the Wishard girls and Alma Deveny. For many years Loretta would go out to dinner with Clearmont Bubb (who was an elementary school principal for Central York School District) and his wife, Marion, who was one of the Wishard girls. I often stopped in the hobby shop.”

Jim added, “I remember Loretta or Paul’s wife telling me that their friend was the ‘Good Samaritan’ who came out of the Elk’s Home on North George Street and called the police for me and stood guard with me after being stabbed on the streets of York one night in the late 1970s. … I often visited this wonderful Hobby/Craft Shop from about 1966 until it closed – I believe somewhere around the very late 1980s or early to mid 1990s when it moved to the 1700 block of West Market Street. In its day, it was THE hobby/craft shop of York, PA.”

Jim, who was a longtime area teacher, said, “I often purchased those large sheets of colored beeswax and rolls of wicking to use in my 4th grade classroom to wrap two-tone sheets of beeswax candles. At Christmas time I would get green and red sheets and my students would wrap them around the wick and take a pair of them home for a Christmas gift for their parents. Actually when these sheets were wrapped properly around the wick, the candles would burn about as long as a regular candle. At Valentine’s Day I would buy pink, red, and white beeswax sheets and students would wrap a pair of two-tone candles as a Valentine gift for their parents. The store also sold one -pound blocks of sun bleached pure beeswax or natural beeswax. I bought many pounds of that wax over the years. We would melt the wax in a double boiler over a hot plate in my classroom and students would form a line and hand dip wicks into the hot wax. After about 30-35 dippings, they would have a candle of regular thickness. One time I bought a huge chunk of pure Bayberry wax in the store. It must have weighed about 20 pounds or more. This was not just scented Bayberry wax, this was pure bayberry wax made from the berries of the plant. Actually there is nothing better than pure beeswax and/or bayberry wax candles. First of all, they smell absolutely wonderful. Secondly, they can be buffed with a soft cotton cloth to a wonderful shiny luster. For years we made candles from a mixture of Bayberry wax and beeswax. When I was transferred to another school I had to pack everything up for the move. On the last day of school I told one of my students to take what remained of the huge chunk of Bayberry wax to my car. I also told him to put it where the sun would not shine on it. He placed the chunk of Bayberry wax on my rear dash right under the rear window. The hot June sun beat down on the Bayberry wax all afternoon and melted it. The wax seeped deep down into my vinyl seats and I had the most Christmasy smelling car until I traded it in for another car. This hobby shop also helped to turn me on to making heritage wreaths. These beautiful pine cone, nut and pod wreaths were hanging around the store. I believe Paul and his wife made these wreaths. Not only did I start to make them, but I also had every one of my 4th grade classes, from 1970 until 2004, make them each year for a Christmas present for their parents. I bought the green wire frames and the rolls of florists wire at this Hobby Shop also. I would also buy artificial green and red fruit to decorate the wreaths. In addition Paul often had an interesting variety of pods, seeds, and pine cones that could be purchased for making heritage wreaths. I probably bought more than two hundred cans of clear lacquer or Krylon to spray my students’ wreaths over the years. That is what is probably wrong with me today as a result of breathing in the fumes of these spray products!”

Jim concluded, “Another wonderful craft I discovered by visiting this hobby shop was the making of jeweled Boutique Christmas ornaments. The store sold m1any different kinds of Christmas tree ball kits. Customers could see the finished product from these kits openly displayed around the shop. I think that Paul and his wife may have made the balls that were displayed. I probably made a hundred of these special jeweled Christmas balls. I will forever remember Mr. and Mrs. Schiding and Loretta and the wonderful hobby shop where they worked and how much it influenced and enriched my life and my students’ lives.”

Many thanks, Jim, Paul and all who have shared their stories of these neat shops!

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