York Area Smell “…so nauseous that horses will not pass the place.”
1876 Pomeroy, Whitman map of York Township showing the paper mill/shinnerhannes site.
It seems like I’ve been writing a lot about ailing or dead large animals in York County. When you think about it, there were a whole lot of large animals living amongst the people of York County 100 or so years ago. Even if you weren’t a farmer, you would often have your own cow for milk, even in town.
Click here to read about York Cattle Doctor’s cure.
And horses–horses were transportation, horses were tractors, horses were necessities. Cattle could be turned into roasts before they got too old, but even cows came down with fatal illnesses.
All those horses are another matter–this is York County, Pennsylvania, not France. That’s where the rendering plants came in. Rendering plants basically recycled dead animals–hides, tallow, bone meal….
Click here to read about Earnest Dempwolf’s plan to build a horse and dog hospital next to his York Rendering Works.
Rendering plants, however, were subject to the NIMBY (not in my back yard) syndrome, with good reason, according to the following December 1897 York Gazette news item from Tilden [Longstown area]:
“The ‘shinnerhannes’ factory, which in operation at the old paper mill is becoming quite a nuisance. The smell arising from it covers an area of several miles and is so nauseous that horses will not pass the place.”
Now, that’s bad, and in December too. Can you imagine what a nice hot August day would bring?
The old P.A. & S. Small paper mill was in York Township on Camp Betty Washington Road, south of Mount Rose Avenue just south of present day Alyce Circle.
Shinnerhannes probably comes from Schinderhannes, the nickname of Germany’s most famous outlaw, who lived 200 years ago. His name was Johannes Bückler and he started out as a tanner before he decided robbery was more fun. Schinder is German for flayer, one who removes skins, as before tanning them to turn them into leather. You get the picture.