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York’s Eastern Market Didn’t Stay Put

Eastern Market House in late 1946
There is nowhere better than a farmers’ market for good fresh food at very reasonable prices. Recent posts briefly explored York’s Central Market and Farmers Market, both of which have operated at their original sites for well over 100 years.
Eastern Market is a more complicated. There is the old Eastern Market building at 480 East Market Street, which hasn’t been a working market house since early 1947. Then there is New Eastern Market, which has been operating on Memory Lane since 1955. Most people don’t realize there was a third Eastern Market in between those two.

Old Eastern Market building 2009
The original Eastern Market house still stands, although not very visibly, behind a car repair business by the railroad tracks on East Market Street. According to Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, the Eastern Market company was organized in 1885 and built a large brick market house at the cost of $11,875. It was blown down by a “violent storm” on January 9, 1889. They reused the bricks and some of the timber, so rebuilding cost was only $4,500.

Eastern Market operated at that location until February 1947. The December 6, 1946 Gazette and Daily reports: “Eastern Market, long a landmark at 480 East Market Street, will be converted into a farm store by Sears, Roebuck and Company…after which time the market will no longer operate.” The Sears store would “stock a complete array of farm needs, ranging from feeds to building materials and heavy farm machinery.”

The Gazette and Daily photo above ran February 1, 1947. The caption reads:

“AFTER 30 YEARS–Last day at the Eastern Market yesterday found old timers like Mary Bahn, Red Lion RD 2, preparing for next week’s move to the old skating rink after nearly 30 years of marketing in the same location. Winding up operations included a great deal of reminiscing about the old days and a collection of odds and ends to take to the new location.”

What skating rink? Look for more on that Eastern Market move and the one to follow in my next post.