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York County abodes of Judge Nevin Wanner

Judge Nevin Wanner (1940 Photo from Collections of York County History Center)

The York City residence of Judge Nevin Wanner was located at 406 East Market Street; he lived there for nearly 60-years. As an occasional respite from city life Judge Wanner spent summers at his island in the Susquehanna River and he also utilized a residence in the East York suburbs. Each of these three abodes of Judge Wanner has an interesting story.

Nevin M. Wanner was born in 1850. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 1870 and received a Law Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1872. His first job was with the Law offices of Erastus H. Weiser, Esq. in York, PA.

In 1873, Nevin passed the Bar exam and had a flourishing law practice, including a stint as District Attorney of York County from 1887 through 1890. Attorney Wanner became the regional solicitor for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the Northern Central Railway Company, and lines controlled by them in York, Adams, Cumberland and Perry Counties. Wanner was the initial local lawyer representing The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Company; used by John H. Longstreet for the development of East York in Springettsbury Township.

Nevin’s 33-years as a lawyer was just a start, he followed it with 20-years of service on the York County bench. He served as a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas from 1906 until his retirement at the end of 1925.

After his retirement as President Judge, Wanner continued to serve as adviser, as requested by the courts. Into his 90s, Nevin Wanner was unceasing in championing the quality growth of the York County Law Library and in supporting civic causes that promoted the public good.

The abodes of Judge Nevin Wanner

The origin of the suburb known as East York in Springettsbury Township dates to September 2, 1903, when the plan for this suburban community was formally issued by The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Company. John H. Longstreet was a principal in that company, which originated in Philadelphia, but now also had an office in York, PA.

The first house to be built in the East York community was a double-house built near the middle of the development. Ground was broken in 1903 and John Longstreet and his family occupied one side of this dwelling in 1904; with the address: 26 North Findlay Street. Initially the other side, 28 North Findlay Street, was supposedly rented out, as a suburban retreat, for the family of Nevin Wanner, the local attorney representing The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Company. That double-house, shown in the following 1994 photo, is one of the contributing structures in the Old East York Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 12, 1999.

26 & 28 North Findlay Street (1994 Photo by Springettsbury Township Historic Preservation Committee)

On November 7, 1905, Nevin Wanner won election to serve as a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas. Oral history has Nevin Wanner continuing to rent 28 North Findlay Street, as a suburban retreat, for a number of years. The earliest deed, where John H. Longstreet sells the 28 North Findlay Street property occurred on November 1, 1910; per Deed Book 17Z, Page 46. The sale is to Charles K. Baumeister, a 37-year-old bookkeeper.

Mr. Baumeister next sells 28 North Findlay Street to William S. Wanner on August 27, 1924; per Deed Book 22W, Page 211. William S. Wanner is the nephew of Judge Nevin Wanner. This is actually 29-year-old William S. Wanner, Jr., since he is is the son of Nevin Wanner’s brother, William S. Wanner, who died in 1914. Per oral history, during the next 15-years, when William owned the property, his uncle Nevin Wanner visited quite often.

Arlene Imes provided an interview on July 21, 1998, which contributed to the National Register application. The maiden name of Mrs. Imes is Dietz; she started first grade at East York’s Hiestand School during 1922. Arlene later became a teacher at that school and was an excellent oral history resource about the East York community.

The following is a circa 1930 aerial photo showcasing the extent of houses built in the near vicinity of the 28 & 26 North Findlay Street double-house, a quarter century after the development began. The houses with the biggest trees are the oldest, since the site of East York was originally a planted farmers field. The photo is a zoomed-in section of an overall aerial photo initially presented in the post Karl Ort’s aerial photo of East York.

Zooming in on Karl Ort’s aerial photo of East York (Collections of York County History Center; Annotated by S. H. Smith, 2017)

The next post in this series will examine the 406 East Market Street home of Nevin Wanner, which stood opposite the end of Broad Street.

Links to related posts include:

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts