YorksPast

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Springettsbury Township Archives

The “Steak & Ale” became the popular “Talk of the Town Restaurant,” and was followed by: “Penrod’s Bar & Grill,” “al Dente! Italian Restaurant,” and presently “Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar.” Stretching from 1979 to the present, all five businesses were housed in various incarnations of the building situated south of the Burger King in Springettsbury Township; at 1211 Haines Road.

Thirty years before President Ronald Reagan visited the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle plant in Springettsbury Township, York County, PA, he visited the General Electric plant in York, PA; then as director-producer-and host of the “General Electric Theater” television program and President of the Screen Actors Guild.

Michael Miller shared a photo of his grandfather, Augustus H. Schaefer; York florist and developer of Stony Brook Heights in Springettsbury Township. Within that development, a site for Augustus H. Schaefer Memorial Park was deeded to the township in his memory. The Springettsbury Township Historic Preservation Committee will utilize the photo on an interpretative sign to provide a brief history of Augustus and his namesake park.

Cathy Ross shared stories of riding horses at Avalong Farms Morgan Stable and then working at their Barn Mall; in the Blue Sky Jean Shop and at the Boring Furniture Outlet. Prior to the opening of the Galleria, the Avalong Farms Barn Mall housed 25 shops in their former horse barn. Even so, that barn site played a part in the backstory of the Galleria Mall.

The origins of Springettsbury Township Park stretches back centuries. In 1793, Jacob Strickler established a 44-acre farm straddling present Mount Zion Road; with the farm fields worked by Strickler descendants, continuously for over 100-years. Dr. Louis V. Williams conveyed those same 44-acres to Springettsbury Township in 1966, at the conclusion of a 10-year installment payment plan. Three years later, the farm fields were transformed into the initial nucleus of Springettsbury Township Park.

Joe Spagnolo shared some fascinating early history about the 1960s Wagner’s Diner, located along the Lincoln Highway, east of Hellam. A 1963 publication contains a photo of the downstairs bar, with the caption: “Wagner’s Saloon, run by John Wagner in Hellam, Pa., is the home of the country’s first Noggin Club.” These clubs quickly spread across North America. They owed their name and popularity to characteristics of Noggin beer mugs, produced with the proprietary, aluminum-based alloy metal, Armetale, developed in 1963 by Ralph P. (Bud) Wilton, Jr.

Verna Williams surprised me by submitted a photo of a sign heralding the office of Dr. L. V. Williams; used at one, or more, of his locations in York County. The sites include: the initial 1911 office in Mount Wolf, progressing to multiple locations in the City of York, and finally in Springettsbury Township; where he added an office during the 1940s, to his farmhouse along Mt. Zion Road. I had been helping Verna unravel Dr. Louis V. Williams’ connection to General Edward C. Williams, when she discovered the photo of the sign.

During 1926, five hospitals were in York, PA; from the most beds to the least: York Hospital, 125 beds; West Side Sanitarium, 42 beds; York County Almshouse Hospital, 28 beds; Polyclinic Hospital, 10 beds; and Church View Sanatorium, 6 beds. The building, in Doctors Row at 409 West Market Street, was the site of Church View Sanitarium; containing an operating room primarily utilized by Dr. Samuel E. Ensminger from June of 1916 into the 1920s. Learn how that Sanatorium had an impact on the establishment of the Polyclinic Hospital in York.

The expansion of the Springettsbury Township municipal complex closer to the southeast corner of Mount Zion Road and Pleasant Valley Road is imminent. A fire in the existing Police Station a year ago was the final straw in a string of significant issues within what is the original municipal building for Springettsbury Township. A year-long planning effort during 2020 will likely result in a groundbreaking during the first half of 2021.

Dr. Louis V. Williams was a Christmas baby, born December 25, 1884. His farm, along Mount Zion Road, in Springettsbury Township became the township complex that we enjoy today. Prior to his death in 1968, he created a trust, the Springettsbury Township Library Fund, which continues to fund library services in the township. The photo of Dr. Williams is from his 1911 graduation from The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore, Maryland.