YorksPast

Part of the USA Today Network

Ghost Signs in the Burbs; York County Shopping Center

Feller’s Ghost Sign in Springettsbury Township (3/22/13 Photo by S. H. Smith)

The subject of Jim McClure’s post on Friday at York Town Square was: Wanted around York County! A few good ghost signs; i.e. those faded signs of old that appear on the sides of buildings.  This post shows those signs can be almost anywhere in York County, even the suburbs.  Look around and submit a ghost sign to the Flipsidepa.com contest under way until April 14th.

I’ve occasionally seen these ghost signs on buildings all over York County, but seldom took pictures.  An exception was last spring during some family history research in Hanover, I took a picture of an old building in which I just liked the color combination.  This building has a ghost sign “Motor Truck Bodies;” it turned out to be the original Ketterer Wagon Factory.  I used it several weeks ago in my series on Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century.

For more about Feller’s Ghost Sign, continue reading:

 

Anyone that shopped at the York County Shopping Center in Springettsbury Township probably remembers that Feller’s was one of the original stores in the east side of this shopping complex.  They were located there for about 20-years, going out of business in 1977.

Why is this the only ghost sign from the original York County Shopping Center that has survived to the present time?  The main reason is that Feller’s was the only store in the complex that had a full two-levels of shopping.  Like all the other stores, one directly entered the upper level of Feller’s from the main parking lot and concourse.  However a prominent entry from the rear of the store resulted in the sign placement; not easily within reach and mainly out of eye-sight from the re-modeling that occurred with the establishment of the York Marketplace.

Location of Feller’s Ghost Sign (2013 Photo, S. H. Smith)

This view shows what the ground level entrance to the lower level look like today; above which the ghost sign can still be seen.  From old directories, the two businesses on either side of Feller’s were: East York Bowling Center, Eugene Jacob’s Men’s Clothing, Feller’s Clothing, W. T. Grant Department Store and Rogers Toy Shop.  With Rogers Toy Shop being the closest to East Market Street.  Virtually beside the rear entrance of Feller’s was an entrance to the East York Bowling Center; which was under many of the stores in the northeast part of the shopping complex.

Combining bits from blogs and websites, I pieced together a history of Feller’s.  Charles Nachlath Feller, a Romanian immigrant living in Harrisburg, started a women’s dress shop in 1922.  Though out the history of his store, he primarily sold his own or locally produced clothing.  He was known for his fur coats and for a period of time had a store in New York City selling his fur coats.  Feller’s fur coats still show up regularly on eBay.  Feller’s slogan was “The Store Dependable.”

This fur coat tag is from an eBay item; it states “Dependable Fur Coatmakers.”

Charles Feller’s 301 Market Street store in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania became the Feller Building.  A second store was opened in Harrisburg; it was known as Feller’s Men’s and Boy’s Shop.  When Feller’s opened their store in the York County Shopping Center, women’s clothing and fur coats were on the upper floor.  The men’s and boy’s shop was on the lower floor; which is where my first sport coat was purchased.  Feller’s closed in 1977.

Above the front of Feller’s store in the York County Shopping Center, they had a sign mounted high above the roof.  The yellow arrow in the following 1968 twilight picture of the northeast corner of the York County Shopping Center points to the Feller’s sign.

Northeast Corner of the York County Shopping Center at Twilight (From Greater York in Action, by The York Area Chamber of Commerce, 1968)

One sees a water tank at the left and a long building stretching across the background of the shopping center; that is the Caterpillar Tractor Company Plant.  Within the Ask Joan column in the York Sunday News yesterday, Joan Concilio received a question: Where was W. T. Grant?  A correct answer is: next to Feller’s in the York County Shopping Center.

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts