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Haines Park transforms into a Trailer Park

May 30, 1964, Historic Aerial Photo from the York County Archives (Annotated by S. H. Smith, 2017)

The May 30, 1964, historic aerial photo, from the York County Archives, shows the horse race track at Haines Park after it was transformed into a mobile home park. House trailers sat along the outside edge of the half-mile track from 1953 until about 1966. This trailer park was located in the area of the present intersection of Northern Way and Eastern Boulevard in Springettsbury Township. In terms of a present landmark structure, the AAA building sits where the track infield existed.

Sunday evening, Deb Krout provided some neat comments about this trailer park; which was introduced in yesterday’s post: Racing Horses at Haines Park in Springettsbury.  “I grew up in that trailer park. All my cousins and school friends were jealous of the expansive playground right outside my front door. The trailer children had the whole track infield to ourselves! As I got older, they were just as jealous, since Playland roller skating and pool was practically right out my back door. If I remember correctly, the owner of the trailer park was not Mahlon Haines, but was some reality company. My parents always seemed to get along well with them. I know several of the streets (Mills, Moul, others?) in the area are named after people in that reality company.”

I’ve already asked Deb if she’d share some photos; she thinks her older sister might have a few from the trailer park and promised to check. Deb told me her parents moved into that trailer park in 1954 and they were there until 1965. Through some research, I discovered a 1954 newspaper article that confirmed Mahlon Haines sold Haines Park in 1953. It was Eastland Realty Company who turned the half-mile horse race track at Haines Park into a mobile home park. The same article named three individuals in that company after which streets in the area received their name.

1954 Article and Streets in the Haines Park Area

An article in the April 10, 1954 issue of The Gazette and Daily contained the headline “Firm Expanding Trailer Park Site.” Quoting that whole article:

Trailer park at old Haines race track being expanded by Eastland Realty company to accommodate 120 trailers.

Work was started this week by Eastland Realty company on expanding the trailer park on the site of the old Haines race track, Clayton Moul, Eastland president, announced yesterday. There are 25 trailers on the property now and facilities are being readied to accommodate about 120 eventually.

Moul said his firm has started construction of a 32 by 26-foot concrete block structure, part of which will house 10 metered automatic washers for use by trailer residents. The other section of the building will be an office. The building will be finished in a few weeks.

The center of the old race track has been graded for a large play area. “As far as I know this will be the only trailer park in the country with a large recreation center in the middle of it,” Moul commented.

Concrete patios also are being laid down for each trailer. He said the patios will be built “20 at a shot.” The old race track is being paved for a circular roadway.

The Eastland corporation purchased 55-acres of the Mahlon Haines tract last summer. A shopping center will be erected along some 600-feet of the property, which fronts Lincoln highway east or the 3000-block East Market street.

Only one business for the center has been announced. It is the Aero Oil company which bought a portion of frontage property several weeks ago for $18,000 and will erect a service station there. Moul said other prospective businesses for the center, which will cover two blocks, are being lined up but he would not reveal which they are.

The shopping center will be on either side of Mills street, a new thoroughfare to be cut through and which was named after Thomas C. Mills, Eastland secretary-treasurer. It will run south off the highway. Paralleling Mills street will be Moul street and Deardorff street which will run south off Eastern boulevard.

Deardorff street was named after George Deardorff, Eastland vice-president. The firm also plans to extend Eastern boulevard easterly to the end of its property line about 1,000 feet from Haines road.

In addition to the trailer park and shopping center, Moul said his firm plans a residential development in the tract but said details for the project still are incomplete.

By early summer of 1954, the first of the new Eastland homes were being constructed along Fifth Avenue extended and the plans were to develop 375 lots on their tract within four years. This was a shift of emphasis away from constructing an Eastland Shopping Center along both sides of Mill Street; likely because just down the Lincoln Highway, construction of the York County Shopping Center had already gotten underway.

The following August 11, 1971, Historic Aerial Photo from the York County Archives shows a few sections of the Haines Park track were still visible on that date. A Best Products store was built soon afterwards; located primarily on the infield of the former Haines Park. After Best Products closed, AAA moved their regional headquarters into that building.

August 11, 1971, Historic Aerial Photo from the York County Archives (Annotated by S. H. Smith, 2017)

Eastern Boulevard was expanded through the area of Haines Park in the mid to late 1960s. Actually many of the streets in that area were put in or widened within two years of the Fall 1968 opening of the York Mall; i.e. at present site of the Walmart Supercenter in Springettsbury Township.

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