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Hon. Daniel F. Lafean residence on northwest corner of West Market St. & Richland Ave. in York, PA (From Postcard Collections of S. H. Smith)

Keycard to Notables dining in Lafean Mansion near York Fairgrounds

Congressman Daniel Lafean entertained two United States Presidents and many other notables at his mansion on the northwest corner of West Market Street and Richland Avenue. A listing of the foremost visitors, including leading state and national politicians, was recorded on a dining room keycard.

Photo of Keys to Dining Room Set of Daniel Lafean; with keycard listing the foremost visitors to his mansion on the northwest corner of West Market Street and Richland Avenue, in York, PA. (Submitted by ClyTi Swartz)

ClyTi Swartz submitted photos of the Keys and Dining Room Set; which belonged to Daniel Lafean. Quoting from ClyTi’s e-mail: “My Mom and Dad purchased it [the dining room set] from Dr. Landis. He was married to Daniel Lafean’s daughter. When Mom and Dad went to look at the dining room set, it was on the third floor of a house on West Market Street along doctors row. I think it was the 400 block. Their [Dr. & Mrs. Landis] son had polio. They said they were getting rid of it because they were building a house with ramps to accommodate a wheel chair for their son. They decided that they would sell it because they didn’t know if when their son got older if he would be interested in it.”

“All the keys came with it in the drawer with the buffet; 4 small drawers w/1 key each, 2 long drawers w/1 key each, 2 doors w/1key each, and two china cabinets w/1 key each still in the doors. The table has 9-leafs to it. Mom was told that the chairs were originally covered with leather.”

ClyTi also had some questions that intrigued me, so I did a little family history research to sort out the provenance of this dining room set; with this neat keycard:

Photo of keycard listing the foremost visitors to the Daniel Lafean mansion on the northwest corner of West Market Street and Richland Avenue, in York, PA. (Submitted by ClyTi Swartz)

Census and civil records reveal that Daniel F. Lafean [1861-1922] was married to Emma B. Krone [1862-1933]. They had three sons: Stuart [1883-1958] who never married, Leroy [1887-1952] married to Harriet Robinson [1897-1977], and Robert [1892-1961] married to Josephine Ball [1892-1990].

Daniel and Emma Lafean did not have a daughter, so I searched for other possible Lafean family connections to Dr. Landis. A connection exists via a daughter-in-law of Daniel Lafean; i.e. Harriet Lefean, the wife of son Leroy Lafean. Harriet Lefean has a sister Eleanor who was married to Dr. W. Latimer S. Landes, who had home and offices at 454 West Market Street.

The likely provenance of the Lafean dining room set is thus: upon death of Daniel Lafean to his wife Emma in 1922, upon death of Emma Lafean to her son Leroy in 1933, upon death of Leroy Lafean to his wife Harriet in 1952, upon death of Harriet Lafean to her sister Eleanor Landes on September 10, 1977. Eleanor Landes died December 21, 1977; so I suspect sometime prior to December of 1977 is when the parents of ClyTi Swartz purchased the Daniel Lafean dining room set.

ClyTi Swartz submitted the following present photos of the buffet and one of the china cabinets. If any of my readers have interior photos of these inside the Daniel Lafean mansion, please send me an e-mail.

Present photo of dining room buffet, which was in Daniel Lafean mansion during the early 1900s, in York, PA (Submitted by ClyTi Swartz)
Present photo of dining room china cabinet (one of two), which was in Daniel Lafean mansion during the early 1900s, in York, PA (Submitted by ClyTi Swartz)

I attempted to answer the question; who wrote the names on the keycard? Per known handwriting samples, the keycard list appears to be started by Daniel Lafean; however it does appear to possibly be continued by someone else. I obtained the following handwriting samples for his wife and sons from Estate Files at the York County Archives; however I could only rule out Stuart Lafean.

Signatures of Daniel Franklin Lafean [1861-1922], his wife Emma [1862-1933], and their sons: Stuart [1883-1958], Leroy [1887-1952], and Robert [1892-1961] (SOURCE: Estate Files of Daniel, Stuart, Leroy and Robert at York County Archives, 150 Pleasant Acres Road, York, PA)

The Daniel F. Lafean mansion, on the northwest corner of West Market Street and Richland Avenue, was built for Lafean in 1892; when he was 31-years-old. The family rooms on the first floor included: the Parlor, Dining Room, Music Room, Library, Tower Room, and Breakfast Room. The back yard of the estate bordered the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1907, a private railroad station, attached to his carriage house, was erected for the Congressman’s use.

Hon. Daniel F. Lafean residence on northwest corner of West Market St. & Richland Ave. in York, PA (From Postcard Collections of S. H. Smith)

In 1936 there were plans to demolish the mansion of the late Daniel F. Lafean and build a theatre on the site. The theatre plans did not materialize, however in 1941, the residence was razed to make way for an American Oil Company gasoline service station on that corner. The Dispatch headlines on August 28, 1941 were: “Workmen Are Leveling D. F. Lafean Mansion; Former Show Place, Where Presidents Dined, Being Razed Today.”

Built in 1892 and razed in 1941; it does not seem right that such an impressive residence stood only 49-years. The service station that replaced the residence was demolished about 19 years-ago; standing about 60-years. The site is now a parking lot.

Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos and illustrations in this post.

Links to related posts include:

Daniel Lafean and York Fair of 100-Years-Ago
Daniel Lafean and the American Caramel Company, with links to Hershey’s Chocolate

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts

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