Lafean and York Fair of 100-Years-Ago
It was business as usual when Daniel F. Lafean hosted Pennsylvania Governor Martin G. Brumbaugh at his residence during the governor’s visit to the 1916 York Fair. Lafean was a politician, banker and manufacturer. His vast York residence was located on the northwest corner of West Market Street and Richland Avenue. Lafean entertained a host of leading state and national politicians at this residence, including two presidents; Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.
Daniel Lafean was born in York and gained his initial wealth while engaged in the candy making trade. Mr. Lafean was the initial President of the American Caramel Company; the largest caramel manufacturer in the states with over 90 percent of the market and the company also enjoyed a large foreign trade. While in the candy business, he branched out into banking and became involved in local politics. In 1903, he began the first of six terms as a member of Congress. In 1917, he was appointed Commissioner of Banking for the State of Pennsylvania. Lafean was also involved with various other business interests in York, the last of which was the Keystone Color Works; co-founded by him in 1919 and where he served as its president until his death in 1922.
Pennsylvania Governor Martin G. Brumbaugh’s visit to the York Fair in 1916
In 1916, the York Fair was held in October and ran five days. This newspaper advertisement announces the York Fair will be held October 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6; i.e. Monday through Friday during 1916. I can understand why no fair was held on the Sabbath, however I’m puzzled why Saturday was not selected among the five days?
The admission price to the fairgrounds was 25-cents in 1916. An article in The York Daily of October 5th reported on the happenings at the Fair on Wednesday October 4th 1916. Quoting the headlines, sub-headlines and initial paragraphs from that article.
40,000 ATTEND THE YORK FAIR. Governor M. G. Brumbaugh mingles with big Wednesday crowd. LION ATTACKS TRAINER. Prof. Yella bitten on Hand—Aggregate of 14,501 Entries on Grounds, Secretary Reports—Gypsies Ousted. Thrilling Balloon Ascensions.
Governor Martin G. Brumbaugh honored the sixty-third annual exhibitions of the York County Agricultural Society with a visit yesterday afternoon. With his wife and Mr. and Mrs. Louis J. Kolb, of Philadelphia, Governor Brumbaugh motored from Harrisburg to this city arriving here early in the afternoon as the guests of Congressman and Mrs. Daniel F. Lafean. The visitors were entertained at luncheon at the home of Congressman and Mrs. Lafean, after which the entire party visited the fair. They were received by Senator Harry Wasbers, David F. Stauffer, Harry P. Weiser and Joseph Anderson, members of the board of managers of the York County Agricultural Society, who had been named by the managers as a reception committee. There was a brief visit to the Republician headquarters on the fair grounds. The governor’s party then motored to the speed ring. The ring was encircled once, the party entering the quarter stretch and crossed to the grandstand.
While the automobiles containing the party were encircling the track, Farson’s Fourth Regiment Band played patriotic airs and the 7,000 people on the grandstand and bleachers were on their feet cheering. When Governor Brumbaugh and his party alighted from their cars and walked across the track to the grandstand the band played “His Mother and Father Were Irish.” The crowd now mingled its cheers and plaudits with laughter in which the governor joined heartily. As the visitors and their escort entered the grandstand and were ushered to their seats, Wallace’s Famous Singing Orchestra rendered, “Hail! Hail! The Gang’s all Here.” The applause was now deafening.
Governor Brumbaugh, his fellow visitors and his host and hostess witnessed the afternoon’s racing program and the vaudeville offerings. It was 3 p.m. when the executive visited the fair. The party left the grandstand at 5 p.m. and motored to Congressman Lafean’s home where they were guests at dinner.
At 9 o’clock last evening the governor and the members of his party returned to Harrisburg. Before leaving the city Governor Brumbaugh said that he especially enjoyed his visit to horticultural hall on the fair grounds. He also commented favorably on the other exhibits and expressed himself as being greatly pleased with his visit to York.
The Lafean residence, on the northwest corner of West Market Street and Richland Avenue
The Daniel F. Lafean residence, on the northwest corner of West Market Street and Richland Avenue, was built for Lafean in 1892; when he was 31-years-old. 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. This northwest view of his residence is from a postcard, imprinted with “Residence of Congressman D. F. Lafean, York, Pa.”
A black and white view of the Lafean residence appears in “YORK” by Shelden Company, Inc. and published in Philadelphia in 1904. While the view in the 1904 publication has some editing, it does appear to come directly from the photo used to create the colorized postcard. This postcard likely dates to the earliest years of Lafean’s congressional career, i.e. circa 1903.
Congressman Lafean arranged for then President Theodore Roosevelt to visit the York Fair in 1906. In addition, Daniel Lafean “entertained Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, former presidents of the United States,” on occasions at his residence; per recollections of his son Stuart B. Lafean. I assume the use of “former presidents” in the statement, indicates this was after Roosevelt and Taft had left office; which was 1909 for Roosevelt and 1913 for Taft.
Besides previously mentioned American Caramel Company and Keystone Color Works, Lafean was one of the founders of the York Silk Manufacturing Company in 1899, where he served as president. At the time of his death in 1922, he was president and treasurer of the Keystone Color Works; treasurer of wallpaper manufacturers York Card and Paper Company; president of the York Telephone Company; member of the boards of directors of the York Railways Company and the Hoover Wagon Company; and president of the Royal Fire Company, an office he held since its organization.
In 1936 there were plans to demolish the residence 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.
Built in 1892 and razed in 1941; it does not seem right that such a residence stood only 49-years. The service station that replaced the residence was demolished about 15-years ago. The site is now a parking lot.
Related links include:
- Keycard to Notables dining in Lafean Mansion near York Fairgrounds
- American Caramel Company
- Keystone Color Works
- York Card & Paper Company
- York Railways Company
- Hoover Wagon Company
- 75 Years Ago, Joe Bury sells Four and a Half TONS of Hamburgers at the York Fair
- YORK FAIR Finger Ring Mementos crafted by The Mighty Atom
- Cliff Satterthwaite artwork drawn at YORK FAIR
- Bingo Banned at YORK FAIR; Cliff Satterthwaite explains his Artwork
- Numbers Game at the YORK FAIR
- Animals Run Wild at YORK FAIR
- Birds Eye View of Original York Fairgrounds Site
- York Fair Grounds Particulars from 1877
- Freedom Train within the York Fairgrounds
- College Football Games were played on the York Fairgrounds during the York Fair