Campaign Signs on Little Barn Created Problems
Oversized campaign signs on this little barn created problems prior to the election primary of 1977. This little barn sits on the south side of Industrial Highway in Springettsbury Township; where the highway bridges a stream that flows into Mill Creek. The location is about midway between Memory Lane and North Hills Road. If you are reading this on the Ydr.com site, click on this LINK for a Full View of the illustrations in this post on the original YorkBlog site; since the ydr.com site will occasionally cut off important details in the cropping of illustrations.
In 1977, the owner of this barn, William T. Rinehart, was notified by the Springettsbury Township Zoning Officer, Reynold W. Schriver, that two oversized campaign signs, placed on the barn, were in violation of township zoning regulations. The signs promoted the candidacy of Attorney Gerald E. Ruth for judge of York County Court of Common Pleas, as shown a photo that appeared in the April 25, 1977 issue of the York Daily Record.
Attorney Ruth filed for a variance to “legalize” the oversized 6-feet by 12-feet signs on the east and west ends of Rinehart’s barn. Ruth, in his application, stated, “The signs will promote public interest in the election of public officials, and spur interest in the American right to participate in elections.” Ruth was also seeking to keep the signs in place if he moved onto the general election.
The Springettsbury Township Planning Commission and the Springettsbury Township Zoning Hearing Board considered the application for the variance and ultimately decided the oversized sign represented an unauthorized advertising billboard. Attorney Ruth did get free-publicity as result of the issue with these signs, and was on the ballot for the general election; where he ultimately lost to Judge Emanuel A. Cassimatis.
This little barn has always intrigued me. I looked at historic aerial photos and did a deed search to discover a few facts about its history. Aerial photos indicate the little barn definitely goes back to at least 1957; however very likely earlier. On May 14, 1971, William T. Rinehart purchased land, which the barn property was a part thereof, from Gladyce R. Wennerstrom, widow, of Springettsbury Township (Deed Book 64D, Page 858). Within that deed it was noted:
It being the same premises which Anna E. Longstreet and Mary K. Wallace (formerly Mary K. Longstreet), Surviving Trustees under the Will of John H. Longstreet, deceased, by their deed dated June 14th, 1955 and recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for York County, Pennsylvania, granted and conveyed unto Arthur K. Wennerstrom and Gladyce R. Wennerstrom, his wife; in Deed Book 41-B, page 271.
In 1903, John H. Longstreet acquired a large tract of land, that generally extends along the following streets of today: east of I-83 then along East Market Street, East Philadelphia Street and Wallace Street; including crossing streets up to Royal Street. This tract is historically known as the old “Keesey Tract.”
Longstreet established the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Company to develop this whole area, known today as Old East York in Springettsbury Township. The building lots started at 25-feet by 120-feet. The lots were fully improved with cement walks, curbs, macadamized streets, and sanitary sewer. These completely improved lots were selling for $350; per a full-page ad in the October 23, 1920 issue of The Gazette and Daily.
Historic aerial photos indicate the little barn is located to the rear of Lot No. 343 in Longstreet’s plan for his development. In Longstreet’s plan, the property the barn is on has not been laid out as a building lot; therefore it likely remained the property of John H. Longstreet until his death, which is consistent with the wording in Deed Book 64D, Page 858.Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts