Melvin’s Drive-In, Lincoln Highway Ice Cream Bar; I-83 Opens
In my post Memories leading up to I-83 opening exactly 54-years ago on October 28th 1959 I wrote I was born in at house built by my Father and Grandfather along South Queen Street. The path of I-83 took that house, just as it took our favorite place to eat, Melvin’s Drive-In.
The aerial photo taken September 5, 1957 (shown in the left half of the Then & Now split-screen) was taken within three months of Melvin’s Drive-In being torn down. In November 1957, buildings in the path of the York Bypass part of I-83 were removed and massive earthmoving equipment immediately commenced their work. The ultimate result is the right half of the Then & Now split-screen we have today.
Pennsylvania Governor David Lawrence and Maryland Governor Millard Tawes attended two ceremonies on October 28, 1959. In the morning they opened a final short section of I-83 in Maryland and at Noon they opened the last section of the interstate to open; the six-miles of the York Bypass part of I-83, from the South Queen Street interchange to the North George Street interchange north of York. They touted the long awaited completion of the continuous, non-stop, limited access highway the whole way between Harrisburg and Baltimore.
Melvin’s began as a very popular Ice Cream Bar in 1945 along the busy Lincoln Highway. In 1950, Melvin L. Kauffman purchased 4-acres adjacent to his original lot; leading to the expansion as a Drive-In Restaurant. Melvin had plenty of room for further growth, at least until I-83 spelled the Drive-In’s demise in 1957.
The Lincoln Highway, conceived in 1913, was America’s first coast-to-coast highway. To finish out the Highways’ Centennial Year, I’ll continue to write Lincoln Highway associated posts throughout December. Previous related posts include:
- Identify these five girls at Melvin’s drive-in
- Lincoln Highway Centennial Auto Tour at Haines Shoe House
- York was in danger of losing the Lincoln Highway during 1914
- Walking the Lincoln Highway from Coast-to-Coast
- Haines Shoe House will be a June 23rd Lunch Stop on 100th Anniversary Lincoln Highway Auto Tour
- 20 York Businesses that Built the Haines Shoe House
- ROAD OF REMEMBRANCE Memorial in Paradise Township, York County
- Mystery Ice Cream Bar along the Lincoln Highway
- Proposed Extension of Elmwood Boulevard
- St. Joseph reports on John F. Kennedy in York, PA
- Lincoln Woods Inn; Mystery of the Medallions
- LoPiccolo’s in Violet Hill connection to The Woods in Springettsbury Township
- 1906 York Automobile Owners form York Motor Club; their Club House still stands
- Motels & Restaurants named via the Lincoln Highway; Lincoln View in Paradise Township, York County
- 23¢ per gallon at York’s Only Gasoline Shopping Center
- Square Deal Garage, the north end of Spry
- AMOCO Ashtrays & Square Deal Garage
- Neat Photo of House on the Move
Continue reading for more about Melvin’s Ice Cream Bar and Drive-In.
Last Monday I posted this photo of an Ice Cream Bar, located along the Lincoln Highway in York County. No one was able to identify the name and location of this Ice Cream Bar.
Under the Fictitious Name Act, businesses are required to register, with County and State Governments, the name of their establishment, while noting the name(s) of owner(s). On September 21, 1945, Melvin L. & Evelyn E. Kauffman make application for a business named Melvin’s Ice Cream Bar. This is a photo of Melvin’s Ice Cream Bar. The aerial photo taken September 5, 1957, shows the larger building size after several expansions.
Melvin Lewis Kauffman was born April 5, 1905 in East Berlin, Adams County, PA. His parents were Lewis and Annie Kauffman. In 1940, Melvin L. Kauffman is married to Evelyn, living in York, and is an accountant for the Telephone Company; per 1940 United States Census.
A wider view of this photo appears on page 77 of the book York Then and Now, published in conjunction with 250th Anniversary Celebration of York County in 1999. The caption begins, “Melvin’s Ice Cream Bar in 1939.” With the fictitious name application not coming until 1945, I believe 1939 is likely an error.
Four-acres of land, partly in Springettsbury Township and partly in Spring Garden Township, were purchased by Melvin & Evelyn Kauffman on July 21, 1950 (Deed Book 35M, Page 554). This land is adjacent to their original Ice Cream Bar lot along East Market Street in Springettsbury Township. The land deed noted that Melvin & Evelyn Kauffman resided a short distance away at 20 North Russell Street in Springettsbury Township.
The majority of this 4-acre land purchase is on the south and west side of Mill Creek; which is in Spring Garden Township. On the Springettsbury Township side of Mill Creek, the purchase includes a 60-foot wide addition to Market Street frontage and almost doubled parking on the north side of Mill Creek. The Kauffmans were planning ahead for expansion of their establishment. As a side note, the Then and Now aerial photos, at the beginning of this post, indicate that Mill Creek is significantly straightened with the construction of I-83.
When I was very young, I only remember Melvin’s for the ice cream, however eventually my favorite became Melvin’s Ham Bar-B-Q, with relish; all on a toasted bun. I understand that be it Ham, Pork or Beef, Melvin’s Bar-B-Q was cooked open pit style; maybe that is why it tasted so good.
After I-83 spelled the demise of Melvin’s in 1957, several years later Melvin’s reopened just off of East Market Street along the west side of Haines Road. I remember our family went there only a few times. The Bar-B-Qs did not have the same taste and the ambiance was gone. Melvin’s at this new location did not stay open very long. After the new Melvin’s closed, a Tire Dealership and a Car Wash moved in. The back end of Walgreen Drug Store and Wells Fargo Bank currently occupy the site of the new Melvin’s.
Melvin & Evelyn Kauffman retired to Florida. Melvin lived to the age of 84 and Evelyn lived to the age of 92. They are buried in Round Hill Cemetery at East Hopewell Presbyterian Church in York County.
I purchased the following old photo of Melvin’s some time ago on eBay for use in my Autobiography. The back of the photo is stamped “Raymond L. Wilhide, Jr., Photographer, R.D. 3, York, Penna.” Do any of my readers know the history of this photographer? My photo is a slightly wider view of the photo appearing on page 77 of the book York Then and Now, published in conjunction with 250th Anniversary Celebration of York County in 1999. Now you know where the base black & white images for my colorized photos came from.
The caption in York Then and Now states: “The stand was located on East Market Street, where Interstate 83 is located today. Front row, left to right, Howard Rohrbaugh, John Brenneman, Jr., Al Wildasin, Earl Warner. Back row, Bob Neiman, Bob Givens and Melvin Bond. Do any of my readers know any of these individuals? Can anyone identify the fourth person in the back row?Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts