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US Naval Reserve building in Springettsbury Township

USNR Building under construction in Springettsbury Township (7/12/1947 dated photo in Collections of York County History Center)

Thanks to Larry Spangler for sending me a photo of an Eden Road building, utilizing three Quonset huts, with the e-mail subject line: “what’s the story with this building?” Ground was broken on April 28th 1947 for this United States Naval Reserve Training Center in Springettsbury Township. The building utilized three 40 x 100-foot Quonset huts facing Hively Road and connected at the front by a 20 x 148-foot assembly hall made of cinder blocks. This photo shows construction progress, as of July 12th 1947, on the southernmost Quonset hut and the front assembly hall.

The final clue in Sunday’s post, Identify the building with these steps,  was “Hively’s semi-circle times three.” Until 1960, Eden Road was known as Hively Road. The mystery structure was built utilizing three semi-circular shaped Quonset huts along Hively Road.

The 70-year-old structure still stands today along Eden Road, just north of the intersection with Sand Bank Road. The 15,000-square-foot building remains U. S. Government property, although it has been vacant in recent years.

Details how this facility was utilized

During 1947, the Quonset hut structure was built on a 6.9-acre plot northwest of the Naval Ordnance Plant in Springettsbury Township. The formal designation for the users of this facility was United States Naval Reserve Surface Division 4-60; providing surface ship training at this 60th Naval Reserve Division in the 4th Naval District.

York Naval Reserve Training Center is the title most often associated with this building in the first two decades of its use. As built, the structure housed 32-rooms, comprising: the assembly hall, meeting rooms, offices, a galley, lounges, locker rooms, training rooms, machine shops and a radio room. Later in its life, the building is also referred to as the USNR Community Building; when groups in addition to the Naval Reserve also held meetings in the assembly hall.

The fully equipped York Naval Reserve Training Center was initially occupied during late December of 1947. This photo shows the exterior of the building on November 24th 1947.

USNR Building in Springettsbury Township (11/24/1947 dated photo in Collections of York County History Center)

The mission of York Naval Reserve Division 4-60 was to provide trained units and qualified individuals to be available for active duty in time of national emergency to augment the regular component of the naval establishment. Division 4-60 was activated in July of 1946; a formality to get the training facility built along Hively Road. A newspaper article, in the November 22, 1957, issue of The Gazette and Daily, described historical events associated with the 10th anniversary of the York Naval Reserve unit that occupied the training facility. Quoting the early history of the unit, from that article:

The York Reserve unit was formed officially on Nov. 25, 1947, with first meetings held at York Post office. David R. Rehmeyer, New Freedom, was first commanding officer. Drills were moved soon to Malta Temple and then to the center built at the rear of the NOP on Hively Road.

Initially enlistment in the York Naval Reserve was open: to ex-servicemen of all branches, to men between 17 and 18 years old, and to non-veterans between 30 and 39 who meet physical and mental requirements. By mid-1948, enlistment was widened to men between the ages of 17 and 64, plus ex-WAVES. A sampling of training conducted at the York Naval Reserve Training Center included: class and shop training for machinists, mechanics, refrigeration and air conditioning, electricity, engineering and radio.

This is the 2016 view, that Larry Spangler sent me last fall, of the York Naval Reserve Center along Eden Road in Springettsbury Township. I’ve annotated and added my photo of the main entrance steps, marked with DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY, and pointed out the location of these main entrance steps.

USNR Building along Eden Road in Springettsbury Township (Upper 2016 Photo by Larry Spangler; Lower 2016 Photo by S. H. Smith)

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