These Places Matter in Springettsbury Township
The north side of East Market Street, between Mt. Zion Road and the entrance to Springetts Manor Apartments contains three properties on Springettsbury Township’s List of Most Historically Significant Properties. Green space, buffering Springetts Manor Apartments, is behind the residences and businesses lining the east side of Mt. Zion Road from Market Street north to Eisenhower Drive.
Zoning change discussions for this whole area, shown by a dotted line on the Bird’s Eye View are slated to be on the agenda for the Springettsbury Township Board of Supervisors Meeting on May 28th. A zoning change is a necessary precursor to development that could demolish three historically significant properties and change green space to gray space.
This article focuses on one of the historic properties. Bloomingdale is both identified as the general area and as the large home at 3405 East Market Street. According to research by Historic York, 3405 East Market Street was built in 1887, per tax records; possibly in place of an original building indicated on Shearer’s 1860 map. The elaborate 2-1/2-story structure is built on a stone foundation and is covered with weatherboards.
After owner John A. Weiser died on September 20, 1889; his brother Charles S. Weiser (1838-1909) becomes the new owner of this property until his death in 1909. George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County notes in Volume I, page 1071: “Among the beautiful homes in Springettsbury are … Blooming Dale, owned by Charles S. Weiser.” Mrs. Charles Weiser regularly held Daughters of the American Revolution meetings at Bloomingdale. The following photo shows an early-1900s view of the west side of 3405 East Market Street.
Charles S. Weiser was in the lumber business and was a banker. Charles served as the acting Postmaster of York for a year in 1891. A few of his other interests included: director of the York County National Bank, treasurer of the York Water Company, a director of the York County Academy, a trustee of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, vice president of the Children’s Home of York and a director of the York & Susquehanna Turnpike Company; which is now Route 462 between York and Wrightsville. Charles S. Weiser was one of Springettsbury’s most prominent residents when the Township was established in 1891.
“Bloomingdale” is noted in the front steps of stonewall fronting 3405 East Market Street. When the State widened East Market Street, they did not fully widen that section. The reason, the State does not touch stonewalls, because they might be historic.
In 1913, Charles’ widow, Isadora Weiser deeds the properties at 3323 and 3405 East Market Street to Mary Weiser Frey, who had previously married Robert Shaeffer Frey in 1905. Attorney Robert “Pappy” Frey was admitted to the York County Bar in 1904. He served as Prothonotary for York County and was a State Representative. At the time of his death, he was director of the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau.
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Frey (1883-1946) and then the widow Mary Weiser Frey (1882-1967) owned these properties at 3323 and 3405 East Market Street for over 60-years. Marysue Frey Couser grew up in the house at 3405 East Market Street. She now lives in Waterford, Virginia and provided these memories.
“You have all seen the outside of Bloomingdale. Let me tell you something about the inside. When you walk up the front porch steps to the front door, which is surrounded by leaded glass, you open it to reveal a wide hallway. On the left is the living room with a fireplace. Next to the fireplace is a built-in bookcase with two stained glass windows hidden behind it. To the right of the hall is the dining room that also has a fireplace and a beautiful built-in corner cupboard.”
“At the back of the hall is the stairway to the second floor; above the landing are two more stained glass windows. Upstairs are three bedrooms and two baths. The floors have wide boards. There is a small room on the second floor that long ago used to be a kitchen when I was little. During WWII they used to have blackouts. My mother and I were in this little kitchen one night when you had to have all the lights out. She lit a cigarette and I was sure the bad guys up in the sky would see it and we would be in big trouble.”
“An apartment on the second floor was where my grandmother, Mary Weiser Frey, lived. It had the same floor plan as a downstairs apartment at the rear of the house, with one exception. In her bedroom you would access one of the bedrooms in our part of the house. Every morning she would come over to see us and say “Good Morning”. I thought her name was “Morning”. So, all the grandchildren called her by that name, “Morning”.”
“My brother, sister and I have all chosen to live in old houses; my brother in a house on Old Orchard Road in Springettsbury Township, my sister in an old restored town library in Connecticut and I who live in Waterford, VA; an old town where all the houses are on the National Register. As you can see, growing up in an old house has definitely impacted the way we chose to live our lives.”
Terrence Downs took this photo of a stained glass window, one of which is on both sides of the front door as seen from Market Street. Terry is pretty certain these are John Rudy stained glass windows and from Marysue’s comments the house contains many more. Her brother, Rob Frey, Jr. provided these memories.
“My homestead is a special place; like most homes where you grow up. But the old house at 3405 Lincoln Highway was named “Bloomingdale” by my great grandfather Charles Weiser. It is truly a special landmark. I never realized how different it was until I got a little older. When people asked where I lived, I’d say right across from the Paddock…and they knew the place. The big white house! It does stand out. It is beautiful, unique and historic. It was special place then and it remains so today.”
“The front entry way is special. The door is rather large and the windows (lights) surrounding it are clear leaded glass. The larger pieces of glass are beveled on each edge. I remember, how I would look through the bevels and see the colorful prism rainbow distort my view to the street.”
“But the best feature on the second floor was a door that lead to my grandmother’s (Mary Weiser Frey) apartment. It was a complete two-bedroom apartment. It is still there. And when I got married, my wife Sally and I along with our first son Rob Frey III, lived in that same second floor apartment for several years until I was transferred with my job.”
“The house is full of history, as are most family homes. But this house has generations of family history that lived 150 years ago. It’s part of York County history. It’s part of the community. It’s part of Springettsbury Township.”
The Colonial Revival House, “Bloomingdale”, at 3405 East Market Street has been on list of the most historically significant structures in Springettsbury Township ever since the first list was issued in 2001. It is a house that deserves to be preserved. Does this place or green space matter to you? If so, you may want to attend the Board of Supervisors Meeting at 7:00 p.m. on May 28th and voice your concerns during public comment at the beginning of the meeting.
Related posts include:
- Bloomingdale, a Remarkable Historic Home
- The WEISER Sign in the Attic
- The Modernaire Motel, A Classic on The Lincoln Highway
- Builders of the Modernaire Motel
- Lost Landmark?
- Springettsbury Township does not need a Shopping Center at a Busy Intersection
- Letter to the Editor got Results in Springettsbury Township
- Rezoning Effort continues along Market Street and Mount Zion Corridor