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20 questions and answers to prove your York County, Pa., smarts

valencian44189629010_1438137_5523For years, the ornate Valencia Ballroom has been used for a variety of functions, including weddings and wedding receptions. Sidney Poitier, for example, was the guest speaker of The Junior League of York’s “In The Spotlight” Speaker Series. For more on the Valencia, see below. Background posts: Original WSBA station hands mic to demolition team and Valencia Ballroom became cool place during Depression.

You’re sitting in the living room surrounded by visiting loved ones.
And the talk perhaps turns to York County, its strengths, weakness and befuddling quirks.
And you want to show your smarts about this complex, often perplexing county, which boasts of a bottomless fund of history.
So began my most recent York Sunday News column:
So to help you strut your intelligence, we continue what we started last Christmas and come up with another 20 questions for you to pose (search on this blog for additional details) … .

Q. The annual New York Wire Cloth steam whistleconcert is planned at 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 25. When were York-area residents first serenaded with that haunting, handsaw-like sound?
A. Music teacher Karl Alex Smyser commenced playing the whistle – reportedly the world’s loudest music without amplification from a non-musical instrument – in the 1920s. To hear a sound byte, go http://www.lyhr.org.
Q. Dover’s John Kuhn is the most recent local player making the pros with the Green Bay Packers. Can you name the former local athlete who became a fixture in the Miami Dolphins backfield for 10 seasons?
A. Woody Bennett’s many accomplishments included playing in Superbowl XIX.
Q. Can you name the most recent eight York mayors, in order, starting with John L. Snyder, elected since 1962?
A. After Snyder came Jesse M. Gross, Eli Eichelberger, John D. Krout, Elizabeth M. Marshall, William J. Althaus, Charlie Robertson and John Brenner.
Q. Can you name the woman, recently deceased, who came to York in 1958 as YWCA executive director and then led a lifetime of service, including a stint on the York City School Board?
A. AAUW cited Edith Barber as one of York’s foremost 20th-century female achievers in its 1984 publication: “Legacies.”
Q. Veterans Memorial Bridge is expected to receive a makeover with new lighting. Six bridges have spanned the Susquehanna River in that vicinity. Where does this multi-arched span rank on that list?
A. The bridge, completed in 1930, is the fifth to be constructed, about 40 years older than its Wright’s Ferry (Route 30) counterpart.
Q. Can you name the Dover product who won a gold medal in canoeing competition in the 1992 Olympics?
A. Scott Strausbaugh and teammate Joe Jacobi of Bethesda, Md., medaled in men’s canoeing whitewater doubles in Seu d’Urbell, Spain.
Q. What did York County physician George Holtzapple do in 1885 to earn his place in history?
A. Dr. Holtzapple Dr. Holtzapple became the first physician to publish on the use of oxygen to treat pneumonia with an appropriate explanation of such a procedure. He did so to inform physicians in small towns about the therapy.
Q. Can you name two things that Peter Wiest, department store founder, and Adam Wolf, who founded the building supply business, have in common?
A. Both started their respective businesses in 1843 – Wiest in Dover and Wolf in Mount Wolf. For years, Wolf’s descendants operated The Wolf Organization from Wiest’s former York store.
Q. What makes York’s Hartman Building, where Futer Bros. Jewelers operated for years, historically significant?
A. For decades after its construction in 1850, this “skyscraper” stood as York’s tallest building. In the 1960s, the six-story structure was chopped down to three.
Q. Can you name the award-winning bluegrass music performer who hails from York County?
A.Del McCoury, who says he was born on the family farm in the Pidgeon Hills, and his Grammy Award-winning band are touted in some press reports for their “hip” image in the world of bluegrass.
Q. This York County veterinarian helped move threatened prize horses from the former Czechoslovakia to American control during World War II. Who was the vet and how are the horses known today?
A. York vet Harold Neibert helped save about 40 horses whose descendants today perform as the World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions.
Q. What did West Manchester’s Highland Park, Dover’s Brookside Park and Manchester’s Cold Springs Park have in common?
A. Trolley companies operated these turn-of-the-20th-century amusement parks to boost business during off-peak times when workers, their core customers, did not ride. Only Brookside Park operates as a park today.
Q. What foundational document did the Continental Congress vote on 230 years ago in York?
A. Congress adopted – not ratified as is often stated – the Articles of Confederation, forerunner of the U.S. Constitution. It was sent out from York to the 13 states for ratification. The document did not formally become law until 1781, when holdout Maryland ratified it.
Q. The original WSBA radio building was recently demolished to make way for a business center. Where was it located?
A. WSBA built its station on the Susquehanna Trail in Manchester Township in 1942. Many Yorkers remember it because entertainers used its studio in the early days of live radio. WSBA perhaps stands for Susquehanna Broadcasting Authority, or the FCC would have arbitrarily assigned those call letters.
Q. The Valencia in York was known as a cool place for reasons other than its national acts in the 1930s. Why?
A. Summer dancing in 1931 came with air conditioning. “This, we believe, was the first air-conditioned ballroom in America,” a Valencia history states.
Q. In the late 1990s, the Stony Brook area of York County lost more than its drive-in and movie theaters. What else was demolished?
A. The appearance of the village changed in 1998 when workers demolished the rusted humpback bridge spanning railroad tracks for about 60 years.
Q. Who are the two signers of the Declaration of Independence buried in York County?
A. York’s own James Smith was laid to rest in what is now First Presbyterian Church’s cemetery. Philip Livingston , a visiting New York delegate, died in office while serving in the Continental Congress and is buried today in Prospect Hill Cemetery.
Q. Fire recently damaged the long-closed York Valley Inn along 462 in Springettsbury Township. Where is the original York Valley Inn located today?
A. In the 1960s, it was dismantled on its 200-year-plus site near today’s Springettsbury Township Wal-Mart and later moved to Susquehanna Memorial Gardens in York Township. The cemetery uses it as an office.
Q. A relocated Helen Thackston Park would join borders with Martin Luther King Jr. Park. What historic building sits in the corner of MLK Park?
A. That privately owned stone structure is the Cookes House, reported abode of pamphleteer Tom Paine during Congress’ visit to York in 1777-78.
Q. What group annually stretch their vocal cords in a stroll around town starting at 11 p.m. Christmas Eve and lasting all night?
A. The Glen Rock Carolers will celebrate their 160th anniversary this year.
Two tie-breakers – community-shaping controversies that promise prolonged discussion – are probed at length at:
· Is York really the first capital of the United States?
· Should York’s fathers have surrendered the town to the invading Confederates in 1863?

For further York County questions and answers, see A short test of your York black history knowledge.