York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Yorkblog leads to reverse publishing

Yorkblog.com features blog-only entries or stories and commentary from the York Daily Record/Sunday News.
A Veterans Day editorial in Friday’s newspaper touts a different twist. We cobbled material originally part of several “York Town Square” entries to form the core of the editorial. It was an early effort here in reverse publishing — writing for the Web and then repurposing that material for the newspaper.
These are early steps into the future, not that we’re sweating the present. York Daily Record/Sunday News circulation was solid on weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays, according to the last audited period.
Our blog-entries-turned-into-editorial …

In one corner of York’s Continental Square, a handsome monument to World War II veterans signals the sacrifices of thousands of York County men and women.
These sacrifices occurred on the war front — and home front.
But today — the 60th Veterans Day since the end of World War II — is prime time to pause to reflect about or go visit several forgotten York-area memorials to those who served:
Standing in the shadow: Right about in the middle of York’s Penn Park rests a beautiful monument unveiled by American War Mothers on Veterans Day, 1946.
Gold, Silver and Blue Star mothers participated in unveiling the 6-foot-high monument. In World War II, Gold Stars hung in windows of families who had a member killed in action. Blue Stars were awarded to families with a member in the service. Silver Stars were granted to families with a member who showed gallantry in action.
The little-known monument doesn’t even rate as Penn Park’s best-known marker. The towering Soldiers and Sailors Monument steals the show.
Long-forgotten merriment: During the war, the now-demolished York County Academy building served as USO headquarters in the York area. The USO served as a home away from home for more than 100,000 men and women in uniform.
The Pennsylvania Dutch Canteen, where servicemen met for food and companionship with USO hostesses, was located in a still-standing gym in the rear of a parking lot across from St. John’s Episcopal Church on North Beaver Street. Couples danced on the old gym floor, and in nice weather, they hoofed it on a nearby outdoor floor.
Pennsylvania Dutch symbols covered the gym’s wall. The gym’s often-closed doors hide the colorful drawings that remain as visible as when the canteen closed 60 years ago. Some have been wiped away by deteriorating walls.
The old gym is now used for storage and is not open to the public. But even a windshield tour gives an idea of this quaint place from the past.
It’s amazing how few York countians remember it as the Pennsylvania Dutch Canteen — a place that bucked up the morale of thousands in uniform.
Standing tall and narrow: Ask any York County audience about the current location of “The Little Courthouse” or “Victory House,” and they’ll pause and say, “Farquhar Park,” or “near Kiwanis Lake.”
Well, the 1½-story replica of the Colonial Courthouse — county courthouse No. 1 of 4 — hasn’t rested in the park for years.
The replica was used for bond sales in York’s Continental Square in both world wars. It was retired to a spot near Kiwanis Lake after each war. In many minds, its location there is frozen in time.
But the deteriorating structure, under the custody of Historic York, went into rehab before it found its current, perhaps permanent, home.
To see it, go to Zion View in Conewago Township on the Susquehanna Trail. Head northwest on Copenhaver Road, and before long you’ll see the Meadows Pet Resort ahead.
Turn right on Butter Road just south of the resort, and you’ll see the replica sitting tall and narrow in a field. Just drive by slowly and soak it in.
A meaningful way to observe this Veterans Day and weekend is to visit these overlooked markers — and the other memorials to veterans often found near the center of towns throughout York and Adams counties.
Remember that the sacrifices of our vets have given us the freedom to go on such a tour in the first place.