York Town Square

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Red Lion cigar factory goes on the block, Booger Hollow Stogies and all

Red Lion’s Van Slyke and Horton cigar factory, believed to be York County’s last functioning cigarmaker, auctioned off everything this week. Even cigar bands, with weird names. ‘Booger Hollow Stogy,’ one visitor said. ‘That sounds pretty good to me.’ Also of interest: Cigarmaking Red Lion on top of York County and Kaltreider Library draws name from noted Red Lion cigarmaker and York County cigars: ‘They contained a vast amount of nicotine’

It has been suggested that Red Lion was so named because it produced a lion’s share of America’s cigars in the first 25 years of the 20th century.
One estimate from “Red Lion, The First One Hundred Years,” places it at one eight of all U.S. cigars. At one time, 150 factories operated in Red Lion.
Actually, Red Lion was named after an early tavern. But you get the point… .

And the end of a cigarmaking era came recently with the closing of presumably the last cigar factory in York County – the Van Slyke and Horton factory on South Pine Street.
Here’s a brief summary from the Red Lion history of cigarmaking’s impact on the borough:

“It has been said that Red Lion has been built “with cigars” and indeed Red Lion owes its early growth and prosperity to its Cigar Manufacturing Industry. The name of “Red Lion” for years suggested to millions of people CIGARS – good, honest, five-cent cigars. Thousands of wage-earners found employment in the tobacco, box-making or cigar industry of Red Lion.”

Visitors check out the auction items at Van Slyke and Horton.
Also of interest:

York County’s cigarmaking days: ‘I remember that people stripped tobacco in their pantries’

It couldn’t happen in York County? Women were trampled in Depression-era labor unrest.
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