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Big and small cigarmakers packed tiny Windsor – The boroughs of York County series, No. 15

Workers at Windsor borough’s Herbert Smith Cigar Co. are using cigar rolling machines in this 1951 photograph. Not so many years before, the many factories in Windsor and elsewhere in York County, Pa., rolled by hand. Windsor borough, formerly Windsorville, was built around the making of such cigars. Maybe someone knows this. Notice that most of the women are wearing glasses. Are those for safety or was it just running speed in this day before contact lenses? The H.L. Smith Cigar Factory operated between 1922 and 1958. Also of interest: Windsor: Home of ‘stately old houses that may appear to be miniature castles’.

That’s Herbert Smith, 4th from left on the back row, in this 1951 photo. Ethan Harrold, back row, left, also is seen standing in the top photo. His wife, Doris, is sixth from left in the first row of the group photo. Ethan Harrold’s name was on the back of both photos, which came from the camera of Fallon-Winters of Harrisburg. Also of interest: York County cigarmakers knew about high nicotine content 100 years ago.

Windsor is a tiny borough sized geographically at .5 square miles or 356 acres. But 100 years ago, it was packed with cigar factories, the impetus for its incorporation in 1905.

Those years marked the apex of cigarmaking in York County.

Windsor was close to its much bigger brother, Red Lion, the epicenter of cigarmaking in York County. So you can say that Windsor is just east of ground zero in the making of cigars.

Further, trolleys ran through the little borough, providing transportation and shipping.

A good road connected Windsor with Red Lion to the west and the Susquehanna River region to the east.

Quotable: The 100-year anniversary book, ‘Windsor Borough, The First One Hundred Years,’ explains the origin of Windsor, formerly part of Windsor Township: “With the emergence of the cigar making industry, a village developed around Michael Anstine’s Store. Thus Windsorville had a beginning and by the early part of the 20th century residents of Windsorville were considering the need for their own Government.” The book devotes more than 30 pages to cigarmaking. In addition to profiling the big rollers, the book includes a list of more than 50 cigarmakers that operated in Windsor, but little is known about them.

Other info about Windsor:

Founded: 1905

Size: .5 miles

Population:  2000 population: 1,331; 2010 population: 1,319.

Hemmed in: The centennial book gives an indication for why the borough stayed small. “The town proper is situated between two hills that are not far enough apart to leave sufficient space for two rows of dwellings with the required ground for stable purposes and a wide street.”

The people:  Samantha Harrold, who provided the photos above, also gave insight of a couple of those who worked at Smith’s Cigars: “Ethan Harrold is my grandfather and Doris Harrold is my grandmother, she is in the group shot too. Both have passed away… . They were married for more than 60 years and they truly loved one another.” They lived in Windsor, close enough to the cigar factory to walk to it.

Sam said she has never met a “more enduring couple” than them.

To learn more: ‘Windsor Borough, 1905-2005’ is available in York County libraries.

Also of interest: Check out other posts in the boroughs of York County series.

windsorCheck out more about the people of Windsor borough at YDR.com’s U.S. Census page. And here’s a map of the borough.

Sources: Sources: Other YorkTownSquare.com posts, ‘Gazetteer of York and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania.’ Photo, York Daily Record/Sunday News.