York Town Square

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Whatever happened to York County’s Hungerford?

The Stewartstown Railroad, operational in 1885, helped businesses in villages along its path get their products to market in the way that an interstate helps grow businesses around its interchanges. Hungerford, south of Shrewsbury, was one such town. The railroad, operating as an excursion line, closed in 2004.Here, workers repair sections of track in recent years. Background posts: Often forgotten: Achievements of people named on building facades and Amanda Berry Smith: ‘God’s image carved in ebony’ and Check out these Stewartstown Railroad stories and photographs.

The southern York County borough of Shrewsbury long ago adopted the town of Railroad as its train station.
But it could have enjoyed a connection with the Northern Central Railway in its downtown… .

“Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, Then and Now” explains that when the Stewartstown Railroad was organizing in the 1880s, a favorable route through Shrewsbury could not be found. That probably means that Shrewsbury residents would not sell their land to the railroad at a favorable price.
So, the Stewartstown Railroad, seeking to connect its namesake borough to the Northern Central at New Freedom, chose a route south of Shrewsbury in Hungerford.
Shrewsbury had no station of its own but could get its product to the Northern Central – the busy north/south line connecting Baltimore, York and Harrisburg – two ways: via the villages of Hungerford or Railroad.
Hungerford is still there on the Susquehanna Trail, although Shrewsbury’s growth has absorbed it.
And people who grew up around there remember the village as a a standalone community. Indeed, at one time, it bustled. Hungerford played host to a well-known cannery, Chase Bronze and Copper Screen Cloth, the Anderson Feed plant and other businesses that used both the railroad and the highway to get their products to market.
Someone sought memories on this blog’s sister site, The Exchange, with the question: Whatever happened to Hungerford? (Feel free to give your memory.)
And consider this memory of that area provided a few years ago to the York Daily Record/Sunday News from 80-something Norman “Dutch” Kiser, then living in Lancaster County.

I attended Ruhl’s school, located along the “Old Trail” south of Hungerford in Shrewsbury.
All the schools were built about the same way. We had a 2- or 3- gallon wooden bucket for water. I carried water two blocks from Dickmeyer’s Garage to the school. Everyone drank out of the same bucket and we all used the same dipper. The bucket had no lid, and by the end of the day, the water was pretty stale.
Some of the teachers made the boys sit on one side and the girls on the other.
There was a large furnace up front, and if you sat up front, you were warm. If you were in the eighth grade, you had to sit in the back row and freeze. We had to wear our long underwear to school. When it got warm enough that we didn’t need our long underwear any more, then it was time for school to be out for the year. That was around the end of April.
PTA meetings were held in the school, and they used lanterns and lamps. There wasn’t any electricity.
My buddy and I got in so much trouble that our parents had to go to the school board meetings pretty often. Some people thought our parents were on the school board since they were at all the meetings.
I remember several of the boys tying the teacher to the flagpole. They left her there for recess and then they let her go. I can’t remember if I was one of them, but I’m pretty sure my brother, Don, was.
We had one teacher who thought her watch was broken. We had a clock without a glass face on it, and when the teacher wasn’t looking, we took a stick and pushed the hands up. That way we could usually get out of school 20 or 30 minutes early.
I traded my sandwiches to a farm boy for his bologna sandwiches. ( I usually had egg or maybe peanut butter and honey or jelly.)
One teacher let three or four boys go out to hunt for a Christmas tree. We left just after school began and got back just before it let out for the day.
In the fall when there was still a lot of fruit around, we would have what we called “fruit rolls.” We had a day that we would plan when everybody would bring some fruit to school. When the teacher turned her back to the room, somebody would give the signal and then everybody would roll their apple, pears and tomatoes toward the front of the room. Sometimes some of the boys didn’t roll them — they threw ’em. And sometimes they hit the teacher!