York Town Square

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When BAE was known as BMY – Bowen & McLaughlin York: Linked in with neat history stuff

A York Chamber of Commerce publication in 1950 touted its role in bringing defense contractor Bowen & McLaughlin to York. That company and others – Lyon Metal Products, Cathy Suit Company, Nelly Ann Dress Co. and Masell Manufacturing – helped soak up post-World War II unemployment, according to “The Record of the York Chamber of Commerce in the First Half of the Twentieth Century.” Bowen & McLaughlin, now BAE, continues to undertake military work in its sprawling complex in West Manchester Township. Also of interest: York County’s BAE links BMY and Bofors and battered vehicles in Bair and Jeep prototype has York County WWII roots and All Made in York posts from the start.

Other neat stuff from all over … .

Harold N. Fitzkee Jr. served as York County’s public defender in York’s race riot era of the late 1960s.
He thus represented Gazette and Daily journalists – on the scene of the riots and just doing their jobs – who were arrested by over-eager police.
By 1970, Fitzkee had become York County district attorney.
“The Gazette, thus, lost its advocate in court,” I wrote in a local newspaper history in 1996. “But after J.W. Gitt retired The Gazette and Daily’s name in 1970, Fitzkee renewed his connection with the newspaper. He now owned it.”
Fitzkee brought two investors with him: Elmer M. Morris and Wentworth D. Vedder… .

This was the three-year period in which the newspaper, now known as the York Daily Record, was owned by “the lawyers.”
This was an interesting era, potentially a throwback to the political journalism of the 1800s when a major office holder – a district attorney and a leading Democrat, in Fitzkee’s case – would own the local newspaper. Indeed, the lawyers’ ownership could have continued Gitt’s controversial tradition of personal journalism for the past 55 years. In that brand of journalism, an owner secured a newspaper to promote his particular political idealogy.
This moment comes to mind with the death last week of Vedder. His obituary brings to light another interesting fact about his long career.
He was a founding partner of Susquehanna Memorial Gardens and other cemeteries.
In my newspaper history, I observed that the York Daily Record, under the lawyers, actually softened the leftist political edge that characterized Gitt’s Gazette in its news columns and editorial pages. They ended personal journalism at The Gazette and Daily/York Daily Record.
Gitt noticed the change and let Fitzkee know he was distressed the first day a Daily Record turned off the press.
Fitzkee discussed the changes with Josh Gitt, J.W.’s son.
Josh Gitt told Fitzkee, ” Don’t worry about it. I’m only surprised it took this long. He just can’t live without his newspaper.”
– Most-visited post, year-to-date, York Town Square blog: Witman murder among York County’s most notorious crimes. No. 2 most visited: Availability of microfilm an oft-posed question.
– Blog post of the day: See photo/link to a rite of fall in York County – apple-butter making – at Joan Concilio’s Only York blog.
– Forum of the day, on The Exchange: Numerous famous people are linked to Dover area. Can you name some of them?

York Daily Record/Sunday News photographer Paul Kuehnel captured this scene on video at a recent York County Heritage Trust celebration of the anniversary of the Articles of Confederation.
York Chamber of Commerce publication courtesy of Joe Stein.