York Town Square

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York County mystery building: Linked in with history stuff – Sept. 27, 2010

The historical society in Stewartstown received this photograph as a donation, according to Doug Winemiller, a leader of that group. The building was believed to be in Stewartstown because the small sign advertises ice cream made by George Trout, Stewartstown. “Mr Trout owned a store on the square of Stewartstown in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and did manufacture ice cream. This building is not in Stewartstown. We can find no record of Sechrist Electric Service, and the sign on the top of the building indicates that it was a meeting place for the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America. To the best of our knowledge, Stewartstown did not have a POS of A chapter. Can you give us any help? Some think it may be Red Lion or Felton, but we have not been able to confirm anything,” Winemiller wrote. Got ideas about the whereabouts of this building? Contact Doug Winemiller. (Readers ID its location in comments below.) Also of interest: Historic Stewartstown Railroad heading to the auction block? and Stewartstown Railroad: ‘Truly a unique entity in the state, and possibly, the nation’.

Neat stuff from all over … .
Betsy Shaw is a veteran researcher and volunteer at the York County Heritage Trust library. She wrote an intriguing piece for the recent scholarly journal published by the trust.
She recently wrote York Town Square with some information on hemp mills around York County, after hearing June Lloyd’s talk at a recent Second Saturday program on agriculture in York County.
One doesn’t necessarily think of hemp as a major York County crop, but why not? Remember Lancaster County has a Hempfield Township and school district.
Here are some of Betsy’s findings about hemp and hemp mills in York County… .

– Hazard’s Register: “Agriculture is carried on to a great extent, ,,, chiefly wheat, rye, corn, hemp, flax, tobacco, …. The articles of trade are iron, wheat flour, hemp, flax … .”
– Keith Dull, Early Families of York County: “In 1783, he [Johan Carl Diehl] had 2 houses, …, 1 grist mill, 1 saw mill, 1 hemp mill, and 2 stills.”
– John J. Stoudt. Sunbonnets and Shoofly Pie. “In 1810 … its neighbor York County had 108 gristmills, 101 sawmills, 20 hemp mills, …” Betsy commented: “I think that his number for hemp mills is high – it’s probably more like 9.”
– Henry Lee Fisher’s “Kurzweil un’ Zeitfertreib.” Betsy commented: “Fisher has a brief bit on harvesting “Schtickli Flachs” – which was NOT a favorite job of the young girls doing it. I think that the “prickly flax” probably is hemp. Hemp does have prickles – flax has none of consequence.”
“It would be interesting to figure out if these mills were crushing the hemp to separate the fibers from the woody parts of the plant, which is a special job,” Betsy wrote, “or if they were mainly functioning as oil mills to express oil from flax seed & hemp seed or any other oily seeds they might get their hands on.”
If you have additional information on hemp milling in York County, please contact Betsy Shaw. Betsy – Dr. Elizabeth A. Shaw – served as a research taxonomist and bibliographer in Harvard’s Herbaria from 1967-1994. So we’re looking forward to hearing more about her research into York County history in the future.
– Mills will gain a high profile in York County historical discussions when “Millers’ Tales” is published later this fall. York County Heritage Trust archivist Lila Fourhman-Shaull wrote the photo-filled book, which surveys York County’s milling past. Stay tuned for more details.
Recommended blog post: York County native and renowed artist Jeff Koons is raising money for The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. York County has a link to this worldwide problem, with its human trafficking cases.
Forum of the day: The first York-area McDonald’s opened on Route 30 in 1970, and has been joined by numerous fast food chains since then. A discussion with the opening of a new Sonic is here.

*An alert reader helped ID the location of the building. It’s in Dallastown.