York Town Square

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Orange Car on York’s Roosevelt Avenue: Workers sometimes shoveled fruit out of box cars

The Orange Car’s name, seller of fresh fruit, has been on the former Western Maryland railroad station, since 1938. Background posts: Collector searching for Western Maryland Railroad memorabilia and Jackson Township, Arm & Hammer’s proposed new home, again in the middle of things and York County railroading: ‘Something that gets into your blood’.
Dick Boyd writes in his memoir “The Bridge” about an oft-repeated experience growing up in York County.

“Christmas festivities were held at my grandparents Glen Rock farm and were always very special. One aunt was single and lived there. Each Christmas, she brough us candy, oranges, tangerines, and nuts. … One year, I counted a hundred differents kinds of fruits, nuts and candy.”

The source of such wintertime fruit and other delicacies for years and years around York County was the Orange Car on York’s Roosevelt Avenue… .

This 2007 shipment of oranges, as many of the Orange Car’s loads over the years, still have stems and leaves attached. They often came straight from the grove.
That small gray building was in a great location, nestled between Borg Warner (York Corporation) , S. Morgan Smith and The Avenues residential section of York.
Until recently, I wondered what this building, obviously an old train station, was doing in that location. York’s three railroads – the Northern Central (later Pennsylvania Railroad), Ma & Pa and Western Maryland – all had stations in and around downtown York.
The “History of Rail Walking Tour” pamphlet answers this question. (That tour shows folks former landmarks in The Swamp, now occupied by Sovereign Bank Stadium.)
The brochure explains that the Western Maryland Railway reached the city in 1893.
But before the railroad’s bridge could be constructed over the Codorus Creek, the railroad terminated at Roosevelt Avenue. There, the West York station was built.
Starting in 1938, the building housed the Orange Car, receiver of fruit and other goodies from the South in the winter months.
According to a York Daily Record story (11/28/07), the trains would come in from Florida and the oranges weren’t even crated. Orange Car workers just shoveled the fruit out of boxcars.
As for the peeling gray station location west of the Codorus, it’s wonderful when one runs across those little answers to nagging questions.