York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Spring Grove Ripplet: ‘Persons should not be too modest. Send in the little items …’

A drawing of the “Hill” mansion, originally the home of two generations of Glatfelters of paper mill fame, is typical of the content of The Ripplet, publication of the Spring Grove Area Historical Preservation Society. St. Francis Prep started in the mansion in 1946, and declining enrollment caused it to close in 1989. A fire damaged the mansion in 1990, and The Western Hemisphere Cultural Society, a conservative think tank, has occupied it since 1993. Background post: Spring Grove Museum displays horse gas mask and more.

“Persons should not be too modest,” The Spring Grove Ripplet noted in 1905. “Send in the little items that will apprise your friends of their comings and goings. They look for them, and we are happy to print them.”
That came from the original Spring Grove Ripplet, which operated from 1897 to 1922. It was the only newspaper ever published in Spring Grove.
The present-day Historical Ripplet, newsletter of the Spring Grove Area Historical Preservation Society, was founded in 1987, and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Like its predecessor, it’s full of happenings in the community, past and present.
For example, the 10th anniversary edition of the Historical Ripplet tells the story of John W. Senft, aka Johnny Ripplet. Notice how many points of York County history this piece crosses … .

Barbara Kling has been at the helm of the Ripplet for 20 years, aided by her husband/production manager Charlie. Her longtime work as editor of the six-times-a-year publication was profiled in a Ripplet, seen here, published earlier this year. Her essay in 1991 detailing life on the home front in Spring Grove during World War II provides a wonderful look about how one town responded to the war. It provided useful source material for my “In the thick of the fight.”

John was born in 1896, one year before Charles Sprenkel founded the Spring Grove Ripplet. As a boy, he regularly made the trip to Menges Mills with a relative, Levi Zartman, who refused to talk English.
Now, John’s parents discouraged him from speaking Pennsylvania Dutch, although it was used in the home.
But John picked up the dialect from Levi and learned to read Dutch.
One day, Sprenkel heard 14-year-old John reading newspaper articles in Pennsylvania Dutch to customers in Pierce Emig’s Store.
At that time, the dialect was widely understood, but many couldn’t read and write it.
Sprenkel saw the boy’s potential and made him an apprentice at the Ripplet. John wrote a column in Pennsylvania Dutch for the newspaper, but the outbreak of World War I and local anti-German sentiment caused the newspaper to drop it.
John later served on The York Dispatch staff, but until his death in 1975, he was called Johnny Riplet.
His son, Willard, was often called “Rip.”