York Town Square

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Springettsbury Township corner bears witness to changing face of America

The Meadowbrook Mansion looms in the background as folks and their mounts mug for the camera. That area of Springettsbury Township, Pa., has seen farms and businesses come and go for decades. Also of interest: From top dog and hot dogs to dogfight and dog days in York County, Pa., Before Geno’s made news in Philly, Gino’s headlined in York and Mother Goose teaches York County history lessons.
The Whiteford (Arsenal) Road/Springettsbury Township intersection, most widely known as the intersection with Borders on its southwest corner, has been a site for change over the years.
In a recent e-mail, longtime area resident JoAnne Everhart traced some of those changes.
She started with memories from recent York Town Square posts on local miniature golf courses, specifically “Little Duffer” in York Township.
Then she told of another course on the northwest corner near the memorable Avalong Restaurant. A stop at the drive-in inevitably followed the putt-putt game.
Here are excerpts from her e-mail:

“Avalong Farms was located in Springettsbury Township on the north west comer of Mt. Zion and Arsenal Roads. It encompassed the corner, which currently houses a bank, a men’s clothing store, a Rutter’s convenience store and a large portion of the York Galleria.
“The Avalong property included a dairy farm, a restaurant, a miniature golf course and a driving range. The restaurant was very nice and served excellent home made food. The menu was extensive, serving complete meals as well as sandwiches, snacks, and dairy items.
“The northeast corner of the restaurant was right out of American Graffiti, complete with a drive in bay for outdoor ordering and car dining. Diners could place their orders via speakers, which were attached to a metal post located at each drive in spot. Orders were delivered by waiters, who were called car hops. In the 1960’s, Avalong Drive In was a favorite weekend destination of York teenagers, who would go there following a game of miniature golf, a movie, a game of bowling, a high school sporting event etc. Avalong’s was to York teenagers of the mid to late 1960’s what Melvin’s is reported to have been to York teenagers of the 1950’s.
“Being too young to remember or have gone to Melvin’s I know nothing of that York icon. I do have many good memories though of both playing miniature golf at Avalong and eating at the adjoining restaurant.
“A large eat in seating area and banquet rooms were located to the west of the drive in area of Avalong Restaurant. This eat in dining area was a favorite destination for families to enjoy Sunday dinner. In those days, people did not dine out frequently. A trip to Avalong Restaurant was a real treat. The banquet rooms were used by church, civic, and other groups to hold meetings and dinners. I can remember that my grandmother’s Sunday School class held their Christmas banquet there. Wedding receptions were also held in the banquet rooms.
“Ice cream and dairy products were made on the adjoining dairy farm and sold in the restaurant. Apple dumplings were a favorite of diners, and were served with a scoop of homemade ice cream. The food item that I remember best is the broasted chicken, which was made fresh to order. If you ordered from the drive in area, the chicken was delivered piping hot in a paper bag lined with aluminum foil. In the late 1960’s a broasted chicken snack bag, which consisted of a chicken breast, a chicken wing, a large serving of French fries and a potato roll cost $1.25. For those, who preferred dark meat the chicken snack included a thigh and drumstick, with the same sides for the price of $1.00. Except for the fried chicken, prepared by my own mother and grandmother, Avalong’s broasted chicken was the best chicken I have ever tasted.
“I am not sure of this, but I do believe that the Avalong Farm and the adjoining businesses were owned by a local family named Long. Someone may remember the family who operated the businesses and verify this. (See post: From Meadowbrook Mansion to York County farmhouse.)
“After the closing of Avalong Farms, a Rutter’s Family Restaurant was located in the building that housed the former Avalong Restaurant. The miniature golf course, driving range, and farm were removed from the site to make room for development of a shopping mall. By that time the drive in area of the restaurant building had been demolished and the banquet area had been expanded. I remember eating meals at Rutters and buying homemade baked goods at the bakery, which was located at the front door of the restaurant. Rutter’s Family Restaurant was also expanded to include and all you could eat buffet bar, a feature not present in Avalong’s Restaurant.
“Eventually Rutter’s closed the restaurant. Another restaurant, whose name I can not remember, opened at the same location. It did not stay open very long. Following a fire in the late 1990’s, the building was razed.
“Today there are no physical reminders of the thriving dairy farm and businesses that a York county farm family operated on that corner. The face of America changed and this corner in eastern York County bears evidence to that change.”

Here’s one reported pointer to that intersection’s past:
The Mount Zion Road branch of Metro Bank, formerly Commerce Bank, in Springettsbury Township shows a large picture of the former Avalong Restaurant from 1956.
*Edited, 7/22/11