Pinch Gut or Arbor or Adamsville is in Red Lion or Dallastown or, uh, actually York Township
Adamsville United Methodist Church’s Jon Butcher promotes the church’s annual apple festival in this 2007 file photo. The church serves as the center of the York Township village of Adamsville. Background: Red Lion’s towering Fairmont Park off the beaten track, York County cigars: ‘They contained a vast amount of nicotine’ and LBJ’s, Lady Bird’s visit a high point in Dallastown’s history.
The village of Adamsville also has been called Pinch Gut and Arbor.
Its location, like its name, is also hard to pinpoint. Maybe it’s near Red Lion. Maybe Dallastown. It’s actually in York Township, somewhere between Route 24 and Route 214.
One hundred years ago – perhaps because it was near a lot of places – it was bustling with cigar factories and a dairy and a ballfield… .
Today, community activity takes place around the well-known-outside-York Kline’s weaving factory and Adamsville United Methodist Church. It’s main street makes a complete circle but parts of its infield is overgrown.
Here’s a York Daily Record story, part of an At Home In … series from 1996, that tells more about this intriguing community:
The tiny village of Adamsville nestles in a valley beyond the boundaries of Dallastown and Red Lion.
Some folks might be aware the little hamlet once was known to the U.S. Postal Service as Arbor, the name given to a road that winds its way several miles through the rural setting between routes 24 and 214.
But few, except those native to the area, are familiar with yet a third name for the village Pinch Gut.
Charles Reigart Jr., who has lived in the same Adamsville house for all of his 88 years, said the name Pinch Gut goes back to the early 1900s. The odd reference apparently originated in Springvale, a similar rural community in Windsor Township southeast of Red Lion.
The legend goes that a family moved from Adamsville to Springvale, the children believing they had left the country and arrived in “the big city,” Reigart said.
Two young sisters, when asked by a small friend where they lived previously, said they had come from Adamsville. Curious, the friend inquired how big the place was, and one of the girls, attempting to illustrate, simply pinched the skin across her abdomen.
Other than farms, a few houses, a half-dozen cigar factories, a store, church and a school, not much else existed in Adamsville a century ago. By mid-century, the village would have a dairy, a butcher shop and limited industry.
Today, houses occupy much of what was open space on the slopes leading out of Adamsville. Residential development branches out in all directions from the crossroads of South Duke and Franklin streets.
Reigart was born in an era when cigar shops abounded in the Red Lion-Dallastown area. Many families ran their own tobacco operations from their houses, producing cigars marketed by differing brand names. His father, Charles Reigart Sr., employed 15 people in a cigar shop that stood next to the house his parents built in 1903-04.
Others Reigart remembers were a second floor factory atop Emmanuel Stiles’ general store and another along Franklin Street operated by Guy Keemer. Others were in first floor rooms or basements of houses in the community.
A two-room school for children in grades one to eight opened about 1910 in the meadow along Arbor Drive. It closed in 1949 with the construction of the York Township Elementary School at Spry within what would become the Dallastown Area District. The school stands today, its original shape still intact, but it has been converted to a two-family residential structure.
Samuel Sheffer brought milk bottling to the village along with a dairy bar in the post-Depression days. Families enjoyed weekend trips to Meadow View Dairy to buy ice cream and milk shakes. The dairy, for which a road is named, was sold to Green’s Dairy in the 1950s and today, a weaving operation is underway at the same location.
The Witmer family opened a butcher shop and meat market that flourished as an Arbor Drive business during the years following World War II. Reigart recalls the eight years of his childhood when he walked across the meadow to the two-room school. He continued his education at Red Lion High School, where he graduated in 1924. The following year, he recalls, while he was a student at Lebanon Valley College, electricity arrived in the community. Residents, for a hefty $125 hook-up fee, could light their houses with incandescent lighting and do away with lanterns, candles and other forms of illumination.
Telephone communication was available at “Manny” Stiles’ general store where most items, including food and household staples, were sold in bulk quantities. Reigart recalls Stiles’ 1918 Maxwell car, one of the first horseless carriages to make an appearance on the area’s dirt and gravel roads. In the winter, when snow clogged roadways for weeks on end, Stiles would remove the wheels to stop the tires from deflating and rest the car on wooden blocks. He also removed the battery to store it for the winter.
Reigart remembers township supervisors paying residents five cents an hour to shovel snow from roadways in the late winters of the early 1920s. Sledding was popular throughout the winter on hills normally used by those fortunate to have motor transportation.
“There were no PennDOT or township trucks to clear the roads of the winter’s snow and ice accumlations,” he said. Reigart, driving since he was 15, recalls seeing great clouds of dust rising skyward from vehicles traveling along the Winterstown Road before it was paved in the early 1920s. The road in front of his house, he said, was built in the 1930s by men who labored at public works projects initiated by the Works Progress Administration.
Truck traffic was at its heaviest on Adamsville’s roads during the Prohibition Days of 1921 and 1922, when the government had raided Foust distillery near Glen Rock. The trucks, he said, were loaded with barrels of whiskey that were then hidden in basements, cold cellars and even beneath manure piles for later sale to bootleggers.
A principal source of entertainment in the early 20th century was the community ballpark. Large crowds gathered to watch games and root for the home team against players that came from as far away as Baltimore. Eighty years ago, Reigart said the ball team traveled by horse and wagon. A game at Stewartstown eight miles to the south required four hours of travel each way. Players and coaches would depart at 8 a.m. and return 11 or 12 hours later to the town of Pinch Gut.
Population: No figures available because the village is not incorporated.
Name: A post office operated in the area between December 1989 and May 1904, calling the area Arbor. This area, however, is Adamsville, named after Adam Snyder, a village blacksmith.
Religion: A mainstay in the religious community has been the Adamsville United Methodist Church, part of a charge that includes Trinity United Methodist Church in Dallastown. Dale Grim, church historian, said the congregation emerged from Evangelical classes started in area homes about 1875. The present church’s brick structure and white steeple are a landmark in the town. It was built in 1898 after fire destroyed the first edifice at the property along Meadow View Drive just west of Duke Street.