York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Adding up all its clubs, organizations and churches, York County, Pa., is a quietly social place

Tiny Violet Hill United Methodist Church, south of York Hospital on South George Street, worships in a building that served as a social club – the Rooster Club – years ago. A York,Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News story and photos on the church states that oyster shells can still be found when excavations are done on church property, which might point to past social gatherings. Also of interest: Northeastern York County’s Paddletown: Children paddled back and forth to visit grandma and People of varying religious groups founded York County and All God & York County posts from the start.

York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News reporter Melissa Nann Burke provided a behind-the-scenes look at how Violet Hill United Methodist Church functions with maybe 15 people in attendance in any given Sunday.
Her Violet Hill United Methodist Church: The little church that could is a good read.
A piece of the story, photographed by Paul Kuehnel, was the former use of the building. The Rooster Club, a social club, operated there until the church took it over in 1934.
Which brings us to another intriguing area – York County’s social clubs… .

Think York’s restaurants are crowded at suppertime?
Imagine if the many social clubs emptied out.
These organizations that have been around for decades, come in addition to veterans groups -the VFWs and American Legions; social service clubs – Lions and Rotary; fraternal organizations – Masons and Eastern Star; and emergency organizations – fire and ambulance companies.
Added together, York County – a place some folks say can be aloof – is a quietly social place.
Here are some observations about these private clubs, gleaned from many curious conversations over the years:
– Membership often passes down within families.
– They remain popular because of cheap food and drinks, extended hours and availability of small games of chance.
– Many have exclusive rules. For example, women are only allowed in certain times of the year or in designated areas of the building. To add to declining membership, some are relaxing these rules.
– Some support community activities such as sports teams.
Membership declines are causing some to experience problems maintaining their buildings. The former Moose Lodge on Cape Horn Road is just one such example.
As for the brave Violet Hill church, I never noticed the church’s unusual look until Melissa’s article came out. It was – and is – an attractive building in the valley. But the two levels of windows indicate that it had a former use.
The steeple and vestibule additions convert its appearance into that of a church.
And the church’s tenacity points to yet another form of social interaction popular in York County – the 500 or so houses of worship that meet here.

Also of interest:

Of course, the church’s location brings up two additional points or questions.
The old teen hangout Shady Dell overlooks the village. And does anyone know for certain how Violet Hill got its name other than the obvious speculation that violets adorned its hillsides?
All York Town Square posts from the start. (Key word search by using “find” on browser.)
– Of course, you can always search for York Town Square post on Google.