York Town Square

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The 1950s, 1960s: The greatest time to grow up in York, Pa.

Owner Tom Deroche is seen in the cafe of the Shady Dell in 2008. The South York hangout served generations of York County (Pa.) youth. One e-mailer characterized the Dell this way: ‘And I saved the best for last because it was the one place in York that all parents feared.’ Also of interest: York’s Shady Dell for sale: ‘People don’t like to see their past vanish’ and Memories about ‘The Oaks’ pile up – Part II and About Avalong Dairy and Melvin’s Drive-In: ‘I am some what familiar with the history of the area’

I try to choose posts for this Yorktownsquare.com blog that are designed to teach York County’s history, to provide a bit of a common language about our past.
This is designed to maintain – or create – a sense of community in York County, badly needed in this time of community fragmentation and distractions that cause people to go 10 different ways, all at the same time. If strong community exists and the language spoken is in the same neighborhood, such relationships make problems solvable and hurdles surmountable.
But sometimes I put up a post, just for fun, to feed nostalgia… .

A plate of pepper beef steak cost 65 cents at the Shady Dell. (York Daily Record/Sunday News photos.)
This came to mind when Tim Rearich, a native son living in Las Vegas, passed on memories from the late 1950s and early 1960s from another former York countian living out there. (In fact, Tim says he knows of three former Yorkers who lived out there.)
So, I’ve included excerpts from Tim’s e-mail from the former-Yorker-now-a-Las Vegan, all of which suggests that what happened in York never stays in York:

We’re going to start out this little trip down memory lane standing in front of Lehmeyer’s Store, looking at those beautiful clothes. Behind us on the opposite side of the street is The Hotel Penn,Griffith Smith’s Men’s Store, and The Monkey Bar. As we stroll toward Continental Square, we pass the Golden Glow Restaurant and Gregory’s Men’s Store. Crossing the alley there is The Terminal Luggage Shop. Next is Bear’s Shoe Department, remember the big box you stood on and looked down through to see your feet in your new shoes? Now we’re in the Square and on the corner is Whelan’s Pharmacy and the White Rose Restaurant. Heading around the Square there was Reed’s Millinery, Lovett’s, and Bear’s Men’s Store. There’s the big Bear’s Department Store on the corner.
Now we’re heading West on Market St.. We pass Sullivan’s Jewelers, Worth’s, Thom McCann Shoes, and Kinney’s Shoes. A little farther down the street was Walker’s Men’s Store, Kay Jewelers, and I’m sure all of the women remember The Deb Shop. Down at the corner of Market and Beaver Sts. were A.S. Beck Shoes, and Jack’s.
On the other side of Beaver St. was a People’s Drug Store. Heading West we see stores like White’s Record Shop, The American Legion, Julius Music House, Sears and Roebuck and Mike’s Nut Shop, with the peanuts roasting right out front of the store on the sidewalk,
Crossing the railroad tracks (Pershing Ave) there was York Paint and Hardware, Leinhart Bros. Furniture Store, and out on the corner of Market St. and Newberry St. was the original Maple Donuts. Speaking of donuts, if you make a U turn and head back toward the Square over the tracks, there was The Dixie Creme Donut Shop. Some stores along that stretch of Market St. were Shaffer’s Flowers, York Fabrics, JC Penney (they would take your money and put them in a tube that shot up to somewhere, and then your change would magically reappear down a different tube), and on the corner was The Bon Ton. When you are on the corner, look to the right, can you see the WORK radio station sign on the second floor?
Cross the street and there is Joe Weinbrom Jewelers, Woolworth’s, W.T. Grant’s, Adlers, and Wiest’s Department Store. Next is McCrory’s.
Entering the Square once again we pass Ormond’s, Eugene Jacobs, Western Union, and another People’s Drug Store.
Now we are heading South on George St. We go by Colonial Hotel, The
Brooks Hotel, and Crane’s Men’s Store. Crossing King St. was The Hub, Famous Restaurant, Sol Kessler’s where we could buy great records.
Coming back toward town there was Terry’s Men’s Wear on the corner, and you can look up King St. and see Joe Bury’s Restaurant. On to Sunny’s Surplus, Murray’s Men’s Wear, Reineberg Shoes, Hanover Shoes and Futer Bros. Jewelry Store on the corner of the Square.
We swing around toward Newswanger Shoe Store, but first we’ll take a pit stop down in the Comfort Stations that were underground. Check the time on the big clock on Murphy’s Store and head East on Market St. passing these stores: Morris Drug Store, Webb & Wolfe Sporting Goods, Fanny Farmer Candy, Thompson’s Ladies Wear, Crider’s Card Shop, and Stillmans.
If you are downtown and you are hungry, some places to eat that haven’t been mentioned are: Bear’s Cafeteria, The Tea Room On The Mezzanine At The Bon Ton, and The Ramona. And wasn’t there a restaurant on N. George St. called the Town Tavern, or something like that? Had good soft shelled crabs on toast!
Places to go swimming in the York area were: Boy’s Club, Pleasureville, Zimmy’s (Spry), Valley Green (Weigelstown), Lincolnway (West York), Springwood Park, Glady’s (Stewartstown), Playland, and Chick-Kwa-Tan at the river.
Next is a listing of move theaters in the area: Strand, Capitol, Highway, York-Holiday, Southern, Elmwood, Rialto (West Market), and The Ritz (South George). Drive In’s were: Stony Brook, Lincoln, Trail, and Strinestown.
Choices for bowling are as follows: East York, Scotties, Lincolnway,Twentieth Century, Central, The YMCA, and The YWCA. Dances to go to? Oh Yeah, we had some great Dances to go to, here they are: Coed (YWCA), Reliance, York Catholic, Teen Canteen, Springetts Fire Hall, Seven Valleys Fire Hall, Alcazar Ball Room, and White Oaks Park.
We all have to stop for a snack now and then, so here are some places to get some vittles: Twin Kiss (Root Beer Floats), Tropical Treat, McCalls (Sherman and the Navel Ordinance Rd, now Rt. 30), Joe Bury’s (15 cent hamburgers), Rutter’s Dairy, Green’s Dairy, Pennsupreme Dairy, Eisenhart’s Dairy, Mack’s Ice Cream, Gino’s, Huntley’s Avalon Drive In, Bob & Mim’s, and Melvin’s on East Market St., now Rt. 83 overpass. And for good ice cream, Beck’s Dairy in West York on Adams St.
And now the last item on this list is the places we “hung out”. I hope I hit most of them: The Delphia (Phila. St.), Lillian’s Grill (Across Penn Park from York High), Sunshine Corner. The Sweet Shop in the western part of the City, Baylors on N. George St. in North York, The Cherry Top and Tommy’s Snack Bar, both on S. Queen St., Jimmy’s Subs in the East End, more notably known as “The Hole” because it was downstairs. And I saved the best for last because it was the one place in York that all parents feared.
Yes, I’m talking about The Shady Dell. A place you can go to all night long to eat, dance, and even pick a fight if you want.
If you hadn’t gone to “The Dell”, find some one that had, and I’m sure you will hear one story after another about the place.
I hope you enjoyed this trip back into time with me.
If you did, would you please pass it along to other Yorkers” that grew up back in the late 50’s and early 60’s so they to can reflect back on the greatest time to grow up in York, Pa.

Additional posts on White Oak Park (The Dell’s northside counterpart) or the Shady Dell:
Just try to resist this memory-tugging photo of White Oak Park.
Stadium will be site of The Oaks music reunion
Wanted: Old photos of teen hangout.
Memorabilia from ‘the Oaks’ hard to come by.
Memories of The Oaks pile up.
Memories of The Oaks pile up – Part II.
The Dell: ‘It was like family’.
White Oak Park welcomed Blaw-Knox workers .
Shady Dell was home away from home for many York County teens in ’60s


Part I: Shady Del Knight in worldwide search of honorary Shady Dell rats linked to old York, Pa., teen hangout and Part II: Shady Del Knight in worldwide search and York’s Shady Dell for sale: ‘People don’t like to see their past vanish’ and York-area full of memory-spawning landmarks.

For scores of posts on York County nostalgia and memories, click here.