We want to share some news about resources that Tabor and Lancaster
Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) have put together to help everyone navigate their
housing and financial challenges during this time of COVID-19. We know that times are very
tough, and we feel for our neighbors. We are rooting for our health care
workers, grocery store workers, law enforcement, emergency responders, delivery
drivers—people who are on the front lines of this fight. And of course,
our team members and our partners at the HomelessnessCoalition, who are making sure that individuals who are especially
vulnerable—people living in the streets, people living in
shelters—are not forgotten and are well supported during this
Tabor’s website, LHOP’s website, and social media channels, you will find a
series of factsheets that will help you to talk to your landlord, talk to your
lender, and to make a plan. We are also putting together a series of videos
over the next few weeks that will help walk through those materials.
We will continue to update this document, so as new
information and materials are available from our legislators in Washington or
other reputable sources, we’ll make sure that information is current
and a great resource to you.
Remember that your friends at Tabor and LHOP are here for you.
We’re rooting for you, and we will get through this thing together.
There’s a good chance you have walked or driven by the three-unit
apartment house at 613 Fremont Street without thinking twice about it. It’s
really not much more remarkable than other nearby houses, except that the lot
is larger than most and there is a privacy fence around it. But the house has a
long remarkable history. In fact, it was the first house built in the central
part of Cabbage Hill.
The two-story, frame house with a gambrel roof, now clad with
modern siding, was built in 1838 as the summer cottage of Miss Catharine “Kitty”
Yeates. The house has had many owners and tenants over the last 180 years. I
will briefly trace its history here, with closer looks at two of its most
interesting owners—Miss Yeates, a wealthy philanthropist, and Alexander J.
Gerz, a Civil War veteran and entrepreneur.
The house’s first owner, Catharine Yeates (1783-1866), was
the daughter of Jasper Yeates, a famous Lancaster lawyer and State Supreme
Court Justice. Starting in 1820, after she had inherited part of her father’s
considerable estate, Catharine bought several tracts of land in what is today
the heart of Cabbage Hill. Her property totaled almost ten acres and, in terms
of today’s streets, was centered on the 500 blocks, and part of the 600 blocks,
of St. Joseph, Poplar, and Fremont.
In 1838, Catharine built her summer cottage (now 613 Fremont)
on the southernmost corner of her property. At that time, there were no other
houses in the area, and there were no streets, only tree-lined dirt paths separating
fenced pastures. A stream starting near Manor Street and ending at South Water
Street, ran in front of her house. The setting was perfect for what she
wanted—a cool place where she could escape from her family’s mansion on South
Queen Street near the square when the summer heat and city life got too oppressive.
Catharine, who never married, lived in her cottage during the
summers for the next fifteen years. She sometimes rented out rooms on the
second floor to various tenants. The property required maintenance, and she had
a caretaker to tend to the lawn and flower beds, the fruit trees and
grapevines, and the fenced pastures where her horses and cattle were kept. The
stream in front of her house, which flowed where New Dorwart is today, supplied
her house, livestock, and chickens with water.
In 1855, Catharine deeded the cottage and all of its
surrounding acreage to her nephew Jasper Yeates Conyngham. Catharine died in
1866, and in her obituary in a Lancaster newspaper, she was praised as “…one of
the most estimable ladies that ever resided in the city…” Perhaps her most
consequential act of philanthropy was the founding and endowment of the Yeates
Institute, a private school in Lancaster intended to prepare students for the
Catharine’s nephew Conyngham did not live in the cottage,
renting it out instead. In 1869, he sold the house and its property to David
Hartman, who was a city tax collector and wealthy real-estate investor. Hartman
later was elected county sheriff. He bought the Yeates property as an
investment for $5,500, and sold it the following year to Alexander J. Gerz for
Gerz (1826-1876) was an immigrant from Lorraine, near the
border of France and Germany, who was part of a successful family pottery
business in Lancaster. He enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War,
serving in the 79th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. Shortly
after returning from the war to Lancaster, he moved with his wife to Mexico,
where he enjoyed success in the pottery business there. He was forced to leave
Mexico during a revolution, and enroute back to Lancaster, his wife died of
yellow fever in New Orleans. Back in Lancaster, he resumed his pottery business,
ran the Eagle Hotel on North Queen, remarried, and had four children.
In 1870, Gerz bought the former Yeates property, where he opened
a hotel and saloon in the summer cottage, calling it the Green Cottage Hotel. He
held events on the property, including dance parties and reunions for his
fellow Civil War veterans. The one-acre lawn around the hotel and saloon
consisted of well-kept grass, flower gardens, and fruit and shade trees. Next
to the hotel on the northwest side was a large pond stocked with a wide variety
of fish. (The site of the pond was an abandoned, short-lived quarry that Gerz
had dug when he discovered marble under his property in 1870.) Also on the
grounds were a small deer park and a large wooden platform (thirty-two feet
square) for dancing. The grounds could be accessed by a bridge over the stream
that ran in front of the hotel.
Gerz died at the age of fifty in 1876. His widow, Margaret,
sold his remaining property, including the cottage, at auction in November
1878. Henry Haverstick bought the cottage property for $2,100. For the sale, the
lot on which the cottage was located was reduced in size to 200 feet square, bordering
on New Dorwart and Fremont.
In 1884, Haverstick sold the property to John Snyder, who was
a hotel proprietor and tobacco merchant. The Snyder family would own the property
and live there for the next forty-five years, with son Michael Snyder taking
over ownership when his father died in 1930. John Snyder built a tobacco
warehouse on the opposite corner of the lot from the cottage, at the
intersection of Poplar and New Dorwart.
A year after John Snyder’s death, his son Michael sold the
property to Harry M. Stumpf. Stumpf was a building contractor and Michael
Snyder’s cousin. He built garages on the property between the cottage and
Poplar, and ran his contracting business from there. He converted the cottage
into two apartments and rented them out. The Stumpf family was prominent on the
Hill and in Lancaster for many years. Harry’s father, John, owned a hotel in
the 400 block of Manor Street, and Harry’s brother, Edward, owned a service
station and garage in the 500 block of Fremont, and also was the owner of
Stumpf Field along the Fruitville Pike.
In 1952, Harry Stumpf sold the lot with the cottage to Samuel
Lombardo for $15,000. Lombardo and his wife Elsie got divorced in 1956. Elsie
got the cottage, remarried to Maurice Brady, and lived in the cottage until her
death in 1991. Elsie and Maurice added a third apartment to the house, living
in the main apartment themselves and renting out the other two. The house remains
divided into three apartments to this day.
To be sure, Miss Yeates’ 1838 summer cottage has changed a
lot over the years. It no longer sits all by itself in the middle of pasture
land. It doesn’t have a stream in its front yard. It has been added to and
modified numerous times. But the basic structure of the cottage is still
intact. The next time you pass the house at 613 Fremont, try to visualize it as
it was 150 years ago, when it was a hotel and saloon surrounded by well-kept
grounds that were home to a fish pond and a deer park. It’s just one more
example of all the history hiding just below the surface on Cabbage Hill.
Applications are now open for Lancaster City’s Love Your Block, Park Adoption Mini-Grants, and the Neighborhood Leaders Academy!
Want to clean up your stretch of road? Have a project idea
on how to fix a local issue? Love Your Block provides funds of $500-$2000 for
community-led projects addressing issues surround litter, urban blight, and
façade improvements. The projects must affect the whole block and require a
coalition of at least 5 neighbors from 3 different households. Americorps
VISTAS, Renee and Christian, will assist with project management, scheduling,
budgeting and implementation, so don’t worry about needing experience. Find
more information about Love Your Block, along with an online application here.
Additionally, Lancaster has a Park Adoption grant that also
provides $500-$2000 for projects improving and expanding the usability of local
parks or green spaces. Find more information about Park Adoption, along with an
online application here.
Applications for both grants are due by March 20, 2020. They
can be submitted online or, physical versions can be mailed to City Hall at 120
N. Duke Street, Lancaster, PA.
The Neighborhood Leaders Academy is open for applications as well! The program is a six-month training and grant program for community leaders to imagine, develop, test and realize projects that build community and provide positive outcomes. The program will empower leaders in all Lancaster neighborhoods to encourage one another, identify problems, plan projects to beautify the neighborhood and remedy issues, and celebrate the community and each other. Applications are due March 27th, 2020. For more information click here.
St. Joseph Catholic Church was founded in 1849, when a group of German parishioners from St. Mary’s Catholic Church convinced the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that a second Catholic church was needed in Lancaster to serve the growing German population on Cabbage Hill. The new church quickly became the spiritual, cultural, and social hub of the Hill, roles that it continues to fill today. Here, in honor of the church’s 170th anniversary, are nine factoids about the church’s early years, some of which may be familiar and others which may not.
Lot purchase: The lot on which St. Joseph Church was built was purchased for $260 from Casper Hauck on January 8, 1850, by Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick of the Diocese of Philadelphia, on behalf of “the German Catholics of the City of Lancaster”. The lot, which was on the southeast slope of Dinah’s Hill, was 137 feet wide and 191 feet long, and had no buildings on it. In fact, at the time the lot was purchased, there were no buildings at all on the first two blocks of the streets that would soon become West Vine, St. Joseph, Poplar, and Fremont. The lot and the land surrounding it were pastures.
Church and street names: The original St. Joseph Church, the first ethnic Catholic church in the U.S., was built in 1850. Although it was St. Joseph Church from day one, it was commonly known around Lancaster as the “German Catholic Church” for its first few years. Also, when the church was built in 1850, the street on which it fronted was known as Union Street (not to be confused with today’s Union Street, which didn’t yet exist in 1850). Then, for a brief time, the street appears to have been known as West Washington Street. Finally, by the mid-1850s, at about the time the church became commonly known as St. Joseph Church, the street became St. Joseph Street.
First building: The original church was 50 feet wide
and 105 feet deep, and it seated about 350 people. Its cornerstone was laid in
May 1850, it went under roof in the fall of 1850, and it was consecrated in
December 1850. It was made of brick, had a slate roof, and had five tall
windows on each long side. There was a basement for the school and society
meetings, and a small tower at the front entrance. By 1852, the tower had been
built taller and a wooden spire had been added. By 1854, the finishing touches
were completed—adding pews, finishing the basement, installing an organ, adding
the altar, installing bells in the tower, and adding a clock with four faces in
Pastor conflict: St. Joseph’s had five pastors in its
first five years. The third pastor was John Dudas, a young Hungarian priest who
turned out to be a controversial choice. He had only served about five months
when his pastoral assignment was revoked by the Diocese of Philadelphia because
he had taken sides in political matters and had consorted a little too freely
with Lutherans. In March 1852, he was asked to vacate the rectory next to the
church, but refused to do so until the church paid him some money he was owed.
Dudas then refused to open the church for a funeral, and when he left the
locked church and went downtown for breakfast, a group of church founders broke
into the building and threw his belongings out on the street. Dudas pressed
charges against the offending parishioners but a verdict of not guilty was
delivered. He quickly left his post at St. Joseph’s, and within a few years he
had become a pastor of a Christian congregation in Constantinople, Turkey.
Cemetery: The lot purchased in 1850 did not
include the cemetery that is now southwest of the church. Early burials took
place in a narrow strip along the northeast side of the church where the
driveway to the left of the church is today. The current cemetery lot next to
the rectory seems to have been acquired by the late 1850s. The early graves on
the northeast side of the church were moved to the larger cemetery on the
southwest side in 1881 to make room for a new school building.
Political dispute: The German immigrants on the Hill had always been staunch Democrats, and were not shy about voicing their views on political matters. In early July 1863, just days after the Battle of Gettysburg, President Lincoln, a Republican, declared a new military draft to replenish the Union troops. Many members of St. Joseph Church, including a small group of about a dozen vociferous German women, disagreed with the draft and a large demonstration took place at the Courthouse on July 16, as draftees were about to start signing up. The demonstration was led by the German women, and a major riot was just barely averted. In his sermon the following Sunday, Pastor Schwartz of St. Joseph’s admonished his parishioners, especially the women who were “a disgrace to their womanhood”, making it known that good citizens of this country must obey its laws whether they agree with them or not.
Unique construction approach: By the early to mid-1880s, the
growing number of St. Joseph’s parishioners necessitated a larger church. To
avoid missing any Masses, a clever approach was taken to replace the old
smaller church with a new larger one. The new church was to be 15 wider, 54
feet longer, and significantly taller than the old one. The church leaders
decided to build the new church around the old one, enabling the congregation
to continue to have Mass in the old church while the new one was being built.
When the external structure of the new church was completed, the basement of
the old church was set up for Mass, and the congregation then worshipped in the
basement while the old church was dismantled and taken out from inside the new
one. When the old church had been removed, Mass was held in the new church
while the finishing touches were completed on the interior. Even the extensive
painting and frescoing in the upper reaches inside the new church did not
prevent the use of the church for Mass. Scaffolding that would have interfered
with Mass was not required, as the artisans doing the high decorative work did
so from scaffolds hung from ropes through holes in the roof. When the new
church was completed in 1885, the only vestige of the old church that remained
was the tower and spire, and even that had been modified a bit to harmonize
better with the taller roof.
The builders: The new 1885 St. Joseph Church building, which seated more than 1,100 people, was designed by William Shickel, New York City. The principal contractor for the construction of the building and the finishing of the interior was Dionysius Rapp. John Mentzer and William Westman supplied the stone. The stone-cutting was done by Zeltman & Cron. Krieg & Streiner did the stone steps. Henry Drachbar laid the bricks and the lumber was provided by Sener & Sons and Baumgardner, Eberman, and Co. William Wohlsen provided the millwork. The plumbing was done by L.H. Bachler, and George M. Steinman & Co. provided the hardware. Jerome Dosch & Son did the plastering and Leonard Yeager did the painting.
German craftsmen: Tradition has it that the craftsmen and artisans who built the larger St. Joseph Church in the mid-1880s were German immigrants who lived on the Hill. This is mostly true. Indeed, nearly all of the principal contractors and companies were of German heritage, and about half of them had been born in Germany. Dionysius Rapp, Krieg & Streiner, Jerome Dosch & Son, and Leonard Yeager had their businesses on the Hill, while the remaining contractors were from other parts of Lancaster City. Most of the laborers on the contractors’ crews were no doubt Germans from the Hill. The gravestone of superintendent Dionysius Rapp and his wife Rosina still stands near Poplar Street in Old St. Joseph’s Cemetery.
much more to the story of this venerable old church on the Hill. Another 135
years of history has happened since the mid-1880s when the present-day church
was built. The gravestones of the Old St. Joseph Cemetery adjacent to the
church represent many interesting stories of the church’s founders, some of
which may be explored in future posts on this site.
As many of you know, St. Joseph Church has willingly allowed SoWe to occupy office space in one of its buildings, and to hold monthly Board meetings in another of its buildings. Happy 170th anniversary from SoWe to the centerpiece of Cabbage Hill!
The title of the 1992 film, “A River Runs Through It”, once
applied to Cabbage Hill. Up until the early 1880s, a stream flowed where New
Dorwart Street is today. It was a tributary to a larger stream that drained a
watershed that covered about two-thirds of Lancaster City. The entire stream
system has long since been buried in sewers that run under some of the major
streets of the city.
When Lancaster was founded in 1729, James Hamilton named one
of its north-south streets Water Street, and with good reason. A stream ran
from near the intersection of West Walnut and North Arch in northwest
Lancaster, southward down most of Water to Engleside, where it emptied into the
Conestoga River. The stream was called Roaring Brook in the mid-1700s; Bethel’s
Run from the late 1700s to early 1800s; Hoffman’s Run from the early 1800s to
late 1800s; and finally Gas House Run around the turn of the 20th
century, before it completely vanished.
There were several tributaries to the larger stream that
flowed down Water, including one along West King between Christ Lutheran Church
and Water; one along West Vine between what is now the Convention Center and South
Water; and one from Union through Brandon Park to South Water. But the largest
tributary was the one in Cabbage Hill that used to flow where New Dorwart is
now, which was sometimes referred to as simply “the Run”.
The Run began at several springs and seeps northwest of
Manor between Dorwart and Caroline. From there, it flowed southeast a little
more than a half mile before it reached the larger stream on South Water. The
area of the Run’s watershed was about 250 acres, covering most of Cabbage Hill.
The bedrock beneath the Run was limestone, like under the rest of the city, and
the stream banks were lined with trees and wetland vegetation.
Comparing the Run to same-sized streams in similar settings in
Lancaster County today, it is possible to estimate its flow characteristics. The
Run was likely only a few feet wide and less than a foot deep most of the time,
but probably reached more than twenty feet wide and several feet deep during
heavy rains. Between storms, the flow rate was probably only a couple hundred gallons
per minute, but during storms, the rate would have reached several thousand gallons
per minute, enough to flood adjoining streets and basements. High flows would
have made it difficult to cross the Run by foot, horse, or wagon, without a
In the early days of development on the Hill, the building
lots containing or adjacent to the Run were among the most desirable lots to
own. The Run provided not only water for drinking, cooking, washing, and
conducting business, but also a conduit for carrying away the wastes generated
by residents and businesses. The first house built in the central part of the
Hill—Catharine Yeates’ summer home, known as Green Cottage, now 613 Fremont—was
built fronting the floodplain of the Run, taking advantage of the benefits of
being located near flowing water (see 1850 map). However, when Lancaster’s
public water supply became available in the mid-1800s, the problems of
flooding, insects, rodents, odors, and pollution associated with the Run soon outweighed
In 1878, the city developed a plan for the addition and extension of numerous streets. On the Hill, the plan included many street improvements, including the opening of Fremont and Union and the extension or widening of Filbert, Laurel, Hazel, and Wabank. The plan also included the opening of a new street, soon to be called New Dorwart, which was to be built from Manor to Union, where the Run and its floodplain were located. In 1880, a trench was started down the middle of the street to contain the stream. In 1883, the construction of a six-foot-high brick sewer was started in the trench. By the late 1880s, the sewer had been completed from Manor to Poplar, the new street had been built over it, and new houses had begun to spring up on both sides. By the early 1890s, the sewer had been completed all the way to Union. The Run had disappeared from view, a casualty of development.
But, before it was diverted underground, the Run had a major
impact on the establishment of the streets on the Hill. Manor Street, which had
existed in the early 1700s as the road to Blue Rock on the Susquehanna River,
had long required a bridge over the Run (see 1850 map). High Street, on the
other hand, did not extend beyond the Run in 1850, being truncated by the
difficulty of crossing the Run during high flows. The newly constructed Poplar
Street also was truncated by the Run in 1850.
As the Hill developed rapidly from the late 1860s to the mid
1870s, additional streets were extended to the Run and required bridges. By
1874, in addition to a bridge having been built to carry High over the Run, Lafayette
and St. Joseph had bridges over the Run as well (see 1874 map). But the recently
proposed West Vine and the fledgling Poplar and Fremont did not have bridges.
Instead, they had to be forded when the flow was low enough to safely do so.
Prior to being buried in a sewer, the Run also affected the
geometry of the design for New Dorwart.
Due to the slightly northeast-bending shape of the Run east of Manor, and
the resulting widening of the floodplain northeastward, New Dorwart was offset
from the first to the second block, and again from the second to third block.
The resulting stair-step pattern along the northeast edge of the first two blocks
of the street remains today. Also, the wider floodplain where the Run curved to
the northeast is probably the reason that New Dorwart between Lafayette and
High is about twenty feet wider than elsewhere.
Another way that the Run affected early development was that
the northwest side of Manor between Caroline and Dorwart was the last stretch
of Manor to be developed (see 1874 map). The wetlands associated with the springs
and seeps at the head of the Run made that area perpetually wet and difficult
to build on. Even as late as 1897, almost two decades after the Run had been
diverted underground, this stretch of Manor was still not heavily developed due
to wet ground.
The Run that once ran through Cabbage Hill last saw the
light of day almost 140 years ago. But it clearly had a significant impact on
the development of the Hill, an impact that can still be seen if one takes the
time to look for it on historical maps and in today’s arrangements of streets
and houses. And, although its time on the land surface has long since passed,
the Run still trickles along in the large brick sewer beneath New Dorwart, albeit
a mere subterranean shadow of its former self. Now…”a river runs under it”.
Dinah McIntire died 200 years ago in Lancaster, in May 1819,
at the reported age of 113. She was well known around Lancaster in the early
years of the nineteenth century as the fortuneteller who worked at the White
Swan Tavern in the square. Her death warranted a rare obituary in the Lancaster Journal, something usually
reserved only for prominent male citizens, as well as a note in Reverend Joseph
Clarkson’s journal about her burial in the St. James Episcopal Church cemetery,
despite the fact that he was in Philadelphia at the time.
Dinah was one of the few women of her time who owned
property; she had a small house near the intersection of West Strawberry and
West Vine Streets. The site of her house was said to be near the highest point
in that part of Lancaster, at the angle between West Strawberry and West Vine, and
her notoriety was such that the hill on which she lived became known as Dinah’s
Hill (see photo). By all accounts, she lived a remarkable life—all the more
remarkable because she was African American and a slave for most of her life,
including here in Lancaster.
According to several sources, Dinah McIntire was born into slavery
in the town of Princess Anne, Somerset County, Maryland, about 1706. She spent
the first half of her long life in Maryland, and raised four children there. She
was already in her fifties when Matthias Slough, a prominent early citizen of
Lancaster, bought her and brought her north to work at his White Swan Tavern.
When Dinah died in 1819, she owned two, and possibly three,
lots of land on the northeast edge of Cabbage Hill. She owned two of the lots
as early as 1798, when the lots were taxed as part of the 1798 federal Direct
Tax. The tax was based on the amount of land owned and the number of windows
and the total number of panes in the windows. One of Dinah’s lots was 62 x 242
feet and contained an 18 x 22 foot house and a 15 x 20 foot stable. The house
was a one-story log and brick house with two windows of six panes each, and the
stable was made of logs. The other lot she owned in 1798 was larger and
apparently not built on; it measured 137 x 191 feet, adjoining the first lot.
In 1816, three years before her death, Dinah McIntire,
having long outlived her four children, prepared a will in which she left all
of her property and belongings to Jacob Getz, a young Lancaster silversmith. Like
Dinah, Getz attended St. James Church in 1815, when he and his wife Martha had
their first child baptized there. By 1816, when Dinah wrote her will, Getz had apparently
befriended her to such an extent that she named him as her executor and sole
When Dinah died in 1819, Getz became the owner of Dinah’s
property. Ground-rent records for Bethelstown, laid out by Samuel Bethel, Jr.,
in 1762, show that Jacob Getz became the owner of Bethelstown lot 45 after
Dinah’s death. Lot 45 was 62 feet wide and 242 feet deep, and was bounded on
its long dimension by West Strawberry between High and West Vine. This was
clearly one of the two lots left to Getz by Dinah McIntire, and an examination
of deeds shows that the other lot, which was a little larger, was immediately
adjacent to the southeast across what is now the extension of West Vine southwest
of West Strawberry (see map).
However, there is still some uncertainty surrounding exactly
where Dinah McIntire actually lived. One obvious possibility is the 18 x 22 log
and brick house on Bethelstown lot 45. But the most likely place for a house to
have been built on that lot was on the High Street end of the lot. At the time
Bethelstown was laid out, the other end of the lot did not front a street (the
extension of West Vine Street didn’t occur until much later). And if Dinah had
lived on the High Street end of lot 45, she would not have been at the angle of
West Strawberry and West Vine, and she would not have had a direct view down
the hill on West Vine, as numerous writers have claimed for her.
An article in The News
Journal of Lancaster on June 9, 1898, provides an alternative, and I think
more likely, location where Dinah may have lived. The article discusses how
“another old landmark of the city” was about to be removed. The landmark had
been condemned because it was too close
to the street and had become an eyesore. That landmark was a small frame cabin
on the corner of West Vine and West Strawberry, and the article states that it
was reputed to have been the house where Dinah had lived almost a century
An examination of an old fire-insurance map of the city from
1897 shows that a small one-and-a-half-story frame house, then being used as a
tin shop, did indeed stick out into the street at the angle where West
Strawberry and West Vine meet. A 1912 fire-insurance map shows that the small
frame house was no longer there, which is consistent with the claim of the newspaper
article that the house was about to be removed in 1898 (see side-by-side maps).
I believe it is likely that this small house is where Dinah McIntire lived, and
that this small piece of land was the third lot that some writers have
attributed to her. The exact site of Dinah’s little house was where the
flagpole is today in front of the memorial to fallen soldiers.
Now, to complete the story of Dinah McIntire, we are
compelled to circle back to the potentially problematic life of Matthias
Slough, Dinah’s Lancaster slave master. Slough was as prominent a citizen as there
was in Lancaster in the late 1700s. During the Revolutionary War, he served as
the Colonel of the Seventh Battalion of the Pennsylvania Militia, and saw
action at the Battle of Long Island. He also served at various times as assistant
burgess, county coroner, county treasurer, and member of the Pennsylvania
Provincial Assembly and General Assembly, all while he was running the very popular
White Swan Tavern.
Certainly, this is a fine list of accomplishments worthy of
our respect. However, just like numerous other prominent Lancaster citizens in
the eighteenth century, Slough’s legacy is compromised by the fact that he was
a slave owner. From 1770 to 1800, Slough owned at least three to four slaves at
a time. In fact, a registry of Lancaster slaves indicates he owned eleven
slaves in 1780.
Curiously, Dinah McIntire is not one of the eleven listed
slaves in 1780. Did Slough free her before 1780? We know she was freed at least
by 1798, because she owned property then. It is possible she was freed before 1780,
because it was common for slave owners to free slaves when they reached old age
and Dinah was already in her seventies in 1780. Whether he freed Dinah before
1780 or closer to 1798, it is reasonable to think that the wealthy Slough may
have rewarded her for her years of servitude, and that her ownership of land
may have been a result of that reward.
Whether we should temper our respect for Matthias Slough
because he was so thoroughly invested in the “peculiar institution” of slavery
is a question for individual conscience and professional historians. It seems fitting,
though, that Dinah McIntire outlived her former slave master Slough, and that
her newspaper obituary was almost as long as his obituary. On top of that, Dinah
was the only one of the two for whom a hill was named.
In 1919, things were generally looking up in the U.S.—World
War I had just ended, unemployment was nearly negligible, and women finally
were getting the right to vote. On the other hand, the Spanish flu pandemic
made a comeback, and the Ku Klux Klan continued to stoke fear in many states. And,
for better or worse, depending on your point of view, the 18th
Amendment (Prohibition) went into effect. In the midst of these national
events, Cabbage Hill was beginning to recover from the anti-German sentiment
brought on by the war. As part of that recovery, the Hill was definitely “open
Ever since its first neighborhood was established in 1762 on
Manor and High Streets, Cabbage Hill has been home to enterprising residents
who have operated their own local businesses. In the late 18th and
early 19th centuries, these businesses provided necessary subsistence
services that reflected the trade skills of its mostly German immigrants.
Blacksmith, shoemaker, carpenter, and butcher shops were common local
During the late 19thcentury, Cabbage Hill
businesses continued to evolve with the times, and businesses such as bakeries,
barber shops, tailor shops, cigar factories, and grocery stores were common. A community
of immigrants that often felt somewhat separate from the main part of
Lancaster, the Hill seemed to have at least one of every type of business,
allowing it to get along without depending too much on the rest of the city.
In the early years of the 20th century, continuing
technological change led to another gradual shift in the types of businesses on
the Hill, but the businesses still offered nearly every possible desired service
no more than a couple blocks away. The businesses continued to provide what the
residents needed and wanted, but they also embraced new technologies. For
example, one might find a car repair shop around the corner from a blacksmith
shop, or a new movie theater on the same block as an old beer saloon.
The year 1919 was typical of this evolving business
environment on the Hill, as the following paragraphs will show. But first, let
me define what I mean by “the Hill”. For this discussion, I focused on what
many consider the historic core of Cabbage Hill, that is, the area bounded by
Manor on the northwest, West Strawberry on the northeast, Fremont on the southeast,
and Laurel on the southwest. Defined this way, the Hill contains seven main
streets running northeast-southwest, and four main streets crossing those seven
in a northwest-southeast direction, resulting in 21 blocks and 28
The 1919 directory for Lancaster City advertised 125
businesses in the 21 blocks of the Hill. They ranged from the small scale (a
nurse operating from her house) to the large scale (Follmer-Clogg Silk Mill). Most
of the businesses (32) were on Manor, but High, West Vine, St. Joseph, and
Poplar each had about 15 businesses. Fifty-eight of the 125 businesses were
located on a corner of one of the 28 intersections. Nearly every business was
owner-operated, and nearly every business owner lived in or next to his/her
place of business.
All the major types of businesses were found in multiple
locations on the Hill. Amazingly, there were 28 grocery stores (see map), more
than one per block on average. The Hill also had six hotels, six meat markets,
five bakeries, five shoemaker shops, five tailor shops, five dressmaker shops,
and five barber shops. Additionally, there were seven contractors and eight
nurses offering their services on the Hill.
As a sign of the changing times, there was a car repair shop
(Crawford Garage, on New Dorwart) and a movie theater that showed early silent
moving pictures (The Manor, on Manor). Twenty-five other types of
businesses—ranging from a jewelry shop to plumber shops to cigar stores to
saloons—were represented at least at one, and at as many as four, locations. No
doubt the owners of the two saloons (Joseph Fritsch’s, on High, and Charles
Kirchner’s, on Poplar) were wondering how the new Prohibition law might affect
Also of interest are the types of businesses that were absent
from the Hill in 1919. Despite there being 70 physicians in Lancaster, there
was only one doctor’s office (Lewis Shear, on Manor). There were 86 lawyers in
Lancaster, but no lawyer’s offices were located on the Hill. There were no banks,
insurance-agent’s offices, dentist’s offices, real-estate offices, optician’s
offices, photography studios, or restaurants. Clearly, Cabbage Hill was very
much a working-class neighborhood. The businesses on the Hill served the basic,
day-to-day needs of its residents, who had to go into Lancaster proper on
occasion to avail themselves of the professional services found there.
The plethora of businesses on the Hill, and the fact that
business owners were also residents, helped make the Hill a dynamic and
pleasant place to live in 1919. Starting in the second half of the 20th
century, for a variety of reasons, the number of businesses on the Hill declined
dramatically. Today, there are only six groceries, and only about a dozen other
businesses with advertising signage, and most of the businesses on the Hill
today are no longer owned and operated by Hill residents or located in their
SoWe hopes to reverse that trend. One of SoWe’s goals is to
improve support for southwest Lancaster’s entrepreneurs and small business
owners, which among other approaches involves revitalizing abandoned business
locations and opening up old storefronts. If SoWe is successful, perhaps the
Hill can recapture some of the favorable business environment that allowed the
neighborhood to be so “open for business” 100 years ago.
If you know of a historic Cabbage Hill business that may
have an interesting history, and think that its history might make a good topic
for a future post on this blog, please contact me at SoWeCommunicate@sowelancaster.org,
and I will look into it.
For those of you who like the details…….here’s the list of
125 businesses on the Hill 100 years ago, alphabetically by street name:
One of the more challenging aspects of being a homeowner is knowing when it is time to call in a professional to take care of a maintenance issue or renovation project. Professional tradesman are expensive, so often people will do as much as they can on their own before resorting to calling an expert. That’s ok! There is a great sense of satisfaction in completing a project on your own, as well as an opportunity for great economic savings to be had. But it is important to know your limits. If you find that you are approaching your personal skill or knowledge limit, do not hesitate – call a professional before you’re knee deep in an emergency situation!
I hope for this blog entry to be the first in a recurring series of tips to help homeowners avoid getting sunk in over their head in a repair or project. I am a licensed Master Plumber with the City of Lancaster, and I’ve been working in the construction and remodel industry for over fourteen years. I’ve seen my fair share of disasters and made many mistakes, so I’d like to start passing on some of what I’ve learned. I love my little neighborhood in SoWe, but the age of the housing stock here is a constant challenge. Old houses can be beautiful and warm and inviting, but they require a careful and thoughtful touch when it come to maintenance. This post will actually be part 1 of two or three entries on managing the various elements of water in your home. I am a plumber after all, so it feels natural to begin with what I know best.
There’s been a lot of discussion (and frustration!) in Lancaster lately about the water meter replacements that have been ongoing for the past year or so. While I understand and empathize with many of the aggravations that people are enduring, I feel that there are at least a few things that folks can do to prepare for their eventual appointment to have their meter replaced. These tips should also be generally useful to any homeowner though; they aren’t only relevant for the current replacement task.
First, and most importantly, know where your water meter is located! For some of you this may seem silly, but you might be shocked at how many times I’ve gone into a home to find that the homeowner doesn’t actually have a good sense as to where their meter is. This is an important piece of information that everyone who lives in a home needs to know. If ever you were to have an emergency situation in which a water supply line breaks or bursts, you absolutely need to know where to go to make the water stop! The water meter is most commonly located in the basement, coming through the street facing (or front) wall. Here is a photo of my own meter, if you’re unclear on what they look like:
On a water meter, there is always a shut off valve on the street side of the meter. This is usually a turning handle, like the one in this picture, or sometimes a newer “ball valve” which is a lever that only requires a quarter turn to shut off. Often there is another shut off valve on the other side of the meter (mine is not pictured, it’s a little further down along the water line). These are the valves that the service technician will need to use in order to replace your meter, and their usability is your responsibility!
This detail has been frustrating to many people. When a technician arrives at your house to find that the shutoff valve or valves are inoperable, they cannot do their job. These valves are a functional part of a homeowners property, and it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure that they stay in good working order. This is actually just good sense practice that many homeowners never think about. If you have not checked to make sure your shutoff valves are functioning properly, you should do so ASAP. In the event of an emergency, they are your only recourse to stop water from flooding your house! I would recommend checking them at least once a year, because age and lack of use can and will cause deterioration.
If you find that there is a problem with your shutoff valves, I recommend you call a licensed plumber. This is not a DIY project that can be taken on lightly. It is a critical and often sensitive maintenance issue, and if a mistake is made it can have catastrophic consequences.
I hope this information is helpful. For my next entry, I’ll be discussing everyone’s favorite plumbing fixture, toilets! There are many simple and inexpensive ways to deal with a troublesome toilet, and I hope you’ll read along and discover some easy ways to save on maintenance costs and avoid high water bills. Thanks for reading.
A: I have been involved in this neighborhood since 2001 when we purchased a home on West Strawberry Street for my mother. Before that she lived with my wife and I. We found out about the house through some friends.
by Melissa Hess
Questions and photographs are from an interview Melissa Hess conducted with Vicente Ramos, SoWe Resident and Board Member in 2016
Q: How long have you lived in the neighborhood and why did you decide to move here?
A: I have been involved in this neighborhood since 2001 when we purchased a home on West Strawberry Street for my mother. Before that she lived with my wife and I. We found out about the house through some friends. I learned that even though two women can love each other, they don’t always fit in one kitchen. My mother raised 12 children and she always loved to cook so she was thrilled to have her own place and her own kitchen. A few years later we purchased the house across the street which has a side lot where we plant all kinds of flowers and vegetables. Just a couple years ago we bought a third house on West Strawberry Street which I manage and rent out. We work with Water Street Rescue Mission to provide a transitional living community for people coming out of homelessness.
Q: What do you “do” (profession, hobby, etc)?
A: I work in the financial services industry and and at a property management company. I am also chairperson of a non-profit organization called Care Force. Right now I am selling a variety of flowers and vegetables at my home to raise money for a service trip to Honduras through Care Force. Every year I take a group of volunteers overseas with the organization. On the service trips we provide medical services to people in need and also bring children’s clothing and other basic hygiene supplies to give away. All of the flowers that I sell to fundraise for the service trip are donated from Esbenshade’s Garden Center. Soon I will have pumpkins and mums for sale which are also donated from a farm in the area.
Q: What is a favorite memory or moment you recall from living on The Hill?
A: My favorite memory is when we bought the house for my mom and I saw how she was so happy to have her own place that she could call home.
Q: If you could change or improve something about the neighborhood, what would it be?
A: I would encourage people to keep the streets and sidewalks clean. I feel that we are making a difference in the neighborhood by making the outside of our home look beautiful. People tell me that they slow down when they pass by to check out all the plants and flowers in front of our house. I hear comments like “we love your place and the way it looks.”
We are proud to announce the 2018 Annual Report for the SoWe neighborhood initiative. Much has been accomplished over the past year. We would like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in the SoWe initiative, especially the neighbors, board members, and leaders who dedicate their time to build the SoWe community.
We are proud to announce the 2018 Annual Report for the SoWe neighborhood initiative. Much has been accomplished over the past year. We would like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in the SoWe initiative, especially the neighbors, board members, and leaders who dedicate their time to build the SoWe community. We would also like to recognize and thank Jim Shultz, who retired from LHOP in May of 2018 after spending years organizing and supporting SoWe residents.
The work of SoWe could not be done without the help from Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership as the lead agency and all the SoWe Collaborative organizations: Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster, Bright Side Opportunities Center, Lancaster City Alliance, Lancaster Equity CDC, Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, and Lancaster Safety Coalition. Thank you to all.
This was a year of many ‘firsts’ for the SoWe initiative including but not limited to our first neighborhood-wide SoWe Block Party in Culliton Park, first porch light installation, first SoWe Clean Crew, first school in SoWe to be recognized as a Community School and much more! We plan to build on these successes in 2019.
Looking ahead in 2019, SoWe will continue to work to create a cohesive and equitable community in Southwest Lancaster. Physical improvements to the neighborhood will be seen throughout 2019. These include improvements to façades through the Façade Improvement Grant Program, renovation of Culliton Park, installation of street trees and pedestrian lighting on Manor St and W. King St., placement of trash receptacles throughout the neighborhood and much more. In 2019, SoWe hopes to be more accessible to its residents. SoWe will hold a series of forums, panel discussions, and presentations to make sure residents have access to resources they need to succeed as well as promote community dialog.
I invite you to read through the 2018 SoWe Annual Report, attend a SoWe meeting or event, stop by our office, and to get out and meet your neighbors!