We are hiring! We are seeking a dedicated community member to serve as a Housing Location Specialist. The Housing Location Specialist will develop and maintain working relationships with Lancaster landlords and property managers for the purpose of locating and securing housing for residents residing in Southern Lancaster City
Housing Location Specialist (part of the SoWe program)
Tabor Community Services, a
non-profit community benefit organization providing programs and
services to foster housing and financial stability in Lancaster County,
PA, is seeking qualified candidates for a
full-time Housing Location Specialist employed and supervised by
Tabor/LHOP as part of the SoWe program.
The Housing Location Specialist
will develop and maintain working relationships with Lancaster
landlords and property managers for the purpose of locating and securing
housing for residents residing in Southern Lancaster City. For the full
list of functions, please read the full job description.
Key Qualifications include:
2 years of post-secondary education required; Bachelor’s degree preferred.
One year of relevant experience required; two or more years preferred. Experience working in rental housing field preferred.
Commitment to housing as a human right.
Negotiation and sales skills are essential.
Ability to understand the
interests and concerns of landlords/property managers, and develop
effective working relationships with them.
Knowledge of available affordable rental housing in the County, building codes and safety standards for rental housing.
Knowledge/understanding of tenant’s rights and responsibilities
Excellent communication skills especially in listening and mediation.
Strong organizational skills with ability to meet a demanding workload.
Detail-orientated to complete requirements of files and contract compliance.
Ability to speak, write, and understand English is required; fluency in Spanish preferred.
Proficiency using computers and Microsoft Office.
Sensitivity to cultural and socio-economic characteristics of population served.
The ability to establish and maintain respectful relationships and healthy boundaries with residents.
The ability to work collaboratively with other personnel and/or service providers.
Valid driver’s license, a car, and willingness to travel in the community
One of the better-preserved
one-story houses in Lancaster is the blue house with the red door at 434 West
King Street. This four-bay, center-chimney, Germanic-style house is typical of
the many hundreds of such houses, also sometimes known as one-and-a-half-story
houses, that once dominated the architecture of the city during the Federal
period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The 550-square-foot
house is located on the very northern edge of the SoWe project area, less than
a block outside of Cabbage Hill.
How old is
the house? Who built it? Who owned it over the years? There is not much
information available to answer these questions, and what little exists is somewhat
contradictory. Real-estate websites date the house as early as the 1790s and as
late as 1880. A 1985 survey by the Historic Preservation Trust and a 1995
report by the City of Lancaster both refer to the property as the Geise House
and date it to about 1840. But an old map and tax records show that a Barbara Geiss
owned the house next door instead. To try to resolve these conflicts and answer
the questions above, extensive research into historic deed, tax, directory,
newspaper, and other sources was undertaken.
of that research indicates that 434 West King has an interesting and fairly
complicated history. Construction of this venerable old one-story frame house probably
was completed in 1817. The lot where the house is located was originally 64
feet wide along the south side of West King and 245 feet deep to what would
eventually become Campbell Alley. The house’s early history is closely tied to
the Eberman family, a prominent family in Lancaster in the late 1700s.
III (1776-1846) probably began building the house at 434 in late 1816. John III,
a cashier and bank treasurer, was the son of John Eberman, Jr. (1749-1835), a
famous clockmaker whose clocks are highly valued today. John, Jr. also was a
prominent Lancaster citizen who served as Chief Burgess and Justice of the
Peace, and as a sergeant in the Revolutionary War. John, Jr. made and installed
the four-dial clock in the steeple of the second courthouse in the square about
1785. John, Jr.’s father, John Eberman, Sr. (1722-1805), was a soap boiler and
tallow chandler who immigrated to Lancaster from Germany in the mid-1740s. The
Ebermans were a prolific family: John, Sr. had 12 children, John, Jr. 13, and
John III 10.
members of the extended Eberman family owned 434 from 1816 to 1838. Before John
III had even completed the house, his first tenant moved in. Tax records show
that John III rented the house “unfinished to P. Shugar’s” in 1817. (Presumably
John III and/or Shugar completed the house shortly thereafter.) Peter Shugar
was related to John III through marriage; he had married John III’s aunt,
Elizabeth Eberman, in 1796. Upon marrying into the Eberman family, Shugar took
over the aging John, Sr.’s soap and chandler business. The Shugars had six
Peter Shugar, whose surname was later anglicized to Schucker, died a couple
years after moving into 434. Immediately after Peter’s death, his wife
Elizabeth bought the house, which was valued at $250, from her nephew, John
III. A few years later, in 1823 or 1824, Elizabeth divided the lot into two,
keeping 434 on the western half of the lot for herself and selling the vacant eastern
half of the lot back to her nephew, John III. By 1829, John III had built a
one-story frame house on the eastern half of the lot, the house number for
which would eventually be 430. (This house, which had a brick front and was a
little larger than 434, was torn down around 1900 and replaced with the three-story
building that now stands to the east of 434.)
In 1830 or
1831, the ownership of 434 became more complicated. Elizabeth Shugar sold the
house to Jacob Eberman, a shoemaker who was Elizabeth’s nephew, the son of her
older brother Philip. Jacob was also Elizabeth’s son-in-law. He had married his
first cousin, Peter and Elizabeth’s daughter Sarah Shugar, in 1824. Jacob’s
ownership of 434 did not last very long. By 1832, Jacob and Sarah and their
children had moved to Wooster, Ohio, selling 434 to Jacob’s cousin William
Eberman, the son of John, Jr., the clockmaker, and the younger brother of John
III. (Jacob and Sarah would return to Lancaster about a year later, and live in
a one-story house on West King across from 434.) William Eberman, who bought
434 from Jacob, was a tinsmith and an innkeeper. William also bought the house
at 430 at the same time.
Eberman owned 434 and 430 until 1838 when he apparently ran into financial
trouble and was forced to sell the two houses to pay off his debts. Dr. Charles
Herbst, a pharmacist, bought both houses at a public sale in September 1838. In
a newspaper advertisement for the sale, the houses were described as “two one
story frame dwelling houses, one of which has a brick front a wood shed etc.”
on a “full lot of ground on the south side of West King Street.”
Herbst sold both houses on April 1, 1840. The house at 430 was sold to Barbara
Geiss, a widow with a young son, for $475. The house at 434 was sold for $425
to Margaret Gantz, a widow who had two children. At about the same time widow
Gantz bought 434, she remarried, to Joseph Kunkle. Joseph Kunkle was a peddler,
and he and Margaret had four more children together over the next decade.
died in the mid-1860s. His wife Margaret continued living in 434 until her
death in 1890. Margaret’s will stipulated that her daughters Mary and Rose were
to continue to live in 434 as long as they wished. The two sisters lived there
following Margaret’s death for five years until Rose came down from the attic
level one day to discover her sister Mary dead in the summer kitchen.
Rose Kunkle continued
living in 434 until she married Leo Myers in 1909 and moved with him to St.
Joseph Street, where Leo ran a grocery store. (Leo Myers’ grocery was located
in the recently-painted light green house on the corner of Filbert and St.
Joseph Streets, with “Welcome to Cabbage Hill” painted on its side.) When Leo
died in 1913, Rose moved back to 434, living there alone until her death in
death, the administrator for Margaret Kunkle’s estate sold the house at public
sale to Sarah and Jack Winkoff, who paid $4,380 for the house and half lot. An
advertisement for the public sale stated that the “Lot fronts 33 feet on the
south side of West King street…” and “The improvements consist of a 1 ½ story
frame house, with six rooms.”
rented out 434 until 1965, when they sold it to Ronald Cook, who lived there
until 1973, when he sold it to Carol Miller, who lived there into the 1980s. The
current owner is David Aviles Morales, who has maintained it without changing
its basic historical appearance. The house is now available for booking as an
answer the earlier questions: 434 West King was built about 1817 by John
Eberman III. For a 203-year-old house, it has not had very many owners, with
the Eberman, Kunkle, and Minkoff families accounting for nearly 150 of those years.
A good name for the house might be the Eberman-Kunkle House, in honor of its
builder and the family that owned it the longest.
survivor from an earlier time in Lancaster’s history, 434 West King reminds us
of what much of Lancaster used to look like. Hopefully, it will continue to
have owners dedicated to its preservation, and serve as a reminder of our
history for many years to come.
Support SoWe and Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership during the 2020 Extra Give on Friday, November 20th. Since 2016, Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership has been intentionally working with the residents of South West Lancaster City. The goal of the SoWe initiative is to stem the tide of disinvestment and create a neighborhood that is safe, attractive to economic investment, full of opportunities for residents, and welcoming to visitors. This has been a challenging year for neighborhood residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SoWe has worked hard with our collaborative partners to ensure residents have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
SoWe is excited to the announce the opening of Culliton Park on November 20th to the public. Donate during the Extra Give to support our community! Just put a note with your online gift: SoWe (your gift will be designated to SoWe).
has been home to many successful businesses over the past 150 years, some of
which have succeeded over several generations. Kunzler & Company, Inc. may
be one of the first to come to mind. But not all successful Hill businesses
lasted that long. One of the most successful businesses was the Helvetia
Leather Company, which is largely forgotten today. However, in the latter half
of the nineteenth century, working out of a large lot on Poplar Street, the
company achieved nationwide recognition for its unique products, but it was in
business for only about 30 years.
mid-1870s, Albert Wetter, a Swiss immigrant living on West Strawberry near
South Water, began experimenting with a new way to make leather. By 1879, he
had patented his new method, which used hot air instead of tannin to make
leather from animal hides. Soon Wetter’s new method attracted several investors
and together they started to manufacture “Helvetia leather”, a tough but
pliable leather that was well suited to manufacturing applications. (Helvetia
was the Roman name for Switzerland, Albert Wetter’s native country.)
venture, known by the names of its largest investors, Potts, Locher, & Dickey,
needed a place to conduct its business. In 1879, Wetter purchased a large lot
on the southeast side of the 500 block of Poplar, where the houses at 520-538
are located today. The lot extended 202 feet along Poplar, and 87 feet to an
alley that is now South Arch. Later, the company would purchase another lot
adjacent to the first, this one fronting on Fremont 100 feet and extending 85
feet to the same alley from the opposite direction.
his partners built a large two-story brick factory and associated frame and
brick buildings in which they started producing leather using Wetter’s new method.
The factory was powered by a steam engine using coal as its fuel source. Wetter
purchased the house next door at 518 Poplar in 1880 and he, his wife Lizzie,
and their son Robert moved in beside the factory. In 1882, Wetter enlisted the
noted Lancaster inventor, Anthony Iske, to design machinery that would make the
hot-air method of producing leather more efficient, and together they patented
that machinery. The company began to make a name for itself in the heavy-duty
its founding in 1729, Lancaster had always had numerous tanneries. Tanning
leather was a difficult and messy process. Fresh animal hides had to be
purchased from butcher shops and farms, and they had to be cleaned, de-haired,
cured, and dried for several weeks before they were ready to be tanned. Tanning
usually was accomplished through the use of tannin, which was obtained from
tree bark through a time-consuming process, but with Wetter’s new hot-air
method, that part of the process could be avoided.
Even so, the
tanning that took place on Poplar must have been a dirty, noisy, smelly
activity, becoming especially bothersome as that block of Poplar was built out with
houses in the 1880s. Also, tanning no doubt resulted in some nasty waste
products that were drained off downhill into the small stream that ran where
New Dorwart is located today. Following the burial of that small stream in a
sewer under New Dorwart by the late 1890s, the company built their own sewer to
connect to the one under New Dorwart, and discharged their waste that way.
due mostly to bad management, the first incarnation of Wetter’s business failed
after a few years. Wetter and his partners were forced to sell the Potts,
Locher, & Dickey business in 1882. The business was bought by a different
group of investors headed by John Holman and Philip Snyder. After a few years
of gradual success under its new management team, the business went public on
September 7, 1886, sold shares, and became a corporation called the Helvetia
Leather Company. (Wetter was not part of the newly incorporated business; in
fact, he seems to have left Lancaster.) The growing company, chartered for the
purpose of “tanning and manufacturing leather by patented or other process”,
soon became famous for its leather, which was ideal for belts in machinery,
laces for boots and shoes, industrial aprons, and similar uses.
nationwide recognition of the company was mainly due to its belt leather, that
is, belts used to run heavy-duty machinery in sawmills, cotton mills, silk
mills, printing plants, iron forges, railroad shops, and similar factories.
Helvetia leather was made only from the high-quality centers of the animal
hides, with the edges being cut off and sold to other manufacturers of different
leather products. The company’s leather belts were said to be strong yet
pliable, no matter their thickness, and they could run machinery with less
tension required than with other types of leather belts. The company’s belts
performed equally well in cold and hot temperatures, and did not slip as much
Leather Company made heavy-duty leather belts for factories as far west as
South Dakota, as far south as the Carolinas, and as far north as Massachusetts.
Companies such as the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, the Nonotuck Silk Mills,
the Lancaster New Era, and the Clark Mile End Spool Cotton Company installed
belts made by the Helvetia Leather Company. In fact, the Clark Mile End Spool
Cotton Company in Massachusetts used nearly two miles of Helvetia belting in
its factory, with one single belt being more than 2,100 feet long, a record for
the 1880s and the 1890s, the Helvetia Leather Company on Poplar flourished
under the leadership of John Holman and Philip Snyder, as well as several other
prominent Lancaster businessmen. Robert Houston was President for most of those
years, and local businessmen Allan Herr, Abraham Rohrer, Charles Landis, Elmer
Steigerwalt, and Benjamin Atlee played important roles in officer positions.
Gustavus Groezinger, owner of Groezinger’s Tannery at the foot of West
Strawberry, also was an investor and officer. For many years, John Zercher was
the factory superintendent, until he died suddenly at his desk one morning in
By the first
decade of the twentieth century, Helvetia Leather Company had trouble paying
its shareholders their annual dividends because of high prices for raw
materials. By the end of the decade, the company struggled to meet expenses, no
doubt partly because of the rising popularity of rubber belting. As a result,
the company was put up for public sale in 1909, but the reserve amount was not
met. It was finally sold in 1910 to Henry Schneider, and its buildings were almost
immediately razed to make room for new houses. Within two years, eight two-story
brick houses had been built at 520-534 Poplar.
unusual houses at 536-538 Poplar are all
that remain of the Helvetia Leather Company’s complex of buildings; these two
houses used to mark the southwestern extent of the tannery property. Looking at
the row of eight tidy houses just uphill from 536-538 now, it is difficult to imagine
that, in their place, a large, busy, noisy tannery once produced machinery
belts and other products that helped run factories all around the country.
Today, the Helvetia Leather Company is just another ghost of Cabbage Hill past.
In the mid-19th
to early 20th centuries, Cabbage Hill boasted numerous hotels. Most
didn’t look like the typical hotels of today, but instead looked like larger
houses, with saloons on the first floor and rooms for rent in a rear wing. The
proprietor and his family usually lived on the second floor above the saloon. Often
hotels had a main front door for the saloon and hotel, and a second door off to
one side for the proprietor’s upstairs living quarters. Most old hotels were on
corners at intersections.
By far the
earliest (1745) hotel near Cabbage Hill was the Golden Plough (later the Plow
Tavern) at West King and Charlotte, just north of the Hill proper (razed in
1928). Probably the earliest hotel actually on the Hill was the Lafayette Hotel
operated by George Hinkle in the 400 block of Manor Street in the mid-1840s (no
longer there). After the Lafayette went out of business in the early 1850s,
there were no more hotels on the Hill until after the Civil War, although there
were always a couple saloons.
Civil War and the beginning of the 20th century, eight iconic hotels
were established in the historic core of the Hill, bounded by Manor, West
Strawberry, Fremont, and Fairview. Each of these eight hotels flourished at
least until the back-to-back challenges of Prohibition and the Great Depression,
which put several of them out of the hotel business. The saloon part of their
business, however, persisted through Prohibition, with many of them becoming
speak-easies and occasionally running afoul of the Volstead Act. After World
War II, many of the saloons in the old hotels were transformed into cafes,
taverns, and bars through the late 1900s. Although none of the eight iconic
hotels is a hotel anymore, all eight hotel buildings survive, and some still
house successful businesses.
In their heyday,
the eight hotels were the hubs of many Hill activities. Political meetings,
speeches, and rallies often took place in the hotels, sometimes drawing
hundreds of people. Many of the hotels served as polling places as well.
Special events and celebrations often took place at the hotels, and music and
dancing were common on weekends. Athletic, shooting, and other competitions
between different hotel were frequently arranged. And, of course, Hill
residents spent many a night gathered around the long bars drinking locally
brewed beers. Occasionally, fights would break out and the police would be
iconic Hill hotels are briefly described next, starting with the oldest:
Hotel, 128 West Strawberry—Established by Samuel Erisman in 1865, and named in 1876 during the
Nation’s 100th birthday, the Centennial started out as a saloon in a
one-story frame building. In 1892, the old building was replaced with a 3-story
brick one (the current building) with 15 rooms, one bath, and a large bar room.
Edward Kirchner ran the hotel and saloon during the challenging Prohibition
years. Obie Miller’s Steak House operated in the building from the mid-1940s to
the mid-1980s, and then Strawberry Hill Restaurant from the mid-1980s to 2012.
The scars of two large saloon windows remain near the angled front door.
Hotel, 450-452 High—In
1865, Christian Diehl built a 2-story frame building and opened a saloon in it.
When he died in 1877, his wife Victoria took over running the saloon, added a
hotel component, and named it Victoria Hotel. She replaced the frame building
with the current brick one about 1890. Joseph Fritsch ran the hotel and saloon
until Prohibition in 1920. The hotel business closed in 1937, and Ziegler’s
Café operated here in the 1940s. The outline of the old hotel entrance is still
visible in the brick pattern on the façade.
House, 476 Poplar—Martin
Kempf built the current building and opened it as a saloon in 1873. After
Kempf’s death, John Snyder took over in the 1880s and 1890s and added the hotel
business, calling it La Pierre House. Lancaster brewer Charles Wacker bought
the hotel and saloon in 1900 and Charles A. Kirchner ran it for him until 1930.
At that time, the hotel business closed, and Albert Karch ran Fibber’s Café in
the old saloon until 1953. Since then, it has been Danz Café, Brau House,
Farrell’s Café, and My Linda’s Tavern, which closed in 1992.
Horse Hotel, 653-657 Manor—Albert Kohlhaas opened a saloon at this location in 1874, and built the
current building as the White Horse Hotel about 1880. He sold the hotel to
Frank Rieker of Rieker’s Brewery in 1899. John Kirchner ran the hotel for Rieker for
about 20 years, followed by Thomas Goodhart for 15 more. Since the 1940s, the hotel
has been closed, but numerous drinking and eating establishments have used the
building—Noden’s Café, Bishop’s Café, Bartnichak’s Café, and most recently,
O’Henry’s, which closed in the 1980s. Kunzler’s now uses the old hotel as its
corporate offices. Multi-colored formstone now covers the original brick
Hotel, 464-466 Manor—Started
as Charles Vogt’s saloon in 1874, the original building became William
Schneider’s Manor Street Hotel in the 1880s and 1890s. John Stumpf built a new
hotel (the current building) on the site in 1902, with 16 rooms, hot and cold
running water, and a huge cherry bar. Stumpf ran his hotel until 1937. After
Stumpf’s Hotel closed, a series of owners operated cafes, taverns, and bars
there, including Pat & Denze Café, Manor Bar, Gold Brick Tavern, Manor
Tavern, and Cosmos Bar & Grill, which closed in 2011.
Ward Hotel, 552-554 St. Joseph—Alexander Gerz built the current building about 1874 as the
new Green Cottage Hotel. Gerz’ heirs sold the hotel to Lucas Fritz, who ran it
as the Eighth Ward Hotel until the late 1880s, when it was taken over by Fritz’
son Charles until about 1900. William Hoenninger, Jr., ran the hotel and saloon
until about 1915. During Prohibition, Albert Hall sold soft drinks (at least) out
of the dormant saloon. The hotel part of the business closed during the Great
Depression. John Lermer and his wife Fannie ran Lermer’s Café from about 1940
to 1970, and from the late 1970s to 2012, it was the Starting Gate Inn. Formstone
now disguises any covered-up doors and windows from the old building.
Hotel, 764-766 High—In
1894, Frank Schwarz bought a relatively new store and house on the corner of
High and Fairview and a few years later he opened the Hotel Schwarz. Next, Casper
Kirchner ran the hotel until 1910, naming it the Fair View Hotel. Matthew
Miller, Carl Koenig, and Albert Bishop were the main proprietors of the Fair View
for the next 30 years. From 1947 to 1990, William Steinbaecher took over,
naming it Steinbaecher’s Hotel and expanding it farther along High. From the
early 1990s to today, it has been O’Halloran’s Irish Pub. Formstone covers up
any remnants of doors and windows from the old hotel and saloon.
Hotel, 558 High—The
current building was built in the early 1890s as a grocery store for John Kaetz.
By 1903, it was the Glen Hotel licensed to George Kirchner, and one owner
later, William Kirchner was the proprietor until 1909. Several different men
operated the Glen from 1909 into the 1930s, when the hotel closed and a series
of cafes and taverns and other businesses took over, including Hammel’s Café, Koenig’s
Café, Armand’s Tavern, the Glen Tavern, Tan Hoa Grocery, Peniel Church, and
currently Sunshine Nursery Daycare Center.
age of Cabbage Hill hotels is long past, but the buildings remain to remind us
of how important they were to the social lives of Hill residents. Now the rooms
in the old hotel buildings are apartments, as are many of the proprietor’s
quarters on the second floor. But many of the old first-floor saloons have been
converted for businesses, which is key to maintaining some of the neighborhood atmosphere
of the old days on today’s Hill.
thing: Did anybody notice while you were reading this how many of the hotel proprietors
were Kirchners? Edward, Charles, John, Casper, George, William—the Kirchners
must have had the hospitality business in their genes!
Life on old Cabbage Hill had many
qualities worth waxing nostalgic about—neighborhood solidarity, a wide range of
owner-operated neighborhood businesses, and vibrant social, cultural, and
religious institutions, among others. But life in the good old days on the Hill
also had its serious drawbacks, some of the worst of which were frightening
outbreaks of infectious diseases, including smallpox, typhoid fever, cholera, diphtheria,
and consumption (tuberculosis), in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Scientific understanding of the causes
of contagious diseases, and therefore their proper prevention and treatment, was
just in its infancy in the late 1800s. Ignorance and misinformation were rampant,
as were fraudulent prevention and treatment recommendations. Doctors did the
best they could, some heroically, but in many cases all they could do was try
to alleviate the victims’ suffering.
Today, these once feared diseases have
been eradicated in the U.S. through the implementation of public-health measures,
including sanitation and vaccines. Because we are no longer threatened with
these diseases, it is hard for us to imagine how frightening and panic-inducing
they used to be. But the impacts on communities could be truly devastating.
Cabbage Hill was often hard hit when
these diseases visited Lancaster. In some outbreaks, many dozens of Hill
residents came down with the disease, and numerous residents died. The city
Board of Health did its best to monitor and control the diseases, and there are
records of the statistics and public-health responses related to each outbreak.
It is important to remember, though, that behind the faceless statistics were
real families that were changed forever.
In the late spring and summer of 1883,
Lancaster endured a smallpox outbreak that severely impacted a family on the
slope of Dinah’s Hill, on the northern edge of Cabbage Hill. On May 8, Charles
Carr, a 20-year-old bill poster, was committed to the county prison for 45 days
on a charge of drunkenness and disorderly conduct for breaking a transom window
at the Seventh Ward Hotel. Charles lived with his parents, David and Kate Carr,
and seven siblings in a 1-1/2-story frame house at 330 West King Street.
Charles’s family immediately began the
process of trying to get him released through a writ of habeas corpus. In the
meantime, six inmates of the prison, including Charles, had come down with what
appeared to be the early stages of smallpox, a highly communicable disease
caused by the variola virus. The early symptoms of smallpox are fever, back
pain, and red spots on the face, arms, and legs. The prison-keeper was reluctant
to acknowledge this threat to his prison, and despite the warning symptoms,
Charles was released on bail to his family on May 22, just two weeks after he
had been committed. Two of Charles’s older sisters, Annie and Katie, took on
the job of nursing him back to health at their crowded home on West King.
But unlucky Charles was soon beyond
help, and he died on June 4. By then, Annie and Kate had contracted the
disease. Katie, age 25, died June 10, and Annie, age 26, died June 18. By that
time, several of their siblings also had contracted smallpox, and the disease
took brother John, age 18, on June 21; sister Ida, age 17, the next day; and
brother Elmer, age 22, on July 2. In less than a month, six of the Carr’s adult
children had died from smallpox. Of the eight children who had still been living
at home, only George, age 23, and Emma, age 15, survived, and Emma would die
the next year from a “lingering illness”, possibly related to the same outbreak
of smallpox that had devastated her family.
Many neighbors chipped in to provide
support for the Carr family during their crisis, although David Carr refused to
accept any donations. Unfortunately, however, one person saw an opportunity to
take advantage of the family. On the night of July 9, just a week after the
sixth Carr child had died, someone broke into the Carr’s fenced backyard and
stole nearly 100 chickens, prompting the local newspaper to editorialize that
“the thief deserves to be shot”.
The Carr family was the hardest-hit
family, but throughout Lancaster, 85 people contracted the disease, and 15
people died. The prison-keeper, the prison doctor, and the lawyer and judge who
had overseen Charles Carr’s release, were all criticized in the local
newspapers, as was the Board of Health for not acting sooner and more
forcefully. A new position of Health Commissioner was added to the city government,
and three special police officers were assigned to guard the houses that were
under quarantine during the outbreak. The new Health Commissioner led a sanitary
cleanup and free vaccination effort in the hardest-hit areas of the city.
Slowly, the city went back to its normal routines, but for the Carr family,
life would never again be normal.
Eight years later, in the spring of
1891, a different scenario involving an infectious-disease outbreak unfolded right
in the center of Cabbage Hill. The disease was typhoid fever, and the location
was the neighborhood around the intersection of New Dorwart and High Streets.
This time, the disease was transmitted by way of water from a polluted backyard
In September 1890, John Dinges, a
carpenter living at 434 High Street, bought a house (602 High) on a large lot
on the south corner of the intersection of High and New Dorwart Streets. Behind
the house was a shallow well that had been dug when the house had first been
built, at least 20 years earlier. The well was in the floodplain of a small
stream called the Run, which in the 1870s and early part of the 1880s ran where
New Dorwart Street is today.
The well also was only about 12 feet
away from the house’s cesspool, making it likely that human waste from the previous
residents of the house had made its way to the well. Typhoid fever is caused by
a Salmonella bacterium that is found in human excrement. The bacteria that
cause typhoid fever are easily transmitted in water. The symptoms of typhoid
include fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and eventual delirium.
When Dinges acquired the lot and
house, the well had been abandoned for some time, but he installed a pump on it
and put the well back in use. He did not move his family into his new house,
continuing to live at 434 High, but his family started using the well behind
the new house. Dinges also allowed a few other families to use the well,
including neighbors around the corner on New Dorwart—Andrew Braungart and his
wife and seven children. Braungart’s wife was the sister of Joseph Hildmann,
who lived at 414 Poplar with his family, and Hildmann’s family was permitted to
use the well also. At least two other families who were neighbors of Dinges
also began using the well.
Soon after Dinges and his neighbors began
using the well, many of them came down with typhoid fever. Dinges was the first
to contract the disease, and he died on May 24. At the time of his death, a
local newspaper reported that 20 other people had become sick with typhoid.
This number included Dinges’s three children, all nine people in the Braungart
family, and Joseph Hildmann and his wife and children.
When Dinges died, the city Health
Commissioner directed the well to be shut down. Dinges’s widow refused to do
so, so the Commissioner had the pump handle removed and announced that anybody
using the well would be prosecuted. Although some 20 people had already contracted
typhoid fever, no new cases would appear after the well was shut down.
One more person died in the typhoid
outbreak. David Hardy, a 30-year-old tobacco packer and shortstop on the “Ironsides”,
a city baseball team, was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital on May 28 and died
on June 2. Hardy had been boarding on Fremont Street with his wife and one
All the others recovered eventually,
but not without a disturbing incident involving the Braungart family. Andrew
Braungart and three of his children were sick enough to be admitted to the
hospital in late May. On June 5, Braungart was given permission to leave the
hospital for a few hours to visit the rest of his family at home, including a young
daughter who had been too sick to be taken to the hospital. On his way home, Andrew
stopped for whiskey and arrived home drunk, where he “abused his family”. The
authorities were called, and the sick daughter was removed to the hospital for her
In this 1891 typhoid fever outbreak,
the city was better prepared than it had been in the smallpox outbreak in 1883.
The Health Commissioner position that was established in 1883 was right on top
of the typhoid outbreak as soon as the first death was reported, and his quick actions
put a halt to any further spread of the disease. Also, while the crisis was
still evolving, the city Water Committee decided to install a 6-inch water pipe
under New Dorwart to replace the lost water supply of the polluted well. The
testing of water in all the wells in the city also was begun. However, as
efficient and effective as the city’s response had been, it was still too late
for the Dinges and Hardy families that were forever impacted by the typhoid
Today, sadly, we continue to be
plagued by outbreaks of new infectious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria.
Each new outbreak has some distinctly unique features, but our reactions and
behaviors often seem to follow the same sequence of steps and missteps as we
try to deal with them. Revisiting past outbreaks like the ones in 1883 and 1891
can perhaps help us make better decisions about what to do and what not to do
during new outbreaks. Reviewing past outbreaks like these two also reminds us that
the good old days on Cabbage Hill and the rest of Lancaster included some
pretty bad moments.
What do an
extension table, a dumping coal wagon, a hospital bed, a meat slicer, a reclining
chair, a burglar alarm, and a fire ladder have in common? They were all patented
right here in Lancaster, on Cabbage Hill!
was Anthony Iske, who is said to have held some 200 patents for a wide variety
of devices from about 1860 to 1910. Iske, who was known as the Edison of
Lancaster, was a skilled and industrious immigrant who led a remarkable life,
greatly contributing to the vitality and culture of the Hill and the rest of
(Anthony) Iske was born in Alsace, France, in April of 1831. When he turned 14,
he became an apprentice in his grandfather’s cabinetmaking business. He quickly
learned the trade, and by the time he was 18, he was in charge of his
grandfather’s shop, which had an excellent reputation for fine furniture, with
a specialty in church altars.
spring of 1853, Anthony received an invitation to cross the Atlantic to build
an altar for a new church in Lancaster, New York. Upon his arrival in New York
City, he was directed to the wrong train and arrived here in our Lancaster instead.
Luckily, our Lancaster also had a new church that needed an altar, and Iske was
hired to build the high altar, two side altars, and a pulpit for the new St.
Joseph Catholic Church, a task he completed in 1854 at the age of 23.
Less than a
month after arriving in Lancaster in 1853, Anthony married Felicite Ruhlman,
another immigrant from Alsace who had traveled on the same ship. Soon, Felicite
gave birth to a daughter who unfortunately died four days later. Over the next
ten years, they would have five more children, three of whom—Albert, Emma, and
Laura—would survive to adulthood.
By 1858, the
Iskes were tenants in a house in the middle of the 400 block of High Street,
and Anthony had set up his furniture business there. He not only made furniture
of all types, but by the beginning of the Civil War he also made coffins and
ran an undertaking business in his workshop on High (see 1864 ad). In addition,
he continued to be sought after for church furnishings. One example was a 25-foot-tall
pulpit he built in 1864 for St. Augustine Catholic Church in Pittsburgh.
began to invent, and seek patents for, a wide variety of wood and metal devices,
some of which were the first of their kind and others that were improved versions
of existing devices. Some of his inventions from these early years included an
extension table, a dumping coal wagon, a washstand, a fire escape, and a hospital
Anthony built a frame house on a lot at 452 High, and lived and worked there
for six years. When he moved out, the house he built was replaced by the new
owner with a larger brick house that is now 450 High. In 1866, he bought a
house on a lot at 412 High, where he and his family lived for 15 years (see
1874 map). He built a workshop at the end of his backyard, where he worked on
his furniture and inventions. The house at 412 High still stands, although the
workshop has been replaced by a house facing West Vine.
time at 412 High was very productive. He was granted several dozen patents for a
cigar press, a reclining chair, a meat slicer, and numerous other devices. In
the late 1870s, his son Albert, who showed a similar aptitude, began working
alongside his father, and Albert’s name began appearing on patents in addition
to his father’s.
1870s, Anthony held dozens of patents, and had numerous other ones in progress.
Keeping track of the status of each, and managing the required financial
obligations among investors, lawyers, agents, salesmen, and manufacturers was
challenging. Anthony frequently was called to civil court to defend himself
against charges that he had not properly paid one party or another. In 1879, amid
several simultaneous lawsuits involving patent and payment disputes, he was
forced to sell his lot, house, and workshop at 412 High to help pay off his
family soon bounced back. In March 1881, Anthony purchased a property along the
first block of West Strawberry, extending from Manor to Lafayette. The property
contained an old 1-1/2-story brick house on its northwest end facing West King,
across from the Plow Tavern. The deed of sale was actually in the name of his
son Albert, probably because of Anthony’s recent financial troubles.
year, Anthony and Albert had built two additional buildings on the West
Strawberry lot—a 2-1/2-story brick workshop (12 West Strawberry) in the middle
of the lot, and a 2-1/2-story brick house (20 West Strawberry) on the southeast
end of the lot (see 1886 map). Albert and his young family moved into the old
brick house (356 West King) on the northwest end of the lot. Anthony and
Felicite moved into the new house on the other end of the lot. The workshop was
between the two houses, and through the 1880s, Anthony and Albert collaborated
there on many patents, including ones for a heat motor, a fire ladder, and a
combination hay rake and tedder.
In August of
1889, the Iskes sold the northwest part of the lot, where Albert’s house at 356
West King was located, to Christ Lutheran Church for its new church building. Albert
and his family had to move into the upper floors of the workshop at 12 West
Strawberry. Inventions continued rolling out of the Iske workshop at a steady
pace, including a doorbell, a trolley fender, a trolley repair wagon, and an
family continued growing, with several more children arriving by 1896, and soon
the workshop and the rooms above it at 12 West Strawberry were no longer big
enough. The Iskes enlarged the workshop into a double 3-story building, the
larger side (10) of which was for Albert’s family and the smaller side (12) of which
was for the workshop.
the Iskes soon ran into financial difficulties again. In September 1897, they
had to sell their remaining property along West Strawberry. Fortunately, the
new owner of the property rented the houses and workshop back to the Iskes to
use, and Anthony and Albert continued to work on inventions there, but the flow
of inventions was slowing down. Only a handful proceeded to the patent phase,
two of which were a reversible window sash and an intermittent motor.
wife, Felicite, died in August 1898. Anthony’s daughter Emma married George Heim
in 1900, and the newly married couple purchased back the former Iske house at
20 West Strawberry, allowing Anthony to board there with them. In September
1906, the double 3-story house and workshop at 10 West Strawberry was sold to
Christ Lutheran Church. Albert and his family rented back the house and
workshop from the church until 1910 and then moved as tenants to 644 Fourth
workshop now closed, Anthony retired from active inventing. While in his 70s
and 80s, he continued tinkering at 20 West Strawberry, mostly trying to develop
his heat motors into perpetual-motion machines. Anthony fell down the basement
stairs at 20 West Strawberry in early January 1920, and died from internal
injuries 10 days later, virtually penniless.
Iske had been only an inventor, his life would still be noteworthy. But he did
not just seclude himself in his workshop. He was a member of St. Joseph Church
for more than 65 years, and sang in the choir there for 50 years. He served as the
first President of Lancaster’s German Democratic Club, and President of the Schiller
Death Beneficial Society for more than 30 years. He helped found the Fulton
Death Beneficial Association and served as its President for seven years. He
represented the Eighth Ward on the Town Council of Lancaster, and also on the
Select Council. In addition, he served as a School Director, and was a member
of the Lancaster Liederkranz and the Germania Turn-Verein.
described in an 1894 biographical portrait as a man who “bears a high
reputation among his fellow-townsmen for honesty of purpose and straightforward
conduct in everything he undertakes”. Arriving in Lancaster by mistake, he
certainly made the most of his accidental home. Although he never became rich,
Anthony Iske’s remarkable life is a testament to the importance of immigrants
to the vitality and success of the Hill and the rest of Lancaster.
piece was researched and written with the input of Gail Dowle, who lives in
Wales in the United Kingdom. Gail is the great-great-granddaughter of Anthony
Iske. The full story of Anthony Iske’s life and inventions will be published later
this year in The Journal of Lancaster County’s Historical Society.
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.
SoWe is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and reviewing best practices. To ensure everyone’s health and safety and to do our part to encourage social distancing, all SoWe Committee and board meetings will be cancelled for the month of March. The SoWe Office at 417 Poplar St. and the LHOP main office at 123 E. King St. are closed to at this time.
New information about the outbreak is occurring in real
time and we are following updates as they become available. I encourage
everyone to follow PA
Department of Health and the CDC’s
recommendations. SoWe and LHOP staff continue to work remotely to make sure
clients have the resources they need to continue to thrive. Please remember
that this is a difficult time for our most vulnerable neighbors. Please take
this opportunity to check in with each other especially our elderly neighbors;
please make sure you follow proper health recommendations while doing so.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this
time. Please feel free to reach out SoWe staff at (717)455-3626 or email@example.com.
moving pictures as they were first known, were invented in the 1890s. Within
ten years, theaters devoted to showing movies began to proliferate. The first four
large movie theaters in Lancaster were built between 1911 and 1914. They were
the Colonial, Hippodrome, and Grand on North Queen Street, and the Kuhn on
Manor Street. The three downtown theaters were more opulent and charged higher
prices than the Kuhn, which was established to serve the working-class southwest
Theatre, also sometimes known as Kuhn’s Theatre, opened in March 1911. Adam
Kuhn was a German immigrant who attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, and who
for many years, ran a successful bakery on East Chestnut Street. After much of
his bakery was destroyed in a fire, he decided to retire from the baking
business and venture into the new movie-theater business. He sold the damaged bakery
in September 1910 and a month later he used the proceeds to buy a large lot in
the 600 block of Manor Street for $1,950 (the lot was actually purchased in the
name of Mary, his wife). On that lot, Kuhn built the Kuhn Theatre, which would
eventually become the Strand Theatre and continue showing movies until 1962.
The Kuhn was
located at 605-609 Manor on a large lot that extended to Reiker Avenue, and it stood
nearly alone on that part of the block when it was first built. The brick theater
had 40 feet of frontage on Manor, widening to 70 feet where the screen and
stage were at the rear of the building. The building was 205 feet long, with a
two-and-a-half-story brick house attached to the rear of the theater, in which
the Kuhn family lived. The original theater, which could seat 400 people, was heated
by steam and had both gas and electric lights. (The former site of the now
demolished theater is a parking lot next to B&M Sunshine Laundry.)
Adam Kuhn’s new
career in the movie-theater business did not last very long. He died in the
fall of 1912. Edward J. Kuhn, Adam’s son, took over ownership of the theater. Like
most movie theaters in the early days, it not only offered movies, but also
offered other types of entertainment such as vaudeville acts and band music. Kuhn
also rented out the theater for use by others; one example was the Salvation Army
for evangelistic services in 1914.
shown at the Kuhn were quite primitive, black-and-white, silent movies that
featured exaggerated acting and were usually about 15-45 minutes long. Each
movie consisted of one to three reels of film; if there was more than one reel,
the projectionist had to rewind and change the reels while the audience waited.
The movies were accompanied by live piano music. Kuhn charged a nickel for most
movies, and a dime for special events.
operated the theater through 1913, but in early 1914, he put the theater up for
sale at auction. The advertisement for the public sale, held in the theater in
February 1914, noted that the theater had been “a good money maker”. The
highest bid was $15,000, but that was less than Kuhn thought it was worth, so
the theater was withdrawn from sale. Kuhn tried again two weeks later, but
again the theater was withdrawn from sale. Six months later, in August 1914,
the theater was seized and sold to cover Kuhn’s debts. The Northern Trust
Company bought the theater for $7,300. A couple months later, in October 1914,
the Northern Trust Company sold it to two theater operators from Philadelphia
The two new owners, Peter Oletzky and Michael Lessy, changed the name of the theater to the Lancaster Theatre, and continued to offer movies and other forms of entertainment while remodeling the theater and increasing the seating capacity to about 900. By January 1916, a new theater manager had been brought on from Philadelphia. While movies were still the theater’s mainstay, other large events were held to augment the theater’s income. One such event was an April 1916 show put on by the Eighth Ward Minstrels accompanied by the St. Joseph’s Church orchestra and choir that attracted more than 1,000 people.
A big change
in the program of the Lancaster Theatre was the addition of boxing matches. A
boxing ring was set up on the stage for these events, and well-known local and
regional boxers would stage matches that attracted packed houses. One example
was a bout between Cabbage Hill’s own Leo Houck and Dummy Ketchell of Baltimore.
Lancaster Theatre got another new manager in October 1916, and he announced a
new policy of “musical comedy playlets of the higher class and unexcelled
photoplays”. The opening act under this new policy was Rowe and Kusel’s Big
Girlie Musical Review, an act that may have indeed been a change for the
family-oriented audiences of the Hill. Prices were 5, 10, or 15 cents,
depending on the seats. On the downside, because of competition from other
attractions in the summer months, the Lancaster Theatre closed down for the
entire summer in 1917.
spring of 1919, the theater had changed hands again, and was doing business
under the name of the Manor Theatre. Movies and boxing matches continued to be
the two main draws. Movies had become much more sophisticated in the eight
years since the theater had opened. They were still silent, but they had become
longer, with more natural performances, and instead of anonymous actors, they
now had recognizable stars who drew people to their movies. They also were now
being made in Hollywood, California, instead of New York and New Jersey.
attractions drew crowds as well, such as a 7-foot eel caught by George Schaller,
a neighborhood cigarmaker, in January 1920. Schaller put the eel in his
backyard to freeze it solid, and then put it on display in the Manor Theatre. However,
a monster eel was apparently not enough to meet the Manor’s profit
expectations, and the theater was sold again in the spring of 1920, this time
to George Bennethum of Philadelphia for $15,000. He remodeled the theater, updated
its projection equipment, and changed the name of the theater to the Strand, a
name it would keep until it closed 40 years later. Movies were still the staple,
but boxing and other events also were staged. For instance, in the winter of
1921-22, the Duquesne Boxing Club leased the theater for its winter season of
In 1928, the
Strand Theatre was sold to Harry Chertkoff, a Latvian immigrant who would own
it until he died in 1960. Chertkoff went on to own numerous other theaters in
Lancaster County, including the King Theater and the Sky-Vue and Comet drive-ins.
His first infrastructure improvement at the Strand was to outfit it for sound
to accommodate the industry’s switch to movies with soundtracks. Chertkoff also
made major renovations to the Strand in 1933 with the addition of improved acoustics
and speakers, and again in 1939 with air conditioning and new seats. He also
continued the practice of keeping prices as low as possible. In 1948, when
Lancaster City instituted a 10% amusement tax, Chertkoff upped his prices to a
still modest 37 cents for adults and 15 cents for children.
Chertkoff’s death in 1960, his son-in-law Morton Brodsky took over his business
interests. The Strand had been losing money for several years, probably related
at least partly to the rising popularity of television. In 1962, the theater stopped
showing movies, and Brodsky decided to sell the property. While searching for
someone to buy the lot and building, Brodsky proceeded to sell the seats,
projection equipment, and screen. When the theater building didn’t sell, he
decided to just tear it down, and in November 1964, the Strand was demolished.
Brodsky stated that he was exploring several options for the site, but in the
short term it would be graded and used for parking, which turned out to be the
long-term plan as well, as the site is still a parking lot today.
Kuhn/Lancaster/Manor/Strand Theatre was Lancaster’s only neighborhood theater;
all the others were downtown. It was the entertainment center of the Hill,
providing movies and other amusements at reasonable prices to Hill residents
for more than 50 years. Many a child had his or her early movie experience in
the theater, including yours truly in the early 1960s. The 1964 demolition of
the last incarnation of the theater, the Strand, not only left a physical gap
in the 600 block of Manor, but also a gap in the social and cultural
environment on the Hill.