Support SoWe During ExtraGive

If you’re participating in this year’s ExtraGive, please consider including SoWe in your giving. Your support helps your neighbors and our neighborhood! We use donations to:

  • Fund several neighborhood events every year, including our Earth Day Celebration, Annual Block Party, and our Halloween Trick or Treat. These events connect neighbors to each other and give us a chance to celebrate our wonderful neighborhood!
  • Support low-income homeowners with grants to make critical repairs to their homes. Our Affordable Home Repair Program helps our neighbors maintain safe, quality housing.
  • Keep our parks clean through our partnership with Lancaster County Food Hub’s Hand Up Partners Initiative. This project provides stipends to our homeless neighbors to clean Culliton and Brandon Parks, providing both critical support to neighbors and ensuring our parks are able to be enjoyed by SoWe families and households!

You can donate directly to SoWe on November 17th using this link.

SoWe Store Stories: 23 New Dorwart St., John Funk (1899)

This article is part of a series of posts from SoWe Volunteer Historian Jim Gerhart about the stories behind the stores on Old Cabbage Hill.

The origin of the corner store at 23 New Dorwart Street, which most people will remember as King’s Confectionery, begins with the building of a sewer. In the early 1880s, a small stream called the Run, which ran along what is now New Dorwart, was diverted into an arched brick sewer buried beneath the street. This opened the door for further building of houses along New Dorwart, and within a couple of decades, the street would be fully built out.

Before the sewer was installed, the empty lot on which 23 New Dorwart would be built was owned by Adam Finger. Finger was a wealthy, German-immigrant grocer and landlord who operated the grocery store at 568 Manor, and owned various other properties in the vicinity. In 1892, Finger sold a twenty-foot strip of his land between Lafayette and High to the city so that South Dorwart could be widened on its northeast side so that houses could be built (New Dorwart was named South Dorwart in its early years).

Finger sold his land along New Dorwart between Lafayette and High to the Home Building & Loan Association in 1894. The HBLA, a development company, built the row of twelve two-and-a-half-story houses on the northeast side of New Dorwart in the mid-1890s. The house at 23 New Dorwart was located on a lot with sixteen feet of frontage on New Dorwart, extending eighty-three feet along Lafayette. It had a store on its first floor and a residence on its second floor. There were six rooms, a bathroom, and a two-story frame back building. Later, two other houses would be built on the lot along Lafayette.

There was a storefront for the first-floor store, much of which remains today. The doorway to the store was canted at forty-five degrees to face the intersection. Facing New Dorwart, there was a large display window with transoms above it, which remains today. Separating the storefront from the residence above was a cornice that also remains. Old maps indicate that for most of the first half of the twentieth century, there was a wooden frame with an awning that extended on both sides of the entrance, overhanging the sidewalk in front of the store.

In 1899, the HBLA sold the house and store it had built on the corner of New Dorwart and Lafayette to John B. Funk for $1,375. Funk also ran a grocery store at 401 West Walnut that he called Model Cash Grocery. In 1899, he opened a new branch of his West Walnut grocery in the building he had just bought at 23 New Dorwart. Funk enlisted his twenty-five-year-old son, Clifford A. Funk, to run the new branch store. Clifford continued living at home on West Walnut while running the new branch of Model Cash Grocery at 23 New Dorwart.

In 1903, John Funk sold his branch store on New Dorwart to Jacob Kohr, who eighteen months later, sold it to John W. Wenger for $2,200. Wenger opened his own grocery in the store, and operated it until 1910, when he sold it to William P. Ostermayer for $2,800. Ostermayer moved his family into the second floor of the building and ran a grocery in the store for about five years. Ostermayer went bankrupt and in early 1916, the Union Trust Company purchased the store for $4,110.

The store was vacant for a couple of years, but then Union Trust Company leased it to Lena Ansel and her daughter Pearl, who opened L & PS Ansel Grocery in the store. Lena was the fifty-five-year-old wife of Lazarus Ansel, a clothier. Lazarus and Lena were both Russian immigrants who lived on Hebrank. The Ansels ran their grocery for a couple of years, but in 1922, the Union Trust Company sold the store to Walter D. King for $4,200.

Walter King, who had served in the Army in WWI, opened King’s Confectionery in the store. He later added a restaurant to the candy store. King’s would be in business for the next seventy years, and become a favorite in the close-knit Cabbage Hill community. King was twenty-six when he opened the store, and he operated it until his death forty years later. King and his family lived above the store, and then in the house facing Lafayette behind the store. After King’s death, his widowed third wife, Pauline, some twenty-five years younger than him, sold the store to Harry R. Martin for $18,000.

Martin, a WWII veteran who ran a similar store at 401 East King, would retain the name of King’s Confectionery for his store at 23 New Dorwart, and would own the store until his death in 1990. Martin covered the building’s brick with form-stone and rented the second floor to tenants. When Martin died, his wife Marion sold the store to BJ Properties, a property management company and landlord, for $70,000.

 In 1993, BJ Properties leased the store to three brothers—Jim, George, and Leo Bournelis—who opened a restaurant they named The Steak-Out, and later Steak Attack, which they ran in the store into the late 1990s.

Next, BJ Properties leased the store to LeGrant Williams, who opened Premier Cuts and Styling, a men’s barbershop. In 2002, Williams bought the store from BJ Properties. In 2016, Williams sold the store, and now two owners later, it remains a barbershop, but now it is known as Century 21 Cuts.

SoWe Store Stories: 604 Manor St., Henry Breiter (1882)

This article is part of a series of posts from SoWe Volunteer Historian Jim Gerhart about the stories behind the stores on Old Cabbage Hill.

The two-story brick house and store at 604 Manor Street was built by Henry and Anna Mary Breiter in 1882, and it was owned by the extended Breiter family for its first seventy years. It was built on the fourteen-foot-wide southwest edge of Bethelstown lot 21. The other forty-eight feet of the lot’s frontage on Manor had been taken up by the construction of New Dorwart Street in 1881 when a small stream was buried in an arched brick sewer to make way for the new street.

Henry and Anna Mary built the narrow building at 604 Manor for use as a cigar factory. They lived on the second floor above where the cigars were made. Henry Breiter was an interesting character. He was born in Germany in 1830, immigrated to New York City in 1854, and settled in Lancaster in 1865, after serving in the 55th New York Volunteers in the Civil War.

Henry married Anna Mary Scheetz shortly after arriving in Lancaster, and for a while, he owned a cigar factory on Water Street. He also owned several other properties in the city and was a partner in the building of a hotel on South Queen Street. He bought Bethelstown lot 22 on Manor Street and built a cigar factory in the backyard, which burned down in 1877. In the late 1870s, the courts forced him to sell some of his properties to settle some debts.

Apparently, Henry had a short temper. In his first two decades in Lancaster, he had numerous run-ins with the law, including being charged with assault and battery several times. Henry was not a guy you wanted to provoke—he also was an officer and competition-winning member of the Germania Sharpshooters.

Anna Mary’s life ended disastrously. On the day after Christmas in 1900, at 604 Manor, she fainted while carrying a large pot of boiling water, spilling the water and scalding the left side of her body. She died a couple of weeks later of blood poisoning as a result of her burns. A little more than two years later, her husband Henry died at age seventy-three.

Anna Mary’s younger brother, Lorentz Scheetz, and his wife Ada, took over the cigar factory after the Breiters died, and lived on the second floor of the building. By the mid-1910s, Lorentz had modified the front part of the first floor at 604 Manor, adding a store where he sold the cigars that he was making. The angled doorway and the display windows near the corner of the building probably date to the mid-1910s, as does an overhanging cornice, now modified, that wraps around the corner of the building.

Henry L. Breiter, Henry and Anna Mary’s son, and his wife Minnie, operated the store for their uncle Lorentz Scheetz starting in the late 1910s and moved into the second floor of 604 Manor with the Scheetz’s. Lorentz eventually moved his cigar-making business to 47 Dorwart Street, where he continued making the cigars that Henry L. and Minnie Breiter sold in the store.

In the 1920s, Henry L. took a job as an inspector at Hamilton Watch Factory, and his wife, Minnie, took over the operation of the cigar store, adding candy to its inventory. Henry L. died in 1947, and Minnie continued to run the store after his death. Minnie apparently diversified her business: In 1951, the store was raided by the police and Minnie was arrested for taking bets on horse races. She served a month in the county jail for bookmaking.

Just as her mother-in-law, Anna Mary, had met a tragic end at 604 Manor during the Christmas season, so did Minnie. In the week before Christmas 1953, the building at 604 Manor caught fire. Minnie was discovered unconscious in her bedroom above the store and had to be rescued out of a second-floor window by a fireman. She died three days later as a result of smoke inhalation.

In 1954, following Minnie’s death, the store and house were sold for $21,200 to Anthony and Jennie Caterbone, who opened a branch of DeLuxe Cleaners in the store and rented out the second floor as an apartment. The cleaning business was in operation until 1975, and then the Caterbones leased the store to Zangari’s Pizza Parlor until 1980, when Louis Zangari bought the house and store from the Caterbones for $43,000.

Zangari’s Pizza Parlor was in business in 604 Manor until 1991, when the building was purchased by Lance Newswanger for $64,900. Newswanger opened Cabbage Hill Steak & Subs in the store, but within a year he changed the name to Three Adelphia Pizza & Subs, which was in business until 1998 when Newswanger sold the property to Anthoula Papadimitriou for $80,000. About 2006, the business in the store grew with the addition of another enterprise—Hit the Spot Pizza—to the continuing Three Adelphia business. The upstairs part of the building continued to be a residence, sometimes a rental and sometimes where the owner or store proprietor lived.

After Anthoula Papadimitriou’s death, her estate sold the property to Thomas Haines in 2008 for $110,000. Average Joe’s Pizza replaced Hit the Spot in 2010, and then in 2013, Par Café was added to the mix. In 2016, J&J Mofongo Restaurant opened, joining Par Café and Three Adelphia in the store. Then, from 2017 to the present, J&J Mofongo Restaurant has been the sole business in the 141-year-old store at 604 Manor, with Gabriel De Jesus owning the building until it was purchased by Dustin & Gary LLC in 2022.

SoWe Business Mixer – 9/14/2023

Do you own a business in the SoWe neighborhood? If so, please join us on Thursday, September 14 from 5 to 7pm at Two Dudes Painting for a SoWe Business Mixer. You’ll have a chance to network with other business owners in the neighborhood, learn more about the work of SoWe, and discuss ways we can support each other.

Appetizers and drinks will be provided. Please RSVP to by calling or texting Amos at 717-344-3637. We hope to see you there!

SoWe Store Stories: 509-509A Saint Joseph St., Charles Falk (1885)

This article is part of a series of posts from SoWe Volunteer Historian Jim Gerhart about the stories behind the stores on Old Cabbage Hill.

Close to the corner of East Filbert and St. Joseph Streets, across from the green “Welcome to Cabbage Hill” house, is a two-story brick house with adjoining shop that was the headquarters of the meat business for four generations of the Falk family for nearly 100 years.

Charles Falk, Sr. and his wife Frances immigrated to America from Germany about 1850, when they were in their early twenties. He and Francis went on to have four sons and one daughter. Charles, Sr. was a shoemaker, and he worked in that trade for several decades in their log house at 516 High Street.

In 1883, the Falks, in their son Charles, Jr.’s name, bought the lot where 509-509A are located today. The lot was on the northwest side of St. Joseph Street, fifty-five feet wide and extending back to West Vine. By 1885, Charles, Sr. had given up his shoemaker business, and he and his sons had built a two-story brick house facing St. Joseph (now 509A), with a butcher shop and slaughterhouse behind it on West Vine. Charles, Sr. and Frances lived in the house, while their sons Charles, Jr, and Louis continued to live at 516 High while they worked at the butcher shop.

The business got off to a rough start. On a Sunday morning just after Christmas in 1885, shortly after moving into the new house and starting the meat business, Charles, Sr. had an accident while delivering meats. He was traveling in his new wagon on Chestnut Street at Water Street when he almost was hit by a passing train. He barely avoided the collision, but the scared horse bolted and veered into a lamp post, destroying the wagon, which he had just bought a few weeks earlier. The wagon and a new harness were a total loss at $150. Charles, Sr. was not seriously injured, and the horse survived.

Frances died in 1895 and Charles, Sr. died in 1902. Their sons, Charles, Jr. and Louis took over the family meat business, which they named Falk Bros. Meats. About 1920, they built a shop, or meat market, on the southwest side of the house. This is the small building (now numbered 509) that still stands next to the house (now numbered 509A).

By the mid-1920s, the next generation of Falks had taken over the business. Charles III and Louis Falk continued to sell meats under the name of Falk Bros. Meats. They were quite successful, selling meats in their shop, delivering meat to customers, and operating meat stands at Central, Southern, and Northern Markets. Louis also branched out into property management, when in 1923 he purchased the grouping of three houses next door at 513-17 St. Joseph for rental income.

The fourth generation of Falks took over the business by the 1940s. Robert and Richard ran Falk Bros. Meats for several more decades, until they closed the business in 1980, making it nearly 100 years that the Falks had been in the meat business on St. Joseph Street. Increasing Pennsylvania health regulations were part of the reason for their closing in 1980.

Over the years, the Falks had built quite a complex of buildings on their property. In addition to the house and shop facing St. Joseph, and the slaughterhouse facing West Vine, they built a smokehouse, a rendering shop, a wagon house, a wagon-loading stage, and later a garage for cars and trucks.

In the mid-1980s, after the business had closed, the house remained a residence, the slaughterhouse was converted to apartments, and the shop remained vacant. By about 1990, the shop was converted to an apartment as well. In 2022, Mike Brenneman, who lives on the same block, purchased the property and began repairing and updating the apartments. He also opened up the display window in the shop that had been closed up when it was converted to an apartment. See the photo for the renovated buildings.

SoWe Store Stories: 705 High Street, Abraham Ansel’s Grocery (1923)

This article is part of a series of posts from SoWe Volunteer Historian Jim Gerhart about the stories behind the stores on Old Cabbage Hill.

Not every store on Cabbage Hill was owned by German immigrants. The brick house and store at 705 High Street was built by a Russian immigrant of the Jewish faith.

Abraham Ansel arrived in Lancaster in 1880 and took up residence in the Southeast Ward where he began working as a junk dealer. He and his first wife Rebecca soon entered the grocery business at the corner of Mercer and Locust Streets. In 1908, Rebecca died at the age of forty-three, leaving Abraham with their young son Myer.

Abraham remarried and he and his second wife Sarah had five children. Following a tragic accident in their house in which their two-year-old child lost his life, Abraham and Sarah moved from the Southeast Ward to the Southwest Ward, buying a house and store at the corner of High and Laurel Streets. He bought the house and store from Conrad Zimmerman, who had been running a grocery in the store.

The house was a two-story frame house and the store was a one-story frame building attached to the house. The house and store were on a large corner lot that ran all the way to Lafayette Street, and contained four other adjacent frame houses facing Laurel, and two larger brick houses facing Laurel at the intersection with Lafayette. The lot also contained the house and store at 705 and an adjacent house at 707, both facing High. Abraham rented out the other houses while living in 705 High and running the grocery store there.

The store must have been successful, because, ten years later, in 1923, he replaced the frame house with attached store with a three-story brick house and store. He also built four other connected two-story brick houses along High south of the corner store. Ansel and his family lived in 707 and ran the now larger grocery store on the first floor of 705. They rented out the upper floors of 705 as apartments. The buildings he built a hundred years ago in 1923 are the same ones present today.

Abraham Ansel retired from the grocery business in 1936, and lived the rest of his long life of ninety-eight years on Chestnut Street. When he retired in 1936, his son Walter and his wife Sarah took over the store at 705 High. Walter then bought the house and store at 705 from his father in 1946, and continued operating the grocery there for another forty years. In 1985, Ansel sold the house and store to Kyoo Shik and Young Im Cho, who reopened the store as the Y&C Grocery, a business that lasted about twenty-five years. The next and present owner, Yoangel Plata-Cabrera, took over in 2016 and continues to operate the store as the V&Y Mini Market 2.

The storefront that Ansel built in 1923 is still largely present. The cornice can be seen extending past both sides of the large modern canopy and signage, and the large display windows with transoms, although mostly covered now, can still be seen on either side of the canted doorway with its sidelights. The doorway sits five steps up from the sidewalk, and like many storefronts built after 1900, there are no bulkheads below the display windows.

SoWe Store Stories: 502 High St, Ernst Roehm’s grocery (1895)

This article is part of a series of posts from SoWe Volunteer Historian Jim Gerhart about the stories behind the stores on Old Cabbage Hill

Many people will remember 502 High as the Hi-Fi Café, and indeed that is what it was for some 20 years. But fewer people know that 502’s early days were spent as a grocery store, and like many stores on old Cabbage Hill, its builder and its early proprietors were German immigrants.

The building that stands today at 502 High was built over 125 years ago, but as old as it is, it was not the first 502 High on the site. The first 502 High also was a 2-story brick building, but its location on the northeastern edge of the lot proved problematic. The city had to remove the house in the fall of 1890 when the original 14-foot-wide Filbert Alley was widened to make East Filbert Street. After the widening, the lot that remained was only 14 feet, 7 inches wide along High.

In 1891, Ernst Roehm, who immigrated here in 1881, bought the then-empty lot from which the first 502 High had been removed. He also bought a 2-story brick building at 506 High, which is no longer there, and that’s where Roehm and his family moved, and where he opened a grocery store. After a few years, in 1895, Roehm built the house and store that became the second, and current, 502 High. He designed it as a long, necessarily narrow, house with a first-floor store, and he moved his family from 506 High into the upstairs of 502 High, and moved his grocery store into the first floor of his new building.

The store was built with its entrance canted at 45 degrees so that it faced the intersection rather than either of the two streets forming the intersection. Roehm eschewed the elaborate Victorian storefront features that had been popular for the previous several decades, settling instead on a more modest storefront with two display windows on either side of the entrance. Instead of heavy cornices over the two windows, he went with subtle arches in the brickwork.

Today, the old storefront looks different than it did originally. A small green roof has been placed over the door, the transom has been covered, the front door and display windows have been replaced, and concrete steps have been added.

Roehm did not stay long at 502 High, but it remained a grocery store under several different owners into the 1930s. The grocer who had the longest tenure in 502 High was Leo Huegel, who ran a grocery there for about 25 years. After Huegel’s grocery closed in the late 1930s, George and Marie Ziegler opened Ziegler’s Café in the first floor.

When the property changed hands in 1960, the Zieglers retired and the building’s new owner, Carl Bermel, opened the Hi-Fi Café there with his brother August. The Hi-Fi became a popular fixture on the Hill for the next 20 years. From 1967 to 1973, it was run by Erma Jaggers and was known as Erma’s Hi-Fi Café. When the Bermel family sold it in 1973, the new owner, Harry Martin, hired Charles Null to run the Hi-Fi, which he did until it closed in 1980. After it closed, the building and its first-floor store/café became a residence, which it has been over the past 40 years, under 8 different owners.

                                                                                                Jim Gerhart, April 2023

SoWe Store Stories: 306 East Filbert Street, Ambrose Wirth’s bakery (1891)

This article is part of a series of posts from SoWe Volunteer Historian Jim Gerhart about the stories behind the stores on Old Cabbage Hill

The store at 306 East Filbert, with its slate-gray Victorian storefront, has been standing on its corner for more than 130 years. It has been an apartment for more than seventy-five years, but for its first thirty-three years, it was a bake shop operated by a series of three German-speaking bakers, the first of whom, Ambrose Wirth, was its builder in 1891.

Ambrose Wirth immigrated to America in 1873, and soon he was in Lancaster working as a baker. In 1878, he married Emma Lichty and in 1886, the couple bought the lot at the south corner of East Filbert and Fremont for $510. In 1891, Wirth built a two-story brick house (306) with a first-floor bake shop (304), as well as a backyard bakehouse and an adjoining two-story brick house (308). The Wirths lived in 308 with their seven children while Ambrose ran the bakery in 304 until his death in 1907. (After it closed some fifty years later, the store in 304 was absorbed into 306 and a third story was added to the building.)

After Wirth’s death, his widow Emma and her younger children continued to live in 308. Joseph Kauffman bought 304-306 and ran the bakery, living above the bake shop with his wife Lena and their three children. Kauffman was a German immigrant who arrived in Lancaster in 1888, went back to Germany for several years, and then returned here in 1896. He died in 1912 at the age of forty-two.

Kauffman’s bakery assistant, Jerome Yecker, an Alsatian immigrant, took over the bakery after Kauffman’s death. Yecker soon married Kauffman’s widow, Lena, and the couple ran the bakery until 1924. The store in 304 was then leased to the A&P Tea Company, the first large national grocery chain, until the mid-1930s, with the two upper stories becoming apartments. In the late 1930s, Harold Benn operated a grocery in the store, but about 1940, the store closed and it too was soon converted to an apartment, as it remains today, with its large display window boarded up for privacy.

The original decorative storefront is still nearly intact, with its elaborately capped bracketing pillars, its projecting cornice supported by corbels, and its glass transoms above the display window and door. Should a new business want to reopen the store for the first time in many decades, the Victorian storefront could be restored fairly easily by uncovering the display window and door transom, as well as replacing the modern door with a door more representative of the 1890s. If such were to happen, the spirit of an old German-immigrant baker named Ambrose Wirth would no doubt approve the store’s return to Cabbage Hill’s business community.

                                                                                                Jim Gerhart, March 2023