It was a bittersweet moment when I was offered the 1950s banner once proudly displayed on the Shady Dell stand at the York Fair. It’s destiny had been on my mind since the former teen hangout was sold recently, but I’m now able to breath a sigh of relief.
The new owner of the Spring Garden Township property had quickly razed the old barn, stable, garage, and yes, even the dancehall featuring the autographs of its guests on the walls. I’m quick to admit that I was worried about the banner and what would happen to it.
Larger than life, but oh so delicate…
This banner is large. Unusually large. Measuring two feet high and eighteen feet long, it could easily get in the way of someone without a true appreciate for its importance. It was stapled at the top and bottom to long pieces of wood, rolling it up and tucking it away in a closet or corner was impossible.
I decided that to minimize further damage, it should be removed from the wood and carefully rolled up until a long-term storage method was found. I really feel that if possible, it should be shared with the Preserving York family and the entire community.
Another concern I have with the banner is its current condition, as time had been extremely harsh to it over the years. The previous owner did what she could to keep the banner from falling apart, but despite her attempts to cover the entire back portion with duct tape, careful handling is still needed.
The Shady Dell concession stand…
For many years, John and Helen Ettline maintained a concession stand at the York Fair, which was directly behind the grandstand. The couple also operated a stand at Central Market where they sold baked goods that were made in the basement of their home.
The York Fair stand sold a number of different items to its patrons, including donuts, coffee, and…
… you guessed it, sandwiches and milkshakes. A close look at the old photograph of the stand shows they sold hot dogs, hamburgers, and even meatloaf sandwiches. Can you get one of those at today’s fair?
Long-time York business maker of banner…
What should make this banner even more historically interesting to the York County community is the appearance of the maker’s name and location on the front: “John Mundorf – York“. Not only was it from the well-known Shady Dell, but it was also made by the Mundorf sign business which has been operating in York for decades.
A call to the business has been placed, and information obtained by them will be shared as I receive it.
One mans trash…
This is a prime example of how a piece of history could have easily been tossed into the trash without a second thought. I’m thankful that it has been saved and hope it serves as a reminder that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
If you come across any of that York County “treasure”, I’d love to know about it.
- Many thanks to my brother-in-law, Terry Luckenbaugh, for helping me get this treasure home.