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Friday, July 21, 2017

The "So Sad To See History Disappear" Story

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It was an ordinary day.  Searching the web for nothing in particular when I opened one of my favorite sites and came across this unbelievable photo submitted by Victor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The site I was visiting is known as Remember When In Lancaster and can be reached at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/182712575129551/.  The photo I came across had been posted to the site on February 19th at 6:20pm by Victor.  
Leinbach & Co. in downtown Lancaster, PA.
The photo showed what appeared to be a building which needless to say had to be somewhere in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Image was of a four-story department store that was named Leinbach & Co. and the post said:  What a treasure.  Would have loved to see this.  Leinbachs at Christmas 1927.  Live plants grew from balconies, skylight, and live canaries chirping from their cages.  What a sight!  Building still stands on N. Queen St.  Well, everyone in Lancaster seemed to have an opinion as to where this building was located.  A few people knew where it really was located and told of its location in downtown Lancaster.  
Someone posted the outside view.
That didn't seem to stop others from still trying to guess an alternate locations, even though some gave definite reasons as to where it was.  I was born 17 years after the photo was taken and had never seen this building, even though my mother would take me shopping with her many times during my youth.  When I was old enough to visit downtown Lancaster on my own, I never once walked into any store in downtown Lancaster that looked like the building in the photograph.  So, by using what I thought to be reasonably accurate remarks, I headed downtown to find it and see what I may have missed.  Sure enough, the building was exactly where a few people had said.  To the rear of the building is Godfrey Advertising Company which is reached in the alley known as Marion Street behind the storefront displayed in the photograph.  
The rear of the property is now Godfrey Advertising Co.
Godfrey totally renovated the rear of the store and brought what apparently was a deteriora- ting building, back to life once again.  Took a photo of Godfrey from Marion Street and walked down nearby Grant Street to North Queen Street.  Took a right on Queen and there was the storefront now known as Rainbow standing at 37 North Queen Street.  
The front of 37 North Queen St.
I was shocked!  Why was the old storefront destroyed?  How long ago was this done to the storefront?  And, what used to be in the current store when I was a young boy walking along Queen Street?  I walked into the store and found the neon lights a few feet from my head so very much different than what it looked like in the photo.  One poster stated that if you look up and see "The New Era" on the top of the building, then you have what used to be Leinbach & Co.  Sure enough, as seen in my photograph, there were the the three words on the top of the building.  Some of the old architecture still looks the same, but what used to be a four-story building now appears to be only three floors.  Could this really be the same building.  I guess.  At least it is the best bet for what Victor's photo gave to us.  So sad to see Lancaster's historic downtown disappear.  Guess that happens in many U.S. cities.  Just so sad to see that happen.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

The top of the structure shows "The New Era" 
Plaque on the front of the store tells of the year it was built.
Looking up the storefront.
What the interior now looks like.
First floor front facade.  Doesn't look at all like what it used to.
An old advertisement for Leinbach & Bro.

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