Nubbintown, it’s a small world

Eastern York Neighborhood Series

A stone’s throw away from where my wife grew up on Tracey School Road in Hellam Township is a little known place once called “Nubbintown.” Before Route 30 Highway dissected some local roads, former Nubbintown resident Bob Rittenhouse recalls the old road coming from Route 462 at Old Church Lane, to Pleasant Valley Road, to Kreis Lane, and then connecting to Kreutz Creek Road, following the tight bend that occurs at the “intersection” of Tracey School Road and Horn Road. (My apologies to Bob Rittenhouse for calling him a former Nubbintown resident, as he prefers to be introduced as Bob Rittenhouse of Ore Valley). Nubbintown was a cluster of homes and host to a mill, a dance hall, a grocery store, and perhaps more at this intersection in Hellam Township.

While I consider myself a local to this area, I was humbled when helping the Rittenhouses sell their home on Kreutz Creek Road. I recall Bob asking me, “Do you know what they call this area?” I did not know.

Bob moved to Nubbintown in 1968. By then, not much existed that was suggestive of it being its own town. In fact, former neighbor, Joan Fadely doubts if anybody on a widespread level ever really called it “Nubbintown.” But Bob tells me that his mother had stories of visiting Nubbintown as a teenager. See, she had a boyfriend from Schroll’s Rock area, and Nubbintown had a dance hall where all the cool kids would hang out. According to Bob, his mother recounted times when the police would raid the place when it got too late, and most of these teenagers would climb out of the window to evade trouble with the law. And according to another resource (June Snyder), it was not only a place for cool kids, but was the town center where everything happened. In the summer, there would be many concerts in the yard. This dance hall was located close to the Mill, but this structure has since been demolished.

Speaking of the mill, the Nubbintown Mill still exists! At 467 Kreutz Creek Road, one will find the old Mill, which according to other sources was also known as Crumbling’s Mill and Canoe Mill (http://millpictures.com/mills.php?millid=237). The Mill sits on personal property and this building was also host to the former grocery store, known as Shorty’s, owned and operated by Shorty Sechrist.

Shorty Sechrist also owned York Valley Cheese Company to which he employed himself full-time after selling the store. It’s a small world! By remarkable coincidence I recently sold a house in Hallam Boro owned by the daughter of Shorty and her husband, Gerald. Through conversation at settlement, they indicated that they were the “cheese people” and owned York Valley Cheese Company. My ears perked up as I had been researching Nubbintown and had heard of Shorty’s link to York Valley Cheese Company. I asked if they knew Shorty Sechrist, and June, visibly surprised, replied that Shorty was her father!

I sat down with June and Gerald and learned more about Nubbintown and Shorty’s store. The store was originally owned by M.R. (Morris Raymond) Druck, June’s grandfather. (It’s a small world! M.R. Druck’s wife’s sister was Bertha Holtzinger of Holtzinger’s Store mentioned in our Highmount article! And even more, Mary Fisher, also mentioned, was June’s teacher!) The store (in Nubbintown) served to supply all of the surrounding farms with you-name-it. Examples given include candy, ice cream, meat, dresses, shoes, underwear, dishes, nails, kerosene, animal feed. It wasn’t unusual for patrons to barter a chicken or some other good for another good. The anatomy of the store was this: in the basement was the water wheel and building supplies; on the main level was the store, and upstairs was animal feed. And then there was a pulley outside the store for the grain. June recalls a common practice of the day: upcycling the feedbags into clothing.

June has many fond memories of the store. She even worked there, although she confessed that she would spend much of her time not working while talking to their regulars who would hang out at the store all day. She recalls a man named Dave Campbell who was blind, but would walk to the store, and Shorty would drive him home at the end of the day. And then there was the Cunningham family of 19 kids headed by Spurgeon. Unfortunately Spurgeon just missed the reality television era. It’s a small world! On a hunch, I reached out to a friend and client of mine, Nicole Diffenderfer (formerly Cunningham). It turns out Spurgeon is her pap! According to her husband, Phil, they have a massive Christmas party every year, and they are called up for food by child number!

This has been a fun article to research! As noted, there were several remarkable points in the process where I concluded that it really is a small world! We are all very much connected, and this is something we value and promote in providing our real estate services. We are not a passing service. We want to remain with you so that we can continue to help one another.

Thank you to Bob Rittenhouse for getting me started and pointing me in the right direction,

thank you Joan Fadely for welcoming me into your home as a stranger and providing not only good information about the area, but good and entertaining conversation,

and thank you to June & Gerald Snyder for inadvertently coming across my radar, and for agreeing to sit down with me to contribute so much to my research!

shortys before

A picture of Shorty’s Store before he took over from M.R. Druck (provided by June Snyder)

shortys after

A picture of Shorty’s Store after M.A. “Shorty” Sechrist took over (provided by June Snyder)