Marble street sign

Cherry Street hosts one of a dwindling number of marble street signs in Lancaster. 

Dear Dr. Scribblersign:

How many inscribed marble street signs (they can’t be stolen!) still exist?

Roberta Strickler Manheim Township

Dear Roberta:

OK, there’s a marble street sign embedded in a brick building in the first block of North Cherry Street. And there’s another old building insert that seems to be made of reddish stone (might be painted marble) on the northwest corner of Queen and James streets. Where else might embedded street signs still exist?

Genevieve Renkin, who has been “walking the streets for 45 years” as a Historic Lancaster Walking Tour guide, says she suspects almost all of the old marble signs are gone. She believes most disappeared when buildings were demolished.

“There used to be one on Mulberry Hill, and maybe there are some up at the warehouses on Clay and Prince,” she says. “The signs were put on mainly public rather than private buildings.”

She adds, “They’re like those metal plates in the ground in front of buildings saying ‘Used with permission.’ They’ve been disappearing — either through remodeling or someone ripping them up in the middle of the night.”

And furthermore, when Renkin began leading tours, she counted at least 13 animal-head rain spouts in Lancaster. Now there is only one, on West King Street. She notes there used to be five “busybody mirrors” — setups that allow people inside a building to see who’s outside. Now there are only one or two.

“More and more,” she concludes, “the little things are missing that said ‘this was Lancaster.’ ”

Marble street signs: Don’t take them for granite!

Dear Dr. Scribblertee:

I would like to know a little history about the nine-hole golf course that was at Long’s Park. I recently came across a small, brown leather score booklet, with pencil, showing scores for my dad and I when we played on July 1, 1951. I would appreciate knowing when the golf course was built and when it closed.

Bob Shenk

Lancaster

Dear Bob:

That course apparently opened in the 1920s and closed in the 1950s. Anyone could play the course for free.

What distinguished the Long’s Park course from other free courses operating at Buchmiller and Williamson parks about the same time was that golfers had to tee their balls on damp sand lifted from buckets near each tee. The park ground was too hard to penetrate, so each golfer mounded his own tiny pile and stuck a tee into it.

Sometimes the temporary sand pile would fall apart and the golfer would have to build it up again. Other golfers would roll their eyes and twirl their tees in their pockets as they watched a golfer go through this rigmarole.

The Long’s Park course was the last of the three to close.

Dear Dr. Rhubarbscrib:

Have you ever heard the expression, “Do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?” I remembered that phrase this summer when it was raining so often.

Bill Musser

Manor Township

Dear Bill:

The Scribbler has never heard that expression, Bill, but he understands that too much rain will rot the raspberries.

This is where the rhubarb phrase comes from, according to several websites. It’s an old vaudeville routine. The straight man says, “Think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?” The funny guy replies, “Not if it’s in cans!”

Har! Har! Har!

Jim McMullin, of Manheim Township, says he recalls the question being asked years ago when “you’re out of conversation and couldn’t think of anything else to say.”

But, then, what would you say after that? Perhaps you would continue discussing the weather: It’s been raining a lot, Bill, hasn’t it?

And it's still raining!


Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP staff, writes “The Scribbler” column every Wednesday. He welcomes comments and contributions at scribblerlnp@gmail.com.