Left behind in Lancaster County
RUST AND RUINS
Everything is brand new once. But time passes. Gears wear out, metal rusts, busy paths are forgotten. What has been well-used and now discarded leaves behind its history. In busy and prosperous Lancaster County, there are still those reminders of a different day, a different life. We explored some abandoned items over the past several weeks, photographing and researching these rusty remnants and overgrown places. Readers may recognize and help identify some of them. We welcome submissions to add to this work of abandoned things. Contact Ad Crable and Susan Baldrige. This series is best viewed in landscape mode on your smartphone.
This historic structure on the East side of the 300 block of North Queen Street still oozes sugar from its top floors, reminding us that Lancaster once was home to the biggest candy manufacturer this side of Philadelphia.
Designed by famed local architect, C. Emlen Urban, the main building was constructed in 1885, first as a tobacco warehouse.
That operation only lasted three years. With only an 8th-grade education, Robert Francis Keppel bought the building and became part of Lancaster's growing industries of tobacco and candy making and selling Keppel Candy.
The building most recently was a makeshift artist studio known as the Candy Factory. It has sadly fallen into disrepair with a leaking roof and broken windows. However a developer is planning to turn the entire property into apartments that will look out onto scenic downtown Lancaster.
At J & D Auto recycling on Route 72 in Manheim, there is an auto salvage yard as well as a graveyard of old vehicles, which was already rusting into the ground when new owners purchased the business 20 years ago.
What appears to be a truck from the 1930s allows a small maple tree a berth in its engine. An original Willys Jeep could surely tell tales if it could speak. Rain and snow, wind and cold temperatures are turning other cars and trucks — certainly "it" vehicles in their day — into hunks of rust.
From 1875 until Tropical Storm Agnes took it out in 1972, the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Lancaster to Quarryville branch carried freight and passengers.
The sight of belching steam locomotives sharing Water Street with automobiles was a common, if not entirely safe, sight in Lancaster city. This rusting bridge carried trains over Mill Creek near where it merges with the Conestoga River, south of Lancaster.
Several stations still exist along the abandoned line. The West Willow station is used by a contractor. The Baumgardner station is at the corner of Long Lane and Millwood Road. And the Quarryville station is a flower and antiques store.
But as its name implies, its use of asbestos also made it toxic. The site was closed in 2000 for environmental cleanup. Much of it has been converted into a gleaming new business park, one old building remains, occupied now only by pigeons.
In the 19th century, the company town that grew up around the Safe Harbor Iron Works was considered as boozy as any in Lancaster County with five taverns, three liquor stores and six beer halls.
The Odd Fellows Hall is among the few buildings still standing in what is now Safe Harbor Park and Arboretum. On the third floor, the Charles M. Howell Mason Lodge was founded. It moved to Millersville in 1899.
In the early 1800s, this road led to McCalls Ferry along the Susquehanna River near Holtwood and a Theodore Burr covered bridge to York County. Its approach, Street Road, stretched all the way to Philadelphia.
Later, Pinnacle Road was partly paved and partly dirt all the way to the top of the Pinnacle and River Road. The bridge was closed about 20 years ago due to safety concerns. Martic Township abandoned the road in 2008 and it was gated. The decking on the old metal bridge, near popular Kelly’s Run Trail, was later removed for fear hikers would fall through.