Legend of Dell House Redux
Last spring, Phil Spangler of Gettysburg shocked everybody with a set of photographs that he found in his family album.
The pictures showed the Shady Dell as it looked in its earliest years, the mid 1920's to early 30's.
It was during those years that Phil's father and seven other members of his extended family became the Dell's first known occupants.
As you might recall from Part 1, the Spanglers stabled horses in the Dell's barn.
The barn was also used by Phil's great-grandfather to raise squab pigeons which were sold to York area restaurants, cooked, and served as a delicacy.
Let's not forget that Phil's great-grandfather, in his youth, witnessed the start of The Battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of The Civil War, and that Phil's grandmother planted a vineyard at the Dell.
We must also remember that at some point, perhaps during the Great Depression, perhaps during World War II, the Dell was turned into a private, members only club that served spirits and offered fine dining and dancing to an upscale clientele. All that took place before the start of the 45-year Ettline regime during which the Dell existed first as a bakery, ice cream parlor and restaurant and later as a snack bar and dance hall for teenagers. There aren't many houses that can boast a history as rich and colorful as the one that belongs to our Shady Dell!
I published Part 1 of the Spangler saga last summer. At the time, Phil thought that he had found all of the photos his ancestors had taken of and at the Dell.
To Phil's delight as well as ours, he was mistaken. Phil came across another early Dell photo, one believed taken in 1928, a couple of years after the Spanglers purchased the house and moved in.
This latest picture is unique. All of Phil's other photos were taken at relatively close range, but this one was taken from quite a distance down the hill toward George Street. From this vantage point we can see for the first time a wider view of the Dell property. Notice the steep slope of the land around the Dell in the years before tons of dirt and rock were moved to level the property and create the Dell's parking lot.
In Part 3 we'll take a closer look at Phil's newly discovered photo because it offers clues that could help solve one of the Dell's many mysteries!
In the Dark About the Shady
The story of how Phil wound up an honorary Dell rat is as fascinating as his donated photographs. Phil had never laid eyes on the Dell prior to this spring. In fact, he had never even heard of a place called the Shady Dell! Phil had a good excuse for remaining oblivious about one of York County's most famous and infamous historic landmarks. At the height of the Dell's popularity in the 1960's, Phil was living 3,000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest.
the same circuit traveled by famed Northwestern bands
The Kingsmen, The Wailers, and Paul Revere & The Raiders
as they honed their chops. Phil and The Shades met Mark Lindsay, Paul Revere & the other Raiders backstage at one
of their shows at the Spokane Armory. Phil's band also shared the stage with a young singer from Seattle who was discovered by the Raiders, scored a top 10 national hit with
"Angel of the Morning," and was nominated for a Grammy in 1968 as Female Vocalist of the Year.
"We opened for Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts at the Sunset West Club (Spokane) in 1968," Phil recalled. "Our band kept very busy and had a wonderful time. Our group was different than most bands of the time in that we all had played in our junior high school and high school's marching and concert bands. All of us could read music. It was really
a special time in our lives. There is nothing that can compare to being on stage when the curtain rises to a large hall jam-packed with people ready to have a good time to live music."
You and your Shades of Happiness cohorts would
have enjoyed performing at The Oaks, Phil, although I'm guessing that you probably never heard of White Oaks
Since he was practically living on another planet I think we can all agree that Phil gets a pass for his lack of knowledge about the teen scene in 1960's York. That's why Phil's story amazes me. He was just as surprised to find us as we were to find him. In Part 3, find out how Phil's latest photo helps to solve an 80 year old Dell mystery. Please join me!
Have a Shady day!
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