February 1992: The Boys From the Hill

In the world of magazines, some covers are unforgettable, while others pass on into oblivion. In the case of Lancaster County Magazine, there is one cover that keeps popping up every couple of years. Just last month, it generated discussion on the Cabbage Hill of Yesteryear, Lancaster, PA Facebook page. “Geez, not again!” I thought when I saw it.

LCM Cover, February 1992 Issue

Of course, that cover never fails to bring back memories. Dating to February 1992, it celebrated “The Boys From the Hill,” which was a take-off on the title of a popular movie at the time. That year, Lancaster was celebrating its 250th anniversary, so we kicked off the milestone with a feature about Cabbage Hill. In dreaming up the cover, I wanted it to be photographed on the steps of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The “boys” we asked to participate included Walt Legenstein, who grew up on Lafayette Street and went on to own Certified Carpet; Harry Flick, Jr., who grew up on Manor Street and at the time was the head of the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau; attorney Bob Pfennebecker, whose family operated the most amazing bakery on Manor Street; Jerry Darrenkamp, whose store on Union Street was legendary and later grew to include outposts in Willow Street and Mount Joy; Chris Kunzler III, whose grandfather founded the famous meat company that continues to thrive on Manor Street; and Paul Vaughn, Jr., whose family’s paint company was launched on Cabbage Hill.

The church gave us the go-ahead to do photography on a Saturday in November 1991. For some reason, I checked the obituary page of the newspaper on Thursday, only to discover a funeral was scheduled for the same time as the photo shoot. I called Allan Holm (the photographer) in a panic, and he suggested I call the church. The church was agreeable to having the shoot go on, as long as we waited until everyone was inside, stayed relatively quiet and were gone by the time the service was over. Not a problem. We got our pictures and were out of there.

At the time, the magazine was still in its infancy, but oh brother, did people take notice. Anyone and everyone with connections to Cabbage Hill wanted a copy. Word got out that my dad ate breakfast every morning at Dempsey’s on Columbia Avenue and people would lie in wait, asking him if he could hook them up with a magazine. It was bizarre! People also discovered where my parents lived and my mother would open the front door (nobody ever came to the front door) only to discover strangers asking if this was the house that had a connection to the magazine. Our office on Hazel Street was also inundated with people seeking a copy. Newsstands couldn’t keep it in stock.

As I said, that cover has legs thanks to the Facebook group that currently has over 4,000 members. In the latest inclusion of the cover, it generated nearly 200 likes, nearly 80 comments and 27 shares, which in my opinion is kind of a big deal, considering that it’s more than 30 years old. People are always under the assumption it’s a new magazine and the begging for a copy begins anew. One person suggested we do a “Girls from the Hill” version, which could be interesting.

This all goes to prove you have to love social media. I mean where else can people who love Cabbage Hill reminisce about the Strand Theatre, King’s Confectionary, the various sub shops, Mammy Koenig, the amazing bakeries, Luckeys Elbow Room, the old Steinbaechers, the GBU, mom-and-pop pretzel bakeries, the many corner bars, Serena Kirchner and Milie Strosser (I always thought it was interesting that two women ran beer distributing companies in an era when women rarely worked), the Liderkranz and well, the memories, stories and newfound connections are right there. If you have connections to Cabbage Hill, I’d encourage you to check out the Facebook page.

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