AND I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU.
Former Dell owner Toni Deroche acquired
the pic and was kind enough to share it
with us. It is an aerial view of the Dell
months of 1960.
hanging on the wall of DriveRight Autos on
S. George St., York, only a stone’s throw
told Toni that his dad was a Dell rat.
you can see the Dell’s tall barn, garage and
dance hall. All three structures are gone now,
razed in 2012 when the Dell was sold by Toni
and her family and the new owner declared
them to be structurally unsound, unsafe
and unsuitable for restoration.
was taken, but I did some detective work.
I combed through the weather records for
Central Pennsylvania and discovered that
there were three major snowfalls in 1960.
was taken, I also wondered why there
was deep snow visible on the ground
and in the parking lot but no snow
at all on the rooftops.
I thought it over and reasoned that the daily high
temperature in early December or early March
would likely be higher than in mid February.
That, combined with the rays of the sun,
would be sufficient to melt the snow
on the roofs faster than layers of
packed snow in the parking lot.
I contacted my friend Kathleen Mae Schneider,
whose family built and first lived at the Dell.
I showed her the picture and asked if she and
her husband Bob could add anything to help
explain the phenomenon. Kathleen wrote:
I showed the picture to Bob, who hails from Williamsport - a snowy place if ever there was one. He and I suppose the reason the rooftops aren't snow-covered was that they are darker in color, which retains heat from the sun more than the ground, thus melting any snow on them, sometimes while it's still falling. Buildings also generate heat if there are occupants and furnaces, and heat rises. The barn might have housed horses as well and John might have kept a minimum amount of heat going to prevent pipes from freezing in the barn and dance hall complex. I remember seeing a type of space heater hanging from the ceiling right inside the door of the dance hall. It was about the size of an amplifier and had louvers. The ground that is all white might also represent snowdrifts which would be thicker and require more time to melt - think the huge mountains of snow we often have in mall parking lots that
hang around for months.
* We ruled out the February storm because
the temperature would have been too cold
to allow rapid snow melt on the rooftops
and because, in the picture, it looks like
there is a lot more than 6 inches of snow
on the ground. It looks more like a foot.
* We also ruled out the December 11-12 storm
because they were two of the shortest days
of the year and the sun would not have had
as many hours in the sky to melt the snow.
* By a process of elimination we reasoned that
the picture was most likely taken after the
March 3-4, 1960, snowstorm, possibly on
today's date, March 5, the first full day of
"digging out" when the weather would have
been more favorable for a helicopter to fly
over and a photographer to take the picture.
I remember that storm. We were off school for a week because of crippled transportation and I was ecstatic because I could catch up on homework. I was a 9th-grader at Central and believe I also was mired down in research for a dastardly term paper, showing signs for what would always be my characteristic slow writing technique that I believe you know all about.😉 Oh, what I could have done with the internet back then!
cropped portion of the picture.
a vehicle, possibly one that was abandoned by
a Dell rat at the height of the storm. If that
is indeed what we are seeing in the picture,
then there's a 99.99% chance that someone
was John Ettline. Most of my memories
of John are linked to colder weather:
* In the wintertime, John always made sure
the barn was warm enough by keeping
huge logs burning in the fireplace.
* If you had car problems when it was time
to leave, John was the go-to guy for help.
* Windshield needed scraping?
* Car buried in the snow?
* Your heap wouldn't start, Bunky?
* Locked your keys inside your car, genius?
Mr. Ettline was Johnny-on-the-spot!
* Problems at home? John was always
willing to dispense wisdom.
and Bob, for putting on your thinking
caps and helping me solve another
mystery of the Dell... this one
frozen in time.