High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: SOLD!!! Dell History Turns a Page as the Shady Lady Estate Changes Hands!






Another colorful chapter of Shady Dell history has come to and end and a new chapter has begun. The Dell has been sold to a York County family of five.

Since 2006 the Dell had been owned by the Deroche family. Tom and Toni Deroche, along with Tom's brother Bob, bought the former restaurant and teen hangout at an estate sale following the death of previous owner Clarence "CN" Foose, one of John Ettline's nephews. (John had 14 nieces and nephews and 19 great nieces and nephews!)

 The new owners have asked to 

 remain anonymous, at least for now, 

 and Shady Dell Music & Memories 

 will respect their wishes. 

Moments to Remember


Reacting to the news that someone had bought the Dell and was preparing to move in, our dear friend, 100 year old Margaret Elizabeth Brown Schneider, The Oldest Living Dell Rat, revisited the Dell in mid September to take one last look at the house her father built when she was a baby. I asked Margaret's daughter Kathleen how much coaxing was required to persuade the centenarian to return to the Dell. The answer took me by surprise.

 Kathleen Mae Schneider:  This was her idea! Originally all 
 I ever dreamt to obtain was a photo of Mother standing on 
 the front porch of the house when she was 100 years old. 
 All the confusion and activity of her centennial birthday and 
 media coverage during the open house in April prevented 
 that, though of course we are thankful for that as well as 
 the other pictures and videos. It's just that she was over- 
 whelmed and distracted that day and it was hard for her to 
 express herself. She never in her long life had that much 
 attention paid her and she didn't quite know what to do 
 with it! 

 This time I was driving her home from an appointment and 
 seemingly out of nowhere she said,  "Why don't we drive up 
 to the Dell?"  I was totally surprised, but I know when I told 
 her earlier in the week that a new family would soon move 
 into the house, she realized there would most likely be no 
 other opportunities for her to go back. Judging by the way 
 she quietly moved around the outside of the house's front 
 and side, stopping to take good long looks, it was obvious 
 she was saying goodbye and had calculated doing that on 
 a day when she was already out and about. At 100, she 
 still is capable of pulling a coup! 

 As Mother made her way along the sidewalk she glanced to 
 the right and spotted the pump house, the little white out- 
 building where her father and mother, George & Allie Brown, 
 kept cheese and other food requiring a cool but not refri- 
 gerated environment.  "I remember the grape arbor over by 
 the pump house,"  she remarked.  "It's not the same. 
 Everything has changed so much." 

Though summer turns to winter
And the present disappears,
The laughter we were glad to share
Will echo through the years

 As Mother gazed at her childhood home, her mind suffused 
 with memories, she shared with me her feelings about the 
 sale of the Dell.  Mother said,  "I'm o.k. with someone else 
 buying it 'cause I can't ever go back there to live again. 
 I'm just glad it's still standing and nobody tore it down. 
 I still have feelings for it because I liked it there. It was 
 my home." 

When other nights and other days
May find us gone our sep'rate ways,
We will have these moments to remember

 Seeing my mother standing on her own power in that 
 wonderful dappled sunshine next to her childhood home 
 - priceless!!! This trip was arguably one of the most 
 moving experiences I've ever had. 

I asked Kathleen how she feels now that a new owner is taking possession of the recently renovated Brown family home.

 Kathleen Mae 
 Mixed feelings would 
 best describe it I think. 
 My heart aches because 
 I might not ever again 
 have the opportunity to 
 explore and document 
 the Dell house, barn, 
 dance hall and wheel 
 tree. I have so enjoyed 
 experiencing the spirit 
 of the place and giving 
 my imagination free 
 reign! However, my 
 overarching feelings are 
 good for two reasons. 

 First, the marvelous restoration work of the house by the 
 Deroches will not be a target for vandals -a possibility if it 
 had stood unoccupied much longer. The second and most 
 important reason is that my ancestral home will be vibrant 
 with life once again. That was my grandfather's intent after 
 all when he built it for his large family a century ago. The 
 thought that the house will be preserved and occupied for 
 a long time replaces my original fear that it would only exist 
 in pictures. Hopefully the sounds of laughter and perhaps 
 children playing will fill its rooms and porches soon. My 
 grandparents, George Andrew Brown and his wife Allie, and 
 all their children who were the first to live there would be 
 happy if they knew that! 

Thank you, Kathleen, for these priceless pics of your mother Margaret and her impromptu return trip to the Dell. We'll be hearing from you again soon in your next chapter of In-Dell-ible Memories. Dearest Margaret, please remember that you have a global network of new friends and fans who treasure you. Take care, my special friend!

Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye

Mixed feelings and sad goodbyes are indeed the order of the day
as we now turn our attention to our dear friend Toni Deroche.
I asked Toni what it
has meant to her to own and care for the Shady Dell and what memories she will take with her as a result of this experience.

 TONI DEROCHE:  When asked my feelings on selling the 
 Dell, the first word that popped into my head was "bitter-
 sweet". Naturally, the emotions run pleasant and painful. 
 I, the "Dell keeper", along with my husband and his brother, 
 have proudly enjoyed owning, renovating and even cleaning 
 up the Dell estate. With the colder weather on its way we 
 also knew it was time for the house to have a full time 
 family living in it. 

 Over the six plus years that 
 I have owned the Dell I have 
 learned so much about this 
 place from Kathleen, whose 
 mother, Margaret, resided 
 there the first twelve years of 
 her life. Margaret's father built 
 this charming Victorian 100 
 years ago. 

 Also, there was the Spangler family and one of its 
 descendants, Phil Spangler, who gave us pictures from 
 when his father lived there as a child in the late 1920's 
 and early 30's. 

 Lastly, the "Dell years", the sometimes notorious, historical 
 "teen hangout" years (1945-1991), the "John and Helen" 
 years brought back to life through the eyes and skills of 
 Tom Anderson, the head honcho "Dell rat". Over the past 
 4 years with his memories and tedious research, Tom has 
 come up with a wonderful source of information along with 
 music and entertainment with this masterpiece, "Shady Dell 
 Music and Memories." Because of him, the "Dell" will live 
 eternally for many generations to come. 

 Tom and I developed quite a camaraderie with our Dell 
 passion. We composed several blog posts together 
 with my pictures and information and his wittiness and 
 imagination. We've collaborated on some fun and inter- 
 esting events and added a few missing pieces to the 
 Dell's history. 

 Although I grew up in York, I never experienced the 
 Dell in it's heyday. Somehow, I never knew it existed 
 or I would have certainly been there dancing the night 
 away. I'm so thrilled to have been a small part of the 
 Dell's history. But the biggest reward was getting to 
 know Tom, a.k.a. Shady, who will always be a lifelong 
 dear friend of mine! 

 Farewell, Shady Lady, it's only on to bigger, better and 
 more improvements for you! Parting is such sweet sorrow... 

Beautifully expressed, Toni, and I thank you very much for you kind words! Now, I have a few words to say to you, my
dear friend.

For the last six-and-a-half years, Toni, you were the reigning First Lady of the Shady Dell. You wore your title with pride. Here on the blog you eagerly embraced your role as Deroche family representative and spokesperson and did a superb job of keeping us updated on everything going on at the Dell.

You, your husband Tom and your entire family went way beyond the call of custodial duty. The Deroches will go down in history as preservers, protectors and defenders of the Dell legacy. You were nothing less than the saviors of the Dell. Now, as your tenure comes to an end, Dell rats around the world want to thank you and your family for your hard work and sacrifice.

The Shady Dell got lucky when you became owner, Toni.
Dell rats everywhere got lucky. You genuinely cared about the Dell and it showed. How can we ever thank you enough for all that you have done for us, for the Shady Dell, for the Ettlines, for the Spanglers, for the Browns and for this, our Shady Dell blog?

It can't be denied. Shady Dell Music & Memories is your blog as much as it is mine, Toni, and there are a thousand of your wonderful pictures to prove it.

Over the four years that this blog has existed, you devoted countless hours of your time to capturing rare, one-of-a-kind images for display here. You helped build Shady Dell Music & Memories as surely as you helped restore the Dell itself. I will go as far as to say that I can't imagine anyone else caring as much or doing as much.

I wholeheartedly agree, Toni, that you and I will always be friends. I know that the Dell will always be a part of you, deep in the heart of you, just as it is for the rest of us. Please stay close. Please keep checking back here to the Shady Dell online, your home away from home. Please stay
in touch with us and let us know how you're doing. Okay?

And now, Toni, as you prepare to step down from your post as Keeper of the Castle, as we bring to a close the exciting chapter of Dell history that you helped write, as the curtain falls and you take your bow, as you say goodbye to the place you loved as much as we do...

the place that was brought back to life and transformed into a modern home during your watch, the place that is much better off now than when you took possession of it, I want you to close your eyes, take a deep breath, open your heart and whisper "goodbye, old friend."

Now imagine if you will the Dell, our dear old M'Lady Shady, her steamy windows misty with emotion, bidding you a fond farewell with the words to one of her favorite songs...

If you must go, oh no, I won't grieve
If you wait a lifetime before you leave
But, if you must go
Mmm, I won't tell you no
Just so that we can say we tried
Tell me you'll love me for a million years
Then if it don't work out
Then if it don't work out
Then you can tell me goodbye

Please know this, Toni. People around the world have come to know and admire you through your appearances on this blog and your immeasurable contributions to it and to the Dell. You have made many new friends here and I am very proud to be one of them. Dell rats everywhere, the old and the young, the living and the dead, honor you and thank you, Toni, for your years of dedicated service. We wish you all the best, dear friend - health, happiness and success in all your future endeavors.

Reflections of My Life

 The changing of sunlight to moonlight 

 Reflections of my life, oh how they fill my eyes 

I'm changin', arrangin', I'm changin'

I'm changin' everything, ah...everything around me

All my sorrow, sad tomorrow

Take me back to my old home

All my cryin', feel I'm dyin', dyin' 

Take me back to my old home

 Congratulations to the new owners 

 of the Shady Dell. 




Have a Shady day!


  1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 25, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Tom, please allow me to add a few thoughts of my own to what you wrote about about our mutual friend Toni Deroche.

    Dear Toni,

    On this sparkling fall morning my heart is sad, but also full of gratitude for knowing you and your having been synonymous with the Dell house while it was in your possession. You brushed her off, picked her up out of the mud and restored her to her former glory. No matter who lives there from now on, your part in the Brown family history as well as that of York County has been assured. In the relay race of time, you carried the baton into the future. I hope you feel the satisfaction of a job well done - and more.

    After being torn from their beloved home and driven away, George Andrew, Allie and their children are vindicated and can truly rest for all time. Now Mother and hundreds of their descendants can remember with pride what was begun in that beautiful place and see the wrongs that were inflicted on them righted. Their special dwelling now faces the future with a clean face and is filled with hope and myriad possibilities. Our family simply cannot thank you enough for all your blood, sweat and tears expended on this property.

    I speak for my grandparents, who conceived and built their dream house in love only to lose her before they could grow old there. They would be so happy to know that the last remaining child of theirs returned after all these long years, and brought her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren too!

    I speak on behalf of my mother, who never thought she would see her beloved home again on that day long ago when she had to leave it behind. For you to welcome her back to walk the floors of her childhood and see the rooms that formerly could only be found in her memories was a 100th birthday gift so loving and rare it defies description.

    I speak for myself - granddaughter of the Shady Dell. To see her restored, be allowed to freely explore and savor the mystique of the place where my ancestors walked will remain one of the most profoundly moving experiences of my life.

    Your involvement with the Dell house may have begun as an investment, Toni, but after years of labor and expense, you came to love her too. That affection showed in your patience and understanding for those of us who simply could not get enough of her charms and is shared by hundreds more by now, thanks to you, your husband, brother-in -law and Tom (aka Shady). Words are poor representations of my heartfelt gratitude and that of my family to you all.

    Still I try the only way I know how to say it: --- Thank you!

    Kathleen Mae Schneider

    1. Thank you, dear Kathleen, for coming here to testify on behalf of the Deroches and our wonderful friend Toni. They will be remembered by history as true blue friends of the Dell. Thank you again, Kathleen, and God bless!

  2. Well, Shady, I am rendered almost speechless by the big lump I have in my throat after reading this. Such a powerfully moving and appropriate piece. Margaret, Kathleen, and Toni are amazing ladies in the life of the Dell and I am so happy we've gotten to know more of the history of the Dell through their eyes, and yours.

    1. Hi, Shelly! Tears are being shed by many people today. A golden era of Shady Dell history is at an end. I can sense that you are feeling what we are feeling this day and I appreciate your words very much. Thank you, dear friend!

  3. Tom what can I say, when I read your E-mail all kinds of feelings went thur my body and mind. I went to the blog to read the news. We can look at today as a great day for the Dell, its opening a new page in her history and a new story for us to follow. But for me its also a very sad day because the part of the Dells history that we have been following is comeing to a close and I known that our dear friend Toni must feel the same. I remember when Toni first became the keeper of the Dell it was a investment for her and her family and there was even talk of the Dell house comeing down but as Toni learned more about her and the house started to work its magic on her she fell in love with our lady and worked to make sure she would remain on the hill for years to come. We will never be able to thank Toni enough for what she has done for the Dell. I am sure Toni will never forget her years as keeper of the Dell and in my eyes she is one of the all time great Dell Rats. And then there is Margaret And Kathleen , two very fine ladys, you known the Dell has a way of drawing great ladys to her,I guess thats why we have all ways called the house our lady. That trip to the Dell Kathleen made with Margaret for that last vist must have been ,I don"t have words for what it must have been like. Margarets words "Everything has changed so much." mean a lot to me because it is what I think when visting the Dell. Lets not foget John And Helen who must be looking down from above and watching over the house. With out them there would have not been a Dell as we remember it. To the new family I wish them the best and hope they come to love that house as much as I do. So I'll end today with what Kathleen said , today is a day of mixed feelings. A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

    1. Thank you very much for all you expressed here, Greg. We are all mourning a loss today, but at the same time have much for which to be thankful. Toni, Margaret and Kathleen will take their rightful places among the elite members of the Shady Dell Hall of Fame. You're right up there, too, good buddy. Again I thank you for rallying 'round the rest of the pack today as we work through our very mixed feelings.

  4. Love will live there again. That's good to know. Maybe some of their kids will drink in the parking lot and dance in the barn. Probably not, but it's a memory, like talking with John at the "ticket booth" and Helen at the counter. Toni, her husband and brother-in-law has recognized the positive energies of the Dell and restored her so that she may continue to provide warmth and protection for others again. I was so happy to see Margaret's visit to the Dell after she had been sold, and share her remembrances and blessings for the new owners. Kathleen's writings of her mother's life there added a whole new dimension to the house on Violet Hill. Thank you, Tom, Toni and family, Margaret, Kathleen, other Dell Rats and Dells Rats who have been there in spirit reading this blog, for sharing the love and good times the Dell, and its previous inhabitants have evoked and still evoke in our memories.

    Dell Rat Ron

    1. Great stuff, Ron. At times like this when we wish certain things could have turned out differently we need to remember that the Dell might have been demolished and the land used for an apartment complex if not for the dedication of the Deroches. Toni, her husband and brother-in-law made a powerful decision and a substantial commitment of money, time and labor, turning the dilapidated old house into a modern home. The sale was inevitable. All we can do now is cherish our memories of the people, the place and the time of our lives. Thanks, good buddy, for coming to testify.

  5. Hi Shady, As one of the old Dell Rats, I would also like to thank Toni for keeping the site for many of my favorite memories alive. I also would like to thank her for everything she has provided to your blog over the past years. I missed the chance to walk around at the open house, but enjoyed all the pictures that where provided showing from then to now. It is to bad that Toni didn't get a chance to frequent the Dell back in Helen and John's time. I'm sure the old Rats would have enjoyed her company as much as she would have enjoyed the Dell.


    1. Hi, Jerre! I'm sure Toni would have made a sensational Dellette, but by the time she was old enough to attend, the Dell's best years were already behind her. I am still amazed that an elderly John Ettline kept the Dell in operation until 1991. It is the same kind of dedication that enabled Toni to volunteer her services as official Dell reporter and photographer for the last four years and to serve so admirably. We can never thank Toni and her family enough for understanding how much the Dell meant to so many of us and for acting accordingly. Thank you very much, Jerre, for helping us give thanks to them at this pivotal moment in Dell history.

  6. To use Toni's own words reading this post was bittersweet. It feels like one chapter is closing and another opening in the life of the Dell. It's such a pleasure to see the newly restored house with photographs of the original house and to be reminded of all of the history. I hope that the next family to live in the house will truely appreicate it and take care of it.

    Thanks to Kathleen, Margaret, Toni and of course you Tom for this lovely post. I hope this won't be the end of the story of the newly renovated Dell on your blog!

    Emma x

    1. Hello, dear Emma, and thank you very much for coming by. We don't know what the future will bring. I am hoping that we can continue to post pictures of ongoing renovations and improvements as they are made at the Dell by the new owners. Time will tell. Even if that never happens we have a thousand or more excellent pictures snapped by Toni, Kathleen, Greg Gulden and Blake Stough to remind us of this exciting chapter of the Dell's history, the Deroche years. Add to that a million fond memories. Thank you again, dear Emma, and have a pleasant evening in Dublin!

  7. Im a little sad that it sold. A part of me hoped that Toni would decide to keep it. But alas it was not meant to be and the Dell now has a new family to embrace. I just hope they are as loving to the home and it has been to all the countless kids who have walked (and danced) on those floors.

    1. Nice, Amber Blue Bird! In childlike fashion the old original Dell rats wish that the Dell would someday reopen as a restaurant and dance hall, but you can never go back, only forward. Thanks to all that Toni and her family have done the Dell's future's so bright it gotta wear shades. I wish you could have danced on those floors both indoor and outdoor and experienced the magic that was the Shady Dell. Thank you very much for being here to console your Dell friends, dearie!

  8. My dear Tom, this was truly a marvellous, marvellous post my friend. I so enjoyed it, and seeing all those lovely photographs of Margaret, taking her final look around her old home. It really did bring a lump to my throat, I must admit. I particularly liked the photo of Margaret standing unaided in front of the house. Kathleen will have those photos to treasure for years to come. I also thought that your tribute to Toni was very touching. Likewise, Kathleen's own tribute to her. How kind of her to take the trouble to write those words. I'm sure all of you have mixed feelings as the Shady Dell is handed over to a new family. But the main thing is, it wasn't just razed to the ground by bulldozers. That would have been terrible. I would think that the new family will be told of the history of this wonderful property that they have just bought, and I hope that they take good care of it and that they will be very happy in their new home. Thank you Shady for this very special post. Smooches.

    1. Smooches to you, dear Thisisme, and thank you for being here with the rest of the rat pack on this day when memories abound and emotions run high. I wrote the post and yet I can't read it without breaking down at several points. I assure you that the new owners are being made aware of the Dell's history. Even so, every Dell rat knows you had to be there to have the true spirit of it deep inside you. All any of us can do is to keep a stiff upper lip, hope for the best and tell ourselves it's "onward and upward" from here as you like to put it. Thank you very much, dear friend Thisisme, for offering words of comfort to us today.

  9. I'm very moved by this post, Shady. I'm happy for Margaret that Toni invited her to walk around in her childhood home again. The pictures are wonderful, and I always like to see beautiful old homes like this restored.

    All of you have done a great job in preserving the memory of the Shady Dell and the family history of this home. It will be a good thing to have the laughter of children inside of it again.

    1. Hello, dear Belle, and thank you very much for coming. I, too, and very thankful that Margaret suddenly got the urge to revisit the Dell one beautiful September day. It resulted in daughter Kathleen taking the picture that she had longed to take, that of Margaret standing in front of her childhood home at age 100. These truly were and are moments to remember. My collaboration with Toni over the past four years producing blog updates on the Dell's renovation, the historic open house event and other milestones, is an experience that I will always treasure. Toni gave 110%, exceeding all expectations, and every Dell rat owes her a huge dept of gratitude. Thank you for coming along with us on this journey for the two years we've known each other, dear Belle. Who knows what tomorrow might bring?

  10. Oh Shady, Margaret,Kathleen,and Toni, Tom and family! What an emotional post, during this emotional time! So many memories and mixed feelings, each of you have your own. This is a great time, and, a sad time. It is wonderful to keep the Dell alive, if only through another family-don't you know, they will feel the presence of what the Dell once stood for...laughter, music, dance, and, love.

    You all have made your contributions to the Dell's continued existence, and, successfully kept it alive, through your sharing with us. Thank you for this wonderful story-I know we haven't seen or heard the last of it.

    Sad to see you go Madame Dell, but congratulations, and, best wishes as the Shady Dell enters into her new life, as always The Shady Dell!♥

    1. Hi, Susan! My dear friend I can sense that you are tuned in to what we, the original Dell rats, have been feeling ever since we got word that the Dell was sold. The golden years of tender loving care generously given to the Dell by Toni Deroche and her family has now come to an end. Change brings with it uncertainty and apprehension and causes us to cling to the past. We can't. We mustn't. Time marches on and circumstances change. That's life. Now's the time to give thanks for all that we had and still have: great friendships, great music and memories. I deeply appreciate your visit and your thoughtful comments, dear friend Susan. You really get what's going on today in our minds and hearts.

  11. What a wonderful tribute to a grand dame! There's nothing more sad than an big old empty house, so it gives me a little smile that a family will move into this beautiful old place, and many more memories will be made. You'll keep us informed, I'm sure!

    1. Thanks, karen! You, Kathleen and others are of the same mind. Considerable time and money were spent converting The Dell into a comfortable country-style residential dwelling with amenities that combine the best of the old and new. A house is not a home until it is occupied by people, a family. No one would have reason to celebrate if the Dell stood empty year after year. I hope to keep you informed on new developments at the home on Starcross as I devote most of my posts to memories of the Dell as it was in the glory days of the 1950s and 60s. Thanks again for your friendship and support, dear karen!

  12. I am so glad I hooked up with you, Shady, and have been able to follow this story and become a small part of it. Lucky to have been to the Dell last May. Larry and I just missed meeting Toni but she and her hubby have done a wonderful job with the old lady. Tom, your love for this place is evident and you have done it justice. Thanks my friend.
    Rick Dillman
    The Soul Clinic.

    1. And thank you, Little D! This has been by far the greatest and most eventful year in the history of SDM&M. We came to know Margaret and Kathleen, Margaret turned 100, the Dell was renovated, hundreds turned out for the weekend open house, your Soul Clinic series became the most ambitious project even undertaken by me on this blog, and now the Dell has been sold and we are saying "goodbye" to it and to the Deroches. It's an emotional time for a lot of us and I appreciate you coming over with kind words, good buddy. Take care!

  13. WOW, another great post Tom and my old eyes were soooooooooo pleased to gaze upon the lovely Toni again. She is not only beautiful but a wonderful person as well.
    This post made me remember back a few months ago when I got the notion to revisit the first brand new home I had bought back in 1971 and felt the disappointment when I saw it boarded up and vacant. Some have glorious lives and others are short lived. I am glad your memories are happy ones.

    1. Thank you, Odie! I remember you showing pics of your old homes on your blog a while back. Places like your old home and two of mine back in Manchester and York now stand as monuments that remind us of all we experienced while living in them, the joy and sorrow, the love and loss. The Shady Dell was our home away from home and we experienced those same things within its walls and hallowed halls. Thank you very much for coming by to pay your respects to the Dell and to Toni and her family for making her what she is today.

  14. long live the shade dell! New owners and a big family too. I'm sure mixed emotions are the felling of the day for many. xo

    1. Right you are, Katie! The times they are a changin' and I hope to be able to publish soon a new set of photos taken at ground zero. Thank you very much for coming over today, dear friend, and have a great weekend!


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