People often call them the stone pillars, but they're wrong.
Roughly 100 years ago, the stocky structures greeted guests of a wealthy Yorker who decided his summer getaway property required an ice house and trolley station at its entrance.
The trolleys stopped running long ago, but the buildings still sit on North George Street, hugging the narrow road that leads to historic Shady Lane.
"A lot of people have seen those buildings out on George and never knew what was back there," said Blake Stough, a local blogger who has organized a fundraiser at the estate later this month.
What's back there is a picturesque 34-acre property that dates to the late 1700s, when it was a farm and distillery owned by the Hake family. The Hakes sold the property in the early 1900s to Fred Small, a York County industrialist who turned Shady Lane into a summer
home of epic proportions.
Over the years, Small added a greenhouse, band stand, rose garden, guest house, tennis courts and a home for his chauffeur. It was a place to entertain friends and family, made possible by its connection to York City six miles south. To have a trolley station at his property, Small must have been an important man, Stough said.
On Sunday, July 22, the property will once again be the site of a York County gathering. With the help and permission of Shady Lane owner Steve Kohr, Stough is inviting the community to indulge their curious side and check the place out.
"This property's an addiction," Stough said. "There's constantly something new to find."
Background: The Heidelberg Township resident is quick to disclose that he's not a trained historian, nor does he claim to be an expert on York County history.
But he is a guy who has gained an online audience of people eager to absorb his musings about centuries-old churches and cemeteries and random things he picks up at local junk stands. Stough started his Preserving York blog about a year ago.
His network of fellow history buffs grew again when Stough later created a Facebook group of the same name. There, the interaction prompted some to suggest a picnic for members to meet in person. That idea evolved into a fundraiser, Stough said.
Kohr, a local realtor and member of the group, offered Shady Lane as the place.
Overwhelmed by the property's potential, Kohr bought Shady Lane in 2003. For the past nine years, he's been restoring the property, parts of which had become overgrown and deteriorated. It's now a fitting backdrop for weddings and baby showers.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Farm and Natural Lands Trust of York County -- which has helped to preserve Shady Lane -- and Friends of Camp Security, a group who joined to protest a Springettsbury Township housing development at the site of what might have been a Revolutionary War camp. Stough said some of his ancestors were guards at the camp.
Anyone is welcome to attend. The event includes a catered meal, history displays, tours of the property, volleyball and swimming. Organizers are asking for a minimum donation of $10.
-- Erin James may also be reached at ejame firstname.lastname@example.org.