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Interstate 83: From weightlifter to Case & Keg, icons have come and gone over the years

Teresa Boeckel
York Daily Record

If you've traveled Interstate 83 over the past few decades, you've noticed many changes over time.

The former Case & Keg building had to come down for improvements at the Shrewsbury interchange.

The former Valley Green Mall opened in the mid-1980s with discount retailer Jamesway and a Super Fresh grocery store. But as businesses closed or moved out, it has changed from its heyday.

And some things haven't changed. The Rutter's Dairy, a nearly 100-year-old family-owned business, still stands near the North George Street interchange. 

Here's a look at some of the landmarks — and some of the changes — found along the highway from over the years:

I-83/Route 581— The York Split

Talk of the "York Split" makes commuters cringe. Even with improvements, backups occur frequently.

Who remembers the single-lane ramp to Harrisburg?

It's hard to believe, but it's only been five years since a second lane was added.

Before that, traffic would back up for two miles during the morning commute. The single-lane ramp had been there for six decades, according to the state Department of Transportation. It had been considered "the region's worst traffic bottleneck."

To help ease congestion, PennDOT also added a fourth lane on I-83 North on the John Harris Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River. The department was able to use the shoulder to create the four lanes.

While there's been an improvement, backups occur most weekday mornings.

Exit 39 — The Pennsylvania Turnpike

It's considered to be America's First Superhighway, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike travels right through northern York County. The Harrisburg West interchange is located at Exit 39 of I-83. 

The turnpike was built in sections. The first stretch — Carlisle to Irwin — opened for business on Oct. 1, 1940, according to the Pennsylvania Turnpike website. The second extension — Carlisle to Valley Forge — opened a decade later.

This was the former Superfresh location in the Newberry Commons shopping center November 2013.

Exit 34 — Valley Green

This is an artist rendering of Darrenkamp's Markets in Newberry Township.

In the mid-1980s, a new mall was built in northern York County. It boasted of a Super Fresh supermarket, Jamesway, a discount store; clothing stores and more. Several restaurants, such as McDonald's and Bonanza, also opened in the complex.

"It's a retailer's heaven," developer John G. Williams said while the mall was being built in 1987. "Anyone locating there is in a totally untapped market."

It was expected to not only serve local residents but draw customers from York and Harrisburg.

Times have changed, and it's no longer a mall.

Karns Quality Foods opened last year in the store formerly occupied by Super Fresh and later Darrenkamp's. A few stores in the center include a beer distributor, a fast food restaurant, a nail salon and the Red Land Community Library.

Some residents clamored for a Walmart store when Jamesway closed, but Walmart later built a new store just a short distance away. It's close to the Yocumtown interchange.

Exit 33 — Yocumtown

If you're heading northbound, just before the Yocumtown interchange is a pull-off area.

It's still used by the Pennsylvania State Police to perform truck inspections, according to Fritzi Schreffler, a spokeswoman for PennDOT.

Exit 28 — Strinestown

Cars and trucks traveling on Interstate 83 drive past the ES3 LLC building in 2001 as workers built the 440,000-square-foot warehouse. It's now 1.7 million square feet.

One of the biggest changes in recent decades has been the growth of mega-warehouses popping up along the highway, particularly in the northern end of York County.

ES3 LLC, a 440,000-square-foot grocery warehouse, opened in 2002 along the North Susquehanna Trail at the Strinestown interchange. It's now 1.7 million square feet.

"After this expansion, this will be the single-largest grocery warehouse of its kind in the world," Geoffrey B. Davis Jr., executive vice president of ES3, said in 2005.

It's impossible to miss the big white warehouse.

And on the east side of the highway stands a small motel, known years ago as the Charlstone Motel. Charles and Helen Gross built it in 1955 because the highway was coming. The stone reportedly came from Butler, Md. Helen Gross recalled in the mid-1990s that the motel attracted business people as well as tourists.

"I was happy to do it," she said, "but it was a lot of work for just my husband and me."

The motel still stands just off of Locust Point Road. It's now called JJJ Julia's.

Exit 24 — Emigsville

York Barbell in Manchester Township Tuesday in 2010.

Drivers can't miss the rotating York Barbell weightlifter who has been towering along the highway for decades.

The icon draws attention to the company, founded by Bob Hoffman, and the Weightlifting Hall of Fame and Museum just off of the Emigsville exit.

The company is known for its weightlifting equipment.

The weightlifter is modeled after Norbert Schemansky, who won Olympic gold medals.

Consolidated Freightways is off Exit 24.

On the other side of the highway, the Consolidated Freightways trucking terminal has been vacant for years, but some remember the truck-shaped sign that stood there high in the air.

Consolidated Freightways filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, and the Manchester Township location closed its doors on Labor Day.

The sign now is on display at American Truck Historical Society in Kansas City, Missouri.

Exit 22 — North George Street

Rutter's Dairy has been selling milk for nearly 100 years.

Rutter's Dairy, just off the the North George Street interchange, has been known for decades for its fresh milk.

The family business started in 1921, and milk was delivered door-to-door by a horse-drawn wagon, according to the company's website.

The business has grown over the years and now includes convenience stores throughout the region.

Exit 21— Route 30 (Arsenal Road)

Many will recall the Howard Johnson motor lodge and restaurant that stood at the Route 30 interchange for decades. It's changed hands a few times and now is an Econo Lodge. 

Round the Clock diner opened in front of the hotel in 1993, according to the restaurant's website.

Exit 19 — Market Street

Elmwood Mansion stands at its current location near Interstate 83, as painted by renowned artist P. Buckley Moss.

A grand mansion stands just a stone's throw from I-83, but the Elmwood Mansion has been there long before the highway was built.

Today, the mansion is for sale.

Jacob Brillinger built the three-story, Greek-revival style home in 1835. It was moved from its original location on South Belmont Street to its current location in 1905, just south of Market Street. The late-Ann Small Niess, who grew up in the mansion and had published a book about it, visited the home eight years ago.

UPMC Memorial Hospital owns the mansion. It has been used as a conference center in more recent years. It boasts of seven offices, five restrooms, eight fireplaces, a full kitchen and an apartment with a bedroom, full bathroom and kitchenette.

The hospital made extensive renovations to the 6,500-square-foot mansion in the mid-1980s. 

Memorial Hospital used to be located about half a mile to the south. It, too, could easily be seen from I-83 by passing motorists. But the hospital moved to a brand new building in West Manchester Township last year.

Exit 18 — Mount Rose Avenue

The last corner of the Budget Host Inn was torn down years ago to make way for improvements to the interchange.

The beleaguered Mount Rose Avenue interchange has been under construction for about 4½ years now. The project is nearly 1½ years behind schedule at this point.

The state Department of Transportation and the contractor, Cherry Hill Construction, are locked in a legal battle over money and delays.

Par Tee Mini Golf was just one of several businesses that had to close for the renovation of the Mount Rose interchange. It was located right along the busy Interstate 83 roadway.

While the area is still under construction, the landscape of this interchange has changed over the past decade. Gone are the Denny's, the Budget Host Inn and the Par-Tee Mini Golf that stood on the hill overlooking the highway. Mexitaly relocated to 2440 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township to make way for the Mount Rose makeover. 

Denny's had closed before PennDOT notified the property owner that the land would be needed for the project.

The Budget Host Inn was built in 1963, and a second story later was added. It attracted repeat customers over the years, Tom Clark, one of the owners, said in 2011.

"It's bittersweet. I hate to see it go," he said. "It's hard to stand in the way of progress."

Exit 14 — Leader Heights

In this photo from 2007, behind Jody Myers was the new flyover ramp connecting drivers exiting Interstate 83 northbound to South George Street. Myers, whose grandparents helped found New Fairview Church of the Brethren in 1921, talked about changes to the church's property during the state's 44-month construction project, designed to soften the elbow bend at Dead Man's Curve in York Township.

Some might recall Pappy's Pizza with its player piano and big glass window to watch pizzas being made. The building later became Mr. Bill's Quarterdeck. Today, an Arby's sits on the site along Leader Heights Road.

This area of the interstate also underwent a major change in the mid-2000s to soften what was then known as Dead Man's Curve. The $57.9-million road improvement project required that land be taken from New Fairview Church of the Brethren.

PennDOT had offered to put up sound barriers for the church, but its members liked being seen from the highway.

Keep reading:

Exit 4 — Shrewsbury

This is looking west across Interstate 83 at the former Case & Keg location in Shrewsbury.

Case & Keg was a landmark at the Shrewsbury interchange for more than four decades. The concrete building — with the tall beer bottles painted on the side — was torn down in the spring of 2019 to make way for a new interchange being constructed. The business, which sells cold beer, snacks and more, relocated about a mile and a half away in the Market Square shopping center along the Susquehanna Trail in Shrewsbury.

The area has seen tremendous growth over the years as it became a bedroom community for Maryland workers, said Jack Kay, president and CEO of Susquehanna Real Estate. Walmart opened on the hill by the exit in the mid-1990s, and other commercial development followed.

Now the area boasts numerous restaurants, such as Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread, as well as other businesses.

This is the former Case & Keg, before it was demolished.

Welcome Center

The Pennsylvania Welcome Center just north of the state line offers northbound travelers a place to get directions, buy a snack from the vending machines and use the restrooms.

The center was built in 1991. Last year, it served about 145,000 customers, PennDOT spokesman Dave Thompson said. 

So what did we miss?

What other notable icons have come and gone over the years? Send details, and photos if you have them, to tboeckel@ydr.com.