Haines Acres [†] was surveyed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2008.
Haines Acres is an approximately 800-acre residential subdivision located in Springettsbury Township, York County, Pennsylvania. The development is roughly bordered by Haines Road to the west, Kingston Road to the north, Edgewood Road to the east, and Mount Rose Avenue to the south. The topography is rolling, and development is fairly dense in the immediate area. Located to the east of the City of York, Haines Acres is surrounded mainly by residential subdivisions from the mid- to late twentieth century, as well as small-scale neighborhood commercial and business uses. A golf course is situated across Mount Rose Avenue to the south. Remnants of the area's agricultural history survive as late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century farm-related buildings along Mount Rose Avenue, intermingled with the modern residential and commercial buildings. Springettsbury Township lands were predominantly agricultural until the mid-twentieth century, when developers began to purchase farms and construct subdivisions to meet the need of the post-World War II housing boom. Haines Acres, one of the earlier post-World War II subdivisions in York County, was formerly the farm of Mahlon Haines. Epstein & Sons, a local real estate firm, purchased the farm from Haines in 1953 and eventually purchased land from several other adjacent farms in order to construct the large development. Haines Acres was laid out in eleven phases and the final section was subdivided in 1973.
Haines Acres is predominantly residential, although an elementary school was constructed in 1957 and a retail shopping center was constructed in 1962 to serve the subdivision. Haines Acres consists of about 1,600 residential lots of approximately 0.25 to 0.34 acre in size, two larger lots for East York Elementary School on Erlen Drive in the 1955 section, and the Haines Acres Shopping Center at the intersection of Mount Rose Avenue and Haines Road. Only Hartford Road, Cambridge Road, Raleigh Drive, Seventh Avenue, Ivory Road, Cortleigh Drive, and Quaker Drive lead in or out of the development. There are three access points from Mount Rose Avenue, two from Haines Road, and six from Kingston Road. Signage is found at the entrance of Cambridge Road from Mount Rose Avenue. The roadways are constructed in curvilinear forms, 50 feet wide, with very few four-way intersections. This curvilinear roadway design creates a variety of lot sizes and shapes throughout the development. Curvilinear road layouts are typical of developments from this time period and tend to follow the rolling topography of the subdivision. The curves also serve to calm traffic in residential neighborhoods and are often used to market the safety of the development for families. The road names were randomly chosen and include Stanford Drive, Alton Lane, Erlen Drive, Sundale Road, Eastwood Drive, and Lehigh Road. The majority of the roadways end in "T" intersections or cul-de-sacs and do not continue outside the subdivision.
Sidewalks and curbing were included along the roadways that were laid out from 1955 onward. Driveways and mailboxes are placed at regular intervals, and paved walkways are often found leading from the dwelling entrance to the driveway. No landscaping was planned within the subdivision, with the exception of buffer areas between uses. Trees line the north, east, and south edges of the school property to buffer it from the adjacent homes. Trees and a fence line the north and east boundaries of the shopping center property to buffer it from the nearby residences. The subdivision was planned with front lawns of a consistent depth for each house; the lots have a standardized twenty-five-foot setback from the roadway and a ten-foot setback from the other property lines. Dwellings on corner lots are positioned at an angle facing the corner rather than either of the cross streets. This was likely done to improve the line of sight at intersections, as sight-line regulations were imposed in the deed restrictions from 1960 onward.
One building remains from the prior use of the land of Haines Acres as a farm: the dwelling at 541 Sundale Road. The two-story, front-gable dwelling was likely a tenant house on the farm, constructed around the turn of the twentieth century. The dwelling at 541 Sundale Road no longer retains integrity. Vinyl siding now covers the walls, the windows have modern vinyl sashes, and asphalt shingles cover the roof. The two-bay-wide two-room-deep house also has a modern full-width porch with a shed roof. Only the dwelling's form distinguishes it from the track housing of the subdivision. The other buildings related to the Haines farmstead that were located to the north and south of the dwelling were demolished in the 1970s and replaced with houses in character with the rest of Haines Acres.
Epstein & Sons typically offered about three forms each year and several customization options, such as color of the brick, siding color and materials, porches, floor plans, chimneys, garages, and other architectural details. The designs were one-story Ranch, one-and-one-half-story split-level, or two-story Colonial Revival dwellings.
The earliest house type constructed in Haines Acres is the ranch dwelling. The 1954 section of Haines Acres primarily consists of Ranch houses similar to the one at 2469 Wharton Road. The ranch form originated in the United States in the late 1930s but did not reach the height of its popularity until the 1950s and 1960s. The ranch house was touted as an affordable home for the post-World War II family. The one-floor, open layout was specifically designed for casual entertaining and inviting family spaces.
Ranch houses in Haines Acres are covered with either a brick veneer or a partial height brick veneer with siding above. The original windows are aluminum one-over-one or two-over-two light sash and many are flanked by faux shutters. The entrances are typically in a central bay or a recessed corner. Typical variations on the standard ranch house in Haines Acres include a projecting hipped bay or cross-gable bay over the entrance, recessed central entrances, L-shaped floor plans, and U-shaped floor plans. As Haines Acres was developed in an area of rolling hills, banked houses are common. While portraying many of the typical ranch characteristics, these banked dwellings have a partially exposed basement level. In those dwellings where the basement is exposed to the front, such as 2450 Wharton Road, garages are situated in the basement. Those with the exposed basement to the rear often appear to be standard ranch houses from the street, such as the dwelling at 2451 Wharton Road. The most commonly noted alterations of ranch houses in Haines Acres include the replacement of siding, roof materials, and windows. Less common alterations are the construction of rear additions or sunrooms, conversion of garages into living spaces, and enclosure of carports.
Although it was first introduced in the 1954 section of Haines Acres, the split-level house became more prominent in the 1955 section and is the most common form in the sections laid out between 1955 and 1967. The split level was new to American architecture at this time, rising to popularity in the 1950s as a multi-story variation of the ranch house. The split level retains the horizontal lines, low-pitched roof, and overhanging eaves of the ranch house; however, the form is made up of a two-story unit intercepted at mid-height by a one-story wing, creating three levels of interior space. This division of spaces gives the split level the appearance of a larger house and was a more efficient use of a small lot. The first type of split level introduced in Haines Acres has a bi-level roofline with a hipped-roof two-story block and a side-gabled, one-story wing, such as 1001 Raleigh Drive. Much like the one-story ranch houses, the split-level dwellings are clad in either brick veneer or a partial-height brick veneer with siding above. The original windows are aluminum sash, and picture windows are often found in the wing. The entrance to the dwelling is commonly located in the wing, and the garage is frequently located in the first level of the main block. The upper story windows are typically almost square and often paired. Original picture windows are nine-pane aluminum sash. Common alterations include the replacement of siding, roof materials, and windows. Occasionally, rear additions or porches are present, and garages have been converted into living spaces.
In the divisions of Haines Acres laid out after 1957, the houses are still designed almost exclusively as split-level and ranch houses. However, more variations are found in the detailing of individual houses. Two-car garages and side-entrance garages are introduced. Shallow hipped roofs are constructed between the two levels to create porches, such as at 2632 Eastwood Drive. Even rooflines take the place of the bi-level rooflines on some Split-Level dwellings, and front-gable blocks are more common. The garages are located in the wing instead of the main block in a few houses, and bay windows are also introduced in the 1960s designs.
By 1962, banked ranch houses and split-level dwellings continued to dominate the landscape of Haines Acres, but Colonial Revival details are applied to these forms. The most commonly found influences of the Colonial Revival style in Haines Acres are the inclusion of sidelights at the main front entrance, decorative framing around the door, and a second-story overhang. The occasional pedimented entrance or even a full portico can also be found, such as on the dwelling at 2710 Milford Lane. A new form, the two-story house, is also introduced by 1962. Two-story houses in Haines Acres often have a side-gable roof, central entrance, an attached one-story garage, and a one-story porch like that seen at 2670 Hartford Road.
In the last planned section of Haines Acres, made in 1973, there are a variety of house forms and styles. According to census data for the township, construction of new dwellings slowed in the 1970s. In Haines Acres, this slowdown in construction allowed Epstein & Sons to spend more time on individual house designs and construct a greater variety of house styles. The 1973 section of Haines Acres does not have the unified design or house forms that the earlier sections did, and even the positioning of the houses on the lots appears to vary. Each house is more individualized, larger, and more elaborately detailed than the houses in the sections of Haines Acres laid out before 1973. The setbacks are deeper, the lots are slightly larger than those laid out in the 1950s and 1960s, and some homeowners appear to have combined lots to expand their yard area.
East York Elementary School at 701 Erlen Drive is a sprawling one-story building, constructed in four phases between 1957 and 2001. The school was planned as a part of the 1955 section of Haines acres. The original block is two stories high with a flat roof and faces west towards Erlen Drive. The first addition was relatively minor in size, containing only four classrooms at the north end of the building. In 1967, a large addition was constructed in the form of a wing at the east or rear side of the building. Additions to the north side of the building were also constructed in 1997 and 2001, completing the footprint as it exists today. The school building is faced in brick veneer and concrete and the windows have aluminum sash, usually with four panes. The primary entrance is accessed via a brick porte cochere at the original block, near the south end of the school. A secondary pedestrian entrance is emphasized with a hipped-roof projection near the center of the building.
The East York Elementary School is surrounded by lawn with mature trees lining Erlen Drive. Playing fields located to the rear of the building are surrounded by houses that front on Brookside Lane, Sundale Drive, and Schoolhouse Lane. A sidewalk leads from Sundale Road to the rear of the building, providing access from the adjoining residential blocks.
The Haines Acres Shopping Center is a sprawling, one-story, commercial building located at the corner of Haines Road and Mount Rose Avenue. Although construction began in 1962, the lot was reserved out of the 1955 section of Haines Acres. The shopping center building is faced in brick with a flat roof. The rectangular footprint has a slight bend to the east at the south section of the building. A continuous pent roof extends along the front or west elevation shielding the entrances to the stores. Each storefront has a modern steel and glass door flanked by plate glass windows. Individual signage is found above the pent roof. The rear or east elevation of the building has truck docks for each store. The south end of the building has an additional entrance and ribbon of windows for the anchor store. The block of the building used by the anchor store has aluminum coping along the roofline. The shopping center is surrounded by paved parking areas. The entrances from adjacent roadways are delineated by raised curbing and plantings. Original signage has been retained near the entrances from Haines Road and Mount Rose Avenue. The commercial lot was designed with a 45 degree building setback and a 35 degree evergreen buffer zone along the north and west property lines to clearly separate the use from the adjoining residential development.
Considered overall, Haines Acres retains integrity of design, materials, workmanship, location, setting, association, and feeling. The subdivision was laid out over a 19-year period, with a unified design in the first fifteen years (1954-1968). The overall plan for the development remains evident; the roadways, sidewalks, and layout of the lots remain intact from the original subdivisions. Modern infill is not evident, and the buildings maintain their original uses. Generally, the original fenestration patterns, massing, and scale of the dwellings remain intact. Over half of the dwellings have modern windows, siding, and roof materials, although almost all the houses retain the original brick veneer. About a third of the dwellings feature an enclosed carport, garage converted to living space, or rear addition. Additions are typically on rear elevations, and key exterior materials, such as the brick veneer, have been retained. When siding materials, such as horizontal composite board and aluminum siding, have been replaced, materials that mimic the appearance of the original fabric (horizontal vinyl siding) have usually been used. The dwellings continue to portray the appearance of mid-twentieth-century construction with uniform setbacks. The subdivision has been well maintained over the years, and efforts have been made by the residents to retain the historic character of the neighborhood.
After World War II, developments in local commerce and industry drastically altered the face of Springettsbury Township and transformed it from an agricultural community to one of the most popular places to live, work, and shop in York County. The character of the township began a dramatic change in the 1950s, when industrial uses began to occupy former agricultural land. The openings of two Caterpillar Tractor plants in 1953 were among the most significant events in Springettsbury Township. By 1953, Fayfield, a residential development, had reached east of the City of York as far as Haines Road, and an interstate was planned near the western boundary of the township. However, Springettsbury Township remained predominantly agricultural until the mid-1950s. At this time, almost concurrently, the York County Shopping Center was constructed at the corner of Haines Road and Market Street and Epstein & Sons began construction on their residential subdivision immediately southeast of the shopping center. The York County Shopping Center was the first regional shopping center to open outside the city. Following the suburban trend, Sears moved out of the downtown and a grocery store was opened in the East York Area. These commercial and industrial presences, combined with the rise in automobile travel in the mid-twentieth century, increased the viability of large-scale residential developments farther away from the city center. Epstein & Sons initiated the development to meet the needs of the Caterpillar workers, and the 211-acre farm of Mahlon Haines was a prime location near the newly-constructed regional commercial center of York County.
While growth did not slow until the 1970s and still continues strongly into the twenty-first century, the greatest period of change in twentieth-century Springettsbury Township occurred in the middle of the 1900s. Thirty-one percent of the township's existing housing stock was constructed between 1940 and 1959; this includes the majority of Haines Acres, which is the largest mid-twentieth century subdivision in York County and contains almost a quarter of the current population of Springettsbury Township.
What is now the Haines Acres subdivision was historically the farm, also called Haines Acres, of Mahlon Haines. The tract was long regarded as one of the outstanding farms in the county. Mahlon Haines, also known as "The Colonel" and "The Shoe Wizard," was a well-known businessman and philanthropist in York. He was often in the news, and articles were written about Haines in Colliers, Life, Look, Time, and the Saturday Evening Post. A self-made man, Haines was raised in Washington D.C. and came to York in 1905 to find his fortune. Not immediately successful, Haines finally found his niche in the shoe business. His claim to fame was a mobile retail store in the form of a specially designed and painted Ford that he would drive to the outskirts of town to display his wares. Within fifteen years, there were thirty Haines shoe stores and, by 1931, Haines had the largest chain of shoe stores in the United States. Haines was not only a successful businessman but was also invested in his community and an avid philanthropist. He gave food, money, shoes, and even housing lots to the needy. In fact, he donated $2,500 to the Boy Scouts in exchange for the subdivision in Springettsbury Township to be named after him.
The 211-acre farm owned by Haines east of the City of York was sold to Epstein in 1953. The former home of Haines, constructed in 1922, was purchased in 1952 by a local surgeon. The farmstead was eventually demolished and incorporated into the Haines Acres development in the 1970s. Epstein & Sons was a local real estate firm incorporated in 1948 by Abe Epstein. Epstein was a Polish immigrant and picture frame salesman who came to York from New York City in 1917. He made his first real estate venture in 1925, buying and selling homes. By 1948, real estate had proven profitable for Epstein, and he incorporated Epstein & Sons with his four sons: Bernard, Harold, Donald, and Irwin. Epstein was well known in the area, as he represented almost all of York's builders and helped many people finance their home purchases in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the builders Epstein & Sons represented was James C. Hollerbush. Hollerbush had worked with Epstein since 1948 and was the builder of the Clear Springs development north of York. When Hollerbush became ill in 1953, the Epsteins took over his business and continued Hollerbush's construction in Southwood Hills, south of Dallastown. This move would prove to be key in the evolution of Epstein & Sons from a small-town real estate firm to a significant builder in York County. After construction was completed at Southwood Hills, the Epsteins kept Hollerbush's crews employed through the development of Haines Acres.
Haines Acres was the fifth subdivision completed by Epstein & Sons, who also laid out Clear Springs, Southwood Hills, Randolph Park, and the Longstreet tract in East York. These earlier developments included about 50 to 100 homes each. The Epsteins not only subdivided and sold the lots in Haines Acres, but they also designed and built the houses in the development. The role of Epstein & Sons in Haines Acres was uncommon for developers in mid-twentieth century York County, as most did not comprehensively take on the development of a subdivision. In addition, developments of the magnitude of Haines Acres did not exist in the county in the early 1950s.
The plans at the time of purchase called for construction to begin on the first 55 acres in the spring of 1954. The Epsteins planned on building ranch houses ranging in price from $12,000 to $15,000. Construction on Haines Acres began on May 1, 1954, and was advertised with a full-page ad in the York Daily Record as well as signs along Haines Road. Sixty-two homes were built within the first year, and an average of 70 to 80 homes per year was constructed between 1955 and 1975. The Epsteins were selling the houses almost as quickly as they could build them. Soon the 211 acres of the former Haines farm were developed, and Epstein & Sons began to purchase adjacent farms. Twenty-five acres were purchased from Melvin B. Horn to construct the 1960 section and 75 acres were bought from Charlotte Keesey Walker south of Kingston Road. By the time the final section was laid out in 1973, Haines Acres engulfed about 800 acres of farmland and included approximately 1,600 homes total.
As York County did not adopt subdivision regulations until the early 1960s, covenants were drawn up for each section of the Haines Acres development to set standards for things such as land use, building type, setbacks, lot size, building massing, and cost. The covenants for Haines Acres ensured that the development was completed in a unified manor, keeping houses an adequate distance from each other, allowing good sight distances at corners, and avoiding nuisance uses in the neighborhood. All sections were designed as residential neighborhoods, with the exception of the school and shopping center. The houses were required to be single-family dwellings no higher than two and one-half stories in height. The garages were to be no larger than would fit two cars, and all plans for construction were to be approved by the architectural control committee, which was originally made up of the Epsteins. Dwellings in the 1956 section were required to cost at least $8,000 and to have a footprint of at least 800 square feet for a one-story dwelling or 550 square feet for a two-story dwelling.
Regulations regarding cost were updated in each section per the current market and were intended to ensure the quality of the buildings being constructed in the development. No temporary residences were allowed, nor were animals, front fences, dump lots, or professional signs of more than one foot square. Although the lots were of irregular shapes and sizes due to the curvilinear street layout, all lots were to be either a minimum of 9,000 square feet or have a width of at least 75 feet from the setback lines. Minimum setbacks were 25 feet from the street and 10 feet from interior lot lines. In 1962, setbacks from the street were increased to 30 feet, minimum footprints for one-story buildings were increased to 900 square feet, and garages were allowed to be built for up to three cars (York County Recorder of Deeds).
Haines Acres was initially constructed to meet the growing need for affordable homes for returning veterans of World War II and their families. The development became successful not only due to the housing demand, but also because of the location and the details put into it by Epstein & Sons. Springettsbury Township was a prime location for commercial and industrial development at this time. While there was increased mobility, people still wanted to live in locations convenient to services and employment. Therefore, Haines Acres was an excellent location near the new York County Shopping Center and the new Caterpillar plants. Haines Acres met this need for a convenient location and made it more attractive by offering affordable single-family homes that could be customized to fit the desires of each home buyer. The development had curvilinear streets flanked with sidewalks and a yard for each dwelling, providing a safe environment for the young families that Epstein & Sons hoped to attract. The Epsteins also planned for services such as an elementary school that the neighborhood children could walk to and a shopping center for the housewives. The early houses were small, yet modern and manageable for the time period, providing each family with their own piece of the suburban dream. As the development was built out Epstein & Sons made an effort to cater to the trends of the time; the houses became larger and the prices rose throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
The young families that moved to Haines Acres either to escape the city or follow employment not only raised their children here, but many of them continued to reside in Haines Acres through retirement. While this changed the demographics of the community over time, it also infused Haines Acres with a distinct identity. Haines Acres homeowners largely embrace this identity and have a definite pride in the neighborhood. Haines Acres is quite well known in the community, and discussion of the subdivision recurs in local histories and newspapers. A special report was written in the York Daily Record for the thirtieth anniversary of Haines Acres, calling the development "the suburb's suburb" and celebrating the start of construction of Haines Acres as the "birthday" of suburbia in York County. Haines Acres was created in the early phases of the suburban development of York County which continues to today. The implementation of zoning and subdivision regulations, combined with the increased competition for open land resulted in smaller developments in the following years. The current population of Haines Acres is about 4,500 or about one quarter of the total population of Springettsbury Township. The completed development is currently larger than the boroughs of Dallastown, Wrightsville, and Shrewsbury.
The final phase of Haines Acres was laid out in 1973. By this time, Epstein & Sons had successfully developed several other subdivisions in York County, including Penn Oaks to the east of Haines Acres, Tri Hill and Randolph Park in Spring Garden Township, and Shiloh East in West Manchester Township. Epstein & Sons was responsible for the building of thousands of homes in York County between 1954 and 1998. Today, houses in these developments are listed in real estate ads as "Epstein homes" as a symbol of quality local construction. Epstein & Sons closed in 1998 after Bernard and Donald, the last of the "Sons," retired on the company's fiftieth anniversary. In 1999, the Epsteins were chosen by York County's 250th Anniversary Committee as York County "Builders" to commemorate their contributions to the community, not only through their developments but also through their support of and involvement in local community organizations.
York County has been the site of residential subdivisions since the nineteenth century, beginning with developments close to the city, many of which were eventually annexed. With increased mobility in the early twentieth century, subdivisions were constructed farther away from the city center. And with the popularity of the automobile and the high demand for housing for the baby boom generation, subdivisions reached new levels in size and amenities. With the sprawl of the late-twentieth century, subdivisions continued to be constructed at a rapid pace in York County. They not only serve the local community, but also commuters from Baltimore and other employment centers who choose to settle in the suburban communities of York. Based on available records, Haines Acres is the largest comprehensive subdivision in the county and stands out in York County for its size as well as the cohesive development of the subdivision. However, documentation is lacking as to the precise impact of the subdivision on the surrounding community and government regulations due to the incomplete nature of township and county zoning records.
† Adapted from: Shauna J. Haas, Architectural Historian, SR 0124, Section 005, Improvement Project, A.D. Marble & Company for Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Haines Acres, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA, Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey, 2008, http://www.phmc.state.pa.us, accessed October, 2015.