Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village

Preservers of the Historic Ma & Pa Railroad

Ma & Pa Railroad Walking Tour - A.M. Grove General Store

A. M. Grove General Store

The most prominent building in Muddy Creek Forks, the general store, was built by A. M. Grove in 1899. The current building replaced the earlier store which stood adjacent to the mill on the other side of Muddy Creek Forks Road. In the early years of the century this building housed four full floors of merchandise and was staffed by four clerks. Photos show that goods were also displayed on and under the porch.

Waiting for customers

The store stocked a full range of merchandise from food and clothing to cast iron stoves and farm machinery. Items that were not stocked in Muddy Creek Forks could be ordered for delivery the next day from York via the railroad. Until 1906, when A. M. Grove organized area merchants to close at 7 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the store was open 6 days a week from early in the morning until late at night. If customers were still there they would stay open until 11 p.m. The only holidays were Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Post Office in the store

In addition to the store this building housed the railroad station, the Post Office, the telephone exchange, and the office from which A. M. Grove oversaw his many business interests. These rooms were grouped together in the southeast corner of the main floor.

Working the telegraph

Grove was the station agent for the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad, but the duties of the agent were actually carried out by a telegrapher he employed. For many years the telegrapher was Jess Wambaugh, who was a well known and respected figure in the surrounding community. Grove was also the postmaster. Mail arrived at Muddy Creek Forks by train four times per day. Besides nearby residents who had boxes and picked up their mail here, the Post Office served a large surrounding area through two rural delivery routes.

Inside of A. M. Grove Store

With the coming of hard surface roads and widespread car ownership, business in rural stores declined. When James and Mamie Keiser bought Muddy Creek Forks in 1947, they built an apartment for their family in the upper floors of this building. The store then contracted to the first floor, with groceries as the major business. In 1954 railroad passenger service and the delivery of mail by rail came to an end. Muddy Creek Forks remained an active station, however, that could originate and receive carload and less than carload freight. Surprisingly, Muddy Creek Forks kept company with Delta, Red Lion, and York as the last agency stations on the Ma & Pa. As business here continued to dwindle the Post Office was closed in the late 1960's and the store served its last customers in 1983.

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