Lone Wolf Farm
Few houses remain in Lower Swatara Township from the late 1880’s that have kept 75% of their original identifying architecture. Most old German clapboards have been covered in vinyl siding and other remodeling to lower maintenance costs and labor. Victorian fretwork (gingerbread) is often removed. Doors and windows closed or changed to more current models.
The farmhouse was built by John B. Ebersole in 1886. In 1890, he sold it to Frank William Yingst and the Yingst family owned the property until 2003 when Nancy Avolese bought it and named it Lone Wolf Farm.
The original structure of the farmhouse has remained the same with a few additions added over the years.
Along with the house, the Sweitzer barn still remains and is from the same era. It includes a potting shed and chicken house. The top was probably used for agriculture storage, and the bottom for a buggy barn, and a few horses.
But it is not just for the architectural details that is important but also for who lived here.
Edith Yingst (1886-1978), was the daughter of Frank William Yingst (1862-1941) and Barbara Ellen Books Yingst. Barbara’s father came here with George Fisher. Frank and Barbara met and married when Barbara was just 15 and Frank was 21 years old.
Frank was a carpenter by trade but could do most anything. He put in an electrical system here called the Delco System (before Edison’s systems). He had fruit trees, horses, cows, chickens, pigs, ducks, and geese here.
Edith Yingst was the oldest of twelve children (eight survived childhood). She was independent and intelligent. When she was just a young girl, she fell in love with an Irish Catholic, but her parents forbade her to marry him. She had watched the Red Cross nurses and doctors at work in the tent hospitals of Camp Meade when she was a child and dreamed of becoming a doctor.
So, at age 18, she went to the school of nursing at Harrisburg Hospital in December of 1905. After graduation in 1908 (she finished in just three years), she went on to the Maternity Hospital in Philadelphia and earned a diploma there. Then the Harrisburg Hospital asked her to come back and be the Head Nurse in the men’s ward. After two years, she became the night supervisor. Then moved onto the operating room where she became supervisor and the anesthetist. She went to the Mayo Clinic for more training and education on lab work and operating management. She next ran the hospital in Carlisle. World War I started, and she did most of the daily nursing work herself. By 1923, she went back to Harrisburg Hospital and was elected by the Harrisburg Hospital Board as Director of Nursing and served in that capacity until 1944. In late 1944, she went to Allentown to take courses in psychiatric nursing. From there she was asked to work at the Baltimore Hospital for mental patients, which she did for a few more years. Then onto the Woman’s Hospital in Philadelphia as Director of Nursing Education. She later accepted a teaching position at the York Hospital and retired from there in 1955.
In 1972, Edith was still using the old cook stove to do most of her cooking and she had a vast library. Her home was filled with visitors, laughter, and ongoing conversations on current events, science, and technology advances. She never married.
Edith volunteered most of her life at the Harrisburg Hospital Auxiliary, the Middletown Library, the Mother’s Congress, Presbyterian Church at Union and Water Streets (of which she was a member her entire life), the Middletown Area Historical Society, and served the American Red Cross for over 50 years. She left several thousand dollars to the Middletown Library (this started the Middletown Public Library’s Endowment Trust Fund), the Lebanon Valley College, the Red Cross, and the Christian Children’s Fund.
Edith Yingst died at the age of 92, on March 12, 1978,
walking from the house to the barn. She is buried
in the Middletown Cemetery.
Nancy Avolese is the current caretaker of Lone Wolf Farm at 1451 N Union Street, Middletown, PA
Application approved by the Board of Trustees on 3/19/2019.
Exerpt from Nancy Avolese's application.
Photos courtesy of the Yingst Family