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Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on October 9th.

25 Years Ago

October 9, 1994 –  Sunday

“Week-End Journey – Places to Visit”

CHAMBERSBURG –  Take a weekend journey along the historic Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30) for an unusual historic experience. In its early days such a trip was a frequent source of family fun.

The highway is the result of an early effort to build aa coast-to-coast highway for motorists in the early 20th century. It ran from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco.

Its Pennsylvania segment was a delight for local families taking day or weekend trips.

And it ran right through Franklin County, intersecting U.S. 11 in downtown Chambersburg.

At Chambersburg, the highway navigates around the square in the center of town. The nearby courthouse dates to 1864.

East of town, at Caledonia, lies the Michaux State Forest and the historic old Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith Shop. This building witnessed the Underground Railroad, the Army of Northern Virginia marching to Gettysburg, and the roaring 1920s. 

The Lincoln Highway was a concept long before it was concrete: the dream of linking together older byways into a road stretching from New York’s Times Square to San Francisco. 

Moseying along its original route today, over a stretch through this part of Pennsylvania, can fill a weekend with the sights from ages past a time when auto travel was slower-paced, gentler than it is today. The weekend wanderer has time to appreciate the natural beauty through which the road passes, to stop and stare and maybe chuckle a bit at the vestiges of roadside attractions long gone to seed. 

West of Schellsburg, for example, a giant, sculptured-concrete Little Boy Blue silently blows his horn beside the gate to what once was Storyland, a theme park that enthralled traveling children before there were real, live Mickey Mice, talking Lincolns, buildings that make their own earthquakes and vast swimming pools that generate their own tidal waves.

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Today, a visitor can peek through the wire fence and see weeds overgrowing the domicile of the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, and an elf who has lost an ear forlornly watching over a Humpty Dumpty forever about to fall. 

50 Years Ago

Oct 9, 1969 Thursday

“FULL SCALE ROUTE 30 BYPASS GETS OK”

CHAMBERSBURG –  The Highway Department will go along with the wish of Franklin County planners. It will scrap plans to widen Route 30 east of Chambersburg and a portion of Route 316, in favor of building the eastern end of the Chambersburg By-pass. 

That’s the good news. 

It came from State Highway Secretary Robert G. Bartlett, himself, at a meeting in Harris-burg Wednesday afternoon. The decision followed to a T planning commission recommendations forwarded to Harrisburg two weeks ago.

Five members of the county planning commission met with Highway Secretary Bartlett and his committee in a session set up routinely months ago. But the results were not routine. 

“Bartlett told us that if this is what the people of Franklin County really want, then that is what they will get,” Zane Miller, planning commission chairman, told Public Opinion today. 

He made a motion to that effect, and it was passed unanimously by his state highway committee.

The bad news is there’s no money. That’s been the Bartlett theme song this year. Caught between President Nixon’s road construction austerity program and legislative funding difficulties, Bartlett could not say when he would have the money to put on the eastern end, nor give approximate dates of construction. But he did say that what money he had intended to use on Route 30 and 316 would go to the Eastern section of the bypass around Chambersburg if and when the money came. 

Meanwhile, state sees the western end of the bypass as an accomplished fact, with engineering and planning of that section virtually completed. 

Bartlett agreed to abandon present highway plans to widen Route 30 between Chambersburg and Fayetteville to five lanes from its present three, Miller said. Bartlett also said the department would drop the widening of Route 316 to Grindstone Hill, a plan the highway department had not favored either, according to the county planning commission report two weeks ago. 

At that time commission members, in response to a highway request, asked officials of local municipalities their consensus on top highway priorities. 

Result the commission voted to inform the state that the Chambersburg Bypass in particular the unprogrammed eastern end, and the Route 16 bypass of Waynesboro, remained its top priorities. 

Attending Wednesday’s meeting at 1 p.m. at highway department headquarters were these members of the Franklin County Planning Commission: Miller, chairman; Kenneth Oyler, chairman highway planning committee; William Arthur, Henry Grove, and Eugene Etter. 

They will report on the session at tonight’s regular planning commission meeting. Also expected to the discussed is the county’s new subdivision ordinance, in final polishing stages.

100 Years Ago

October 9, 1919 – Thursday

“Want An Airplane Ride? Town People Enjoy Thrill

CHAMBERSBURG – Residents of Chambersburg and Vicinity have been entertained by the soaring of an airplane daily since Friday.   A machine of the Easton Aero Service Company has been here, making flights over the town and vicinity charging a dollar a minute for the ride $15 minimum.

The hop from terra firma and the landing was made at the Stouffer farm northwest of town  Twenty-seven persons viewed the town and vicinity over the week-end.   A number of flights were made on Sunday and on each day following up to yesterday.  The machine is piloted by Lieut John J R. Weis.

(This article was recorded in the “People’s Register” – a Chambersburg newspaper)

Local History

Looking Back: Franklin County’s History On October 21st

Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on October 21st.


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