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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 August 12th.

25 Years Ago

August 12, 1994 – Friday

“Letterkenney Gets The Lead Out”

CHAMBERSBURG – Dirt is almost clean on Letterkenny Army Depot, but its groundwater still needs scrubbing.

With its treatment of contaminated soils at the Chambersburg installation nearly complete, the U.S. Army is just a third of the way through a project to clean up Letterkenny’s groundwater pollution.

The Army has spent $50 million on a cleanup project that’s expected to cost $132 million before it ends in 2000. Most of the work that remains is the actual cleaning of the groundwater.

Letterkenny’s first order of business has been to remove the sources of groundwater pollution, according to Brian Hoke, who is in charge of the depot cleanup project.

Crews now are digging 875 dump-truck loads of soil where a degreaser, trichloroethylene, was dumped between 1950 and 1970. Letterkenny workers had used the chemical when they overhauled engines for Army howitzers and vehicles. The 2-acre site also is contaminated with lead, a metal found in engine oil.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a carcinogen which targets the nerves, liver and kidneys and irritates mucous membranes. Highest TCE level in a soil sample: 31 million parts per billion (3.3 of the sample). Cleanup goal: 50 parts per billion.

Lead, poisonous if ingested, is known to hurt the mental development of children.

Highest lead level: 25 parts per million. Goal: less than 5 parts per million. Actual: less than 1 part per million.

“We’re looking at overkill,” Hoke said.

Dye studies indicate that groundwater under the contaminated site flows off the depot grounds. Polluted groundwater has been found up to 24 miles from Letterkenny.

The Army paid for nearby homes to connect to public water in 1987, five years after the residents were told not to drink water from their wells.

Letterkenny began treating groundwater in 1989. The groundwater cleanup will include Rowe Run Spring and Rocky Spring in 1996.

The current $2.1 million project to clean soil follows a similar $4.4 million cleanup in 1992 of an industrial waste lagoon. The problem was the same: soil polluted with discarded TCE. The soil clean up is scheduled to be completed this fall.

50 Years Ago

August 12, 1969 – Tuesday

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“Honored on Occasion of 35th Anniversary”

CHAMBERSBURG – Mr. and Mrs. Ralph M. Herman, 1474 Edgar Ave., were guests of the local staff of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Veterans of the Hagerstown District at a dinner Saturday evening at the new Holiday Inn. The Chambersburg office is a part of the Hagerstown district. Employees of more than 20 years of service with the company are members of a Veteran’s Association.

The occasion was to honor Mr. Herman on his 35th anniversary with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He began his career as a representative of the company Aug. 13, 1934, in Hagerstown. In March of 1941, he transferred to the Chambersburg staff.

Mr. Schamel presented Mr. Herman with a gift from the guests. Appropriate remarks paying tribute to him were made by the guests.

Mr. Herman recently returned from a leaders conference of the company at the Concord. Lake Kiamesha, N.Y.. on the basis of qualifications earned in 19C8.

The Hermans have a daughter, Airs John Small, and a grandson, living in Hatboro.

100 Years Ago

August 12, 1919 – Tuesday

“Former Town Boy Receives Many Musical Honors”

CHAMBERSBURG – Fred K. .Smith, son of Mrs. Anna M. Smith of 501 East Catharine Street, this’ city, has been the recipient of a number of musical honors during the past two months.

In May, Mr. Smith was elected a member of the Musical Art Club of Philadelphia, a club whose membership is made up of the city’s most prominent teachers, pianists, organists and vocalists, and the majority of the members of Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. Early in June, he played in Baptist Temple before the hoard of examiners of the American Organ Players’ Club and successfully passed the test, thus becoming a member of the club.

On June 5 and 6 he passed the practical and theoretical examinations of the organists’ guild held at St. Luke’s Church, Germantown, and is now an associate of the American Guild of Organists.

Mr. Smith went to Wilmington, Delaware, two years ago to accept the position of organist at the Queen Theater. He is also organist and choirmaster at the Church of the New Jerusalem and finds time to teach a limited number of pupils.

Mr. Smith is spending the week at his home on East Catharine street after having attended the convention of the National Association of Organists in Carnegie Institute at Pittsburgh.

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