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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 Jan. 19th.


Januar19, 1995 – Thursday


Plants peak out, buds sprout; Fruit crop looks OK”

CHAMBERSBURG – Lewis Feldman’s dwarf tulips have made an early burst from their sanctuary. 

Dozens of the plants are poking through the soil in his front yard. One of them is even sporting a red bud. 

“This is the earliest they ever came up,” said the 81-year-old Rife Street resident. 

Trees and plants have begun to stir in the warm weather, and if temperatures plummet suddenly, some of them may be damaged. Worst of all: Franklin County’s peach crop may vanish into winter’s abyss once again. 

“We lose crops because of the sudden change in temperature,” said Robert Crassweller, professor of tree fruit at Pennsylvania State University. “That’s probably more dangerous than anything … If it gets cold gradually, there won’t be any problem.” 

Temperatures this month reached a high of 68 degrees Saturday. Last January’s record low was minus 21 degrees. 

Sub-zero temperatures last winter killed the buds on peach trees in the county, leaving them bare through the year. New buds that formed last summer will produce fruit next summer if they survive the winter. 

“The peach trees can’t handle the quick changes in temperature as well as apple trees,” said Phil Horst, a Shippensburg grower. 

Temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s this weekend, which is good news for orchardists. Better yet, the cold weather “might move in over a couple of days,” said William Rense, professor of geography and earth science at Shippensburg University. 

Robert Kessler, director of Franklin County Cooperative Extension, doesn’t expect the warm weather to cause any damage to fruit trees. 

“We’ve had some reasonably cool evenings to keep everything dormant,” he said. 

Tulips and other bulbs that sprout early won’t be killed when temperatures dip, according to John Beck.”

Bulbs generally are hardy plants, “said Beck, co-owner of Green Arbor Flower & Shrubbery Center in Waynesboro. 

But the life of the flowers may be shortened. “Instead of having a flower for two or three weeks, you might only have it for one or two days,” Beck said. 

Horst and others, who are slaves to the whims of winter, will just have to wait and see what happens. 

“It doesn’t pay to worry, because a lot could happen between now and spring,” Horst said. “There’s nothing we can do about it.”

50 Years Ago

January 19, 1970  Monday

“First Ice Skating Held at New Park”

CHAMBERSBURG – A number of children and adults took advantage of ice skating Saturday afternoon, first available at the new Municipal Park. Amplified FM radio music was provided, and a large fire built in the park’s fireplace. The pool had been prepared Friday by workmen. Warmer temperatures and rain somewhat hindered the skaters, and prevented skating on Sunday as planned. 

A check was to be made today to learn the condition of the improvised rink.

100 Years Ago

January 19, 1920  Monday

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So far Public Opinion has received 157 guesses as to what population Chambersburg will show under the 1920 census. That there are many optimists among the guessers is shown by the fact that many guess over 20,000. The highest so far registered is 24,000. 

The guesses are coming in from all parts of the county. Up to last night they showed this distribution: Chambersburg, 87; Lurgan, 8; Fayetteville,5; Shippensburg, 3; Mercersburg. 10; Chambersburg rural routes. 28; Greencastle. 2; Lemasters, 3; Williamson, 6; Mt. Alto, 6 

Anybody can guess, on a postal card. The winners will be given $12.50. $7.50 and $5.00.

Local History

Looking Back: Franklin County’s History on Feb. 28th

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 Feb. 28th.
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