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 Dec 29th.
25 Years Ago
December 29, 1996 – Monday
“Tannery cleanup to begin in the Spring”
Mercersburg — Cleanup of the former Loewengart Tannery is entering the final phase.
Contractors should begin hauling away contaminated soil and concrete in late spring.
Remediation now is estimated to cost $585,000, up from the original guess of $200,000.
The borough already has spent nearly $80,000 to cart away contaminants during demolition of the 100-year-old tannery last summer.
The estimated $665,000 cleanup is to be funded 75 through a state grant and 25 with borough money. Costs should come in lower, according to Borough Manager Judith Chambers. One contractor is expected to be hired for hauling and testing. The borough plans to reuse the tannery’s sewer plant and sell industrial lots.
Mercersburg took on the demolition and cleanup in 1995 after no one bought the old red brick buildings from the bankrupt tannery.
The borough can open remediation bids before applying for the state grant.
“It’s very significant because we will know what the cost will be before we get the grant,” Chambers said.
The borough was stung earlier this year by low-ball estimates to retrofit the former tannery’s sewer plant for its own use. The state approved a low-interest loan based on estimates that were 20% lower than actual bids.
Mercersburg is forwarding a baseline contamination report to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for approval.
The report by Nassaux-Hemsley Inc., borough engineers, proposes hauling away soil contaminated by oils.
Petroleum hydrocarbon liquid, not used in leather tanning, already has been carted to landfills.
“We never did figure exactly what this stuff was,” Chambers said. While not technically hazardous, the stuff smelled bad enough to require more testing, and the landfill that finally accepted the liquid mixed it with fly ash to control the odor.
Soils and concrete in former lagoons will be tested for heavy metals. Metals and small amounts semi-volatile organic compounds have been detected in the area.
Three lagoons and a series of sludge drying beds will be capped with a synthetic liner, topsoil and planted with grass
50 Years Ago
December 29, 1971 – Wednesday
“Treasurer’s Office Moves”
Three county workers, and Treasurer Fred Rock, far right, help move the 20-foot counter from the old treasurer’s office in the Franklin County Courthouse, to the new office in the courthouse annex (rear of picture). The new Controller office will be set up in the site of the former treasurer’s office. Meanwhile, Rock will bow out as treasurer Dec. 31, and take the post of commissioner Jan. 3. As yet, the Governor has not named a successor.
100 Years Ago
December 29, 1921 – Thursday
“Dr. Wright to wed hospital head”
Chambersburg – A romance that began in the Chambersburg Hospital where, the protective bridegroom is a member of the medical staff, and the bride-to-be is head nurse will be culminated during the holidays when Dr. F. G. Wright and Miss Ida Gillis will be married.
Dr. Wright and Miss Gillis secured a marriage license in Harrisburg and will be married at a place which the happy couple have not yet disclosed even to their intimate friends.