Looking Back: Franklin County’s history December 10th

Franklin County’s history

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 December 10th.

25 Years Ago 

December10, 1995Sunday

Scientists Reset Doomsday Clock 

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“3 minutes closer to doom “ 

Saying the threat of nuclear apocalypse did not disappear with the end of the Cold War, the keepers of the Doomsday Clock moved the hands Friday three minutes closer to midnight.  

“The world is still a very dangerous place and the trends are in the wrong direction,” said Leonard Rieser, chairman of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  

He reset the clock at 14 minutes nearer to the hour that symbolizes nuclear apocalypse.  

“We are not crying fire in the world’s theater,” said Rieser, a witness to the first atomic bomb blast.  “But we do want to sound an alarm. We do want to call for increased vigilance.”  

The Doomsday Clock, introduced in 1947, shows the world on its face.  The Bulletin’s board has changed the hands 16 times to reflect world events.  

The closest the clock has been to nuclear midnight was 1953, when it was moved to within two minutes in response to the first hydrogen bomb set off by the United States.  It was last changed in 1991, when the hands were moved back to 17 minutes until midnight in a wave of post Cold-War optimism.   

“Unfortunately the world did not take advantage of the opportunities available at that time,” said Rieser, who had worked as a young physicist on the Manhattan Project and saw the first bomb detonation at Alamogordo, N.M., in July 1945.  

The board listened Thursday to a dozen panelists discuss issues such as growing world tension, deteriorating safeguards of nuclear stockpiles and the increased threat of nuclear terrorism.  They repeatedly cited public apathy as an considerable risk factor.  

“We are in for more violence at levels we can’t even begin to imagine,” said panelist Adele Simmons, president of the MacArthur Foundation and a member of the Global Governance Commission.  She said the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists can’t be dismissed.  

It was the first time the Bulletin, marking its 50th year, debated the issue publicly, allowing questions and comment from the audience. 

50 Years Ago   


“Former Penn Hall Official Dead at 86” 

Chambersburg – Robert B. Nelson, 86, former business manager and athletic director of Penn Hall Junior College and Preparatory School, and long active in Scouting, died unexpectedly at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday at his home, 809 Philadelphia Ave.    

Born June 6, 1884, in Chambersburg, Mr. Nelson was a son of the late Thomas McDowell and Esther Ann Hollinger Nelson.  He attended local public schools and the former Chambersburg Academy, graduated from The Mercersburg Academy and attended Washington and Jefferson College.  He was a member of Presbyterian Church of Falling Spring, and for many years was an elder and financial secretary.  Mr. Nelson was scoutmaster of the Falling Spring troop for 42 years, and for three years was commissioner of Boy Scouts, a post he relinquished to return to be scoutmaster of the church troop.  He was presented the Silver Beaver award, in 1948, first of the kind received in Franklin County, and the Order of Merit, Keystone Area Council of Boy Scouts.  

Manager of the former Chambersburg Hosiery Mill from 1910 to 1931, he then became associated with Penn Hall as business manager and athletic director, serving in the latter position until his retirement two years ago.  

His first wife, Beulah Tucker Nelson, died Feb. 19, 1939.  

Surviving are his second wife, Louise Roberts Nelson; three sons and two daughters, Robert M. Nelson, 529 Bishop Ave.; Samuel 0. Nelson, Radnor; William T. Nelson, 150 Norland Ave.; Mrs. Christian C. F (Elizabeth) Spahr, Rosemont; Mrs. John C. (Eleanor) Good 263 N. Coldbrook Ave.; 19 grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren, and a sister, Mrs. Frank S. Magill, 1455 Philadelphia Ave.  

Funeral service will be held Friday at 2 p.m. in Presbyterian Church of Falling Spring, with the Rev. Richard E. Sigler and the Rev. Dr. Rodney T. Taylor officiating.  Burial will be in Falling Spring Cemetery.  

There will be no viewing.  

If desired, contributions may be made to the Memorial Fund of Falling Spring Church.  

100 Years Ago  


 “Antrim barn destroyed; Hay and wheat burned”  

The large bank barn on the farm of Jacob O. Henneberger of Antrim township, three miles northeast of Greencastle, was destroyed by fire 1 Wednesday afternoon.  The fire started in a fodder stack.  

Farm hands were busy hauling in corn when the fire was discovered.   They succeeded in rescuing the livestock and most of the farm implements.   Sixty tons of hay and five hundred bushels of wheat were destroyed.   The building was Insured but the loss is not covered. 


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