Looking Back: Franklin County’s history December 11th

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 11th.

25 Years Ago 

December11, 1995Monday

“This messy problem is for the birds”  

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Birds are a mystery to me.  I used to think they flew south for the winter. If I had wings, that’s exactly what I’d do.  I’d be hopping around on the beaches of Florida.  

 But apparently some birds are having too much fun in Franklin County. They’ve got trees galore and corn fields aplenty. And they’ve got lots of humans to bombard.  

Recently, the humans decided to fight back.  In downtown Greencastle, an orchard gun was fired four nights last week to disturb the starlings that roost on pear trees.   

Noise is supposed to send the birds packing. This makes me wonder why the downtown folks didn’t resort to a simpler solution than firing a gun. Placing this traffic sign downtown would have done the trick: “Honk if you don’t like parking meters.” 

Others have suggested playing a tape of a bird in distress or the cry of a red-tailed hawk.  

This might work, but they’d have better luck playing a tape of Rush Limbaugh. If that doesn’t work, they can try a tape of Roseanne (whatever her last name is now) singing the national anthem.   

But this might be cruel punishment for the birds and some might drop dead in shock.  So just in case the animal activists get wind of this, we might try another approach: subliminal messages.  

I’m sure you’ve seen those tapes that get humans to do just about anything.  If a subliminal tape can get people to quit smoking, surely we can create one that will make all these birds fly to Iraq.  

Downtown Chambersburg has had success with another method: fogging a non-toxic, grape-flavored chemical into the trees to discourage the birds.  

Apparently, when the birds preen their feathers, they swallow the chemical, which upsets their stomachs.  They produce so much gas, they don’t want to be in the same tree with each other ever again. To some people, such measures may seem extreme.  But those of us who’ve conducted studies on birds can understand why they’re necessary.   

Like many others, I’ve had the misfortune of parking my car under a tree overnight. And in the morning, I’ve often asked, “Whose spotted car is this?”   

Recently, the mess was so bad I had to take my car straight to the automatic car wash.  But after paying $5.75 and driving through a “man-made waterfall,” I still found splotches on my car.  This makes me suspect that someone out there is feeding the birds glue.   

Perhaps this is another ingenious way of getting rid of them.   

Some of these birds will eat anything.  I’ve even known a few birds that in desperate times would take a few pecks at a fruitcake.  

I have no objection to donating all the fruitcake to the bird bank.  If only we could get them all toilet trained.  

A few months ago, a reporter at this paper was out interviewing people when she was hit in the line of duty. 

“It was sticky, gooey and I had to wash my hair three times to get it out,” she said. “I was disgusted. Eeeewww.  I didn’t want anybody to see me.”  

This young woman has been scarred for life.  “I never look up in the sky,” she said.  

Birds have been bombarding people for centuries.   

If you were a bird, you’d do this too.  This is your only weapon against humans.  You’ve tried to invent a more sophisticated weapon, but you have a bird brain. You have enough trouble remembering where your nest is.  

Birds are upset at humans because they have no privacy. Some people are always watching them. This might even be keeping the bird population down. “Not now, honey.  He’s watching us again.”  

Birds have trouble showing that they’re upset.  Most of them don’t speak English and they don’t have fingers.  “Honey, did you try giving him the feather?”  

You have to give the birds credit, though.  They don’t have fingers and they can’t write, yet they still manage to study geometry. 

One morning, when I went out to my car, I found circles, rectangles and even a few trapezoids on it. How much more evidence do we need? 


( Written by Melvin Durai who was a Public Opinion staff writer in 1995. ) 

50 Years Ago   


“ Bloodmobile Gets 211 Pints of Blood “ 

The Franklin County Chapter, American Red Cross, recorded another successful , bloodmobile operation on Wednesday, when the bloodmobile unit visited the Recreation Center on S. Third Street.  

A total of 220 persons presented themselves to give blood, nine were medically deferred, making a total of 211 pints of blood donated. There were 41 “first-time” donors.  The largest single group giving blood was from American Can, while other larger groups were from Chambersburg Engineering Company, Valleybank & Trust Company, Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Christ Methodist Church of Shippensburg, Chambersburg Area Education Association, and faculty and students from Wil son College.  

In the first half of the chapter’s fiscal year, 1,096 pints of blood has been donated by volunteers. The quota for the period was 810.   

The Red Cross has scheduled the next visit at Letterkenny Army Depot on Wednesday, January 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

100 Years Ago  


“Walter Smith to quit Town Mills, buys Rogers farm”  

Chambersburg – Walter Smith of J. H. Smith and Sons, town mills, in Spring street, will on March 1, retire from the firm and will devote his time in managing the fruit farm which he recently purchased from A. L. Rogers.  

The farm is known as Blumont orchard and has been the summer home of Mr. Rogers for the past thirty years.  It contains 110 acres, 65 acres of which are planted in apple trees and 10 acres in peach trees.  It is situated at Shockey’s Station, near Edgemont.  

Mr. Rogers has purchased from Mr. Smith, the residence at King street and Fifth avenue and gets possession on March 1, when he will move there with his family.   Mr. Smith and family will move to Blumont orchard. 


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