Looking Back: Franklin County’s history December 17th

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 17th.

25 Years Ago 

December17, 1995Sunday

“SU Grads exhorted to find, and celebrate, the good“ 

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Forty-eight-year-old Nancy Fritz, who graduated with her son Saturday. was inspired by Archbishop William Keeler’s commencement speech.  

The former bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg told about 400 Shippensburg University graduates they would soon face a world ready to strip them of their moral convictions. 

Dressed in red vestments, Keeler accepted an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university.  He told graduates they should change negative perceptions about religion, put away their disagreements, and celebrate that they are all part of a bigger picture.  

“I think many have already received very good basic ideas about what’s right and wrong,”  Keeler said in an interview following the ceremony.  “The problem is that they encounter so much pressure from culture to lose sight of that.”  

Although 3 inches of snow in Baltimore delayed Keeler, most of the graduates were too busy to notice: nervously awaiting their diplomas, waving to their families in the stands.  

Keeler  – named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in November 1994 – served as bishop of Harrisburg from 1983 to 1989.  “I’ve been to Shippensburg so many times before,” he said.  “My memories here go back a long way.”  

Fritz said the speech was “extra special.”  

She and her son, Brian, of Shippensburg, each received bachelor’s degrees.  She said she encourages other people her age to return to school.   “If someone has the time and they are motivated, they should at least take one class a semester.” 

SU President Anthony Ceddiia’s daughter, Ann-Marie, received a master’s degree in elementary education.   

Recalling playing Santa Claus in downtown Shippensburg a few weeks ago, Ceddia told graduates a 4-year-old boy’s Christmas wish was that his little brother recover from surgery.  And an elderly woman said she just wanted her skin cancer to clear up for Christmas.  

“There is a powerful lesson in humility and also understanding,” he said.  

“You leave with arms full of skills and abilities … I hope you use those abilities . . . not just for material things, but to make a difference in this world.” 

50 Years Ago   


“First Winter Snow Disappears Quickly” 

Two inches of snow fell in Chambersburg area Wednesday, the first of the season, just a bit early for Christmas.  

 However, the white stuff refused to stay.  The fluffy precipitation changed to rain at 5:30 Wednesday afternoon.  Having rained throughout the night, by this morning most traces of the snow were gone.  

But while it was snowing, it meant business.  The Pennsylvania Department of Highways dispatched 111 men to the task of keeping highways in shape.  The crew worked with 72 trucks, 10 front-end loaders and 13 graders. They began work at 3 Wednesday afternoon and finished up at 11 Wednesday night.  Their biggest worry, a spokesman said, was fear that temperatures would dip below the 32-degree freezing mark, resulting in icy roads.  

The Chambersburg street department had three men on the job Wednesday for four hours, using two street cindering trucks.  

A check in surrounding areas showed surprising facts.  At no time Wednesday did snow lay on the ground in Mont Alto.  South Mountain area received one inch of snow, to Chambersburg’s 2.2 inches, recorded by Robert G. Sellers, local weather observer.  C. A. Bender, U.S. official weather observer, measured 1.2 inches at his Stoufferstown home.  The snow began quietly between 9 and 10 Wednesday morning, stopped, and began again about noon, changing to rain at dinner time.  Sellers said the rain amounted to nearly an inch, .92.  

A white Christmas? Sellers said there’s no precipitation in sight. Temperatures the next few days will be mild for this time of year. Today’s temperatures ranged from 38 to 42 degrees, with freezing temps expected tonight.  Friday’s temperatures should range in the 40s. 

The 30-day weather outlook calls for temperatures to be below normal and precipitation above normal, so there is greater chance of snow now than before.  Sellers said there has not been an ideal weather pattern for snow in this area since cold weather began, but Wednesday could have been a good one, he indicated. 

For those who are keeping watch on weather action, Chambersburg area received an eight-inch snowfall last Dec. 14, and a 10-15 inch ground cover Christmas Day. 

100 Years Ago  



A dollar should buy a family Christmas tree and 50 cents an apartment size symbol of YuletIde spirit, Charles Lathrop Pack, president of the American Forestry Association, declared here today In a statement calling- upon the American people to rebel against Christmas tree profiteers.  

“Last year,” he said, “trees were thrown in the river by carloads at Pittsburgh, Cleveland and New York.”  

It will take about 4,000,000 trees to bring Christmas Joy to the nation’s little folks this year,  Mr. Pack said, and no harm, but rather good will come to the forests through scientific clearing.  


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