Looking Back: Franklin County’s history December 28th

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 28th.

25 Years Ago 

December28, 1995Thursday

“St. Paul – A ‘lot’ of Ideas – Park, parking speculated for property” 

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County’s history December 26th
A pedestrian passes the empty St. Paul United Methodist Church lot at Second and Queen streets – and the impressive Masonic Lodge, which was exposed when the charred church walls were torn down.

Chambersburg — Now that the brick and rubble that used to be St. Paul United Methodist Church has been hauled away, the corner of Second and Queen streets looks naked.    

“It’s a major hole in the streetscape that needs to be filled,” said Paul E. Cullinane, who passes the empty lot every morning on his way to work at the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce building across the street.  ” 

It’s highly visible as people zoom through town on Route 11,” he said. “We need to find something that might be pleasing for everyone.  Some suggestions so far:  

  •  A parking lot.   
  • A park with grass and trees, a gazebo and benches.   
  • A building that provides independent living quarters for the elderly that would complement The Shook Home down the street.

The church destroyed Feb. 19 in a $6 million arson will be rebuilt this spring off the Norland Avenue extension.   

The cost: $5,353,878.  

The church hopes to recoup about $400,000 from the sale of its Queen Street and Second Street property.  But the Rev. Dr. Harold Posey, pastor, cautioned that the asking price will be determined by the real estate agent.  

“We have some prospects,” Posey said. “People are asking questions. But nothing is firm at this point.”  

The church plans to select an agent next month who will market the property as a package: the empty lot and the adjacent three-story educational building, which didn’t burn.  

As soon as weather permits, the church will pave the empty lot as a parking lot.  

The parking lot should entice buyers interested in the church’s educational building as office space, said Kenneth Plummer Sr., co-chairman of the church’s building committee.  

“We want to sell the lot that’s our goal,” he said. “The use of it will be up to whomever buys it.”  

Cullinane, executive director of Downtown Chambersburg Inc., hopes that any new buildings or other use will complement the newly exposed Masonic Lodge.  

“It’s a striking visage that we should use to our advantage,” he said.  

Downtown Chambersburg Inc. recently hired a Columbia, Md.-based consultant to develop a downtown master plan.  The consultant, LDR International Inc., emphasizes the importance  

of planning to help preserve an area’s character.  Even a parking lot can be attractive if edged with grass, shrubs and trees.   

“People need more than asphalt leading them to brick and concrete buildings,” said Robert Thomas, Franklin County commissioner-elect.  “People need some green space a place where they can walk to in the summer to eat lunch; a place where they can breathe.”  Thomas suggests that both the old St. Paul lot and the empty lot at Second Street and U.S. 30 a block north be considered for green space and developed as small community parks.   

“It’s about improving our quality of life,” he said.   

But no one can consider any ideas until the lot is marketed and sold.   

Sam Small, a broker for REMAX in Chambersburg, agrees that downtown needs additional parking, and that a parking lot may be the best way to squeeze the most productivity out of the property.  

But he cautions that it is still too soon to speculate.  “People can come up with all kinds of thoughts and possibilities,” he said.  “But you have to work within the framework of what’s legally possible.”  

The lot, zoned central core, would require a 25-foot rear yard for any new buildings, said Gary Norris, borough planner.  And any curb cuts along the property would require approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  

“But as long as developers get the approval they need, they can do whatever suits them,” he said.  

Barry Neville, Chambersburg, enjoys shopping downtown. But the lack of adequate parking deters him. 

” If I had to choose between sitting in a park or parking my car, I’d have to choose my car,” he said.   

“I wouldn’t want to park back here, mind you, and have to walk back to Main Street,” he said.  

“But maybe employees could park in the new lot and leave the street spaces to us.” 

50 Years Ago   

December 28,1970Monday

“Building Up in County “ 

Building activity increased in Franklin County during the month of October as compared with a year ago, a report by the State Department of Labor and Industry indicated today.  Volume for the month, on the basis of estimated post of projects for which permits were taken out in those communities within the county requiring building permits, totaled $92,800 as compared with $38,025.00 in October of 1969.  

As for the number of building permits issued covering all types of building operations projected in the county, this too was on the increase climbing from 26 during October of 1969 to 28 in October of 1970, the department reported.   

Of the three permit-issuing municipalities in the county, one reported no building permits issued at all.  For the remaining two in which permits were issued during the month, this is the community – by – community breakdown showing the number of projects per community and overall estimated cost:  

Chambersburg, 18 permits for $81,000  

Waynesboro, 10 permits for $11,800. 

100 Years Ago  

December28,1920Monday

“Hanover Organizes” 

At the meeting of the directors of the Hanover baseball club in the Arcadian Club, an organization for the coming year was affected:   Dr. John E. Melsenhelder – President and the Rev. W. A. Howard, vice president.   A. Ray Michael will act as secretary during the coming year, while U. T. O’Neal will again fill the position of treasurer.    

President Meisenhelder has announced the appointment of a committee of twelve men who will have charge of raising funds for the 1921 baseball season.   Arrangements are being made to hold a bazar during the first part of February. 



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