Looking Back: Franklin County’s history December 29th

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 29th.

25 Years Ago 

December 29, 1995 – Friday

“’96 strategy: Noisemakers to scare birds “ 

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The starlings and sparrows have not returned to Chambersburg.   

But Paul Cullinane is ready.   

The executive director of Downtown Chambersburg Inc. said the group has spent $125 for noisemakers and two pistols to launch them.  

When the birds return – probably in the fall –  Chambersburg Police Department officers will shoot bangers and screamer sirens into the air, in the morning or evening.  The community will be notified before the firing starts.  

The birds must be disturbed before they consider the trees their roosts.   

“It doesn’t harm the birds, but it scares them away,” Cullinane said.  “It could be, by settling the problem on Main Street, we create a problem for someone on Second Street.”  

The pistols, however, can be fired elsewhere.  Hundreds of thousands of noisy birds have fouled sidewalks from dusk to dawn on Main Street.  

The birds have not been back since the last days of November, and probably migrated a few miles south.  


  •  Colder temperatures.  
  • Leaves falling off the Bradford pear trees, offering less protection.  
  • People banging on buckets under the trees.  
  • A fake owl.  
  • Distress calls.  
  • A chemical fogged in the trees.  

The grape-smelling chemical was meant to upset the birds’ stomachs and discourage them from roosting.  ReJeX-iT, applied several times by J.C. Ehrlich of Reading, had limited success.  

Ehrlich said it would not submit a bill, Cullinane said. The downtown group was prepared to pay $810 if Ehrlich was completely successful. 

50 Years Ago   

December 29, 1970 – Tuesday

“152 years later, last prisoners evacuated from old Franklin County jail” 

Chambersburg – An era of Franklin County history ended Monday, with the closing of the Franklin County jail on King Street.  

The old limestone building spreading over the block west from Second Street, was phased out after 152 years of continuous use.  

Thirty-eight prisoners were transferred during the day, many of them helping move bedding and belongings in countless trips of county trucks from the old structure to a temporary jail in the former nursing home off Route 30 just east of Inter-state-81.  

The prisoners are reportedly pleased with their new surroundings, where barred windows afford glimpses of mountains, farmland, and winter skies.  They enjoyed a “delicious stew” Monday evening, prepared in the modern kitchen of the nearby new Franklin County Nursing Home.  

Savings are expected to be considerable in food and kitchen expenses through the use of the nursing home facilities for the jail.  The facility sharing is planned to continue in a new jail expected to rise on the other side of the modern nursing home in the coming year.  

Sheriff Frank J. Bender and numerous sheriff’s deputies spent the day at the new jail quarters, supervising the furniture transfers and setting up of beds.  

Meanwhile other deputies were stationed at the historic Jail, one-time scene of Underground Railroad activities, and of numerous break-out attempts and some successes.  Over the years, spoons, ropes, ladders, clubs have been used by eager desperate escapees to make their way out of the forbidding grey walls.  

A huge crane was used to carry out the heavy jail safe and to reinstall it at the new quarters.  

Shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday, the grey wooden side doors were unbarred and pushed in ward. Prisoners filed out, lightly clad in the cold air, carrying rolls or paper sacks of belongings.  They moved quickly between the rows of deputies and within 10 minutes all were seated in the waiting chartered bus.  

The bus pulled up South Second Street, the wrong way, with deputies providing traffic control, to turn onto King, and leave the scene of heartbreak and humor over the years.  

Only ones present to see them off were a handful of longhaired youths most town people would label hippies.  Shouting and waving to the bus passengers, the youths promised to see them soon.  The passengers lifted raised fists or peace-victory signs, and the bus rounded the corner out of sight.  

Prisoners today were at work cleaning up the new quarters, and settling into a new routine.  Meanwhile Franklin County commissioners are working on clearing all county belongings from the old jail.  

Chambersburg District Justice of the Peace Joseph W. Gotwals will move from his office in the jail to the former offices of the Child Care Service in the county courthouse annex.  The Child Care service, in the current musical chairs now going on, will move Tuesday and Wednesday into the former chapel of the old nursing home.  

The commissioners have until Jan. 15 to make settlement on the transfer of the jail property to the Franklin County Redevelopment authority.   

From then on, the jail will be the problem of Redevelopment to raze, or to sell to Heritage, Inc. for preservation. 

100 Years Ago  

December 29, 1920 – Wednesday


The names of Carlisle women, Mrs. Leonora Flower and Mrs. Minnie Rynard and Miss Lina Piper, Penn township, were taken from the grand jury wheel today, to be the first women in selected for jury service.   

The court of quarter session will convene February 1, when men from the list will be selected for the cases on trial then.  

Three women were also drawn to serve as petit jurors for criminal court.  Two of the three reside in Carlisle.  They are: Miss rose. East High street, and Mrs. J. W. Potter, South West street; the other Is Mrs. Corda. Kunkle of Lower Allen 


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