Looking Back: Franklin County’s history February 23rd

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 February 23nd.

25 Years Ago

Feb23, 1996 –Friday

“Mall owner closes in on new anchor store “ 

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Chambersburg Mall’s search for an anchor store to replace Hess’s Department Store has sparked rumors that J.C. Penney will leave downtown Chambersburg.  

“We hear it constantly,” said Anne Foreman, manager of Record City, Penney’s neighbor in Southgate Shopping Center.  “Everyone down here has mentioned it.”  

But mall and Penney’s officials deny any deal to move the department store into the anchor spot vacated by Hess’s last month.  

Crown America, the company that owns the mall, has narrowed its search to a major department store, said spokeswoman Chris Menna.  

The company is negotiating with the store and won’t reveal its name until it signs a lease, she said.  

She refused to confirm or deny Penney’s involvement.  

Penney’s spokeswoman Stephanie Brown said the store will remain at Southgate.  

“We have no intention of moving,” Brown said. 

But she added:  “We are always reviewing, exploring and researching opportunities that would allow us to better serve our customers.”  

Though Penney’s lease at Southgate expires in about three years, the store could buy out the lease if it wanted to move.   

“To our knowledge, they’re staying and they’re very happy where they are,” said Debby Mandt, spokeswoman for Franklin Properties Co., part-owner of Southgate.  “It’s just rumors that are going around.  “  

The store benefits from being “the only game” in the downtown area, she said.  At the mall, it would compete directly with Bon-Ton and Sears.  

Ken Hartman, manager of Penney’s, declined to comment on the possibility of moving to the mall.  

Foreman, secretary of the Southgate Merchants Association, said she wouldn’t be surprised if Penney’s moved.  

“I think it would hurt (Southgate), but I don’t think it would have a devastating impact,” she said. “I don’t like the idea of that big store sitting empty.” 

50 Years Ago

Feb23,1971 –Tuesday

“Call it by Whatever Name, It’s Fastnacht Day, Yet 

Call it what you will  – Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Pancake Tuesday, Feastnight Day, Fat Cake Day, Fast Night Day to the Pennsylvania Dutch it’s Fastnacht Day, and you may he sure to contract a headful of lice if you don’t eat of the doughy concoction sometime in those 24 hours.  

Traditionally, Shrovetide, the days immediately preceding Ash Wednesday, were days of preparation for Lent.  The chief part of preparation, naturally, was being “shriven” by confession. After that duty was fulfilled, the faithful could be indulged by giving themselves up to amusement, but only until midnight, the onset of Ash Wednesday and Lent.   

Survivals of the custom are the wide-spread present-day carnivals in European countries, the history books say.  In England football, cockfighting and bullbaiting were long recognized as Shrovetide pastimes, and the Mardi Gras celebrated in France and New Orleans derives from these festivals.  


The true fastnacht to be eaten on Shrove Tuesday is not to be confused with the richer cruller or doughnut, viewed with contempt and scorn by the Dutch as a pariah, a poor imitation. (The Germans know the fasnacht as ”Berliner pfannkuchen.”)  

According to an old Dutch recipe, the hausfrau would:  “Take one pint of milk, one half cup sugar, flour to make a soft dough, three eggs, a teaspoon salt, one-half cup yeast or half a compressed cake, two ounces of butter.”  She would then scald the milk, add butter and stand on one side to cool.”  When cool, she added yeast, sugar and flour, beat the mess, covered it and stood it in a moderately warm place overnight.  In the morning she beat the eggs until light, stirred them into the batter, added sufficient flour to make a soft dough, kneaded lightly, covered, and “stood away until light.”   

When light, the Dutch lady presumably would return, roll out the dough on a baking board, cut it into circles with a large round cutter then with a small cutter, making a hole in the center.   “Spreading a clean bread-cloth over the kitchen table,” she would dust it lightly with flour, place the dough and holes” on this, cover and let stand half-an-hour.  


Then she would “have ready a deep kettle of boiling fat (suet is best), put the cut dough into this fat upside-down, i.e.. the side that was up on the table should go down in the fat, for in standing, a crust forms on the surface which prevents the circles from becoming light if they are placed in the fat with the crust uppermost.  Fry on one side, then turn by slipping a fork through the hole in the center. Do not stick it into the fatcake. Do the same with the balls. When done, dust with sugar.  

“The little balls may be given to the children as a reward for good ….  

“Do not forget to outen the fire, for quick is hot suet to burn ….  

“The fasnacht is good for dunkin’ the day after.” 


EDITOR’S NOTES:  Fastnacht Day (also spelled Fasnacht , or in Pennsylvania German: Faasenacht) is an annual Pennsylvania Dutch celebration that falls on Shrove Tuesday , the day before Ash Wednesday. The word translates to “Fasting Night” or “Almost Night” in English. 

Traditionally, fastnachts are made to use up the lard, sugar, butter, eggs and other rich foods in a house before the austere diet of Lent begins.  In Catholic and Protestant countries, Fastnacht Day is also called “Fat Tuesday,” or “Mardi Gras,” a name which predates the Reformation and referred to the Christian tradition of eating rich foods before the Lenten fast began. 

(Information taken from “Wikipeida” ) 

100 Years Ago  

Feb23,1921 –Wednesday


Chambersburg –  H. A. McCune. stock clerk in the Hagerstown Book Bindery Company’s printery, and who had his right hand cut off at the wrist by a power cutting machine on Monday afternoon, is a brother-in-law of Mrs. Charles H. King of Grand View.  She returned yesterday from Hagerstown, where she had been summoned after  the accident to Mr. McCune,  who is gaining strength nicely after a loss of blood. 


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