Looking Back: Franklin County’s history January 2nd

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 January 2nd.

25Years Ago

January2, 1996Monday

Annual check is necessary, experts say

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“Chimney neglect is risky”

County's history January 2nd
George Brent, the Chimney Doctor, replaces a chimney liner in Chambersburg.

Steve Hess thought it best to have a professional clean his chimney this year.The decision might have saved his home.

George Brent, owner of The Chimney Doctor, found that tiles inside the chimney had cracked.The damage was from a fire that Hess was unaware of.

“The chance of a house fire was significant,” Brent said, while installing a new liner in the chimney. “If left go, he would have known about this fire.”

Most chimney fires are caused by cracks or blockage in the chimney or liner, creosote (unburned fuel) buildup or improper installation of a furnace or wood-burning stove.

Blocked chimneys also can cause carbon monoxide to leak into the house.

Last year, more than 39,000 fires in the U.S. originated from chimneys, fireplaces, kerosene heaters and woodburning stoves. In Franklin County, the number exceeded 400.

“It can be a dangerous part of your home if not taken care of,” said Allen Baldwin, Chambers-burg’s emergency services chief.“Most fires occur because people take chimneys for granted, especially in old houses. They light a fire.The smoke goes up the chimney.Everything is OK.Not necessarily so.”

Hess has lived at 338 Center St. for four years.He usually cleans the chimney. This year, he wanted it cleaned better than he could do it.Also, he wanted a clean-out door installed.

The chimney is attached to the outside of his home. It’s for a fireplace in an addition to the home.

“I’ve always felt it was important to have the chimney checked and cleaned every year,” Hess said.  “I’m glad this year I decided not to do it myself.”  

Chimney fires are preventable. The Chimney Safety Institute of America and National Fire Protection Association recommend yearly inspections.

“It sneglect and a lack of common sense,” Baldwin said.“Whether the fuel is wood, gas, oil or coal, chimneys need to be cleaned every year before the heating season begins.”

Chimneys become prey to air pollution and the destructive action of the freeze-thaw cycle.Snow, rain and wind, plus erosion from within, can destroy a chimney.Long before it tumbles down, its shabby condition leavesa house vulnerable to water damage, heating system malfunction and fire.

“The chimney is overlooked,” Brent said.“A check can deter fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas. It’s a byproduct of incomplete combustion.

A person can’t see it, taste it or smell it. It can kill people before they know it.

Carbon monoxide detectors help.But, Brent said, they’re nothing more than a Band-Aid.

“They give people a sense of security. They can save lives,” he said.“But they don’t correct the problem.”

Blockage is a big problem. It can be caused by chunks of brick, creosote buildup or just about anything that can get into a chimney.

Baldwin and Brent have found birds’ nests, dead animals from skunks to bats, and footballs.

“Your chimney may not need cleaned every year,” Brent said. “But it needs checked every year.” 

  • 50 Years Ago   


“Snow Blanket Ranges from 17 to 28 inches” 

“Beautiful Snow” 

County's history January 2nd
Though couldn’t quite see it from behind, New Year’s Day show created the usual patterns of frosty ermine beauty. This is on the Wilson Campus.

Snow fell everywhere.  Beginning about 4 o’clock New Year’s Eve, it buried the county under blankets variously estimated at 16, 17 and 20 inches in the towns, to a depth of 28 inches in the mountain area.  

Temperatures plummeted to a low of 11 for the winter season early this morning, Local Weather Observer Robert G. Sellers said. C. A. Bender, official U.S. Weather observer, at his home, 1120 Lincoln Way East, recorded temperatures Thursday at a high of 30, low of 17, and on Friday at 39 and 20.  He measured 16 inches of snowfall, while Sellers’ average was 17.  By the time the last flakes fell about 10:30 New Year’s Day, it amounted to 1.65 inches of precipitation. 

Originating in the Eastern Texas and Louisiana areas, the storm moved to northern Florida and Georgia, hugged the coastline, and with high winds moved into the Baltimore-Washington area.

‘We’ve been here so long we’re mixed up in the days,” one weary aide of the Franklin County Department of Transportation said this morning.  Beginning Thursday, the department sent out a full complement of 106 men, operating 73 trucks, 11 front-end loaders and 13 graders who labored through New Year’s Eve into Friday to keep open primary roads and Interstate 81.  By 6 p.m. Friday, he said, all roads including those in the rural districts, were open to traffic.  

In the borough, crews began work at 6 o’clock New Year’s Eve and continued plowing into Friday night, when most of the streets had been cleared.  The 25 employees used six plows, grader, and three front-end loaders, and some were to continue working today.  During the night the alleys had been pretty well cleared, it was said although this work is being continued today, along with hauling from the metered zones of the borough and parking lots. 

They will continue to work on the removal operations Monday.  

No major storms are seen developing, Bender With predicted temperatures Sunday and Monday, there is a possibility of rain.   

Radio appeals were broadcast from Chambersburg Hospital early Friday to practical and registered nurses in outlying areas to make every effort to get to work, and a local ambulance was pressed into service to bring nurses and aides to duty.  Most residing in the borough, some many blocks from the hospital, “waded.”  

100 Years Ago  


“ Sixty Legionaires leave here today for bonus parade” 

Chambersburg – Sixty members of Burt J. Asper Post No. 46 of the American Legion will leave for Harrisburg this morning on the 9:42 P. R. R. train to take part in the bonus parade in the capitol city this afternoon.  

Post Commander Bitner last night completed arrangements for transportation.  Present plans call for a special coach for the Leglonaires from points in the Cumberland Valley.   The parade moves this afternoon at 2 o’clock, forming at Front and Market streets, Harrisburg.

Governor Sproul will review the ex-Yanks in front of the executive mansion. 


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