Looking Back: Franklin County’s history January 8th

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 8th.

25 Years Ago 

January8, 1996Monday

“BURIED!  Three Foot Blizzard Locks in Snow Plows” 

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County's history January 8th
Snow is shoulder-high in downtown Chambersburg. Paul Gindlesperger shovels the sidewalk early this morning in an attempt to dig out.

The blizzard that forced snow plows back into their sheds and shut down transportation is one of the largest ever to hit Franklin County.  

And it’s likely to stay the winter.    

William Rense, Shippensburg University professor of geography and earth science, ranks it as the county’s deepest snow since record-keeping began in 1932.  He estimates 32 to 34 inches of snow fell late Saturday, Sunday and early today . 

The second deepest was 28 inches, a spring snow.   Rense said Monday  morning he doesn’t recall the date of that one, and he can’t get to his office yet to check the records,  

Rense said he’d measured 23 inches at midnight Sunday.  – The storm didn’t taper off until eight until eight hours later. ”  

It might be 30 inches,” said Glenn Campbell, equipment manager for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  “We don’t know for sure the way it blew around.”  

Gov. Tom Ridge declared a travel emergency at 10 p.m. Sunday effective until noon today, then extended it until 6 a.m. Tuesday.  

Individual jurisdictions have the option to keep traffic off the road even after the state ban expires.  

This morning, Don Horton of the Chambersburg Street Department said, “We’re trying to get machines lined up now” from private contractors.  “We’ve tried to keep the main drags open.”   

All schools were closed today.  

And, it may happen again, just as roads are beginning to clear.  

”There’s a pretty good bet for a good storm Thursday and Friday,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College.  “It looks like it will at least start -as snow. It’s still a tough call.” ” 

It won’t be as strong as this storm, but any storm originating that far south (Gulf of Mexico) is something to watch.”  

Snow on the highways will get a chance to melt Tuesday, as temperatures will climb near freezing, Fitzgerald said. “There’s nothing in sight to bring a big warming trend.” ‘ Gov. Tom Ridge closed the state’s highways until noon today, and that order is expected to be extended.  

“Nobody is supposed to be out there. Nobody,” said Campbell. “Only fuel trucks, milk trucks and PennDOT.”  

A whiteout Sunday evening forced PennDOT crews off the roads.  

“After about 5 or 6 p.m., you couldn’t see anything,” Campbell said.  “A lot (of drivers) had been out since one in the morning.”  

Crews that were called off the roads at 8 p.m. went back out by 8 a.m. today.  

PennDOT had 33 trucks and eight front-end loaders, and rented seven trucks from private contractors. “We use whatever is available,” Campbell said.  

PennDOT lost one plow Sunday afternoon when a tractor-trailer 

rear-ended it on Interstate 81.  The plow driver “was beat up a little, but he’s back to work,” Campbell said.  

Crews start on 181, U.S. 30 and U.S. 11 , and work toward the sec-ondary roads.  Campbell said roads could be dug out Wednesday, depending on the wind. “I don’t know.”  

Scott Taylor, substation electrician for West Penn Power, reported no major outages, just a few isolated ones.  

He shoveled his drive six times Sunday preparing for his half-mile drive to work today. It didn’t matter. Pa. 316 was closed. “I came to work on a snowmobile.”  

“The factors which lead to our biggest snow storms fell together perfectly,” Rense said.  A low pressure area at the surface picked up moisture from the Atlantic as it moved from southwest Georgia to Virginia. 

50 Years Ago   


“Wilson Offers High School Pupils A Variety of Courses” 

Area high school students are being given an opportunity to enroll as special students for a variety of courses at Wilson College.  

The announcement was made today by R. Russell Shunk, Wilson’s director of admissions, who will coordinate the program.  

“Students who enroll in the courses at Wilson will have an opportunity to sample the college experience as well as evaluate their potential performance in higher education.  In addition, those who successfully complete the courses will be awarded transferable credit which will give them a head start on a college degree,” he said.  

To launch the program, faculty members at Wilson have designated about 35 courses which they would consider as appropriate for capable high school students.  Among them are courses in chemistry, classics (Greek, Latin), economics, English, German, history, music (including applied courses in ‘cello, clarinet, flute, oboe, organ, piano, and voice), philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religion studies, and Spanish.  A fee of $150 per course will be charged.  

Other courses may be made available upon consultation with faculty members in the departments of biology, education, fine arts, F r e n c h , mathematics, physical education, and sociology and anthropology. No credit is awarded in physical education, however. 

 Shunk said that more advanced courses may be offered in 1971-72 to especially well prepared students.  

Most of the courses are scheduled during normal high school hours, and students therefore will require released time from their regular schedules.  Several courses, however, are scheduled at night or in late afternoons when there would be no conflict with high school class periods.  

Announcements on the new program have been sent to administrative and guidance personnel at the Chambersburg Area Senior High School, the Greencastle-Antrim High School at Greencastle, the Waynesboro Area Senior High School, the Shippensburg Area Senior High School, and the James Buchanan Senior High School at Mercersburg.  Additional information and application blanks are available at these schools.   

“Special students do not become involved in the usual  application procedures,” Shunk added. “Therefore, they are not required to pay any application fees or to submit a transcript of their academic record. The newly announced program is open to both males and females and becomes effective with the second semester of the 1970-1971 academic year at Wilson which opens on Monday, January 18.   Applications tor this semester are due at Wilson by January 11. 

100 Years Ago  



Waynesboro – John W. Hawley, for the past six months the first patrolman on the local police force, was sworn in as chief by Burgess Myers at 1 o’clock this afternoon.  Russell L. Argenbrlght, chief for the past six months, will be first patrolman.  

The move was in line with the reflection last night of the four officers by council and the action by that body of placing all further details in  the hands of the burgess.  

As a patrolman Mr. Argenbrlght is regarded as one of the best men the borough has had but he was not considered as having enough discipline among his men for the position of chief.  Mr. Hawley is an older and more experienced police officer. 


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