Looking Back: Franklin County’s history June 13th

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 June 13th.

25 Years Ago

June 13, 1996 – Thursday

“Council approves development plans for St. Paul’s church”

Chambersburg – Excavation for St. Paul United Methodist Church is to get under way in July.  

Six contractors are reviewing plans for the church complex at Norland and Fifth avenues.  The building committee will open bids June 26, and the congregation will meet at 7 p.m. the following day to award the contract.

The church needs only a building permit.  Chambersburg Borough Council on Wednesday approved land development plans for the church.

The $1.5 million project is to be built atop one of the highest hills in northeast Chambersburg.  A cross now marks the spot on the Gabler tract.

St. Paul Church, built at Queen and Second streets in 1896, was destroyed by arson in February 1995.  Two young men have been convicted of the crime.

“They meant evil, but God saw it will turn out good,” said June Plummer, recounting the biblical story of Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers.  Plummer chairs the church’s missions.

The floor plans include:

  • A two-story vestibule will lead to the tower and sanctuary.  
  • The sanctuary will seat 450 people in a semicircle.  
  • A historic pipe organ with more than 3,000 pipes will dominate the decor of the nave.
  • An adjoining two-level office and Sunday school building will have space for a child care center.
  • A large space be used for suppers, basketball games and a senior center.
  • Restored and reproduced stained glass windows from the 1896 church will be displayed in the memorial chapel at the front of the church.
  • Masonry angel faces, bricks and cornerstones from the old church will be displayed in the memorial garden, which also could be used for outdoor weddings.

Construction is expected to take 1 years.

Larry Rife, owner of LA Cameras, in April bought the former church site and adjoining Sunday school building constructed in 1956.  St. Paul offices are still in the building.

The 12,500-square-foot building has a beautiful downtown location, said Rife, who purchased it as an investment.

The site of the former church has been graded for a 21-car parking lot.

50 Years Ago

June 13, 1971 – Sunday

“Receives Doctorate from School of Law“

Chambersburg – Joseph M. Harenza, Carlisle, was among 82 seniors to receive juris doctor degrees from Dickinson School of Law at commencement exercises at Carlisle last Saturday.  He is the son of Joseph M. Harenza Sr., R. R. 3.

 While attending law school, Harenza was active in the Corpus Juris Society and Trickett Law Club.  He won the Falvello Memorial Award in 1968.  He is a graduate of Western Michigan University.

He will take a position with Gilberts Assoc., Inc., of Reading.

100 Years Ago

June 13, 1921- Monday


 Chambersburg – John Richie Orr, 87, of Lincoln Way East, one of the oldest members of the Franklin county bar and widely known banker, died last night at 11 o’clock at his home of Infirmities of age after a period of failing health extending over three years.  

Mr. Orr was born at Orrstown on November 24. 1834, a son of Mr. and Mrs. James B. Orr.   He attended the public schools of Orrstown and later attended Shade Cap Academy, where he was a school-mate of the late Justice John Stewart.  In 1856 he graduated from Franklin & Marshall College at Lancaster.  He returned to Chambersburg and read law with the late Judge Nill and T.B. Kennedy, founder of the Cumberland Valley Railroad.  In the early days of his legal career he entered Into law partnership with the late Judge D. Watson Rowe and Thomas X.

Orr also was associated  In legal practice with Judge W. Rush Gili an.  He was admitted to the Franklin county bar In 1853.  

Mr. Orr’s wide knowledge of affairs and astute business ability directed his energies to the banking business and in 1870 he founded the Chambersburg Deposit Bank.  In 1890 this bank was succeeded by the present Valley National Bank, and Mr. Orr became cashier with Fred B. Reed as teller.  Mr. Orr continued In this capacity until Jan. 1, 1908, when he resigned the cashiership and was succeeded by Mr. Heed, present cashier of the bank.

Mr. Orr, however, did not retire from the banking business and at the time of his death he was vice president of the Valley National directors.

In politics Mr. Orr was a Republican.  He was the first burgess of Chambersburg under the three-year term and was elected in 1897.

He was a member of the Orrstown lodge No. 262 masonic fraternity and of the Central Presbyterian Church.  

On January 28, 1866 he married Margaret McKee Camp of Woodstock.  The ceremony was performed by the Rev.  Thomas X. Orr, Presbyterian minister.  Surviving Mr. Orr are his widow and two sons, Charles McKee Orr and Harry K. Orr, both of Lincoln Way East, and one sister, Mrs. Francis Miller, wife of the Rev. J. H. Miller of Kansas City, Mo. Two grand-daughters, Mrs. Harry Selts of Pittsburgh and Mrs. Raymond Robsman of Lincoln Way East, and one great grand-daughter, Nancy Rossman, also survive, together with nephews and nieces, living In Ohio and Kansas. Thomas B. Kennedy of Junction City, Kan., is a nephew,

The funeral will be held Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock, services In charge of the Rev. Dr. George A Mc-Allister.  Interment will be private at Cedar Grove cemetery.


Leave a Reply