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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 5th.

25 Years Ago

June 5, 1995  Monday

“Annual “Rose Rent’ Ceremony”

Franklin County’s history
Joseph Matthew George places the rose rent on the grave of his ancestor, Col. Benjamin Chambers

Rose ‘debt’ paid, church unites

Disagreements fell by the wayside Sunday like loose rose petals. 

The congregation that gathered for the annual Rose Rent ceremony at Presbyterian Church of Falling Spring remembered the past while focusing on the future, as this year’s traditional ceremony was tied to the groundbreaking for the church’s new family life center. 

Church members opposed to the proposed Christian Education and Family Life Center wanted to preserve the old Church House, built by the heirs of Col. Benjamin Chambers after the Confederates burned Chambersburg in 1864. The brick building on the church property had been used for educational purposes for years. Concerns over the project’s expense were also at issue. 

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But the majority of church members believe that a larger building is needed for their continued growth.

The $2.2 million project will double the building’s capacity, from 13,500 square feet to 27,000 square feet. 

Ross Hall, next to the Church House, also will be leveled for the new structure. 

“If they want to do it, then I’ll let it be,” said Kyung Gormley, who stood in front of the church on North Main Street every morning for two weeks, holding a picket sign to protest the razing of the Church House. 

“I’m still here. This will continue to be my church. 

“Worshiping God is, after all, the most important thing.”

The rose rent tradition evolved from Chambers decision to allow three Chambersburg churches Falling Spring, First Evangelical Lutheran and Zion Reformed United Church of Christ to pay a rose instead of money for yearly rent. 

Chambersburg’s founder donated land to the churches to encourage tolerance of different religions and to increase the religious unity of the community. 

A single rose has been presented to Chambers, and eventually to his heirs, on the first Sunday in June at each church.

50 Years Ago

June 5, 1970 – Friday

“Pupils Study Conservation”

Enthusiasm was displayed by young people in the fifth and sixth grades at Mercersburg, Lemasters and Montgomery elementary schools, on a recent 4-HConservation Club Program and Tour co-sponsored by Franklin County Agricultural Extension Service and Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District. 

Prior to the tour, a program of lectures was held at Mercersburg Administrators Building.

Robert McDowell of the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District used as his theme, “Hello and What’s Happening?” Douglas Shaw, Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters spoke on “Forestry and Forest Resources in Franklin County.” Ronald Schmuck, game protector, spoke on “Wildlife Conservation;” Wayne Grube, Franklin County Soil Conservation Service, spoke on Conservation Programs in Your Area.” William Reagan, associate county agent, “Where Do We Go From Here?”  

The first stop was the Lee Rockwell sawmill, R. R. 3, where the students observed the safety measures used at the sawmill, and the small amount of waste there. 

The next stop for the four busloads of students was the Mercersburg Sportsman’s Farm, R. R. 1, where management methods were studied, and areas along the road that offer wildlife protection and cover inspection. The students viewed the fish nursery and wildlife (deer and rabbit pens). The break for lunch was taken at the farm, where they used the sportsman’s picnic areas to rest and eat their bag lurches. 

The longest ride was made to the Frank Dice farm, R. R. 4. Chambersburg, where the students studied methods of farming, how fruit trees are planted, use of ponds, development of mineral and recreation areas and streams, and how to use land for beneficial purposes. 

Chaperones were Montgomery Principal Donald Pero;. Mrs. Marie Harris J. Roy Keller and Leroy Kendall; Mercersburg, Principal James Runk and Miss Kathryn Highlands; Lemasters Principal, Clyde Neidigh and Mrs. Miriam Middleton.

100 Years Ago

June 5, 1920 – Friday

One Hundred Men Will Meet Next Monday Night. 

“Advisory Board For The New C. C. Med”

Chambersburg – The citizens advisory committee, which is to play a large part in the reorganization of the Chamber of Commerce, has been chosen and will meet for the first time on Monday night at 8:00 o’clock in campaign headquarters in the Rosedale building.

At this meeting the plan of reorganization will be presented and many very important matters discussed. The main difference between the present plan and the plan recommended will be pointed out and the value of these changes explained.  

Great care has been exercised in the selection of this committee in order that it might be representative of the entire city. Blanks were filled out by a large numbers of Chambersburg men on which each Indicated some twenty citizens whom he would nominate for the committee. This list was compiled and a small committee culled it over selecting a hundred names from a much larger number. 

Thus the citizens advisory committee is actually a cross section of Chambersburg with a member from every walk of life In the community.

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