Looking Back: Franklin County’s history June 6th

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 6th.

25 Years Ago

June 6, 1996 – Thursday

“Architects invest in downtown “

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Franklin County's history June 6th
The former Culp’s warehouse will be transformed into offices for architectural firm.

Chambersburg – Fortunately, the vacant warehouse does not front on a downtown street.  

The ragged green paint has less attachment to the walls than a rusty pipe dangling from the second story.  Reinforced windows are broken.

The black-and-white wooden “Culp’s Warehouse” sign is peeling away.   

It’s a leap of faith for Michael Hull to turn it into the pilot project for Chambersburg’s downtown master plan. The plan, prepared by a downtown group, has identified several key projects that could revitalize downtown.  

Hull figures that within a year he’ll transform the warehouse into a new office for Noelker & Hull Associates, the local architectural firm that he heads.

“We are excited and happy to be part of this effort to revitalize downtown and we invite other firms to join us,” Hull said.

The potential of the property can best be described by its location:

  • Currently the warehouse has limited access behind Northwood Books, 59 N. Main St., at the edge of Rosedale parking lot.
  • When Chambersburg Area Development Corp. completes its Victorian Village in the neighborhood, the Noelker and Hull office will overlook the confluence of Falling Spring and Conococheague Creek from the top of the hill.

Hull’s firm recently bought the building from CADC and adjacent property, which will become parking spaces, for $113,000.

CADC in April 1995 had purchased the warehouse and four other buildings on West King and Spring streets for its vision of a Victorian Village at the waterfall on Falling Spring.

“Mike Hull and his staff have clearly demonstrated faith in the future of downtown Chambersburg and confidence in the streamside project,” said Allan E. “Skip” Jennings Jr., CADC president. “We are very, very encouraged.”  

Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce had considered moving to the warehouse, and the idea of an art center was also kicked around before Hull fell in love with the place.

“This was quite a windfall opportunity,” said Paul E. Cullinane Jr., executive director of Downtown Chambersburg Inc.  “It will preserve a building that has been there a long time.”

CADC still is looking for pro-investors for its Victorian Village, he said. “We are confident that this first step in the downtown vision will encourage more investment in this project.”

Hull’s project should begin in October and take six to seven months to complete.  While structurally sound, the building needs plumbing, a new roof and a heating and cooling system.  Its knob-and-tube wiring must be replaced.

Chambersburg’s downtown master plan includes other pro-investors jects that should be started within three years:

  •  Restoring or replacing the nearby vacant Madden Hotel,
  •  Purchasing and renovating Capitol Theatre on South Main Street.
  • Restoring the former Washington House hotel.

The plan is still being developed.  A final version is due by fall.

50 Years Ago

June 6, 1971 – Sunday

“Landmark Demolished”

Franklin County's history June 6th

Mercersburg – The Old Mill, a landmark in back of North Main Street in Mercersburg, was demolished this week.  

The mill, thought to be 150 years old, is the third of such mills built at this location.  The first was built in 1730, by James Black.  Around this sprung the settlement known as “Black’s Town.”  

After its purchase by William Smith in 1759, the name fell into disuse and it was called “Smith Town” or “Squire Smith’s Town.” Smith operated the mill.  

Though several times the mill was destroyed by fire, it always was rebuilt.  Frank Heinbaugh, contractor, was in charge of the demolition for Leonard Fry, who owns the building.  

A parking lot will be built here at the rear of PBS Coal Co.

100 Years Ago

June 6, 1921- Monday

“Farm agent has busy week ahead”

Chambersburg – Farm Agent Knode has a busy week ahead.  He spent today in cow testing work in the two cow testing associations In the county. 

Tomorrow he will inspect the pigs In the Marion and Washington Township clubs and in the evening in company with E. L. Nixon of State College.  Then he will attend a joint meeting of business men and famers of Washington Township.  The meeting will he held under the direction of the Waynesboro Business Men’s Association.  It will be held on the Shockey farm in Washington Township.

On Wednesday the farm agent will go to York to serve as judge In a livestock contest.  On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Allen Baker of State College will assist In Inspection of pig clubs at Lemasters, Greene township and Path Valley.  

Friday morning will be devoted to cow testing work, and in the afternoon an Inspection tour will be held In company with Nicholas Schmidt, agronomist of State College.


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