Looking Back: Franklin County’s history May 28th

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 May 28th.

25 Years Ago

May 28, 1996 – Tuesday

“Mercersburg Inn lures couple across the country”

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California isn’t the place to be.

So loading up the truck and moving to Mercersburg are Walter and Sandy Filkowski.

The couple are carting furniture across the country this week as they prepare to sign to buy the Mercersburg Inn.  They are to settle May 31 with innkeeper Chuck Guy for the country inn founded by his parents.

“We’ve been trying to do this for five years,” said Filkowski, a 57-year-old retired hospital administrator.  “It’s the old mansion you can’t find in California.”

Chuck Guy’s parents, Charles Guy and the late Fran Wolfe, in 1986 bought the mansion, built by the late Harry W. Byron.  

Byron, one of several brothers to make their local fortunes in leather tanning, built the house he called “Prospect” in 1910 on one of the highest points in Mercersburg.

“It’s just what we wanted,” Filkowski said.  “The right size, the right size town.  We were looking for the small-town atmosphere.

“I thought it needed a lot of work.  My wife saw the potential.”

He said they plan no immediate changes to the inn on South Main Street.  He did not disclose the selling price.

The Guys invested $750,000, turning the mansion and carriage house into an 18-room country inn.  

The work was financed in part by a $200,000 Urban Community Development Block Grant.  The grant was awarded to the borough, which then loaned the money at low interest to the Guys.   The Guys paid more than $50,000, most in interest, and still owe $178,000.

Borough Council recently conveyed the loan to the new owners at a rate to be set.

Filkowski chose the Mercersburg Inn after failing in negotiations to buy a California inn they had visited for 15 years, and after deciding against a smaller inn in Maine.

The Filkowskis must undergo a complete lifestyle change.  

“I managed over the merger of three hospitals and was responsible for laying off 300 people,” said Filkowski, who retired 2 years ago from Summit Medical Center near Oakland.

“I did a lot of tough things. I commuted 68 miles daily one way. I worked from 7 in the morning to 7 at night.  

“This is something you can do and enjoy it, where you don’t have to commute.”

Sandy will keep her job as chief financial officer of a southern California hospital until the inn is “stabilized,” Filkowski said.  

They have three grown children, and the fourth, 13-year-old Megan, will get her horse with the move.

50 Years Ago

May 28, 1971 – Friday

“Mason-Dixon History Recounted at Meeting”

Chambersburg – An account of the history of the Mason-Dixon line and recognition of engineering students of Mont Alto Campus, Pennsylvania State University, were of major interest on the program of the Franklin Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers Wednesday evening.   The May dinner meeting was held at Conrad’s Diner.

Ralph Donnelly, civil engineer of Hagerstown, was speaker, and told of events necessitating establishment of the Pennsylvania-Maryland line by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.  He described how the two English surveyors were selected and their method in determining the line, illustrating his talk with slides of various portions of the boundary and by photostatic copies of the survey notes.

Two area graduating students of Mont Alto Campus, Eugene Hockensmith, Newville, and Gary Cummings, Roxbury, were selected by the awards committee of the chapter to receive recognition as outstanding graduates in the engineering curriculum.  Each was presented with an honorary student membership in the organization’s technicians branch by Porter McDonnell, associate professor at the campus and chapter vice president.

It was also announced that Jan M. Conrad, Camp Hill, is one of the 21 high school seniors in the nationwide competition to receive a four-year engineering scholarship awarded by the National Society.

100 Years Ago

May 28, 1921- Friday

“BLUE RIDGE OPENS SHUTS”

The management of the Blue Ridge Knitting Mills, which ceased operation on East King street on May 1, had notified Its former employees, yesterday to report for work that the plant would be reopened.  Some of the employees reported but upon their arrival found that necessary machinery and material had not arrived and the mill did not open.


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