Franklin County’s history on August 1st

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 August 1st.

25 Years Ago

August1, 1995Tuesday

“Theatre is a treasure worth supporting”

Franklin County’s history
Actress Jean Stapleton is a former resident. Her husband, the late William Putch, was the driving force behind Totem Pole Playhouse.

Summer for me always brings to mind the moist June mornings in Caledonia, the brilliant green of the Michaux forest and the anticipation of another summer season at the Totem Pole Playhouse. 

Life has taken me in other directions, but my heart is still with the theater where we spent so many years. 

Over the past 10 years the Totem Pole tradition has continued under the gifted direction of Carl Schurr. Given the economics of the theater world, it is necessary and appropriate that Totem Pole Playhouse should be sustained by the newly formed non-profit Caledonia Theatre Company and I applaud the organized efforts to rally round the theater.

At a time when arts funding is in jeopardy and general support for all the arts is wavering under the weight of other pressing concerns, we need to take stock of the theater we have in the Cumberland Valley. 

For 45 years, generations of playgoers have woven their theatrical experiences at Totem Pole into the fabric of their memory. Old and young alike come to share laughter, excitement, even inspiration, in a common experience that enriches us all.

The magic that takes place on stage at any given moment, the exchange between performers and audience, can never be duplicated in exactly the same way. It is the immediacy and uniqueness of the experience that makes the theater so vital. 

In these days of increasingly passive entertainment where push-button amusement can preoccupy us for hours, there is a hunger for something more “real,” an experience that can be shared with others. 

Our young people are poorer for the lack of exposure to live performances and it is our responsibility to preserve opportunities for theater in this critical transferral of culture and values. MTV and Gameboy cannot come close to the bonding experience of a family’s night out at the theater. 

But, like so many things, we often don’t appreciate something until it is gone. For this reason I challenge everyone to support Totem Pole through the “Preserve The Magic” capital campaign and by attending the exceptional performances. 

Purchasing a Totem Pole Playhouse ticket is a powerful statement. If you believe in family values, wholesome comedy, heartwarming stories and the value of art to the human spirit, you must support Totem Pole with your presence and encourage others to do the same. 

Just think of it high-quality, professional, affordable theater right here in the Cumberland Val ley. What a blessing! 

The time to support Totem Pole Playhouse is now, so bring your family and friends, because, like summer, the Totem Pole season goes by all too quickly and it needs your support and enthusiasm today! 

50 Years Ago

August1, 1970Friday

“Lightning blamed in two barn fires”

Franklin County’s history
Lightning Caused Flames That Destroyed Barn Near New Franklin

Two barns were destroyed by flame after being struck by lightning during Friday a evening electrical storm. 

Fireman Raymond Chalan, 25, 425 Lincoln Way West, of the Franklin Fire Company, suffered burns about the eyes while battling a blaze on the Oliver Heisey farm north of St. Thomas, off the Maxenheimer Road. He was treated at Chambersburg Hospital and released. 

Approximately 47 hogs were rescued from the blazing barn on the farm of Paul Mummcrt, R. R. 5, Chambersburg, near New Franklin, along Route 316. 

The Heisey barn was struck first. The alarm came in at 5:56 p.m. The pall of black smoke from the fire could be seen for miles. Less than an hour later, at 6:40 p.m., firemen were called to the Mummert barn. 

At the height of the two blazes all Franklin County fire companies except Blue Ridge, South Mountain and Fannott-Metal were called to battle the flames or to do stand-by duty for companies on the scene. 

The Heisey barn fire was under control by 12:17 a.m. but firemen were called back this morning to check a brief flare-up. 

New Franklin and Marion fire companies remained on the scene of the Mummert fire through the night with New Franklin remaining on stand-by after the fire was under control. 

Shippensburg’s West End and Vigilants, the Cashtown, Adams County Fire Company, and the Maugansville, Md., firemen were called in for standby duty during the two blazes. 

Firemen responded to two small electrical fires caused by the storm at Guilford Springs and New Franklin. Pleasant Hall fire company, on standby for the Franklins, was called to the home of Arthur Weller at 6:13 to extinguish an electrical fire. Good Wills, Mercersburg, Vigilants, and Maugansville were called at 7:28 p.m. to an electrical fire at the home of Carl Flory, Guilford Springs. 

At 6:25 p.m. two pumpers and an aerial ladder truck from the Cumberland Valley and Junior fire companies were dispatched to the Chambersburg Trust .Company building “on Memorial Square when fire was reported on the fifth floor. 

A bolt of lightning had entered the elevator shaft through the sixth floor cockloft via an electrical cable, but no fire damage was reported. 

At 6:35 p.m., Friendship and Good Will firemen were summoned to 322 Lincoln Way East when lightning struck electric wires to the rear of the building.  Again, minor damage resulted. 

Earlier at 11:15 a m., Franklin city firemen were called to SOS Lincoln Way West when the occupants smelled smoke in the basement.  However, no fire could be found. 

The southeast end of town was hardest hit by the electrical storm. Extensive flooding occurred in basements and backyards. Streets in the McKinley Street-Coldbrook Avenue area were flooded and residents of this area were without streetlights from the time of the storm until this morning.  Rainfall totaled 1.62 inches.  

100 Years Ago 

August1, 1920Sunday

“Lincoln Highway Detour Removed”

The detour on the Lincoln highway between Harrisonville and Saluvla was removed last week. This important road from Pittsburg to the East is now open from the Allegheny county line to Chambersburg.  

Extensive road work is underway east of Chambcrsburg and it is necessary to make a considerable detour to reach Gettysburg.

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