Franklin County’s history On July 16th

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 July 16th.

25 Years Ago


Eight more admitted to Chambersburg Hospital; death linked to outbreak”

“Legionnaire’s grows:  60 cases?”

The outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Chambersburg continues to grow with eight more people admitted to Chambersburg Hospital yesterday.  

In addition Chambersburg Hospital officials have confirmed that the bacterialdisease caused the death of an 83-year-old Franklin County woman .

Spokeswoman Sheran White said the hospital is now has 46 patients who show symptoms of the disease including the eight admitted yesterday.

Altogether hospital officials have registered 60 suspected cases of Legionnaire’s disease since July 4. Nine of these cases have been confirmed. Autopsy results released yesterday showed that the woman who died at the Chambersburg Hospital on Thursday had Legionnaire’s disease.

Is heat helping spread? 

The intense heat in recent days may be helping to spread the disease said Bruce Reimer a spokesman for the state health department.

The disease is transmitted through the air and the bacteria which causes Legionnaire’s disease thrives in air condition condensers cooling towers and water tanks.

“When the air conditioners are pumping away that would increase the chance of being exposed to it” Reimer said.  

Investigators on the job

Most cases are reported in warm weather Reimer said. The bacteria reproduce to high numbers in warm stagnant water according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Investigators from the CDC and the state Department of Health have been searching for the source of the outbreak and are starting to make progress.

“We have some ideas but it’ll be a couple days until we get somewhere” Reimer said.

Doctors have interviewed patients and their families to determine a link and have taken water samples. The disease is not passed through bodily contact CDC says.

Worst In 19 years

Reimer said the outbreak in Chambersburg is the worst in Pennsylvania since the 1976 infection in Philadelphia that killed 29 people at an American Legion convention at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel;

The cause was later traced to the hotel air conditioning system. The outbreak led to the disease’s name 

“We’ve seen scattered cases here on a regular basis” Reimer said. “This is the largest concentration of the disease since the 1976 outbreak.” 

50 Years Ago

July16, 1970Thursday

“Heritage Group Will Carry Jail Fight To The Public”

Franklin County Heritage will bring its fight to the public, in the hope that the out cry, once the facts are known will cause Borough Council to change its mind about allowing the Franklin County jail to be demolished. 

In a meeting Wednesday evening at Kittochtinny Library, directors of the preservation group voted to pursue a campaign of publicity to bring the entire situation to the attention of the public. Said James W. Smith, director and secretary, “We feel that they have not been informed fully enough, that the whole story has yet to be told. The only thing that will help us is for the public to realize what is at stake.”

He added that Heritage now felt the question was bigger than just saving the 150 year old building. 

“We are very concerned about the process by which private citizens address themselves to local government.” 

He said that it seemed to Heritage that “every door we tried to open with the Redevelopment Authority has been slammed back in our faces.” He was referring to Chambersburg Council action June 15 turning down a request for reuse appraisal of the jail. Council came up with a 5-5 vote, and the tie was broken by Mayor J. William Stover who cast his vote against the motion, apparently killing the Heritage plan to save the old jail for museum and cultural uses. 

Heritage will conduct its renewed campaign, directors decided Wednesday, with “a barrage of petitions” and with advertisements and news releases in the news media. 

In addition the directors voted to investigate in Washington “certain crucial matters we feel that have been misrepresented to Town Council,” Smith said.”When we get this information we intend to inform all our elected officials.” 

Heritage released this morning a letter from a United States Department of the Interior official supporting the public approach to save the jail issue. The letter was from Ernest Allen Connally, chief of the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation of the National Park Service, Washington, D. C, to Murray E. Kauff-man, president of the group. He also indicated that Senator Scott was taking an interest in the jail preservation. 

Connally said that he was distressed to hear the jail is again threatened by demolition. He said he had hoped that his fate could be avoided by the Redevelopment Authority modifying its urban renewal plan. 

Supporting this contention were conversations with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials.

“We were informed that both the Department’s regional office and Local Public Agency (the Redevelopment Authority) were in favor of preserving the historic structure and would, in fact, modify the urban renewal plan to provide for a feasibility study. We so informed Senator Hugh Scott of this understanding in response to an inquiry of his. 

“Needless to say, we are both puzzled and saddened to learn that our optimism about saving this structure was misplaced.  At this moment we would only implore City Council to reconsider its vote and permit Franklin County Heritage! Incorporated, the additional time to pursue further financial support and a feasible operating plan.” 

The protection of given properties listed on the National Register from being demolished by federal agencies does not cover the jail, since it reached the Register after the HUD contract for the project was signed, said Connally.

“Therefore the remedy for this unfortunate situation lies with further stimulating grassroots support for the Franklin County Jail and persuading your Council and Local Public Agency that their community will be the poorer from the destruction of its landmarks and the diminution of its collective patrimony,” concluded Connally.

Smith said that Heritage plans to “clear up the misinformation and return to Council as soon as possible to ask it to reconsider its action of June 15. Heritage will also be armed with a revised financial statement on maintenance of the museum on the jail site, approved last night. 

Said Smith “If the reason given by the Mayor and others who oppose our plan are legitimate, we will be able to refute them once we collect all the information. If he still doesn’t change his mind, there must be other reasons never made public for destroying the jail.”

100 Years Ago

July16, 1920Friday

“Shows We’re Getting Good Reputation!”

Saturday evening Police Chief Kline arrested a truck driver for speeding through the town. He waived a hearing and paid his fine of $12.50. In questioning the driver where he was from, he said Chambersburg. In that town they have very strict automobile laws, and the chief asked him whether he obeyed the laws there and he said, “You bet I do.” Chief Kline says that auto drivers will obey them here the same as in Chambersburg.

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