Looking Back: Franklin County’s history Sept 25th

County’s history Dec 4nd

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 Sept 25th.

25 Years Ago

September 25, 1996 –  Wednesday  

“A rare bird in these parts”

Flamingo settles on farm pond, but weather’s a worry

County's history Sept 25
Hurricane victim or escapee?  A flamingo presence on the Brechbill farm near Duffield, far outside its range, has bird experts stumped.

Chambersburg – An ornament arrived a week ago for Leilana Brechbll’s farm pond near Duffield.

 She didn’t order the flamingo, but it’s right at home feeding among a gaggle of migrating Canada geese.

“Its head is in the water as much as it’s out of the water,” Brechbill said.  “We’ve had egrets, geese, but never anything like this.”

The bird is more than 800 miles from its native habitat, which ranges from coastal Florida and Texas south to the tropics.

“I have three people in this room, saying that (a flamingo in Pennsylvania) is really bizarre,” said John Bianchi, spokesman at the National Audubon Society headquarters in New York. “The weird thing about it is it’s inland.”

“I can’t find any record of seeing one before” this century in this area, said J. Kenneth Gabler, chairman of records for Conococheague Audubon Society.  “We’ve had a number of sightings of (migratory) sandhill cranes, but never anything like this.  What you are most likely to see are sea birds that get blown inland, not so much tropical birds.  I’m really puzzled by this bird.”

Gabler and other Audubon members confirmed the sighting Sunday.  The 3-foot-tall pinkish flamingo could be immature, or its white coloring a result of its diet.

 Brechbill was mowing the yard Wednesday when she saw what she thought was great egret or a crane in the pond.  Her sister said she saw pink feathers on the predominantly white bird.  Her mother-in-law got out a spotting scope on Sunday.  They saw pink on its feathers, pink legs and a hook-shaped black bill.  “She got her birding book and we started checking out flamingos.”

Birders speculate that the flamingo may have escaped a zoo or breeder, or may have been blown here by recent hurricanes.  The hurricane scenario is a little far-fetched, but possible.

Flamingos are rare visitors to the Carolinas. The one in Pennsylvania must have survived fierce winds to get from there to here.

Escapee? The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., reported all flamingos present and accounted for. The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve in nearby Thurmont, Md., shipped its three adult flamingos to Florida a week ago for the winter.

Zoos and breeders band their birds, but no one has seen a band on the leg of this flamingo.

People have been able to get near the bird, evidence it may have been captive rather than wild.

The bird’s exotic reflection sparkles among the greens and browns of harvest time.

The only thing tropical on the crop and heifer farm had been Leilana’s name, meaning “heavenly flowers” in Hawaiian.  Her father brought the name back with him from Pearl Harbor, where he survived the World War II bombing.

Although infatuated with the novelty, Brechbill worries about the creature’s future.   The flamingo apparently is eating small crustaceans and worms.  Except for one short flight, it has not left the pond.  This would be too bad if it died of exposure,” Brechbill said.  

Flamingos can live in 50-degree temperatures; the Galapagos Islands host flocks of flamingos.

“Can it find its way home?” Bianchi asked.  “That’s a tough one.  It might.  It might not.”  

“He’s definitely not going to be a happy camper soon,” said Whitney Hahn, spokesman for the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve.  “If not gotten off the lake soon, it’s going to have trouble with winter coming.”

County's history Sept 25

The flamingo is probably foraging for small crustaceans and worms on the pond’s bottom, out there’s a question of whether the bird knows how to find its way home.

50 Years Ago

Sept 25, 1971 – Saturday

 “Birthday Card Shower For Sara Cameron, 90”

County's history Sept 25th
Sarah Cameron received 148 greeting cards from friends all over the United States on her 90th birthday.

Miss Sara Cameron, a 90-year-old retired school teacher, of 1229 Wilson Ave., received a pleasant surprise on her birthday Friday morning, when Norman Bricker Jr., postman in her district, delivered 148 greeting cards from friends all over the United States.  

Cards of congratulations were received from North Carolina, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, New York, Minnesota, England, all parts of Pennsylvania, and one from President and Mrs. Richard M. Nixon.

When told by Bricker that she had received a birthday card from the White House, she remarked,  “Did I get one from the Nixons? Well, bless their hearts.”

The card shower was arranged for her by her neighbor, Mrs. William Cleaver, 1217 Wilson Ave., who had begun early in July contacting all Miss Cameron’s friends and former students.

Later in the morning, a local florist delivered four floral arrangements to her, including a dozen red roses from her neighbors.

Miss Anna Etta, Salem Church Road, entertained her at luncheon in her home, along with two former pupils of hers, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Flack.

Mrs. Cleaver’s mother, Mrs. John Shank, 1627 Philadelphia Ave., will entertain her at her home for dinner this evening.

Miss Cameron was born in Chambersburg Sept. 24, 1881.  She is the daughter of the late Luther and Emma Cameron.

She began teaching in Chambersburg at Franklin  Street School in 1904, where she taught four years.  She then taught 36 years in Mary B. Sharpe School, where she retired in 1944.    She says she started teaching First grade, eventually ending up teaching Eighth grade students. Professor Samuel Gelwix as superintendent at that time, who is of “blessed memory” to her, because he had been such a good friend.

Spry and likeable, Miss Cameron keeps busy by doing all her own light housework, including dusting, sewing and cooking.  Her friends and neighbors perform the heavy work for her.  She enjoys reading and watching television.

100 Years Ago

September 25, 1921 Sunday

“Applicants for county postmasters take exams”

Fifteen applicants took the civil service examination this morning at the post office for the postmasterships at Greencastle, Scotland and Fayetteville.  Under the rules civil service the names of those taking the examination are not made public by the examiners.   

Nine men took the examination for the Greencastle office, four for Scotland, and two for Fayetteville.