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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 24th.

25 Years Ago

May 24, 1995  Wednesday

“Church building voting date set”

Chambersburg — The congregation of St. Paul United Methodist Church will decide June 18 whether to rebuild their 99-year-old church on the same site or build on the Gabler property in Chambersburg’s north end. 

The brick church was gutted Feb. 19 in a $6 million arson. 

“The church has to look at its best opportunity to serve,” said the Rev. Dr. Harold Posey, senior pastor. 

Members will vote during a weekend conference about rebuilding the church, build at Second and Queen streets, or on 10 acres at the Gabler property east of Fifth Avenue. 

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Members decided Monday on the voting date after some members suggested having the vote before Sunday services June 25. 

A dozen sites were considered, Posey said, and the Gabler land seemed most feasible.  The area’s potential growth makes the site attractive to the church. 

“We will have expanded parking and expandable facilities,” he said. “I can’t think of anything more choice. It’s at the highest point of the (Gabler) area, at the top of the hill.” 

About 400 acres of Gabler land owned by brothers Harold C. Jr. and Tom Gabler and sister Pat Saber, under the name G & S Properties Inc. was rezoned in December for residential and commercial development after an eight-month dispute over whether the area could sustain growth. 

The congregation is holding services at First United Methodist Church on South Second Street.

50 Years Ago

May 24, 1970 – Sunday

“Educable Classes Taught The Same”

Greencastle — An education is the most important thing we can provide for our children, who are the leaders of tomorrow. The scale of learning for our children ranges from the very highest to the lowest. Most of us fall in the average group. 

In this article we will learn about the educable classes offered by Franklin County. These classes are supervised by the county offices, but the local school districts hire the teachers and provide the supplies for these classes.  

The educable classes are different from the trainable classes in that the children in educable classes are taught many of the same things other children are taught, but at a slower pace. 

The class I visited in Greencastle Elementary School was learning on a First grade level, and some students were in the very beginnings of a Second grade level. Here we must remind you this is an ungraded primary class and no child is forced to learn far above his level. The level is just high enough to present a challenge to the students.

When the students reach the age of 14, they are promoted to an ungraded class in the junior high school, where they are taught a profession or given some training to aid them in finding work in everyday life.

At junior high, the girls are taught sewing and cooking, while the boys learn wood working, farming and industrial jobs.  These subjects are taught along with their regular academic work.

While visiting the class at the elementary level, I sat in on story hour. 

The teacher said all the students enjoy listening to a story each day after lunch.Many times the children get so involved they try to guess what will happen next as the story progresses. The teacher of this particular class was pleased that her children were interested in books. She feels this is their key to learning. She said many of her students look forward to the days when the bookmobile comes to visit. They had enjoyed a visit to the library earlier in the year. 

Another subject taught the children is arithmetic. The teacher has three classes in arithmetic. She said the students have improved since they have begun to work in groups of three or four. She feels the challenge of working in groups is aiding them to stride ahead and work harder at getting each problem right. 

The educable classes will not be housed in the new county school, in which the classes for other special pupil services will be located.

100 Years Ago

May 24, 1920   Saturday

Prohibition Agents Seize $3,000 Worth of Real Liquor


Agents stage early morning raid – Look for more arrests to follow – Part of Big Game

Part of a gang of bootleggers, whom Federal agents believe have been making their headquarters in Chambersburg has an auxiliary to bootleggers operating in the northern part of the State, were arrested between 2 and 3 o’clock Friday morning at the home of Charles Weldon, in Chambersburg.

Seventy gallons of liquor in tin size cans, the size of the ordinary milk were confiscated at the Weldon home. 

A Federal agent, whose name not disclosed, assisted by members the Chambersburg police force, made the raid on the Weldon home and arrested Bill Hopkins, colored, of Scranton; J. R. O’Boyle, a billiard and pool establishment proprietor, of Scranton and Weldon, the latter a waiter Washington in Chambersburg. Hopkins was formerly a hotel waiter in that place.

One Man Escapes

The Federal authorities were advised a number of weeks ago that bootleggers were active in that region, and investigators have quietly had the Weldon home under surveillance.

Thursday it appeared that the time had arrived for a raid and at 10 o’clock Thursday night the Federal agent and the police officers made ready to act. They caught the three men at the Weldon home. Another man wanted made his escape in an automobile. 

It is believed that the arrest of the trio will be followed by many others.  The men accused were taken before the United States Commissioner Norman L. Bonbrake who was summoned from bed, at 3 o cock Friday morning.   They were lodged in jail at Chambersburg after the hearing and will remain their pending their transforming at Harrisburg to await trial at the next term of Federal Court.

The liquor  confiscated is valued at $2,500 and $3,000.

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