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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 Feb. 23rd.

25 Years Ago

February 23, 1995 – Thursday

“Council sold on drug dog”

“Final OK hinges on support from the school board”

Chambersburg Borough Council appears to be ready to accept the offer of a free drug-sniffing police dog. But first they want a demonstration of the dog at work, as well as assurance from Chambersburg Area School District that the dog will be allowed to sniff for drugs and guns in school halls. 

“I don’t have any question. The consensus is that we will approve it,” said ‘Bernard Washabaugh, council president. 

The Chambersburg Exchange Club, with the support of 30 local businesses, wants to donate a trained German shepherd to Chambersburg Police Department. Exchange Club members Rick Mackey and Mike Hennessy made the offer to the council Wednesday night. 

The cost $12,500 the first year and an annual maintenance cost of $2,000 will be picked up by the club. 

The Exchange Club made its presentation to the school board two weeks ago. 

“Any tool that we can use, we should use,” said Robert Ziobrowski, school board president. “I believe this could be a very effective tool.”

Ziobrowski and other board members have expressed concern about the legality of searches in the schools using a drug-sniffing dog. 

Aimee Dolaway, vice president of the Chambersburg Area Senior High School Class of 1995, wrote a letter to the council and the school board supporting the dog.  

Dolaway wrote: “Drug deals take place in the halls of CASHS, Students sit in class high. Drugs are kept in lockers.” 

“I think that having a drug dog sniff for drugs would be a good start,” Dolaway wrote. “Our problem is so prevalent and so urgent that it is important that we take steps like this to get drugs out of our schools.” 

Washabaugh was concerned about borough liability. “If that dog tears somebody apart, who’s responsible?”

Eric Oyer, assistant borough manager, said the borough could purchase additional liability insurance, for $200 a year. The Exchange Club offered to pick up the cost. 

“We’d like to see the dog in the street as soon as we could get it,” Mackey said.

50 Years Ago

February 23, 1970  Monday

“New Totem Pole Playhouse has ‘Rustic Modern’ Design”

Franklin County history
NEW PLAYHOUSE Architect’s drawing shows proposed new Totem Pole Playhouse to be constructed in a portion of the old campground at Caledonia State Park. The building was planned by John M. Hull III, ofthe architectural firm of Noelker and destroyed by fire last year. It replaces the old playhouse.

The New Totem Pole Playhouse, which will be completed in time for the 1970 Summer Season, features a sweeping horizontal roof contrasted against the many vertical trees on the site area. Designed by John M. Hull III of Noelker and Hull, the Playhouse features rustic rough-sawed, unfinished timber siding eaves which overhang a wide promenade area which surrounds the theater on three sides. If rustic-modern can be applied to a structure, the new Totem Pole would fill the bill completely. 

In conference with Mr. Hull, William H. Putch, producer-director of the Playhouse, analyzed the features of the old structure and tried to keep the best ones combined with improvements. 

The big open airy quality of the old building has been retained and enlarged, as well as the wagon wheel chandeliers. The intimacy of the auditorium has been increased, featuring only 15 rows of seats as opposed to the former 18, wider aisles and more leg space between rows and between seats. People will be able to witness a performance at one sitting. 

The relationship between the audience and the stage has been faithfully reproduced, so that after the lights go down and the curtain rises, a patron will feel that he is back in the old Totem Pole. 

On the modern improvement side of the ledger, the entire backstage area has been enlarged and reorganized to permit the production of bigger and better shows. 

There will be easy and faster access to the promenade area between the acts, and specially designed louver walls will permit making the building open or closed as the weather dictates. On the whole a larger and airier auditorium will provide comfort for the audience. 

The sweeping roof slanting from the stage to the back of the auditorium creates perfect accoustics, and a double surface roof with a white marble chip surface will create a cooler atmosphere inside on hot days. 

A new feature will be a separate area for changing art exhibits, with lighting designed to dramatize the artists’ works. 

“The past few years,” says director Putch, “I had just about made up my mind that the old Totem Pole was to be my life’s work. I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to work in a brand new Playhouse, or have the opportunity to work on the pre-planning so that it would be an ideal plant. In the old Totem Pole we had to compromise on many things … in the new building there is no compromise. It’s great!” 

Plans include contractors’ bids due March 3, ground breaking mid-month, and with hope, luck, good weather, the curtain will rise on the new Totem Pole no later than July 1st.

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100 Years Ago

February 23, 1920 Monday

“Steal $3,000 Of Goods And Auto In Martinsburg”

Headed toward Chambersburg?

One of the biggest robberies in the police annals of Martinsburg was committed Friday night when robbers took goods in the amount of $3,000 from the J.P. Geyermen’s furnishing store, in that city, and then stole the seven-passenger Mupimobile from Dr. Minghiny of that place, to haul the goods away.  

The robbers in the car were seen to pass the Willlamsport bridge Saturday morning about 6 o’clock, headed towards Hagerstown, but this is all the information obtainable as to their whereabouts. The police of Chambersburg were notified.

Local History

Looking Back: Franklin County’s history April 6th

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Learn what happened in our community 25, 50 and 100 years ago in this daily column by columnist Linda Osborn.
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