Looking Back: Franklin County’s History on March 1st

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 March 1st.

25 Years Ago

March 1, 1995 – Wednesday

BRAC Blues Strikes Again – Letterkenny – “ill conceived – short sighted”

It’s hard to swallow. 

Letterkenny Army Depot did what it was asked. Now the Pentagon again wants to all but close it.

“The Army and the Department of Defense are spitting in the face of the Base Realignement and Closure Commission, which unanimously directed them in 1993 to consolidate the services’ missile maintenance mission at Letterkenny,” Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Everett, said in a press release Tuesday. 

Defense Sec. William Perry announced Tuesday his recommendations for the base closure commission. Among them: reduce Letterkenny’s workforce to 491 employees who would store ammunition, close Fort Indian-town Gap and Fort Ritchie, Md. 

Jeff Sellers, a vehicle mechanic, was surprised to hear Letterkenny was on the list. “I thought the missiles would be a plus for us along with the Paladin,” Sellers said. “It’s just like the last time.” 

Two years ago, Shuster and his congressional staff helped spearhead a successful effort that resulted in the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission reversing a Pentagon recommendation that would have eliminated some 3,000 jobs at Letterkenny. Instead, the independent panel ordered all the military services to send their missile repair work to Letterkenny. 

The closings are part of a nationwide military downsizing. 

“Letterkenny performed better than it was asked,” said William Gindlesperger, vice chairman of the Letterkenny Army Depot Coalition. “Project costs were better than anyone ever dreamed.”

At a glance

In a nutshell, here’s what the Department of Defense suggested Tuesday: 

Turn Letterkenny into an ammunition storage site, eliminating 2,090 U.S. Army employees. 

Eventual fallout is much greater:

• Letterkenny “tenants” likely would fold up, too, accounting for 1,000-plus additional jobs. 
• Work on combat vehicles goes to Anniston, Ala. 
• Missile repair heads for Tobyhanna (Pa.) Army Depot. 
• What’s left: 490 civilian employees, 1 military. 

Fort Ritchie: Closure. Military and civilian jobs lost: 1,999.

50 Years Ago

March 1, 1970  Monday

“Distributes Coin Boxes”

Chambersburg – More than 400 coin receptacles were distributed last week by Easter Seal Campaign workers of the Franklin County Society for Crippled Children and Adults to schools in five different school districts. This distribution was made in preparation for the School Appeal phase of the overall Easter Seal Campaign for funds to start next Tuesday and to continue throughout the week, according to Richard C. Hoff, general campaign chairman. 

Distributed to the schools of the Chambersburg Area School District were 200 containers distributed by Mrs. William Ellis. Some 125 canisters were distributed to the Greencastle-Antrim and Tuscarora District Schools by Mrs. Harold Leckron. The Fannett-Metal School District area schools received 45 cans from Mrs. Carolyn McCartney. Distributing 30 containers in the Guilford- Scotland School District area schools was Mrs. Mark Carl, while Mrs. Earl Rice delivered 10 cans to the Hamilton’ School District schools.

Last year, the School Appeal netted the campaign fund netted the campaign fud $651.42.

100 Years Ago

March 1, 1920 – Monday

“Departure of M.C. Kennedy Marks Epoch For Chambersburg”

C.V.R.R. Lost Its Identity At Midnight. Loss of 100 Positions Here Means Loss of $132,000 to Chambersburg; Personal Touch Lost in management of C.V.R.R.

Chambersburg – At 12:01 this morning when the 240,000 miles of main line railroads were turned back to their private owners to nearly every town and city it mean simply that the government was giving up that which it had taken over as a war measure.  But because Chambersburg has always been the hub of the Cumberland Valley Railroad and because contemporaneously with the return of all the roads the existence of the Cumberland Valley Railroad as an entity is ended.  March 1, 1920, is a historic date for Chambersburg because it makes the end of an epoch for this town.

The death of the C.V.R.R. was personalized yesterday afternoon at 4:45 o’clock when M.C. Kennedy, accompanied by his secretary, Arthur G. Houser, left town to go to Philadelphia where Mr. Kennedy takes up his new duties of vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, in charge of real estate, purchases and insurance for the entire Pennsylvania system.  A large group of personal and business friends were at the station to bid Mr. Kennedy farewell.  For while he will retain his residence at Ragged Edge for a time, his work in the future will be in Philadelphia.  His going marks the passing of the Cumberland Valley Railroad, for today it is dead; it has become the Cumberland Valley division of the P.R.R.

The new superintendent of this new division, T. B. Kennedy, on Saturday evening gave a dinner in farewell to his brother, the new Pennsylvania vice – president. While the guest of honor of the dinner was about to assume a position that marks a pronounced promotion, among the personal and business friends who dined there was an undercurrent of sadness and regret that it was a farewell dinner to M. C. Kennedy, because M. C. Kennedy for years has meant that the 116-miles main line railroad under his direction has been an entity. In the railroad world, a short line railroad noted for its excellence in all departments. It was on the old C. V. that a cab was first put on a locomotive. It was on the C. V. that the first sleeping car was built and operated. It was on the old C. V. that a passenger could ride with a feeling of safety. It was on the old C. V. that freight was moved with dispatch and care. It was on the old C. V. that the employees always had a personal interest in the road and because they knew that the head was fair and honest the employees strove to be the same. The morale of the old C. V. was high. 

But all this has passed, at the stroke if midnight, and while the operation and conduct of the C. V. division under the management of the P.R.R. will be good, the personal touch has gone out, never to return. The old C. V. R.R. is now but a part of a system; for years It has been a system. The will have an immediate

The passing will have an immediate effect on Chambersburg, as economically it deals the town the worst blow it has ever received. This is immediate and definite. It may be that there will be an expansion in other lines of railroad work here that will compensate,but that la indefinite; is unknown now. But it is known and definite that the passing of the C. V. to the Pennsy means an economic adjustment to scores of Individuals and families. With the removal of the a counting department there will be lost of about one hundred and ten individuals and their positions. Taking the average monthly wage of these at 3100 (this Is probably low) it means that each month there will be lost to the town $11,000, or $132,000 a year. 

This will have an effect on all lines of trade In Chambersburg. While it la true that owing to the employees having passes many of them did some of their buying out of town, the great bulk of their money was saved or spent in town. This was all money that came into town. 

Another unfortunate feature, in one aspect, is that most of these citizens, who have lost or will lose their positions soon, are members of established families here.  This means that they will remain in town, and consequently they will not leave vacant houses here, or a house that might be occupied by newcomers, people who are coming here to engage in some other line of endeavor. In another aspect this is fortunate for the town, as, we will not lose the present clerks as citizens. Many of them will find work in some other line of employment. 

So Chambersburg must brace up and face the new condition. To those citizens who find themselves without a job after giving years of their lives to the work, there is sympathy. And to the town, in general the darkness of the picture is lighted up by the fact that there is no indication that the passing of the C. V. R. R. means anything more serious than has developed. By this is meant that Chambersburg is still the hub of this new division of the P. R. R. and that the shops, employing hundreds of citizens, will remain here. 

But everything considered, one minute after the midnight of February 29, 1920, was a bad moment for Chambersburg.


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