Looking Back: Franklin County’s History on March 24th

Franklin County’s history
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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 March 24th.

25 Years Ago

March 24, 1995 – Friday

“Residents: U.S. 30 park is a fine idea with a bad name”

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McCONNELLSBURG – Although the area along U.S. 30 is not yet designated a state heritage park, people are already questioning the name.

“Calling it a park just doesn’t seem to fit,” said businessman Don Peck. “But calling it a corridor that fits it all in.”

Peck and others in McConnellsburg debated the limitations of the name “state heritage park” and other issues concerning the Lincoln Highway corridor this week.

Planners presented a strategy detailing the area’s proposed boundaries, projects and fund sources to people in the Fulton House.

“Park” creates the image of boundaries, said Ronald V. Gowden, Bedford. And many people confuse the Pennsylvania State Heritage Park Program with state parks.

The Lincoln Highway State Heritage Park, a 140-mile stretch from Franklin County to Westmoreland County, is a plan to dot U.S. 30 with attractions such as museums and specialty shops, to entice tourists to stop and spend money.

The corridor’s tourism theme is the history of overland transportation from mud-stuck buggies to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the dawning of popular tourism. The project focuses on the preservation of local history.

Highlighting historic figures such as George Washington and James Buchanan who traveled along the highway could bring history alive for tourists, Peck said.

“People are hungry for American heritage right now,” he said.

Robert L. Garlock, a Fulton County commissioner, suggested finding guides who could give people personal tours of historic sites and buildings.

One night Garlock helped some tourists from Breezewood who asked him to open the county courthouse and show them the inside. He was surprised at the interest these strangers had in the building and its history.

“Sometimes you live in an area so long that you forget why it’s so special,” he said.

A strong emphasis was placed on preserving local history and scenic landscapes and controlling development at a grass-roots level.

Garlock said he would like to see corridor planners communicate with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in its efforts to maintain and expand U.S. 30.

“We have to protect the original highways so more of it is not lost,” he said.

Concern also was expressed on funding and how the public interprets development projects. In Bedford, Growden said, a few projects, such as a transportation museum, went nowhere because of ill-advised fears about funding.

Some people think that if federal funds are used, taxes are increased, he said.

“But I say, the money is there, so let’s get some of it here.”

The development plan written by Mary Means and Associates based in Virginia estimates total project costs between $10.2 million and $13.5 million.

Once the corridor is designated a state heritage park, the planning committee will create a nonprofit corporation to manage the plan’s implementation. An executive director will be hired.

The estimated annual operation costs for the corporation are $245,800.

Recommendations for the park will be sent to Gov. Tom Ridge, who will make the final decision on approving the project. A decision is expected in late April.

50 Years Ago

March 24, 1970 – Tuesday

“Club Creates Toys for Ward SPRING VALLEY”

Handmade Easter egg bean bags were decorated by members of Spring Valley Ladies Club, in a meeting in the home of Mrs. Joan Dickenson, R. R. 8.

The bean bags, decollated with ric-rac and lace, will be presented to children in the pediatrics word of Chambersburg Hospital.

An easter egg hunt for preschool age children of the valley will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. in the valley playground. The rain date is Wednesday.

A visit will be made to Guilford Convalesarium every third Wednesday by three members of the club. Residents of the convalesarium, whose birthdays fall in that month, will be honored.

100 Years Ago

March 24, 1920 – Wednesday

“H. S. PUPILS STOP SELLING CHANCES“

Principal A. C. Shuck of the high school has announced that the selling of the tickets for the benefit of the Chambersburg Community Athletic Association will be discontinued, but that another plan will be substituted. The selling of the tickets by the students was discontinued because of the lottery nature of the project. The tickets that have been sold, however, will be credited towards the prizes towards the winners.

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