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Excerpts and summaries of local news stories from the pages of the Intelligencer Journal and Lancaster New Era appear here each Monday. They focus on events in the county's past that were noteworthy, newsworthy or just strange. Full versions are available on microfilm at Lancaster Public Library, 125 N. Duke St.
Also, during the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, excerpts from Lancaster's Civil War-era newspapers, as well as new stories, can be found on the "Lancaster County and the Civil War" blog, at LancasterOnline.com, keyword: Civil War.
BUILDING BOOM: Housing was much in demand here, the Intelligencer Journal reported:
"The easing of tensions over Cuba, a secure stock market and lower mortgage interest rates form the backdrop for a vigorous new home building and buying market in Lancaster County."
Builders and developers said the demand for suburban, single-family homes was skyrocketing.
Modern buyers wanted at least three bedrooms, at least two baths, a family room, a formal dining room and a garage, according to the builders surveyed. There was less interest in finished basements and large living rooms.
Builders estimated nearly 1,000 new homes would be constructed in the county in 1963. (May 7, 1963)
MORE LIBRARIES: The Intell reported on the anticipated opening of a new library in the county, and proposals for two more.
The Ephrata Public Library was set to open its doors May 29 in the former Connell Mansion on West Main Street.
It was to be stocked with 1,200 volumes, and was expected to be open one day a week.
Also, residents of Rohrerstown and Mount Joy were eager to have branch libraries open in their communities, according to the Intell.
Alice Heilman, county librarian, said those proposals were in only the earliest planning stages, but speculated that the Rohrerstown and Mount Joy libraries, if they were to open, would be stocked with about 500 and 1,000 books, respectively. (May 10, 1963)
TEEN DANCE TROUBLE: Lancaster County officials were planning on cracking down on unruly teen dances, the Intell reported.
Authorities had announced their intentions to reactivate a 1927 law requiring all dance halls to be licensed. Licenses for city establishments would be granted by the city, while venues in the townships and boroughs would apply to the county for licenses.
Dances sponsored by churches, fire companies or veterans' groups were to be exempt from the yearly licensing requirements.
The proposal came in response to increasingly troublesome teen events, during which "some juveniles obtained or brought alcoholic beverages ... and consequently got involved in crimes of theft, motor code violations, malicious mischief and rape." (May 10, 1963)
STATE YOUR PARTY: The New Era reported on a bill in the state legislature requiring voters to declare their party affiliations when registering.
The bill, designed to halt "party raiding," was passed in the House by a large majority, 132-48, and was opposed only by "ultra-progressives" and representatives of rural districts that had no personal registration, according to the New Era. (May 6, 1913)
SWEET: A new chocolate company was set to open in the county, the New Era reported.
The Klein Chocolate Co. was set to open its Elizabethtown plant within a week's time.
The firm was founded by a group of former longtime employees of the Hershey Chocolate Co. (May 8, 1913)
A LANDMARK FALLS: The New Era reported on the demolition of a downtown icon:
"To-day, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, building landmarks in the city of Lancaster groaned under the stroke of the contractors axe, and went the way of all 'impossible' things not in line with the beauty of modern improvement.
"In a few days the ancient structure lately occupied by the Jacob F. King cigar store will be a thing of the past, and in a few months the building wherein many momentous political conferences of years ago were held, wherein many a disordered watch had its innards renewed, wherein many a confidential story was related under the influence of a friendly cigar, will be replaced with a beautiful edifice by Groff & Wolf Co., men's clothiers, whose store adjoins."
The property was said to be more than 150 years old, and was formerly an inn called The Grape, then The American House.
Later, it was occupied by Henry Schreiner's watch-repair business, then the cigar shop.
The new retail space was to be a four-story steel and concrete construction, with granite and terra cotta trimmings. It was expected to open in August. (May 8, 1913)
Flashback Lancaster is compiled from the Lancaster Newspapers archives by Jed Reinert.