Landis Valley 1971

In this 1971 photo, Carl Sachs, a volunteer guide at the Pennsylvania Farm Museum at Landis Valley, stands in front of the Pioneer Fire Company No. 1 building, which had just opened at the museum. He is flanked by some of the vintage firefighting equipment that was on display.

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Excerpts and summaries of news stories from the former Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster New Era and Sunday News that focus on the events in the county’s past that are noteworthy, newsworthy or just strange.

In the summer of 1996, J.P. McCaskey High School was about to undergo a $19.2-million renovation, which meant there was a tremendous amount of furniture, hardware and miscellaneous stuff to be removed and replaced.

The solution? A massive auction, where members of the public, be they nostalgic McCaskey grads or auction-happy bargain hunters, could bid on items ranging from desks emblazoned with "McCaskey Proud" stickers to no less than 1,850 auditorium seats.

Of course, some items were moved to other schools, and many pieces were simply thrown away. But the remainder - band saws, lathes, typewriters, old computers, bookcases, filing cabinets and countless other items - would be listed in the one-day-only sealed bid auction.

All proceeds would be used to defray the cost of the renovation.

In the headlines:

Baptists to boycott Disney over gays, R-rated films

Plunge in chip prices good for consumers, not computer makers

Officers who beat King won't be sent back to jail

Check out the June 13, 1996, Lancaster New Era here.

In June 1971, the staff of the Pennsylvania Farm Museum at Landis Valley was gearing up for "Craft Days," a weekend of demonstrations and education that had been running every June for 16 years and drew thousands of visitors each year.

But that particular year, visitors could see more than just demonstrations - they could also check out multiple new exhibit areas, including two large new buildings.

A new storage barn for the museum's steam tractors had been built, with special ventilation mechanisms so the engines could be fired up indoors on rainy days.

And the farm village's fire station was ready for the public as well. "Pioneer Fire Company No. 1," as it was dubbed, contained exhibits of various vintage firefighting equipment, including several old horse-drawn vehicles of local origin. The Christiana pumper wagon and the Akron hook-and-ladder wagon were sure to be of interest to history lovers - and kids of all ages.

In the headlines:

Tricia, Edward wed in Rose Garden

Nine babies born to Australian woman

Joe Campanella advocates political role for actors

Check out the June 13, 1971, Sunday News here.

A massive fire tore through the 100 block of North Queen Street in June 1946, leaving two people dead and Lancaster's mayor and fire chief engaged in a bitter public feud.

The blaze consumed the properties from 129 to 137 N. Queen St. (now the eastern side of Lancaster Square known as Ewell Plaza), which at the time included the Grand Theater, several shops and an apartment building. The damage to the buildings ranged from minor to "near total loss." 

Killed in the fire were one resident of the apartments and one firefighter. Numerous other people, both firefighters and civilians, were treated for injuries and smoke inhalation.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, city fire chief Harry Miller asserted that lack of manpower and insufficient protective equipment was to blame for the casualties among firefighters. In addition to the aforementioned death, 16 of the 18 firefighters who responded to the blaze had to be treated for injuries.

Miller blamed the city for insufficiently funding the department, a statement which enraged Mayor Dale Cary, who lambasted the chief in an interview the next day.

The day after that - June 13, 1946 - the Intelligencer Journal ran a front-page editorial on the topic, siding completely with the chief.

In the headlines:

Ship unions balk at U.S. proposal

Bread prices up one cent a loaf

Use of allies to ease draft asked

Check out the June 13, 1946, Intelligencer Journal here.

During a summer storm, especially one with high winds, electrocution from downed power lines is a danger.

But in the summer of 1921, a woman who frantically called her family doctor thinking her husband had been electrocuted was completely mistaken - and fireflies were to blame.

Mr. and Mrs. L.B. Hershey, of the Greenland neighborhood in East Lampeter Township, returned home during the storm. Hershey was making trips between the house and the family car, while his wife was inside. 

She looked out and saw him motionless on the ground, with apparent sparks of light on and around his body. Thinking he had been struck by a falling power line, she called for help.

However, he had slipped on the wet pavement and hit his head, rendering him unconscious. Fireflies in the grass around him created the illusion of sparks that so terrified Mrs. Hershey.

Mr. Hershey suffered a mild concussion but was otherwise unharmed.

In the headlines:

Labor Federation during year lost 172,212 members

Pounded piano to drown out noise of assassin's steps

Check out the June 13, 1921, Lancaster Intelligencer here.

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