Fulton marriage proposal, 1996

Jeff Taylor and Tanya Neidermyer pose outside the Fulton Opera House in December 1996, the day after Taylor surprised Neidermyer with an onstage marriage proposal after the curtain call of "Cinderella."

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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.

25 years ago

The Fulton Opera House has been known to produce some magical moments in local theater, and the December 1996 production of "Cinderella" was no exception.

And one night, the magic got a little bit more real for a local couple - as well as for the audience, who got to witness a surprise marriage proposal onstage.

The 500 theatergoers at the Fulton on Dec. 17 watched the show's wedding finale, then cheered the cast through two standing-ovation curtain calls. But the night wasn't over then - a young man in a dark suit hopped up onto the stage and dropped to one knee just as a spotlight zeroed in on a woman in a mezzanine box seat.

After he proposed marriage and she said yes, the crowd erupted into a pandemonium of cheers.

The suitor, Jeff Taylor of Lititz, arranged the public proposal with the help of the Fulton's executive director, Deirdre Simmons. His girlfriend, Tanya Neidermyer, suspected nothing when her boyfriend got up to dash to the rest room as soon as the show ended.

She said the proposal took her entirely by surprise - though she did find it odd that, during the first curtain call, Cinderella and the prince seemed to glance up and briefly focus on her.

In the headlines:

TV sex and violence ratings to begin early next year

Photo of O.J. wearing special shoes a fake, expert testifies

Wife helped trap FBI agent charged as spy for Russians

Check out the Dec. 19, 1996, Lancaster New Era here.

Ice skating Santa, 1971

Santa Claus pulls on a pair of ice skates to be the first to try out the new ice rink in Lancaster Square on Dec. 18, 1971.


50 years ago

A long-awaited public ice rink was opened in 1971, with a special white-bearded guest skater the first to take to the ice.

Santa Claus himself took a break from his holiday tasks to pull on his skates and try out the brand-new ice rink in Lancaster Square, in the downtown Lancaster space that is now Ewell Plaza.

The ice rink was one of many pieces of the massive urban renewal project that reshaped an entire city block in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The opening of the ice rink was delayed by more than a week due to equipment problems, and Santa finally took his test run on the ice on Dec. 18. However, the children who turned out to watch wouldn't be allowed to try out the rink themselves - the public opening wasn't until two days later.

In the headlines:

South Viets get hidden U.S. aid

Pilgrims still flock to Bethlehem / 20,000 expected Christmas Eve

Cable TV still in its infancy

Check out the Dec. 19, 1971, Sunday News here.

75 years ago

In a "miraculous" stroke of luck, in 1946 three teenagers escaped uninjured from a car crash that involved their vehicle plunging off a bridge onto railroad tracks.

On Dec. 18, Daniel Miller, 18, was driving a brand-new car along South Colebrook Road when he lost control on a curve, smashed through the wooden guard rails and plunged off a bridge, dropping 26 feet onto the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.

Amazingly, neither Miller nor either of his two teenage passengers was hurt.

A similar crash occurred in January 1946 at the same spot, but in that instance two county youths were killed in the wreck.

(The site where Colebrook Road crossed the railroad - about five miles northwest of Lancaster city - no longer exists, having been demolished as part of the construction of Route 283.)

In the headlines:

Truman calls on China to end civil strife

Experts forecast U.S. prosperity

New radio reception method discovered at Johns Hopkins 

Check out the Dec. 19, 1946, Intelligencer Journal here.

100 years ago

A heavy storm of torrential rain and high winds left a "trail of ruin" across northern Lancaster County in December 1921. 

Trees were uprooted, barns demolished, roofs blown off of barns and houses, chimneys toppled and billboard flattened. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

Estimated to be the most destructive storm in 10 years, the damage was centered around Lititz, with several buildings near the center of town sustaining damage, and significant destruction seen in Lititz Springs Park.

In the headlines:

France to accept Sec. Hughes' naval ratio plan

Extra guards are placed around N.Y. finance centers

Check out the Dec. 19, 1921, Lancaster Intelligencer here.

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