Cracked safe, 1946

In this Dec. 12, 1946, photo, Automotive Service employee John Geiter looks at the wreckage of the company's 1,500-pound safe that had been cracked the night before.

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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

Local hospitals were overwhelmed by an early and severe flu season in 1996.

Lancaster General Hospital saw a record 171 patients in its emergency room on Sunday, Dec. 7, many with flu-related complications such as pneumonia or dehydration.

Ephrata Community Hospital was out of beds and was sending emergency patients to other hospitals.

And Community Hospital of Lancaster was at capacity for patients needing heart monitoring, with new patients being transferred to LGH.

According to government officials, Pennsylvania and Colorado were the two states worst hit by the unusually early flu, which had been dubbed the Type A-Nanchang virus. Officials said the 1996 flu vaccine did provide protection against that particular variant.

In the headlines:

Most family-hour television shows are full of sexual themes, study says

Olympic bombing suspect may be in photo

AMA calls for nicotine ban

Check out the Dec. 12, 1996, Intelligencer Journal here.

50 years ago

"Give your Christmas cards a good lick," a front-page headline in the Sunday News advised, as new mail-sorting equipment at the Lancaster Post Office was mangling unsealed envelopes.

More than 50 unsealed envelopes - mostly holiday greeting cards - had been mangled in the machine in the previous week, postmaster Jerry Moore said.

Moore strongly encouraged Lancastrians to make sure their holiday cards were tightly sealed to make sure they did not arrive in a "mutilated and dilapidated" state.

The Lancaster post office at that time was handling about 200,000 pieces of mail daily, with an expected peak of 500,000 pieces the Monday of Christmas week.

In the headlines:

Blast rips water tunnel, 24 men feared dead far beneath Lake Huron

Humphrey is seeking presidency

Arabs not ready for war with Israel

Check out the Dec. 12, 1971, Sunday News here.

75 years ago

Especially persistent safecrackers stole nearly $600 from a Lancaster business the night of Dec. 11, 1946.

Police said the crooks broke into the Automotive Service, Inc., plant on Harrisburg Pike after stealing heavy tools - including crowbars and iron spikes - from the nearby railroad yard.

They then used a hand truck to wheel the 1,500-pound safe from the office into the adjoining warehouse, where they flipped it onto its back and began battering open the steel door, a process police estimated must have taken "several hours of hard labor."

At the end of their presumably exhausting night, the thieves got away with $170 in cash and more than $400 worth of checks.

In the headlines:

8 die, 44 missing in New York fire

No U.S. funds for housing authorities

Yule trees plentiful, a million grown in Pa.

Check out the Dec. 12, 1946, Lancaster New Era here.

100 years ago

On a quest to improve the poultry breeding stock of their island nation, government officials from Japan chose four Lancaster County chickens to be relocated and bred with Japanese birds in 1921.

Two representatives from the College of Agriculture at Chikusan Shikenjo traveled to Lancaster to select their birds, all of which were prize-winning white leghorns from the Pennsylvania Poultry Farm stock. The chickens would be making a 10,000-mile journey to their new home.

The four chosen birds all were part of a breeding line renowned for its copious egg-laying, a trait the Japanese were interested in acquiring.

In the headlines:

Gas bombs used to get escaped convict

2,000 women storm Kansas mine,; stop miners form work

Check out the Dec. 12, 1921, Lancaster Intelligencer here.

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