Police chasing groundhog in Penn Square, 1972

Police officers with nightsticks chase a groundhog in Penn Square in this photo from May 1972.

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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

A new Lancaster city police station was being planned in 1997 and by May of that year, the list of potential locations had grown to a half-dozen.

Aside from a proposal to renovate the existing police building at Duke and Chestnut streets, the options included:

  • The former post office building at Prince and Chestnut streets, known as the Pinnacle Building.
  • The 172-year-old Swan Hotel, at Queen and Vine streets. (The Historic Preservation Trust opposed this plan.)
  • Lancaster Laundry, in the 100 block of East King Street. 
  • Oblender's Furniture, in the first block of South Queen Street. 
  • Lancaster County News Co. warehouse, in the 200 block of North Queen Street.

The city had a list of requirements for a new station site - from size to location to price - and none of the proposals met all of those requirements. Debate was expected to continue, though city officials acknowledged they would need to compromise in some way, as a perfect match to their requirements seemed unlikely.

In the headlines:

FTC wants to curb cartoon cigarette ads

Rapid increase in number of stores online is changing the book business

Pursuit of sex may shorten men's lives

Check out the May 29, 1997, Lancaster New Era here.

50 years ago

An enterprising groundhog ventured into Penn Square in May 1972, resulting in city police spending about an hour trying to corral the errant beast.

Responding to a call about the animal, several police officers arrived at Penn Square armed with nightsticks and ropes.

Beating the ground in an effort to flush the groundhog out from under a parked car, police were temporarily stumped when the clever critter instead climbed up into the wheel well of a police cruiser. 

After about an hour of animal-wrangling activity that the Intelligencer Journal described as "Keystone capers," police gave up and let the visiting groundhog find its own way home.

In the headlines:

Nixon assures Russians U.S. striving for peace

Duke of Windsor dies; gave up throne in '36

Use of spy satellites approved

Check out the May 29, 1972, Intelligencer Journal here.

75 years ago

As Lancaster County was readying to celebrate Memorial Day in 1947, police were investigating the desecration of the grave of a general who fought in the War of 1812.

State police responded to a call that the historic Carpenter's Graveyard near Paradise had been vandalized. Several grave markers had been removed and broken into pieces, including the four-foot-tall headstone of Gen. John Tilson, who died in 1837. 

Aside from the late general, the cemetery itself was historic, having been founded in 1714 by Madame Mary Ferree, the widow of a French Huguenot.

In the headlines:

Senate OKs huge income tax cut

26 Nazis hanged as war criminals

Farm budget passes House; funds slashed

Check out the May 29, 1947, Intelligencer Journal here.

100 years ago

"Vacations for the poor" were planned by the Community Service Association in May 1922.

The charitable organization was seeking donations to assist in its goal of providing impoverished women and children of Lancaster a brief respite from life in the city, with a week or two spent on a country farm, with the housework forgotten and nutritious meals provided.

"Every human being needs a vacation," the group stated, and such vacations were especially needed by mothers - many of whom were widows or single mothers - and their young children. Older children were supported by organizations such as the YMCA and the YWCA, the Community Service Association said, but the youngest children had no charitable system supporting them.

In the headlines:

Railroad men will not take wage cut

England keeps her troops in Dublin

Check out the May 29, 1922, Examiner-New Era here.

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