Village re-opening, 1971
A light-up plastic dance floor and psychedelic black-light murals were just some of the new lighting features touted by The Village nightclub, which re-opened in 1971 after moving from its original location to make way for a city parking garage.
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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

In 1996, the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey was seeking new recruits - in particular, recruits with four legs and weighing in at about 1,200 pounds.

The State Police mounted units were running a bit short on mounts, so the academy turned to the public for donations. That call resulted in two new geldings, Apollo and Arden, joining the force for training.

The academy's stables could accommodate 28 horses; the two donated steeds brought the current total to 24, so more donations of healthy horses between 5 and 15 years old were still being sought.

Over the years, many horses were donated to the State Police - some were retired racehorses, some were family pets, one was even left to the force in a will.

The new equine recruits were ready to undergo an extensive training that included everything from learning to walk on strange surfaces to being acclimated to gunfire.

In the headlines:

FBI searches Olympic guard's home // Officials say no charges filed yet in bombing

Wheaties redesigning boxes to showcase Olympic heroes

Safer vaccine for whooping cough gets FDA approval

Check out the August 1, 1996, Intelligencer Journal here.

50 years ago

The Village nightclub was ready for a grand re-opening in 1971, and an all-new light show was at the top of the list of upgrades.

The club had to move from its original location on East Chestnut Street to make way for the Duke Street Parking Garage, and owners Peter Photis and John Patounis wanted to retain the layout and feel of the original spot - but with a massive change to the dance floor and lighting rigs.

The lighting was described in the Sunday News as "unlike anything experienced thus far" in Lancaster's nightlife history. The sunken dance floor was covered with 64 translucent plastic tiles with sound-sensitive lighting mounted below them so the light-up floor would pulse in different colors along with the music. Strobe lights were mounted all around the dance floor, and a variety of colored lighting rigs hung from the ceiling, bathing dancers, performers and the walls with color washes and projected images.

More traditional cut-glass "disco balls" - though this was well before the rise of disco - supplemented the display, as did kaleidoscope projectors and a series of psychedelic black-light murals.

In the headlines:

Apollo 15 explorers probe base of a moon mountain

Viet Cong links POWs, pullout

Vice president approached as Mideast envoy

Check out the August 1, 1971, Sunday News here.

75 years ago

A national postwar trend found its way to Lancaster in 1946, as returning veterans looking to start families took advantage of the new development of "prefab" homes.

A response to the both the housing shortage and the trend toward suburbanization after World War II, prefabricated houses were inexpensive and quick to build.

In Lancaster, the first building permit for a postwar prefab house was issued to Frank Gaenzle, 25, who would build his house at 622 Fifth St.

Other prefab houses were under construction in the county, from Lancaster Township to Quarryville. 

Lancaster real estate agent J. Herbert Fehl said all of his customers seeking prefab houses were servicemen recently returned from the war - and as of August 1, 1946, he had 50 orders for the homes. He hoped to have 20 built by the end of the year, with the rest being constructed in the spring of 1947. 

In the headlines:

Truman tells all agencies to economize

Trieste plan is attacked by Yugoslavs

Three missing subs on lagoon floor

Check out the August 1, 1946, Lancaster New Era here.

100 years ago

A 20-minute hailstorm pummeled Lancaster County on July 31, 1921, destroying large swaths of tobacco and corn crops.

Damage to the crops was estimated to be in the thousands of dollars. The hailstones were reported to be so large and falling in such quantity that even in the blazing sun after the storm, the ice globules took more than an hour to melt.

The storm hit with greatest intensity near the Susquehanna River, between Conestoga and Safe Harbor.

In the headlines:

Veil of secrecy in Irish peace parley

Taft takes oath as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Check out the August 1, 1921, Lancaster Intelligencer here.

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