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.
A Manor Township barn fire in March 1995 was estimated to have done more than $100,000 in damage – not because of the value of the barn, but because of its contents.
Twenty angora goats, prized for their soft fur which is commonly used in sweaters and coats, perished in the blaze. The goats were valued at up to $900 each. About half of the farm’s herd of goats survived the blaze, and were patiently awaiting new lodging. (One of the surviving goats was worth about $4,000, owner John Rose said.)
Also in the barn was a valuable antique car – a 1933 Hudson Motors Essex coupe, which had been valued at $30,000 in 1959, several decades prior to the blaze.
The March 5, 1970, Sunday News reported on progress at the under-construction Park City Center, which when complete would be the largest enclosed retail establishment in the county, and would usher Lancaster County into the era of the indoor mall. The shopping center was expected to be ready for administrative employee occupancy - and for stock to begin arriving - in just a couple of weeks.
The J.C. Penney store, which was set to be the first retailer to open, was on track for a July debut. The other two initial anchor stores - Gimbels and Watt & Shand - were slated for a September opening, along with about 60 smaller stores. (The fourth anchor store, Sears, wouldn't open until 1972.)
On March 15, 1945, the New Era had no less than 12 headlines about the progress of World War II on the front page. (And that's not even counting the "War at a glance" box.) Among them were:
New U.S. 15th Army, 140,000 troop over Rhine, Nazis say
Churchill holds hope of victory 'this spring'
Nazi peace feeler rejected by British in Stockholm
Blasting Osaka arsenal tossed 60-ton 'forts' 5,000 ft. higher than they were flying
Local soldier is held by Nazis
425,007 lost on Western Front
Despite all of the news of the war, life in Lancaster went on, with all of its daily oddities and foibles. Near the bottom of this front page was the headline, "Choked on cocktail, Mt. Joy banker asks $1,500 'disability'," on a brief story about a First National Bank vice president who choked on his Old-Fashioned cocktail and filed for an insurance claim in the aforementioned amount.
The winter of 1920 was a record-setter in at least one way: The ice on the Susquehanna River. By March 15 the river had been frozen shut for a record 72 days, and in some places the ice was four feet thick "and as clear as crystal." The river was expected to remain frozen shut for at least another week.