front page 11-1953

On June 18, 2019, LNP celebrated its 225th anniversary. The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 

Weather stories

It’s a safe bet that, long before the first newspaper was ever printed in Lancaster County, people here loved to talk about the weather. The same can be said about any place, really. It’s probably a universal human trait.

Thus, in looking through the LNP archives, we see the history of the ubiquitous “weather story” writ large – in some cases literally, as massive headlines trumpeting the arrival of snow or floods or scorching heat frequently grace the tops of front pages.

Such is the case with this Nov. 7, 1953, Lancaster New Era front page. Not only is there a large-point double-decker headline at the top of the page announcing the 13 to 18 inches of snow that were dumped on the county (after a forecast of 1 to 2 inches), but of the 16 stories on the front page, no less than 14 deal with the storm in some way.

Among the weather-related stories on this page, we learn:

• Doctors battled through the storm to reach their patients. One doctor walked three miles to deliver a baby; another made his rounds on horseback. Unfortunately, not all medical stories were so successful. Earl Drexel of Reinholds died of a heart attack while two ambulances sent to assist him got stuck in the snow.

• Football games were cancelled across the county, including one at Franklin & Marshall College – the first time in the college’s history that a game was cancelled due to weather.

• Night shift workers at the Trojan Boat Company in Lancaster were stranded in the factory after their cars were snowed in. The men slept in bunks in the boats the company made, and took advantage of a candy machine for sustenance. Worker Walter Leatherman of Lancaster seemed content with the situation in a phone interview, saying “The place is well heated and there is a candy machine, so we aren’t getting too hungry. Our only trouble is that we are running out of nickels, and the machine won’t take dimes.”

Other news

There are only two stories on this front page that don’t deal with the winter storm. One relates the news of a “neatly dressed, well-mannered forger” who had defrauded two local banks out of $600. The other, a single-sentence wire story, is the type of quirky news that would be just as appealing today as it no doubt was in 1953. That Middletown, Ohio, story reads, “Thieves who broke into the home of Mrs. Hayes Macy for the second time within three days stole only one thing, the family watchdog.”