skaters in 1995

Watched by his friends, skateboarder John Filomeno launches off a wall in this 1995 photo.

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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. 

Skateboarding has faded in and out of popularity several times over the decades since the sport evolved on the sidewalks of California, and in 1995 it was a topic of public conversation in Lancaster.

Teenagers were being issued warnings or citations for skating at downtown locations such as Penn Square or - with increasing frequency - Reynolds Middle School. The school had a series of tall, smooth banks around the edges of its parking lot that appeared to be tailor-made for skateboarding.

Many of the teens (and their parents) were advocating for a public skatepark to be built somewhere in the city, where kids could skate legally and safely. That conversation continued for decades to come, with a park eventually being built in Lancaster County Central Park - though skateboarding advocates say that park wasn't properly constructed and therefore is little-used.

In the headlines:

(Hurricane) Felix takes aim at N.C. coast; thousands flee

Tape issue leaves O.J. trial in chaos

Heat buckles Pa. Turnpike

Check out the Aug. 16, 1995, Intelligencer Journal here.

In the summer of 1970, it wasn't young people on skateboards but rather young people in cars that were causing consternation for public officials - specifically, those youths whose pastime was cruising "the Loop."

Since the rise of "car culture" in the 1950s and 1960s, downtown Lancaster was often the site of impromptu weekend gatherings, where young people would socialize, show off their cars - sometimes even drag racing in the streets - and loiter in nearby private parking lots.

Police were using old anti-loitering ordinances that hadn't been strictly enforced to crack down on the Loop scene. About 30 young people were arrested the weekend of Aug. 16, 1970, as part of the crackdown.

In the headlines:

Giant keel is laid for nuclear carrier

LSD puts 12-year-old in hospital

Dark walls add drama to contemporary decor

Check out the Aug. 16, 1970, Sunday News here.

Throughout the summer of 1945, the front pages of local newspapers were filled with news of the war in the Pacific. However, on Aug. 16, the tone changed, as Japan had surrendered to the Allies and was in the process of winding down its war effort.

Amid the many wire service stories were a few notes about local celebrations.

August 15 and 16 were declared to be official holidays by the state government, and the vast majority of Lancaster County businesses were closed. As wartime gasoline rationing ended, however, the county's roads were packed with cars. Churches were crowded as well, as many held services of thanksgiving.

One group who had a problem with the celebration was regular restaurant diners. According to the Intelligencer Journal, "a regular restaurant diner, unable to find an eating place open Wednesday afternoon, went into a theater and bought 50 crackers from a vending machine and then asked, 'Where can I get a cup of coffee to wash these down?'"

In the headlines:

MacArthur awaiting Jap reply; all guns in Pacific not silenced

Gasoline and all blue point food rationing ends

Rioting celebrants in San Francisco

Check out the Aug. 16, 1945, Intelligencer Journal here.

Heavy rainstorms and their accompanying flooding have long been a staple of summertime news coverage. But one such storm in 1920 brought to light a new wrinkle - large quantities of hidden alcohol being washed out of basements and into the streets of Prohibition-era Lancaster.

This paragraph from the Daily Intelligencer sets the scene:

"Cellars, stored to capacity with remnants of things that were sold before saloons became drugstores and men rubbed bald spots with stuff they now guzzle, emptied their contents to the streets above when the water flowed through the houses in the low-lying sections. Home-made brew, good old liquor, gin and other rare things along the drink line came popping up out of the cellar holes as if old John Barleycorn was arising from his grave."

City residents dived into the flowing water in frantic efforts to get their hands on the forbidden fruit, presumably with varying degrees of success.

In the headlines:

U.S. warships are ordered to Baltic Sea, will protect American interests there

Rioting in Ireland continues; report many casualties

World's 400-metre hurdle mark upset by Yankee speeder

Check out the Aug. 16, 1920, Lancaster Intelligencer here.