Dear Dr. Scribblerparade:
I remember in my young days (early 1970s) that a balloon parade happened along the streets of downtown Lancaster. I also remember it was breezy, if not downright windy, making for some hairy moments. Might you have info when that was? It was a big deal traveling from York to see this!
Terrence “Dutchie” Downs
Dr. Scribblerparade resided in Danville, Virginia, during the early 1970s, so a balloon parade is news at this desk. It also was news for the Sept. 2, 1972, Lancaster New Era.
The newspaper reported that “the first Lancaster Balloon Parade,” held that morning, included six bands, several beauty queens and 40 giant balloons representing figures from the Peanuts cartoon strip, a dragon and Superman. Some balloons were 180 feet long and 40 feet tall.
The balloons were inflated — with oxygen, not helium — in Reservoir Park. Boy and Girl Scouts dragged the balloons along the parade route. That route ran down East King Street from the park to Queen Street, through the downtown and out to McCaskey High School. City police estimated the size of the crowd at 30,000
That seems to have been the only balloon parade staged in Lancaster. The Ephrata Merchants Association Christmas Parade two years later featured 11 giant balloon figures, including a 27-foot-long “tookey bird” and a 20-foot-long horse in a gray flannel suit.
It’s good that bird wasn’t also wearing a gray flannel suit. A bright-billed toucan wearing a bland suit of clothes might have frightened the horses, balloon or otherwise.
Dear Dr. Scribblerhotel:
In the early 1920s, my parents moved to Lancaster. My father, Isadore H. Rosenthal, and another man owned a hotel that he always referred to as Hotel Lancaster. It was on the corner of Queen and Chestnut streets. When the railroad station moved from that area to its present location, my father lost the hotel. Do you have any information about this?
To be clear, the Hotel Lancaster stood adjacent to the old railroad station and across Chestnut Street from the Hotel Brunswick.
Your father purchased the hotel in 1922. The business probably remained solid until the railroad station was relocated in 1929. The hotel went bankrupt in 1933 and was torn down in 1939.
According to a news story published shortly before the old building was razed, the Hotel Lancaster had been a “favorite haunt” of U.S. Rep. W. W. Griest. Imagine the political deals devised in that place!
Dear Dr. Scribblerfunnies:
I have another question. I was born in Lancaster in 1932. I remember “pink funnies”' (that is, pink-colored comic strips) in our local newspapers. No one else seems to remember this. What do you know?
Dr. Scribblerfunnies must rely on a source close to home to answer this question. “The Steinmans of Lancaster: A Family and Its Enterprises” (1984) discusses the first issues of Lancaster’s Sunday News (beginning Sept. 16, 1923). The author, John H. Brubaker III, says of the earliest comics:
“Four full-page comic strips — ‘Bringing Up Father,’ ‘Polly,’ ‘Jerry on the Job’ and ‘Tilly the Toiler’ — appeared in black and white. The presentation of these same strips in full color the next week and in pink in subsequent weeks suggests mistakes were made on the first orders.”
That’s all, folks.
Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP staff, writes “The Scribbler” column every Wednesday. He welcomes comments and contributions at firstname.lastname@example.org.