scribbler woods

What are these old ruins in woods off the Harrisburg Pike?

While we shelter in place, playing card games we haven’t thought about in half a century and Lysoling the ceilings, the Scribblers periodically escape to the woods. We have discovered practices along hiking trails that we do not appreciate. Here’s a partial list:

— Doggie poop bags hang from tree branches, often at trailheads. Why do hikers bother to clean up after their pooches and then leave the poop in plastic bags for others to pick up?

— Female hikers’ used toilet tissues are similarly repellent when spotted among greenery. Why not carry a cotton bandanna, use it, take it home, wash it, then take it on another hike?

— Mask litter. Why would anyone discard a coronavirus mask in the woods? If you think a mask is not useful anymore, take it home and trash it.

OK, now the Scribbler is putting on his doctor’s mask and gloves (Dr. Scribbler is not a real doctor, but he has common sense) so as not to be contaminated by incoming communications.

Here are some emails Dr. Scribbler has received from folks who also have escaped their shelters to go walking around in strange places, spotting things that are new to them and wondering what they are. Dr. Scribbler can’t answer the first two. Can you?

Dear Dr. Scribblercorona:

Due to Mr. Corona, we have lots of free time, so have been walking in the Franklin & Marshall College woods behind the playing fields off Harrisburg Pike. We discovered a “grotto-like” excavation with three concentric rows of stone. Was it part of the old brickyard? An amphitheater for elves? Or what?

Dr. William Boben

Lancaster Township

Dear Dr. Scribblercorona:

In the middle of Landis Woods, in Neffsville, there appears to be the remains of an abandoned nursery. There are multiple rows of evergreen trees, mostly fir and spruce, that are at least 40 years old. An outer growth of Eastern redbud trees makes me think this was not a Christmas tree farm. What can you tell us about this place?

Joe DuPrey


Dear Dr. Scribblercorona:

For years I have driven past the little cemetery on the health campus property on Harrisburg Pike. I often thought to stop and look. Now I have the time. I parked my car and walked to the lovely little spot. I was somewhat surprised to find several last names. Do you have any information?

Laura Shaida


Dear Laura:

The Scribbler can answer this question, perhaps because the site is not so far back in the woods. In fact, if those cemetery stones could walk a few feet north, they would be run over by traffic on Harrisburg Pike.

So this is the Denham/Kurtz graveyard, on the grounds of and maintained by the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Suburban Pavilion. Besides Denhams and Kurtzes, folks named Dunkel, Evans, Weiler, Lutz and Withers are buried there.

The oldest stone, dated 1810, marks the grave of Daniel Kurtz. The latest addition to the cemetery was a skeleton uncovered in the spring of 2000 by workers digging at the site of the Lancaster General Hospital parking garage at East James and North Duke streets. R.I.P.

— Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP staff, writes “The Scribbler” column every Wednesday. He welcomes comments and contributions at