Jack Brubaker

Jack Brubaker

The Lancaster Canoe Club recently commemorated its 45th anniversary by holding a picnic along the Susquehanna River and listening to some of the early members tell tales (some tall and all wet) of their early adventures on various waterways.

Al Eshleman, of Lancaster, shared a number of anecdotes. An 85-year-old charter member and early historian of the club, Eshleman recalled the weekend he and others paddled kayaks and canoes around and around (and around) the old fountain at Park City Center.

Park City opened in 1971. Eshleman believes this particular exercise took place sometime in the 1970s, before the fountain was renovated in 1980 and removed in 1989.

Park City held a sportsmen’s show. Lancaster Canoe Club members participated.

They took turns paddling their craft in the pool surrounding the fountain, something you don’t expect to see in the middle of an enormous, carpeted shopping mall. Interested bystanders signed up to become club members.

“We had three or four kayaks and a canoe going around at once,” recalled Eshleman. “We just paddled around in a circle for an hour or two and then someone else would take over. People would come and just stand there and watch the kayakers paddle around.”

Ah, the novelty of outdoor recreation re-created indoors.

Conestoga horses 

Phil Lapp recently read that Conestoga horses were the first draft horses to be bred in America, specifically for drawing the distinctive Conestoga wagons, which originated here. He wonders when these horses lived and why they died out.

The most complete account of the rise and fall of the Conestoga horse seems to be John Strohm’s and Herbert H. Beck’s account in a 1940 Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society.

Benjamin Rush apparently was the first writer (in 1789) to mention this horse. Rush said the heavy horses, bred specifically to draw the distinctive Conestoga wagons, conveyed produce from Lancaster and Reading to Philadelphia.

The first mention of the horse by the actual name “Conestoga” occurs in 1832 in a book called “The Cabinet of Natural History and American Rural Sports,” according to Strohm and Beck. Three breeds are listed under “The American Horse.” They are the Canadian, the English and the Conestoga.

As the horse was bred specifically to draw Conestoga wagons, it died out with the demise of that type of transportation just before the Civil War.

Looking for family

Stephen J. Shaw, of East Lampeter Township, is searching for the family of Geraldine M. Scott so he can return her photo album and documents dating to World War II. Scott served in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps and was assigned to the War Department's Chief of Staff's office.

She had frequent contact with Gens. Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall, so these pictures and documents are of more than average interest.

Geraldine Scott for 22 years operated a collectible shop and art gallery in the old Keppel Candy building on North Queen Street in Lancaster. Shaw met her there and gathered information from her for a magazine article. Before he could return the photos and documents, Scott died at age 94. Her husband, Donald Scott, died before her.

Shaw has tried to find the couple’s three children — Vicki Scott Brightbill, David Scott and Daniel Scott — and failed. He has tried other sources. Now he has contacted The Scribbler.

If a reader of this column has information that would be helpful, contact Shaw at sstephensj@comcast.net.

Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP staff, writes “The Scribbler'' column every Sunday. He welcomes comments and contributions at scribblerlnp@gmail.com.

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