Sandy Hollow to offer a step back to yesterday’s OHW

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Daniel Trevitz, 20, Elizabeth Thornton, 19, and Reuben Thornton, 14, members of Venture Crew 287, are hosting visits to Sandy Hollow during Old Home Week.

The place where Old Home Week all began will be open for visitors once again. Sandy Hollow along the Conococheague Creek, on the property of Dr. Jerry Harness, will be ready for a new generation of picnickers. While OHW originator Philip Baer chose the spot for his Old Boys Reunion in 1902 and only men attended, in 2010 women and children are also welcome.

Harness, his wife Sunny and the Thornton family across the road, are preparing the site, which used to be picnic grounds for local residents. They are confident the shaded area under a canopy of trees, and across the creek from a steep bluff, is the same location.

"This is the only place it could have been," said Elizabeth Thornton, 19, a member of Venture Crew 287. The club is hosting the open houses on Tuesday, Aug. 3 and Saturday, Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

She recalled that Harness had found a photograph in his attic that spurred his idea to offer the public a chance to see the famous site. Currently, the Thorntons pasture their horses there. Dr. Joseph and Donna Thornton and five of their nine children are assisting in the upfront work. The other ones still at home are Miriam, 17, Reuben, 14, Marjorie, 11 and Naomi, 9. They will do their share to clear out some brush, mow the grass, and build steps to the creek so people can dip their toes in the swiftly flowing water and check out the gravel beach. They have already installed a new gate to accommodate parking in the upper part of the pasture. Other vehicles will park in the lane past the Harness' house.

The Venture Crew, under the direction of Elisha Mallin and Harness, will make historical presentations and sell picnic baskets of food typical in the early part of the last century.

"We'll have ham or chicken chunks, because they didn't really have sandwiches back then," said Elizabeth, "and homemade bread, cheese, hardboiled eggs and pickles."

They will also put the horses in the barn.

"We'll have signs out to watch your step," said Reuben good-naturedly.  And other signs to mark poison ivy and nettles.

"Bug spray is a good idea," added Elizabeth.

Visitors are invited to bring blankets and spend some time relaxing, remembering yesteryear. Sandy Hollow is west of Greencastle behind Franklin Veterinary Associates.

Sandy Hollow will again be active during Old Home Week.