THE MAYOR's REPORT: Father's Day and some local history

Ben Thomas Jr., Greencastle mayor

So, if you brought 17 horses to town 106 years ago, where were those hitching posts you would have parked at? The location I referred to two weeks ago will soon follow.

Anyway, I write on Father’s Day (Sunday) while on vacation with the family. At breakfast this morning I shared stories of my Dad and how he helped so many people during his life. Dad grew up dirt poor and enlisted in the Army in 1939 at the age of 17. The Army was going to feed him three meals a day. He never forgot his roots and served others for many years. I congratulate one of my Dad’s and my dear friend Sam Worley of Chambersburg. Former county commissioner and Chambersburg mayor, Worley turned 100 years of age on June 13. As a young banker Sam helped Dad get in business in Franklin County in the mid-1950s with a loan. Those World War II veterans certainly looked after each other. Mr. Worley and Dad both served in the Army Air Corps in Europe.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

Writing of Father’s Day, I received some wonderful emails from former Greencastle citizen Rev. Robert Schenkel who grew up on East Baltimore Street. The Schenkels would later move to 46 N. Carlisle St. His father, Robert Schenkel, served as mayor of Greencastle from 1962 until 1969. He also served on town council until the time of his death in 1975. He founded and owned the Greencastle Packing Company (now the pallet company) on North Carlisle Street until it was sold in 1957. Many citizens would walk to work at this location including during WWII when Italian prisoners of war actually worked there also. I remember reading how some prisoners “escaped” from their workplace one day. They were captured by Greencastle Police in downtown Greencastle while “window shopping.”

His son, Rev. Schenkel, attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., and would play the Bedford, Va., high school baseball team a few years after that town lost so many of their sons on and following the D-Day invasion. Coincidentally, I attended classes in Lexington, Va., nearly 30 years ago courtesy of the Virginia State Police for some specialized training.

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When Mayor Schenkel attended the July 6, 1964, meeting of the “Mayor and Council” they were considering providing sewer service for the Baumgardner Development (behind Sunnyway Foods) off of North Antrim Way. Secretary Edwin Bittner was instructed to contact Congressman Whalley and seek state and federal funding for the proposed sewer project. In 1964 the mayor and council met upstairs at 60 N. Washington St., which had been the town’s library. The borough addition was built in 1982. Today, the housing developer pays for all utility extensions to future housing developments though Greencastle is nearly built out. In 1964, Corning Glass Works was coming to the community with water and sewer services provided by Greencastle Borough.

These hitching posts, where visitors to downtown Greencastle would park their horses years ago, remain off Spruce Lane behind Kerm's Card Shop on South Carlisle Street.

So those hitching posts, 16 of them with another cut off are still located along Spruce Lane behind Kerm's Card Shop along the first block of South Carlisle Street.  For many years Charles "Whitey" Barkdoll owned Barkdoll’s Quality Market, where the family would even deliver groceries to your homes. You could pay your bills every Friday (on pay day). The 6 ½ ounces of cold bottles of Coca-Cola tasted sooo good! Why, you could even pay your real estate taxes there while ordering a pound of hamburger as Mr. Barkdoll was the elected tax collector for Greencastle.  

Next time, I’ll write about all of the daily happenings in the Greencastle Borough Office and the other municipal offices in Pennsylvania ... over 2,000 of them! We have a small and competent staff here in Greencastle that serves our citizens well.

I close by writing happy post-Father’s Day. We are certainly blessed!