Chambersburg's sharpest landmark is removed

December 03, 1996


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg area residents know that "turn left at the knife" means turn onto Queen Street from Main Street.

The 15-foot wooden carpenter's knife on the side of the Christian Light Bookstore building has been a familiar landmark downtown for more than 100 years.

But no more.

Building owner Budd Olver took it down over the weekend. Ironically, Olver did it to preserve the knife.

Olver is trying to sell the building and feared its new owners might not care for the knife as well as his family did for three generations.


"I hated to take it down, but I didn't like the alternative," he said.

The knife has been there since at least 1895, when the building housed Sherk's Hardware, Olver said.

Olver, whose first wife was the granddaughter of the founder, took over the hardware store in 1950.

He continued to care for the knife. Every time he repainted the building, he put another coat of paint on the knife's black handle and three silver blades.

When the hardware store closed in 1980 and Christian Light Bookstore moved in, the knife remained.

Olver has given the knife to his son, an insurance adjuster who lives in Waynesboro. John Olver plans to display the knife in his family room.

The knife looks similar to a pocket knife, but it's actually a replica of a carpenter's knife with two of its three blades opened, Olver said. Over the years, Olver has had many offers to buy the knife, but he has always turned them down.

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