Pa. teens have place to call their own

September 09, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg youth can no longer say they have no place to go and nothing to do.

The Wolf Den, a club for youth ages 15 to 21, opened its doors at 3 p.m. Monday on the corner of South Fourth Street and Stanley Avenue just in time to catch the after-school crowd.

"I want this to be an exclusive under-21 club - a classy club - someplace where they (teens) can be proud to be," said Dan Fry, who operates the club with his wife, Donna.

Dan, who grew up in Chambersburg, said a local teen club has been desperately needed for some time.

"Everybody knows there's nothing for them to do, but nobody wants to take action," Donna said.

The couple aimed to create a club that would fit the changing moods of its customers.

Decorated with a wolf motif, the Frys wanted the club's first floor to have a grown-up feel, yet remain hip enough for teens to want to hang out and blow off some steam.


At the same time, the owners want the teens to feel like they can spread out their books and papers on the tables to do their homework. They also want the Wolf Den to become the meeting place for members of school clubs and committees.

A place has already been designated for a big-screen television and a recreation room downstairs has video games, pool tables and a jukebox.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the only nights the teens have to pay a $5 cover charge, the club will feature dancing with Dan working as the disc jockey.

"I would like, 20 years from now, for the kids to look back and say, `Remember the Wolf Den?'" Dan said.

As enthusiastic as the Frys are to create the ultimate teen hangout, their rules are strict.

"This isn't the second-chance club," Dan said, adding that police will be called and charges will be pressed against those who go against club rules.

On dance nights, teens will have to pass through a metal detector and if they leave, they won't be allowed back in without paying again, Dan said.

"We will run a tight ship," Donna added.

Though wary of the teen club, most neighbors are willing to give the idea the benefit of the doubt, at least for now.

"I can't imagine those teenagers being quiet. They wouldn't be normal ones if they were. But I wish them well. We'll just have to wait and see," said Pat Weagley, who's lived in her home next door to the Wolf Den for almost 50 years.

Paul Pettry, who lives just a few doors down from the club, said he'll support the establishment as long as the owners can keep things under control.

"It can't be any worse than what was there before," Pettry said, referring to the noisy, rowdy crowd who frequented the building when it was GJ's Sports Lounge.

"I hope it does work out for the kids," he added.

Chambersburg Police Chief Michael DeFrank said the teen club could be a benefit to the community as long as it's operated for the right reasons.

But the moment it starts to become a problem, police will be there to control it and any violation of the law will be dealt with accordingly, he said.

The three-story building now occupied by the Wolf Den was built by Edith "Edie" and Charles "Shorty" Osterman, who operated the Osterman House restaurant there from 1960 to 1980.

P.T. Nasty's restaurant then occupied the building, followed by GJ's Sports Lounge, which closed in March 1996.

"I'm happy. An empty building is like a person with no friends. It just goes downhill. I think the children will really brighten the place up," Edith Osterman said.

The Wolf Den is open from 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Sundays and from 3 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

The Herald-Mail Articles