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Knowledge of old jail pays off for history quiz winner

July 21, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Knowing that the old Franklin County jail closed its cell doors for the last time in 1971 was worth $300 to Collin Murr, the winner of the Chambersburg Rotary Club History Quiz Sunday at Wilson College.

Murr, 11, of 36 Cleversburg Road, Shippensburg, Pa., totaled 118 points in the written, verbal and final rounds of the 98-question quiz, defeating fellow finalists Spencer Flohr, who got the final question and finished with 107 points, and Scott Pineda, who missed the final question, but scored 76 points.

Master of Ceremonies Bob Harrison was barely able to get some of the questions read before Murr, Flohr and Pineda were hitting their buzzers with answers, often the correct ones.

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"At the confluence ..." was as far as Harrison got before Flohr, of 1479 Falling Spring Road, jumped in with the answer that Chambersburg founder Benjamin Chambers built his mill and fort at the confluence of Conococheague Creek and the Falling Spring.

Pineda, of 137 W. King St., was quick on the draw with his answer to why George Washington slept here in 1794. The father of our country stopped in town on the way to quelling the Whiskey Rebellion in Western Pennsylvania.

"How many times was Chambersburg ..." Harrison said before Murr anticipated the correct number of Confederate occupations of the town at three.

Flohr followed with the date the town was burned - July 30, 1864. Pineda answered that Gen. John McCausland led the raid.

"Philadelphia," Pineda rang in when Harrison asked them to name one of the three Pennsylvania cities that served as capitals of the United States. The emcee asked the audience to supply the other two - York and Lancaster.

All three were stumped, however, on the name of Pennsylvania's current governor.

"I forgot," Flohr said after pressing the button.

"Thomas Newcomer," said Pineda. The wrong answer served him well later when he correctly gave the name of Chambersburg's current mayor.

Murr came closest with "William Rendell."

It was, after all, more of a history than a current-events quiz.

Although he got the list of reference materials last month, Murr, a fifth-grader at Cumberland Valley Christian School, said he really only hit the books in the past week.

"I had a feeling I could do pretty well," he said. As for the first prize from Solar Shine Carwash, "I'm going to save it for college."

"I crammed a lot," said Flohr, who won $200 from Trgovac Law Office & Global Data Consultants Inc. Although the quiz focused on the history of Chambersburg, Franklin County and Pennsylvania, the Falling Spring Elementary School fifth-grader said, "I like the wars and international stuff more than this sort of thing."

"I'm going to cash it," Pineda said of his $100 check donated by The Philips Group.

"He's always been interested in the Civil War," said the Chambersburg Area Middle School sixth-grader's mother, Robin Galindo.

"They're not here on a lark. They came prepared for it," event organizer Joe Wolfinger said of the students. "It makes them interested in the community and become a part of it," he said of the contest, part of this week's ChambersFest, which celebrates the rebuilding of the borough after McCausland's raid.

Seventeen fifth- and sixth-grade students from Chambersburg-area public and private schools initially signed up for the quiz, but five said they would not be able to attend, according to Wolfinger. Another five failed to show up Sunday, leaving Murr, Flohr, Pineda and four others to compete for the cash prizes.

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