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Artist's print becomes North High stadium fund-raiser

October 18, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - When she started painting a picture of the Valencia, a former Hagerstown hangout, artist Laura Lewis Shindle said she had no idea the picture would turn into a fund-raiser for a planned stadium named after a former Valencia worker.

But it has and she is happy to be part of it.

Originally, Shindle, 58, of Greencastle, Pa., was painting the business on Potomac Avenue to donate to the North Hagerstown High School Class of 1964. She expected the painting would be raffled off to raise money for the class, as occurred five years ago with a painting she did of the Hager House.

Shindle, who was named most artistic female of her class, said she decided to paint the Valencia because she knew the business was a landmark with great meaning to the region.

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The Valencia opened in the fall of 1926, the same year Hagerstown High School opened. The business was close to the school and quickly became the hip place for area students to meet, Shindle said.

"It was the hot spot in town," she said.

The high school no longer exists and Richards World of Travel is in the building where the Valencia operated, but the memories still are fresh for many, Shindle said.

While meeting to plan the reunion, Shindle and others in her class learned about a push to raise private funds to build a stadium at North High.

The original painting was raffled off at the reunion in September, but not before Shindle had 200 prints made.

The limited-edition prints of the Valencia are being sold for $30 each, with the proceeds going to the effort to get the school its first stadium, she said.

"I am very proud to be a part of this. It is very exciting to be part of something that we have needed for so long," she said.

She remembers small talk when she attended the school about trying to get a separate stadium - instead of using the one at South Hagerstown High School - but it never turned into anything, she said.

Mike Callas, a Hagerstown businessman and philanthropist, died May 31 at age 83, just days after he was named an honorary co-chairman of the stadium capital campaign.

Fund-raising organizers decided to name the stadium after him.

When interviewed last week, Shindle said she heard Callas had a connection with the Valencia, but it was not clear whether he owned it or worked there.

In a phone interview Sunday night, Pete Callas, 79, set the record straight.

His father, George Callas, was a manager of the Valencia, but many people thought he owned the place.

During a period from about 1939 to about 1946, four of his sons - Pete, Mike, Gregory and Bill - worked at the store, serving in roles ranging from being a soda jerk to running the place when their father was not there, Pete Callas said.

As for the Valencia painting fund-raiser, he said, "I think it is great."

Shindle asked anyone interested in buying a print of the Valencia to call her at 717-597-8341 or reunion committee member Gann Breichner at 301-739-1787.

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