Main Street block a cornerstone of Waynesboro history

March 17, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Trucks that haul away the debris from three attached but decrepit East Main Street buildings this spring will be hauling some of Waynesboro's history to the dump.

The sale of the buildings- at 402, 406 and 410 E. Main St. - to Timber Development Corp. of Longwood, Fla., is to be closed on Friday. The owners have 45 days to vacate their buildings.

Six to eight months after the bulldozers begin their work, a CVS Pharmacy is scheduled to open in the buildings' place. Timmons Development will own the 11,000-square-foot building and lease it back to the drugstore chain.


The fate of the existing CVS Pharmacy at 40 S. Broad St. is unknown.

The middle building at 406 E. Main St., owned by Cyrus Reese of Waynesboro, is vacant. Chuck's Sunoco Service at 402 E. Main St. and Waynesboro Automotive Supply at 410 E. Main St. are operating businesses.

Each building has a story.

Chuck's Sunoco Service

The station has been in the same location since it was opened in 1963 by Charles Pulaski, 68, of Waynesboro.

"Developers have been hounding me for a couple of years to sell. In a way, I hate to go," he said as he bent over the engine of a blue 1995 Chevrolet Lumina to fix the throttle linkage.

Pulaski started the business with only $2,000.

"Nobody would give me a loan," he said. "The Sun Oil Co. built the building for me. I had to pay back the $10,500 over the next 21/2 years."

Pulaski said he had to take inventory of all the gas, oil, batteries and other company-supplied items every day and send in a check. "I did this every day until the $10,500 was paid off," he said.

The company made him stay open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. seven days a week at first. He bought the building 18 years later.

The station was full service, from major repairs to selling gas and oil changes, and from state inspections to what became popular with customers, the car wash.

Cars were washed over the station's lift. Four long rubber hoses still hang from the ceiling on each side of the lift.

"Two men worked inside, vacuuming and washing a side. Two others outside wiped them down and did the windows. Sometimes, we'd wash more than 100 cars on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday," he said.

In the early years, Pulaski had 15 employees, mostly part-time high school boys who pumped gas and washed cars.

"Some months, we pumped 55,000 gallons," he said.

The station stopped selling gas about six years ago, he said.

Pulaski remembers many longtime customers, like Thomas Painter, a local attorney who has been with him since the beginning, he said.

"I took care of their cars, their children's cars and, today, their grandchildren's cars," he said.

"A lot of people are going to miss this place," said Cleve Freeman, 67. Freeman helped to work his way through college in the station. Retired now, he comes in to help Pulaski on busy days.

Pulaski said he might open a new repair garage.

"I have a lot of equipment, and this is what I do," he said.

Asked how he'll feel when he sees his station demolished, he said he didn't think it would bother him.

"How often do you get a chance in life to sell a business and make decent money off it?" he said.

"He'll tell you he won't be upset, but he's been coming in here doing the same thing every day," Freeman said. "I've got a feeling he'll find something for us to do."

Waynesboro Bowling Center

D. Willard "Smitty" Smith started building his bowling alley in 1946. It opened Jan. 10, 1947, according to his daughters, Helen Arendt, 78, and Janet Harbaugh, 77, both of Waynesboro.

It remained a family operation until Smith sold the business in 1960. It changed hands "three or four times after that," Arendt said.

Smith and his wife, Ethel, the daughters, the returning World War II GIs they married (Janet to Joseph Harbaugh on the day the bowling alley opened and Helen to Frank Arendt two weeks earlier), and the Smiths' son, Vernon, all helped to build or work in the bowling alley.

Babies played in playpens in the bowling alley when they were little, Janet Harbaugh said.

No local bank would lend Smith money to build the bowling alley. He got a loan from a bank in Littlestown, Pa.

"When the local bankers saw that it was making money, they wanted Dad to let them take over the mortgage. He wouldn't do it at first," Arendt said.

The girls worked the concession stand and kept track of the many bowling leagues their father had set up.

"Dad did a wonderful job organizing as many leagues as he did," Arendt said.

Smith also gave bowling lessons.

In those days, it was an open cafeteria policy at the nearby Waynesboro Senior High School, which is now gone. Students could leave the school for lunch and many made the daily trek to the bowling alley for their noon meal - usually hamburgers, Harbaugh said.

Ethel Smith worked the kitchen. She prepared the menu and baked daily, especially her trademark coconut cream pies, her daughters said.

Students also came to the bowling alley to bowl as part of their high school gym requirements, the daughters said.

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