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Borough's 200th anniversary arrives with little fanfare

March 25, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Sharon Baumbaugh stumbled across it while looking up history in a March 1905 edition of The Echo Pilot for this week's "Remembering When," a weekly column she puts together from old copies in the newspaper's morgue.

"I turned a page and there it was," said Baumbaugh, the newspaper's editor.

The front-page headline of that March 1805 edition of The Echo Pilot reveled in the fact that Greencastle had officially passed its first century.

"The Borough of Greencastle Was Incorporated by Act of the Assembly March 25, 1805," the headline proudly proclaimed.

The anniversary seems to be going by unnoticed, at least by official Greencastle.

Baumbaugh reported the anniversary in a front-page story in Wednesday's edition.

She gleaned the history of the borough written by the Hon. D. Watson Rowe from a century-old front page that was so fragile it tore if only slightly touched.

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Greencastle was founded by Col. John Allison in 1782, according to Rowe's history.

The borough marked the bicentennial of its founding in 1982 with a big celebration, Baumbaugh said.

"They had a parade and they printed a booklet," she said.

The incorporation's bicentennial is being relegated to the catacomb of history.

Several of the community's leaders said Thursday they didn't know anything about the anniversary. A few said they learned of it in The Echo Pilot, but the news didn't stir up any celebratory activity.

"I had no idea," said ex-mayor Frank Mowen, a stalwart when it comes to local celebrations. Mowen is a past chairman of Greencastle's triennial Old Home Week celebration and a fixture in an annual minstrel show.

"I don't think we've ever celebrated the incorporation," he said.

"I knew about it because I overheard them (borough employees) talking about it in the borough office last week," Mayor Robert "Red" Pensinger said. The subject of the incorporation never came up at a Borough Council meeting, he said. "It's a pretty well-kept secret," he said.

Dana Given is the executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.

"I never knew a thing about it," she said. "It's unfortunate. Some things just don't get celebrated. I don't know what to say."

Bonnie Shockey, director of the Greencastle-Antrim Museum, said the museum has no plans to celebrate the occasion.

"I saw it in The Echo Pilot for the first time," she said.

Barbara Bock, president of the Borough Council, said she wasn't aware of the anniversary either.

"I didn't realize it was tomorrow," she said. "Well, I don't know what to say."

"No comment," said Councilman Harold Duffey. "I can't comment on what I don't know."

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