Cars are the stars at Mountain Top Heritage Days

June 28, 2008|By DON AINES

CASCADE -- Like a human evolution chart showing the advance of mankind from Australopithecus through Neanderthal to modern man, eight decades of automotive evolution slowly paraded through the former Fort Ritchie on Saturday during Mountain Top Heritage Days.

In the early days, there were primitive vehicles, such as the 1927 Ford Model T Roadster pickup of James Miller. By 1950, the buglike headlights and bulging fenders had been absorbed into the body, as in James and Mary Kirby's Chevrolet Deluxe.

Cars began to sprout fins in the '50s, a prime example being the 1959 Chevrolet Impala of Robert Tracey. A more streamlined look came into vogue in the 1960s, as exemplified by Eric Myers' 1967 Stingray.

Somehow, a Volkswagen Beetle found its way in among these Ford, General Motors and Chrysler classics, and bringing up the rear was Donna Pryor of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., in her 2006 Pontiac Solstice.


"It's been in my family since definitely in the early '60s ... and probably earlier. It was my Dad's vehicle," Miller said of the Model T that he brought east from North Dakota when he moved to Waynesboro, Pa.

"This is my birth year," Mary Kirby of Waynesboro, Pa., said of the Chevy Deluxe, noting that the license plate on the front dates from 1950.

"She had the license before we got married, and I had to buy her a car to go with it," James Kirby said.

"I've got some money in it, but it's my pride and joy," Tracey said of his Impala. The Rouzerville, Pa., man has owned the car since 1982 and, despite its age, it has just 71,000 original miles on it.

Myers said he was at Mountain Top Heritage Days as much for the food as the car show. He has owned his Stingray "20-couple years," and restored it in 2001, the sparkling, nearly three-dimensional prizmatique blue finish 11 coats deep.

Around the old parade ground, people collected under shade trees, sampling food from vendors and listening to music as children and grandchildren ran about. Tom and Nancy Hyme of Hagerstown brought their grandchildren, Bryce, Madisyon and Ethan, who were enjoying smoothies.

"We're always finding things like this to do with them" on weekends, Nancy Hyme said.

The Fox Hunt, a bluegrass quartet from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, was finishing up a medley while across the parade grounds, the Tone Hounds were starting a rockabilly set. In the gazebo by the lake, Mike Vallone, a tour guide from Gettysburg, Pa., was telling listeners about the Battle of Monterey, which took place in the nearby pass on July 5, 1863, as the Confederates retreated from Gettysburg.

Mountain Top Heritage Days concludes today with the "How Well Do You Know the Mountain?" scavenger hunt at noon, a discussion on the lives of German soldiers during World War II at noon and an "Old-timers" softball game at 5:30 p.m. among the events.

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