The Mayor of Greencastle, Ben Thomas, on Father’s Day and local history


So if you brought 17 horses to town 106 years ago, where were those coupling poles where you would have parked? The place I mentioned two weeks ago will follow soon.

Anyway, I write on Father’s Day (Sunday) during the family vacation. Over breakfast this morning, I shared stories about my father and how he has helped so many people throughout his life. Dad grew up in poverty and enlisted in the military in 1939 at the age of 17. The army was going to give him three meals a day. He never forgot his roots and served others for many years. I congratulate one of my fathers and my dear friend Sam Worley from Chambersburg. A former county commissioner and mayor of Chambersburg, Worley turned 100 on June 13. As a young banker, Sam helped Dad start a business in Franklin County in the mid-1950s with a loan. These WWII veterans certainly looked after each other. Mr. Worley and Dad both served in the Army Air Corps in Europe.

The Mayor of Greencastle, Ben Thomas Jr.

While writing for Father’s Day, I received wonderful emails from former Greencastle Citizen Reverend Robert Schenkel who grew up on East Baltimore Street. The Schenkels would later move to 46 N. Carlisle St. His father, Robert Schenkel, was mayor of Greencastle from 1962 to 1969. He also served on city council until his death in 1975. He founded and owned the Greencastle Packing Company (now the Pallet Company) on North Carlisle Street until it was sold in 1957. Many citizens walked to work there, including during World War II, when prisoners of war Italians also worked there. I remember reading how some prisoners once “escaped” from their workplace. They were captured by Greencastle Police in downtown Greencastle while window shopping.

His son, Reverend Schenkel, attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., And would play the high school baseball team in Bedford, Va., A few years after that town lost so many of their sons on the day. J invasion. Coincidentally, I took classes in Lexington, Virginia almost 30 years ago, thanks to the Virginia State Police for specialized training.

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When Mayor Schenkel attended the “mayor and council” meeting on July 6, 1964, they were considering providing sewer service for the Baumgardner development (behind Sunnyway Foods) off the North Antrim Way. Secretary Edwin Bittner has been tasked with contacting Congressman Whalley and seeking state and federal funding for the proposed sewer project. In 1964, the mayor and council met upstairs at 60 N. Washington St., which had been the city library. The borough addition was built in 1982. Today the developer pays for all utility extensions to future real estate developments, although Greencastle is nearing completion. In 1964, Corning Glass Works arrived in the community with water and sewer services provided by Greencastle Borough.

These hitching stations, where visitors to downtown Greencastle parked their horses years ago, remain off Spruce Lane behind Kerm's Card Shop on South Carlisle Street.

So those towing posts, 16 of them with another cutoff, are still located along Spruce Lane behind Kerm’s Card Shop along the first block of South Carlisle Street. For many years Charles “Whitey” Barkdoll owned the Barkdoll Quality Market, where the family even delivered groceries to their homes. You could pay your bills every Friday (payday). The 6 ½ ounce cold bottles of Coca-Cola tasted so good! Well, you might even pay your property taxes there by ordering a pound of hamburger since Mr. Barkdoll was Greencastle’s elected tax collector.

Next time I will write about all the daily events of the Greencastle Borough Office and other Pennsylvania municipal offices … over 2,000 of them! We have a small, knowledgeable staff here in Greencastle who serve our citizens well.

I close by writing happy post-fathers day. We are certainly blessed!


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