Eels in a Lancaster fountain in 1972; a circus monkey on the loose in 1922 [Lancaster That Was] | History

Excerpts and news summaries from former Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster New Era and Sunday News on events in the county’s past that are noteworthy, noteworthy or just plain weird.

25 years ago

In August 1997, the Elizabethtown District School Board decided to partner with Coca-Cola to supply 18 vending machines to district schools.

Board members voted 7-1 to approve the contract, which would have the soda company pay the county $12,500 to host the machines, plus a profit share that was to be about $25,000 annually. The contract stipulated that Coca-Cola would be the sole supplier of vending machines in the area.

In elementary schools, vending machines will be placed only in teachers’ offices, while in middle and high schools, vending machines will be placed in public areas.

The only board member to vote against the plan, Kathleen Weaver, expressed concern that students would spend their lunch money on sodas instead of food.

Several residents spoke out against the move at public meetings, raising concerns about the unhealthy nature of caffeinated sodas for children.

In the headlines:

Medical research suggests that breastfeeding moms don’t need extra calcium

A potential witness has emerged in the New York police torture case

The Mira brigade is preparing for a major repair

Check out the August 21, 1997 Intelligencer Journal here.

50 years ago

One man’s joke is another man’s dinner – or so it seemed on August 20, 1972, when an unknown prankster filled the fountain in Lancaster Square with eels.

And so a city teenager caught those eels, fried them and ate them.

At some point on the night of Saturday, August 19, or early the next morning, someone placed about a dozen eels in the fountain, presumably as a prank.

By Sunday evening, 17-year-old Jerry Selby — all 6-foot-6 — was wading in the fountain, picking eels out of the water with his bare hands.

Selby said it was his second trip to the fountain that day. In the morning he caught the first eels, then fried them to eat at home. Finding them “not too bad”, he went back for a second helping.

In the headlines:

Agnew looks at running the White House in 1976

Fischer is 3 points short of the title after the draw

The British found a bombing raid in Ireland

Check out the August 21, 1972 issue of the Intelligencer Journal.

75 years ago

An escaped circus monkey was on the loose in Lancaster for two weeks in August 1947.

The female monkey escaped from a circus in York and traveled to Lancaster in a car or truck, eventually taking up temporary residence in Williamson Park (now part of Lancaster County Central Park).

On August 20, two weeks after the escape, the monkey was spotted “sunbathing” on the park’s golf course.

Wilbur Lunecke, one of the park rangers, said the animal was lying on one of the benches near the 11th hole. He tried to catch the monkey, but it was too fast and ran away.

Lunecke suspected that the escaped primate lived in rocky caves near this part of the park.

In the headlines:

Britons will face further cuts in food rations

4,400 Jews are threatened with return to the Reich

New dams to stem the Rio Grande

Check out the August 21, 1947 Lancaster New Era here.

100 years ago

On August 21, 1922, the deadline for entries in a beauty pageant sponsored by the Lancaster Intelligencer was approaching.

A day before the deadline, 100 young women applied for the contest, but the newspaper made a final push to increase the number of participants by placing a notice about the contest on the front page.

The winner will be named Miss Lancaster and will be sent to Atlantic City to compete for the title of Miss America. The winner of the competition will receive transportation to and from the shore in a luxurious Pullman rail car, as well as a three-day stay at a waterfront hotel and a host of pre- and post-competition entertainment.

In the headlines:

Police uncovered a radical center in Chicago

Two fortresses were taken from the Irish rebels

Check out the August 21, 1922 Lancaster Intelligencer here.

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