Rock concert fracas 1972; a breached dam on the Conestoga River in 1947 [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

An Ephrata high school baseball player made the front page of the New Era on July 31, 1997, for hitting a would-be burglar with a bat.

Brandon Ringler, 13, lived in a first-floor apartment with his mother and was listening to music in the bedroom when he heard a noise outside the window. He turned off the light and realized that someone was trying to enter his room.

He quickly grabbed the bat and hit the robber on the head. For good measure, he also punched the intruder in the face, after which he cursed obscenely and ran away.

Police released a description of the suspect, but three days later no arrests had been made.

Ringler, who was set to enter eighth grade in the fall, was a pitcher and center fielder for the junior midget Ephrata Orioles. He led the team in home runs.

In the headlines:

A new study has revealed that seven more asteroids pose a threat to Earth

Looking for clues to the deadly fungus up to 10

Israel retaliates against the Arabs

Check out the July 31, 1997 Lancaster New Era here.

50 years ago

Ten people were arrested after a “debacle” at a one-day rock concert in Longs Park in July 1972.

The riots started when an undercover police officer tried to arrest a concertgoer for possession of marijuana. As several officers led the man out of the area, an angry mob formed around them.

Concertgoers chanted anti-police slogans, threw rocks and other objects at the police, smashed the windows of police cars and tried to overturn a police cruiser. Police fired several warning shots in the air as they quelled the riot, which a police spokesman described as an “unruly crowd” but not a riot.

Ten arrests were made following the rampage on charges ranging from drug possession to disorderly conduct.

In the concert event, which lasted all day, mainly local rock bands performed.

In the headlines:

13,000 British troops occupy IRA strongholds

The plane was driven over Florida

The secular lioness was released on a $1 million ransom

Check out the July 31, 1972 Lancaster New Era here.

75 years ago

In July 1947, a dam breach caused the water level in the Conestoga River to drop – and a bad smell.

The Lewanna Dam, located a few miles south of the city of Lancaster, was partially breached, causing the water level in the Conestoga to drop about four feet. This led to the exposure of a large part of the river bed. After baking in the hot summer sun, an “unpleasant stench” began to emanate from these areas, which residents of the area complained about, as well as motorists who drove along the roads along the river.

The drop in water levels occurred despite the heavy rains that lashed the county throughout the summer of 1947.

Levan Dam was just the latest in a series of old, poorly maintained dams that were washed away in whole or in part along the Conestoga. Earl Rebman, past president of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, urged county officials to try to get state funding to restore Conestoga because its value for fishing, swimming and other recreation has greatly diminished.

In the headlines:

The USA protests against the Russian takeover of the Balkans

Douglas Chandler was sentenced to life in prison for treason

You can mention the fireman who punched the bear on the nose to save the boy

Check out the Intelligencer Journal for July 31, 1947 here.

100 years ago

The emergence of chain restaurants in Lancaster County can be traced back to 1922, when the Lancaster Intelligencer conducted a price study of local restaurants.

The results of the study showed that restaurant owners in Lancaster charge almost double the price for similar items in other cities. The survey “got attention from across the state,” including from two companies that operated restaurant chains across the East Coast.

Representatives of these companies, who wished to remain anonymous at the time, were in the city on July 29 and 30, evaluating the market and looking at possible sites in the city center where they can open single-handed coffee shops.

(This term referred to quick-service restaurants where seating was at individual one-armed chairs rather than at tables.)

One company representative told the Intelligencer that because of the inflated prices here, he estimates his firm could charge about half the price of regular Lancaster restaurants and still make a profit.

In the headlines:

Coal production increases as US takes control

The railway strike is expected to end this week

Check out the Lancaster Intelligencer of July 31, 1922 here.

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