Ancient bacon

By on February 13, 2014

Victorian Lititz along the west side of North Broad Street where the present day Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. is located. Photo courtesy of Ron Reedy

Victorian Lititz along the west side of North Broad Street where the present day Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. is located. Photo courtesy of Ron Reedy

Workers uncover John Miller’s secret smokehouse during 1964 renovation

20 Years Ago

Thursday’s Record Express

February 17, 1994

• Chief Shertzer – When Doug Shertzer joined the Lititz Police Department more than a decade ago, he knew that one day he would serve as chief of police.

His dedication to the community, passion for his job and desire to soar to new heights led him straight down the road to success. And just this month, he achieved his ultimate goal. Shertzer officially assumed the role of chief on Monday.

“I love police work,” said Shertzer. “It’s like any occupation – you want to go as far and as high as you can.”

30 Years Ago

Thursday’s Record Express

February 16, 1984

• Doomsday Defense – To many people, it seems that the world is hurling ever faster towards a nuclear cataclysm. The very thought of that possibility is so overwhelming, so horrid, that many people simply shut the whole issue of nuclear war out of their minds.

But on the third Monday evening of every month, a group of Lititz area residents meet at a local church, not only to discuss that very possibility, but also to determine what they as individuals can do to prevent it from happening.

The Warwick Peace Fellowship grew out of a prayer and dialogue session held during the 1982 Advent season at St. Luke’s United Church of Christ.

The Rev. Duane Brown and his wife Amy, “feeling the tension in the world,” thought there was a need for a “faith response” to the nuclear situation.

“We try to provide a setting where persons of varying backgrounds can wrestle with and express concerns about nuclear arms, nuclear weapons, etc.,” Brown said.

• Thou Shall Steal – Seven members of the Campus Chorale singing group from Lancaster Mennonite High School had their pocketbooks stolen while they were presenting the Sunday evening program at the Lititz Mennonite Church, 165 E. Front St.

According to Lititz Police Chief George Hicks, someone entered the church and stole the pocketbooks shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday.

Two of the purses were found by citizens of the community on Monday, Hicks said. Later, Lititz Police Officer William Seace located the remainder of the stolen pocketbooks in the Lititz Creek.

40 Years Ago

Thursday’s Record Express

February 14, 1974

• Owen Hershey Killed at Lititz Square – Funeral services will be held today for Owen Hershey, 79, prominent Lititz businessman, who was killed Monday morning at 6:40 a.m. when he was struck by a car while he was crossing North Broad Street at the Square, in the pre-dawn darkness.

The local attorney and insurance executive was believed to have been crossing from the bank to the northwest corner, where his office building is located.

The operator of the south-bound car which struck him told police he spotted Hershey in front of his car immediately before the impact. Hershey was reportedly wearing dark clothing.

Police Officer Ronald Sandhaus was on the scene, and Hershey was pronounced dead by Dr. Joseph Grosh, coroner.

• Suing ‘The Mob’ – Alan Goberman, who developed Lititz’ Sutter Village during the 1960s, has filed a $13.9 million civil damage suit in Newark, N.J., reportedly claiming that his Caribbean island resort was stolen by an associate of the late underworld boss, Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo.

According to a national news wire service, the action was brought under a rarely used federal “mob suing” statute that permits victims of gangland schemes to recoup their losses by suing organized crime figures.

Goberman is asking for reimbursement for the losses of the St. Maarten Isle Hotel in the Netherland Antilles.

50 Years Ago

Thursday’s Record Express

February 13, 1964

• Attic Smokehouse Discovered – The lovely old Historical Foundation home at 129 East Main Street is yielding up its century-old secrets, as renovation continues to uncover hitherto unknown facets in its construction.

The latest “find” is a complete smokehouse in the attic, which had been boarded up for a hundred years so that no one knew it was there. Most people, unless they are “senior citizens,” have never heard of an “attic smokehouse,” but quite a few homes built in Warwick township two centuries ago were equipped with them.

While removing a ceiling a workman, Mark Leininger, found a complete smokehouse in the very eaves of the building. This was a boarded-in room, about eight by nine feet, around the old brick chimney. The door to this room seemed to lead to nowhere, but a trap door was found and after the plasterboard was removed from the ceiling, it was seen how access was gained with a hinged stairway that dropped to the floor. All that was found in this room was a piece of bacon rind, picked clean by bats a century ago.

The versatile John Miller, who built this room in 1792, went one better than most smokehouses and plastered the floor to make it fireproof. A small opening was made in the chimney to allow the right amount of smoke to trickle through. After about a month of this, the meat was properly cured. To this day this process has never been equaled.

All of this was done without cost as the wood smoke came from the unique fireplace on the first floor where all cooking and baking was done. Here were baked the week’s supply of bread, large roasts of meat and dozens of pies. After baking, the oven was quite warm and was used for making “snitz,” drying cherries, beans, etc. First, enough “briggel,” or long sticks, were burned in the oven until so hot the hand could be held in the oven for only a few seconds. Then it was cleaned out and the baking process started.

The meat was hung on tiers of green wood sticks from which meat hooks hung. It required skill and experience to smoke meat properly. The meat must not touch when hung up, so the hanging poles were lose and adjustable. Skillfully smoked meat has a superior flavor, and Lititz folk are fortunate to live in an area where this art is still in vogue among a few country butchers.

Work on the Historical Foundation building is progressing rapidly under the careful supervision of the directors, and it will be open to the public by early summer, it is hoped.

• PA Dutch Musical -The Pennsylvania Dutch sport of “fressing” (or eating) will be depicted in four-part harmony in the AMBUCS’ 5th annual musical show “Going Buggy” March 20 and 21 on the Warwick stage.

The show features more music then ever before – most of it given a Pennsylvania Dutch flavor by AMBUC script writers.

Monotone Wilbur Neff will be featured soloist in “Mine Hand on Myself,” an old Dutch folk song. AMBUC Charles Edson and ABCD member Lois Ross join voices for “Wonderful Good,” an Amish love song written by Akron resident Frankie Widder.

60 Years Ago

Thursday’s Record Express

February 18, 1954

• Cat Scratch Fever – A case of “cat scratch fever,” only the sixth of its type in the United States, was treated here by a local physician.

Treated for the infection was Barbara R. Pennell, nine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Pennell, Jr., 227 E. Main St., by Dr. A.S. Griswold.

The disease is the result of scratches from a cat carrying a virus, Dr. Griswold said. The disease is not too serious but usually requires hospital treatment.

Symptoms are a swelling around the neck glands and a fever, but the disease is not contagious. Dr. Griswold says he knows of only six cases on record in the United States, three of which have been in Northern Lancaster County.

He said usually a neck gland must be removed when the disease is caught. The girl was treated and discharged from Lancaster General Hospital.

70 Years Ago

Thursday Morning’s Record

February 17, 1944

• Victory Gardens – Victory Gardens again will be available here for all persons anxious to raise foodstuffs of their own as part of the war effort, it was announced during a meeting of the Lititz Chamber of Commerce.

Efforts will be made to obtain the same ground that was used for this purpose last year and, where possible, local gardeners will be given the same plots as they had before, if this is desired.

All persons desiring gardens must apply to E.D. Fulweiler, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. Demands for gardens this year is expected to equal that of last year when more than 150 plots were under cultivation here.

80 Years Ago

Thursday Morning’s Record

February 15, 1934

• U.B. Church School – The church school building of the United Brethren Congregation, newly completed on North Cedar Street, will be a revelation to everyone who visits it; a revelation to the majority because of its beauty, its arrangement and its furnishings, but a big revelation to those deeply interested in church work for the modern way in which it is laid out to take care of departmentalized Sunday School work.

The building itself is of handsome granite-limestone from the Quaker State Quarries at Hershey and follows the Georgian style of architecture. It has been built to the West and South of the old church building and its entrance will also be the entrance to the church auditorium. The doorway itself, with its great doors and antique brass hardware, is one of the most beautiful to be found in the section.

Thursday Morning’s Express

February 15, 1934

• Local Stuff – There was a chimney fire in the shoe factory on N. Cedar street on Tuesday evening about 6 o’clock. It was put out without much damage by the Fire company.

The usual number of fasnacht cakes, or doughnuts were baked and disposed of in Lititz this week. A.R. Keller sold 600 dozen. Charles Regennas sold 60 dozen. Mrs. Urban Mull sold 7 dozen, and Mrs. Elizabeth Hepp 6 dozen.

What shall be done to the person who cut into and then broke off one of the young oak trees near the gate of our park? Suck acts of vandalism are inexcusable. It is very discouraging to those who are trying to build up and keep up a fine public park with the limited means at hand.

On sale at this office fine sepia portraits of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and General Pershing.

90 Years Ago

Thursday Morning’s Record

February 14, 1924

• Smallpox Scare – Rev. H.H. Newell, who was stricken with smallpox while holding revival services here, was taken to the isolation ward at the County Hospital, Lancaster, on Saturday evening. His two brothers, who assisted here in the services, accompanied him and are with him in the isolation ward. Rev. Newell’s wife came here from McKeesport when she learned that he was sick but did not know the ailment. She was unable to be with him but talked to him at the window of the Springs Hotel, where he was staying.

Over twenty persons as the Springs Hotel are quarantined. Guards are on duty twenty-four hours a day. It is not definitely known when the hotel will be opened, as it depends on the State medical authorities. Parts of the building have been disinfected. No more cases of smallpox have developed. This is regarded as almost a miracle by medical authorities, considering the many persons Rev. Newell came in contact with.

The local board of health advises vigilance for the next ten days. If nothing unforeseen develops the public schools of Lititz will be opened on Monday.

Friday Morning’s Express

February 15, 1924

• Sledding – As the children had no school this week north Cedar street was roped off for them at the corner of East Main so as to permit safe coasting and a great crowd of the little folks availed themselves of the privilege on Monday.

It is not often that a combination of circumstances and events work out for a happy conclusion as happened this week. At any rate, for the young folk of this town. The first occurrence is the unexpected from school duties and then the first real snows of the winter fall merrily at intervals for days and lo, the kiddies hie to the garret and shed, dust off their various sleds and hurry to the hilly places and oh! what shouts and glee as they slide and glide in this healthy and time-honored pastime of the youngsters.

100 Years Ago

Friday Morning’s Express

February 13, 1914

• Burglary at Old Zion – A thief invaded United Zion Home between 2 and 2:30 o’clock Sunday morning, entering an unlocked window. The intruder was evidently acquainted with the premises. He went into the room of William Berkley, an inmate, and stole $60.

Berkley was aroused by some noise made by the fellow, and, leaping from bed, grappled with him. The intruder was too strong for Berkley, and succeeded in throwing him aside and escaping, making his getaway before a pursuit could be organized. The money was found under Berkley’s bed on Monday morning.

110 Years Ago

Friday Morning’s Record

February 12 1904

• Town Notes – “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch” was the title of a very well produced drama by the pupils of the High and Grammar schools of our borough last Friday evening.

An interesting article on a “Visit Abroad,” by Helen Zeller, class of 1900, Linden Hall, appears in the February number of the Linden Hall Echo.

H. H. Snavely, auctioneer, will sell at public sale in the Market House on Monday evening, Feb. 22, the following stocks: Lititz National Bank, Lititz Water Company, La Motte lead mines, Wellington M’f’g Co., Ideal Cocoa and Chocolate, and Penna Telephone Co.

• Good Citizen Called to Rest – John K. Huber, proprietor of the Rome flour mills and bretzel bakery near Lititz, died at 9.30 o’clock on Tuesday evening, from pleurisy and pneumonia.

His age was 44 years, 3 months and 11 days.

He moved to the Rome mills home in 1883, and in October of 1884 he was married to Elizabeth P. Hartman. They had seven children, six of whom with his wife survive.

Of Mr. Huber it can truthfully be said he was an excellent Christian citizen, a good, honest and upright business man and neighbor, beloved by all who knew him. His enemies, if any, were few, and his friends many.

Friday Morning’s Express

February 12, 1904

• Vote for Public Water Works! – Consumers of water in Lititz have been taxed 35 cents per thousand gallons. Lititz is not boss ridden and politicians have no graft here. Lancaster City furnishes water at 5 cents per 1000 gallons, and for manufacturing purposes 2000 gallons for 5 cents. Lancaster is not noted for saintliness politically and the difference is all due because the Lititz Water Works are in private hands, while those of Lancaster are owned by the people. Lititz voters have a grand opportunity next Tuesday.

• Personals – Mrs. Annie Kauffman returned from a five weeks visit to her daughter, Mrs. S. G. Zerfass, of Ephrata.

John M. Mast, manager of the J. M. Mast Manufacturing Company, left last night for Chicopee Falls, Mass., on a business expedition.

Mrs. H. L. Daugherty, of Philadelphia, is at Lititz, to remain some time with Mrs. Daugherty, who is secretary of the Ideal Chocolate Company.

Elmer Reidenbach, of Philadelphia, was the guest of his father, Squire A. B. Reidenbach, from Saturday to Monday.

H. Logan Weaver, of Pittsburgh, visited his daughter at Linden Hall on Sunday.

120 Years Ago

Friday Morning’s Express

February 16, 1894

• Baumgardner’s Birthday – Mr. Henry Baumgardner Friday reached his seventy-fourth birthday, and he chose an unusual manner in which to celebrate the event. He distributed four hundred sacks of cornmeal among the poor in the city, and many families were made happy by his generosity.

Tickets, each one entitling the holder to a sack of the meal, were given to the Dorcas and Christian Doctrine Societies. They were then distributed among the poor.

• Terrible Joke – John O’Brien, a tin peddler, was the victim of a practical joke in which a bottle of whiskey that he had in his possession was displaced by another bottle containing muriatic acid, and after imbibing a quantify of the dangerous fluid he became deathly ill. His mouth and throat were so horribly burned that the man was unable to speak. (from the Columbia Morning News)

130 Years Ago

Thursday Morning’s Lititz Record

February 15, 1884

• Fun With Tobacco – Tobacco stripping, though a monotonous work, is a pleasure to many of the Millporters who grow tobacco on the Hostetter farm. In an old summer house they do the work, where they are daily visited by numerous neighbors and it is said that fun and merriment get on a high horse occasionally. Ask Billy Adams and Ad. Lutz, who will tell you all about it.

Research for Out of the Past is compiled weekly by the current Record Express editorial staff. Much of the style and information reported is written as it appeared in its original form.

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