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Mt. Gretna E-Mail Newsletter No. 9, September 18, 2001



The Heights hopes to refurbish its historic Community Building and make several new summer arts programs available to all Mt. Gretna residents.

"People who grew up here have great memories of dinners, pancake breakfasts and other activities in the Community Building," says Susan Wood, who's helping coordinate a campaign to restore the facility. "For many years it was a very alive place."

The hope now is to do necessary repairs to the roof and elsewhere, but to retain the building's character and increase the number of summertime activities. Among the possibilities: music programs for children, dance classes, nature walks, science programs and other activities for people of all ages throughout Mt. Gretna.

"We're asking people if they'd like to help - financially and with volunteer labor. The idea is to organize it here in the Heights but make it available to all," says Susan. She says that the Heights' residents are now being asked for their views and, following a favorable community-wide vote sometime next month, her committee will begin working out the details for next summer's arts programs. Get in touch with her at 964-3069 or



Pennsylvania’s Game Commission will hold an open house at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Areas Visitor Center Sep. 27-29 to invite public comment on proposed new regulations affecting recreational use of state game lands, including those surrounding Mt. Gretna.

The commission seeks to balance the interests of those who use the gamelands for hunting and trapping with those who use them for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other activities. The proposed regulations have attracted widespread attention. Lois Herr, a nearby resident who helped coordinate the Friends of the Gretna Gamelands group a few years ago, urges everyone to attend, evaluate the latest proposals, and register their opinions.

The Middle Creek wildlife area is two miles south of Kleinfeltersville along Hope Road. Open house hours are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sep. 27, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sep. 28 and 29.



Photographer Lynee Porter, who did the “Porches of Mt. Gretna” poster a few years ago, wants to do another poster next spring. This time, she plans to photograph the interiors of Mt. Gretna’s gracious homes and cottages.

Home interiors and addresses won’t be identified, just pictured she says. The original porch poster now is nearly sold out. Lynee plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the cottage interiors poster to arts organizations in Mt. Gretna.

She’d like to do the photography next April, assemble the photos in May and have posters ready for the summer. If you’d like to have your cottage interior photographed for the project, call Lynee at 306-6178 or Former Chautauquans, she and husband Jim Polcynski own and operate the Cornwall Inn, a bed and breakfast that’s now open for parties, wedding receptions and overnight stays. Lynee says their new website will soon be up for viewing at



Cicada Festival organizers say their seventh season was their best. “Two of our shows were on the hottest nights of the summer. No one complained. No one left early. Our audience often included three generations with grandparents accompanying children and grandchildren,” says Laura Feather, who helps run the festival. 

The late Tom Ebright helped it get started. “His idea was to create affordable family entertainment at the Playhouse for all ages and all genre,” says Laura. “This is volunteerism at its finest. What keeps us going are smiles on the faces of our audiences and their wonderful comments as they leave.”

IN BRIEF (45 words or less)


[] Internet cable service will begin in Mt. Gretna next month. Comcast technical services manager Bill Stolman says the exact start date, expected around Oct. 1, will be announced in newspaper ads, billboards and invoice inserts.

[] Trash pick-ups switch to Tuesdays when Christmas, New Year’s, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day or Labor Day fall on Mondays. Previously, when holiday pickups were attempted, about half of us forgot to put out our trash, says Linda Bell.

[] Lighted pedestrian paths will replace the roadway between the Jigger Shop and Gift Shop as Carnegie Avenue’s beautification project moves this fall into its final phase. The walkway will receive a brownstone finish to match other Chautauqua paths.

[] FACES will honor its registered volunteers at a party in mid-October at the Timbers. The group pairs community volunteers with organizations seeking help and now needs people to help direct its activities. Contact Jan Layser, Deb Koltun or Janice Balmer.

[] Deb Vollmer thanked everyone who volunteered to clean tables and serve as booth-sitters at the Art Show. This year’s artists told Mike Bell that Mt. Gretna volunteers are the best they see anywhere, at shows up and down the East Coast.

[] Mt. Gretna Men’s Club needs volunteers to coordinate the Art Show Breakfast as well as the annual Clambake. Get in touch with club treasurer Cynthia Condrack or Ray Kinch, who retires next year as club president, if you’d like to help out.

[] The New York Times tells about traditions in Ocean City, New Jersey’s Camp Meeting community in “Down to the Sea to Pray, and Get Great Antiques,” an Aug. 14 article:

[] Chautauqua’s board of managers elected a new president last month. The Rev. Jim Corbett succeeds Grover Houpt, who had led the organization for the past six years. Meetings, held the first Wednesday of every month, are open to the public.

[] Approximately 4,200 visitors stopped by the newly relocated Information Center this year. Most frequent questions: Do people really live here? Was this always here? Where’s the restroom? Some 23 Arts Council, FACES and other volunteers helped supply answers to an estimated 15,000 questions.

[] A Birch Ave. neighbor called Sally Struthers her first morning here, asking if she could bring over a freshly baked loaf of bread. “They just don’t do things like that in L.A.,” said Sally, who plans to return home and “build myself a porch.”

[] All eight of the food vendors at this year’s Art Show say they want to return next year. Visitors, artists and residents agreed: the epicurean delights were, well, delightful!

[] Commemorative 2001 Mt. Gretna coffee cups are still on sale at Remember When gift shop and the deli. This year’s cups are the first of a collector’s series that will depict different Mt. Gretna buildings each year in a fire company fund-raising campaign.

[] The drought watch remains in effect for Mt. Gretna, Lebanon and 22 other Pennsylvania counties. Officials say rainfall this year is below normal. “What we’ve had,” says Linda Bell, “hasn’t been enough to make the grass pull their tongues back in.”

[] Porch and Pantry Café reopens Friday, Sep.21 and begins its fall-winter schedule Oct. 5: Fri.-Sat.: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Sundays, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the cafe offers breakfast with limited luncheon specials. Reservations: 964-3771 or

[] Artist Shelby Applegate will teach the fascinating art of making handmade paper in a workshop for six to eight people at her home Oct. 5. To register, call 964-2342. Or for full workshop details, contact this newsletter ( 

[] Rachel Lynn Ricca, who played Patsy Cline here, is bringing out her first CD soon. She had been an office assistant before someone urged her boss, a producer, to listen to a tape that Rachel had made. She’s been singing on stage ever since.



Richard Edgerton, who owned the cottage at 160 Brown Ave. for the past 25 years, passed away Aug. 11 in Mt. Dora, Fla. He was 90 and formerly owned the famed Lakeside Inn, a Mt. Dora landmark. He had served as Florida’s hotel and restaurant commissioner, as a director of the American Hotel and Restaurant Association, and as president of the Florida Hotel and Motel Association.

“When he was in town, it seemed that I was always walking up Lehigh Ave. while he was walking down the street on his way to the beach,” says Dale Grundon. “It was our usual meeting place to stop and talk -- until some flatland tourister came along thinking that Lehigh was a street rather than a nice place to hold a conversation.”

Talking with people and greeting visitors was Dick’s specialty, says Leane Harrington, a long-time friend whose husband Bill was Dick’s business partner. His passing was front page news last month in the Orlando Sentinel, which described him as a “centerpiece of Mt. Dora’s business community.”

“Being the outgoing man he was, Dick made friends everywhere,” says Leane. “He thrived on routine and enjoyed daily walks to the lake and his 4 p.m. swim with friends, two times around the floats. Dick and Marie had season tickets to the theater and made contributions during all their years in Mt. Gretna. Being a ticket taker at the main entrance to the art show was very important to him. And being an ‘official greeter’ was Dick’s particular skill. We will miss him greatly.”

(As several residents of Mt. Gretna know, the small town of Mt. Dora is the site of an art show that attracts over 300,000 visitors each January. Dick Edgerton’s Lakeside Inn has been a favorite spot for artists and patrons alike.)



35 Minutes remaining ‘til curtain time when Sally Struthers’ delayed plane from L.A.

finally arrived at Harrisburg International. An aide did her hair in the car as the

driver hustled toward Mt. Gretna. “Always Patsy Cline” began just 10 minutes late.

16 Chautauqua communities located throughout the U.S., Dale Grundon estimates.

24 Building permits issued in Mt. Gretna borough so far this year

33 Buildiing permits issued in Mt. Gretna borough all last year

3 Tickets an astonished Bruce Myers bought just before Music at Gretna’s final concert

to win the summer-long quilt raffle. (Bruce and Trish are the dedicated volunteers 

who, year in and year out, run the theater’s concession stand.)

21 Percent of Americans over 65 who use a computer, according to the Pew Foundation.

64 Percent of all Americans who use a computer. (Doesn’t that make you feel special?)

8 Boroughs in Lebanon County. (Besides Mt. Gretna, incorporated 75 years ago, they

are: Cleona, Cornwall, Jonestown, Myerstown, Palmyra and Richland.)

9 Shuttle buses used at this year’s Art Show. “With the new routing, they moved along

quickly,” says Mike Bell.

71 Sunshine Magazine’s ranking of the Mt. Gretna Art Show, in nationwide competition.

96 Percent of Americans who spend three hours a day watching TV.

34 Members, Mt. Gretna Winterites in 2001. Winterite members 10 years ago: 44;

30 years ago: 77. (Like to join? Call Mary Ellen Kinch, 533-7330).

10,472 Dollars given to Mt. Gretna Fire Company from this year’s Art Show proceeds.

(Also: $14,227 to Mt. Gretna borough, $1,000 to the Lawn Ambulance crew.)



"I believe that man will not merely endure: He will prevail." -- William Faulkner, in his Nobel acceptance speech. (See:



We continue to be amazed by the number of people from all over the country who ask to receive this newsletter. Clearly, something about Mt. Gretna attracts kindred souls. As one resident told us last week, “My husband sometimes talks about moving. I ask him, ‘WHERE would we go?’ Where would we find another place like Mt. Gretna? The truth is ‘nowhere’. There’s not another place like it.” 

Special it is indeed. That’s why we’re happy to help spread the joy, albeit electronically, to those who dwell here only in spirit as well as to those who call it home. Our circulation is growing, but by no means are we linked electronically to everyone with e-mail service who happens to live in or simply love Mt. Gretna. So continue to spread the word. Continue to tell others that this occasional bulletin is available free for the asking, created for no other purpose than to share the joys of Mt. Gretna with folks near and far. Thanks for your help.


Roger Groce, 213 Stevens Ave. 964-2205