Mt. Gretna, Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit." Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
No. 120 July 1, 2011
July 4th celebration that fulfills a dream
Get Ready for Mt. Gretna's Grand Illumination
Bridge to the Heights, Mt. Gretnans are
revving up for the 4th of July. Residents of Timber Hills are setting
out luminaries along streets and pathways, people
approach to "Let Freedom Ring"
in the Campmeeting and Chautauqua are stringing lights
across their porches, and in surrounding neighborhoods like Conewago Hill and Stoberdale,
many are decorating Liberty Bell shapes to echo this year's theme,
"Let Freedom Ring."
On West Yale
Avenue, Patty and Rob Gokey (left) last week
fashioned a three-dimensional Liberty Bell of paper mache
to suspend atop their front porch against the background of a
"Betsy Ross" 13-star flag.
the enthusiasm swirling for this event, David and Connie Steinke (Tel.
964-3062) purchased 500 bags for illuminated candles that they'll
distribute among their Timber Hills neighbors.
For Karl Gettle (below, right), who headed the Mt. Gretna
Art Show for many years and has become the spark plug behind this
year's community-wide celebration, the 4th of July's Grand Illumination
could turn out to be a dream fulfilled.
the things I always wanted to do with the art show was get the
communities of Mt. Gretna together," he said. "We're not just
Chautauqua, we're not just Campmeeting, the
Heights or Timber Hills, we're Mt.
This will be
the "first real community-wide effort we've had, with everybody
participating," says Karl.
A dream to get the
communities of Mt. Gretna together
The 4th of
July Grand Illumination draws its inspiration from century-old
traditions, many that extend to Mt. Gretna's early days when the
"Chinese Shop," which disappeared sometime after the 1950s,
sold paper lanterns that cottage owners strung across their porches.
Other Chautauqua settlements and Camp Meeting associations across the
nation hold similar festivals. One of the biggest is in Martha's
ago, Mt. Gretna's Campmeeting resumed its
"Illumination of Our Cottages" ceremony, a quiet tradition
that traces its roots to the days when youngsters who finished summer
church camp strolled through the Campmeeting
Grove to sing their newly learned hymns. That historical observance
repeats on August 20.
year, following a July 4th concert by the Rehrersburg
Band, bells will chime at 9 p.m. at both the Playhouse and the
Tabernacle. Hundreds of candles placed in holders nailed to trees near
the tennis courts will be lit, and residents everywhere in Mt. Gretna
will be invited to illuminate their homes and porches as neighbors and
visitors walk or drive through streets.
looks of things, nearly everybody will be joining in. The nation's
grandest holiday will get a big boost in Mt. Gretna. And the retired
Art Show chairman may have realized yet another dream.
Opening possibility for 80 to 85 Townhouses & Single
Zoning Changes Sought for Mt. Gretna Land
acres of land adjacent to the area where Mt. Gretna's amusement park
once operated be rezoned to allow townhouses and additional
single-family homes? That's a possibility under a request that turned
up last month in meetings held at West Cornwall Township and appeared
to catch many Mt. Gretnans, and even some
township officials themselves, by surprise.
municipality's commissioners and planning commission received requests
to rezone the land north of Route 117 (where the roller rink, inset,
is now located), from
oldest building: located on a tract that could be affected by a
Forest (RF) to R1 and R2, greatly expanding the number of homes that
could be built on the site.
(Click here for a Lebanon Daily News
account of the June 22 planning meeting and here for definitions of Residential
Forest [p. 27-37] and other zoning regulations in the township.)
request were Eastern Enterprises, Inc., a private firm with historical
ties that trace to the earliest days of the amusement park, as well as
several private landowners.
the rezoning would change the number of allowable dwelling units on the
site from one-per-acre to as many as five townhouses per acre in a
section of the tract that runs closest to Route 117, south of the
At a planning
commission meeting last month, Michael L. Saxinger,
a landscape architect representing Eastern Enterprises, said topography
considerations, flood plain restrictions and environmental concerns
would limit the number of dwellings that could be built. In response to
a question, he added that an initial sketch plan his firm developed
showed as many as 80 to 85 dwellings, which included townhouses and
single-family homes, were possible on Eastern Enterprises' 69-acre
usable land site. That could mean, at the standard measure of 2.1
persons per dwelling unit, another 175 new Mt. Gretna residents if the
land is developed someday.
likely is that? Objections to changing the zoning for land originally
designated as Residential Forest are likely to be strong. As planning
commission member Dr. Raymond Dorsch pointed
out, RF designations were intended to "preserve and protect
ecologically sensitive land ... for future generations. We'd have to
have very good reasons to be overturning that," he said.
commissioner Russ Gibble added that among the
regrets of his "30 years in the township business" was seeing
a townhouse development created which later spawned neighborhood
parking problems for residents. "If I had it to do over again, I
would look at the whole issue differently," he said.
Gibble added that once land is rezoned,"If you get somebody who really knows
the ins and outs, what you think can't be done can end up being
Ben Wiley, a Campmeeting resident who serves on the West
Cornwall Township Planning Commission, cautioned, "We're not just
looking at turning another cornfield into a development. We're talking
about an area that, in addition to its beauty and wonderful history, is
a unique community."
Otto, also a Mt. Gretna resident and a principal of Eastern Enterprises
(which also owns the lake, miniature golf course and other commercial
properties locally), pointed out that "nothing is set in stone at
this point" and any structures built on the site would not be
visible from Route 117, at least during the summer when trees are in
full foliage. He also said that additional users on the newly-installed
sanitary sewer line now under construction would have the effect of
reducing the $250 quarterly fees for existing homeowners.
handful of Mt. Gretnans attending the June 22
meeting were Campmeeting residents Patricia
and Mike Allwein. "We just learned about
this today at 3:30," said Mrs. Allwein.
"I hope that before anything is rezoned, the uniqueness of Mt.
Gretna is taken into consideration. I believe that multiple housing
units would be very detrimental to the entire area." Her husband
also asked if environmental studies might affect rezoning. Township
consulting engineer Jeff Steckbeck said that
although environmental surveys aren't involved in rezoning, they trump
every other consideration -- regardless of zoning -- before development
can begin. "There are a lot of protections," he said.
on the rezoning request is likely to be delayed, possibly until
sometime late next winter or early spring. Planning officials decided
to take no action now and tabled the request for the next few months.
They will seek comment on the proposed rezoning from Michelle Brummer, of Gannet Fleming's Harrisburg office, now
developing a regional comprehensive plan for several municipalities in
the Cornwall-Lebanon School District. Once the township planners get a
clearer idea of what's involved, they'll submit their recommendation to
West Cornwall's supervisors, who must make the final decision.
Mt. Gretna, Pa:
A Stop for Vacationers On
New Chautauqua Trail
A story in The
Cleveland Plain Dealer last weekend announced that a Chautauqua
Trail, linking more
than a dozen chautauquas, including Mt.
Gretna's, will be
established throughout North America.
Kevin Sibbring, president of Lakeside Chautauqua, on Lake
Erie, one of the earliest chautauquas still
operating, leads the group to create a Chautauqua Trail from Maine to
Colorado, the newspaper reported.
Mt. Gretna resident
Kathy Snavely, a member of Sibbring's planning committee, says the effort is
well-funded and has the staff it needs to complete the task. She added
that research shows more and more people now plan vacations based on an
interest in history and, as Teddy Roosevelt once observed, "chautauquas are a uniquely American
A chief aim
of the project is to promote and provide information on 13 remaining chautauqua communities that were among several
hundred spawned by the Chautauqua Movement founded in New York State
nearly 140 years ago.
"The chautauqua concept is probably more in demand today
than it's ever been," according to Sibbring.
He hopes to
encourage vacationers to include chautauqua
stops in their travels, capitalizing on the growth in cultural heritage
tourism and programs that promote lifelong learning.
its website, The
Chautauqua Network "brings
together all of the member chautauquas to
encourage people to plan their own trip, their own safari of discovery,
or virtual visit. For the vast majority of Americans, it is an
opportunity to discover that chautauqas are
all over the United States and Canada and, maybe, even in their
plans to launch a Website devoted exclusively to the Chautauqua Trail
to the Chautauqua Institution in New York, Mt. Gretna, and Sibbring's in Lakeside in Ohio, other stops on the
trail include Waxahachie, Tex.; Boulder, Colo.; DeFuniak
Springs, Fla.; New Piasa, Il.; Ocean Grove,
N.J.; Ocean Park, Me.; Bay View, Mich.; The Florida Chautauqua near
Pensacola, Fla.; Monteagle, Tenn.; and Muskoka, Canada.
Proposed Water Park, Hotel, Shops & 590 Homes:
Hotel's Two-Year Delay Impacts the Timing,
But Not the Scope, of $350 Million Cornwall Project
economy may be on the rebound, but you don't have to look very far to
find reminders that the road to recovery is still bumpy.
example, The Historic Preserve at Cornwall Village, that $350 million
water park, commercial center and 590-home project in Cornwall.
developer Haines & Kibblehouse, Inc. had
hoped the first phase of that 15-year project might be well underway
with its 250-room
hotel and indoor water park by next
however, those same officials say that although several hoteliers are
keenly interested in the opportunity, banks aren't loaning money for
new hotel construction. "We have met with some of the major hotel
developers, and they have expressed real interest in our site,"
says project coordinator Paul Callahan (inset, right). "They have
told us that at the present time banks are not lending any money for
the hotel and water park, in the critical first phase "may have to
wait until the money crunch eases, possibly...closer to 2014," he
that hurdle is a soft housing market affecting homebuilding nationwide.
Callahan says he recently heard Toll Brothers founder Bob Toll describe
his multibillion dollar company's sales declines over the past two
years, noting that 2011 isn't turning out to be much better. The
homebuilding giant is, however, projecting an improved housing market
in 2012. If that forecast turns out to be correct, he says, it should
help put the Cornwall project back on schedule for its next phase.
a question about how H&K has fared over the past two years,
Callahan said the privately owned firm, with 2,500 employees and
operations in five states, remains strong. He feels the company has
demonstrated "an uncanny ability to vertically integrate and
diversify into connected markets prior to the downturn. That has
enabled us to weather, even prosper, in these very difficult
times," he said. The firm has tapped into emerging markets, such
as natural gas well pad construction work in Pennsylvania's northern
tier and heavy highway and bridge reconstruction, which provide "a
much-needed stimulus as the housing and commercial construction markets
have continued to stagnate."
On a Friday evening last April, about 55 folks in
Mt. Gretna who for the most part didn't really know each other met at
the Timbers Restaurant. It was an enjoyable social gathering to be sure
but also an experiment of sorts.
weren't sure if people were craving more contact," says Evelyn
Koppel, a Valley Road resident who helped organize the affair by
circulating leaflets throughout Timber Hills. "But the feedback we
got is that there certainly is a segment of people who are."
positive response, she and others now plan several follow-on events.
from an outdoor popcorn and family movie night this summer to a
backyard BYOB party in September to block parties and maybe even an ice
cream social. There's no shortage of ideas. And anyone in Timber Hills
who wants to keep up with plans through timely bulletins and Facebook notices can email Evelyn (email@example.com) or call 964-3412. "We're
not excluding anybody, but we're focusing on activities for Timber
Hills," she says. "The whole point is to develop a sense of
community and connection."
dinner sparked a lot of good feelings, says Evelyn. "Newcomers
were excited about finding a way to meet their neighbors. Some working
people who don't have much time to volunteer and get involved were
really enthused, and others with children told us that because of
parochial schools, various public schools and homeschooling that their
children don't necessarily have an awareness of the others."
Get to know
neighbors that one rarely sees? It's a hurdle that nobody expects to
solve overnight. But Evelyn feels that if people get together
occasionally, have a good time and tell their friends and neighbors,
the idea could grow.
So how does
it happen that Saylor
Zimmerman, who has lived in the Heights for 42 years, is the only guy
in Mt. Gretna (and presumably one of only 26 in the entire state of
Pennsylvania) with a one-letter license plate?
Turns out, he
once headed the Motor Licensing Division in Harrisburg. When the senior
Mr. Saylor discovered one day many years ago that nobody had yet
snatched up the letter Z, he claimed it for himself. And when his
father passed away in 1995, Saylor, who has been coming to Mt. Gretna ever
since he was an infant, transferred the distinctive single-letter plate
to his own car.
Jane Zellers, part of a brigade
of volunteers now drumming up business for the Campmeeting's
Heritage Park and playground. They're out
selling tickets for a drawing that comes up Sept. 4. First prize? A
two-night stay at the Hilton Harrisburg Executive Tower with concierge
lounge use and food voucher -- just the sort of basking-in-luxury spot
which Scott, an epicurean to the core, recommends for everyone. Second
prize, a family season ticket for next year's Mt. Gretna Children's
Theatre. There's even a third prize: Dinner at the Trattoria
Fratelli restaurant in Lebanon. Tickets:
New guy in
town: Ezra Minter (inset,
right), the Chautauqua's summer intern in charge of Mt. Gretna's
Visitor's Center who's putting out a stream of press releases about the
fascinating stuff that goes on here during the summer.
media outlets are his chief target, but if you'd like to know more
about what's happening here, drop him an email
(firstname.lastname@example.org). He's a senior at Elizabethtown College
majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing.
And a marketing maven he is: On the job only a few weeks, Ezra's
already released a blizzard of press releases and flyers around Mt.
Gretna and through social media such as Facebook
and Twitter (@PaChautauqua). So this old town
is getting a new lift into cyberspace. Send him an email, telephone
926-9458, or do it the old fashioned way: Stop by and say hello,
Tuesdays through Saturdays, Noon to 8 p.m. And be sure to ask Ezra
about opportunities to be a Visitor's Center Volunteer on Sundays.
are the chances that a
couple of graduates from the same high school class in Milwaukee, Wis.
could wind up in Mt. Gretna 53 years later and not know that the other
also lives here?
Sharon Solie (inset, left), one of the fire company's
famous ham and bean soup makers, discovered that an unknown classmate
from her 1958 graduating class also lives in the Campmeeting.
The revelation came through a University of Wisconsin researcher doing
a longitudinal study of her class -- delving into such things as
careers, marriages, lifestyles and health issues. Because of privacy
concerns, the university researcher couldn't
reveal the name of the other
classmate from her alma mater, Rufus King High School. But Sharon did
discover that her fellow alum and neighbor is a man who lives in
another of the Campmeeting's 243 cottages.
She's hoping that he, or perhaps someone who knows him, will read this
story and contact her (email: email@example.com) or 964-2336.
like to attend the University for a Day session coming up July 13?
for a 4-minute glimpse
into one of last year's sessions at the Hall of Philosophy. This year's
topics will include a look at "Pennsylvania's Natural Gas
Boom," "Tremors in Northeast Africa and the Middle
East," "U.S. Government Debt--It's Worse Than You
Think," and "The Genius of Frank Lloyd Wright." The $50
session includes lunch by Becky Briody and an
after-classes wine and cheese tasting by the
Lebanon Valley Wine Club. Call 964-1830 for reservations or send a
check to Pennsylvania Chautauqua, P.O. Box 622, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
Limited to first 65 registrants.
at this year's "Got the Nerve" triathlon in Mt. Gretna.
That's a record for this event, now in its eighth year. Coordinator
Chris Kaag extended thanks to all who
helped make it possible, including over 100 volunteers who made it one
of the smoothest-running races ever. He also thanked Mt. Gretna
residents for their race day courtesy, especially for putting up with a
few hours of minor inconvenience to make a major difference in the
lives of the disabled.
The May 21
race benefited handicapped folks such as Ephrata resident Derek Carbaugh, who received a new handcycle
through this annual fitness competition which encourages everyone to
"Get Up and Move!"
for Mt. Gretna's Thursdays-in-July Organ Recital Series. Raymond Nagem (inset, left), a Juilliard School
student (click on this YouTube video) whom series organizers Peter
Hewitt and Walter McAnney discovered at an
American Guild of Organists program three years ago, opens the recitals
July 7. Daniel Umholtz, the Hershey Theater's
youngest organist, follows July 14. James Wetzel, of St. Agnes Church
in New York City, appears July 21. Matthew Weaver, a Lebanon Valley
College graduate now at the First Presbyterian Church of Lancaster,
completes the series July 28. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. at the Hewitt-McAnney home, 1 Princeton Avenue. Tel. 964-1830,
ext. 3, to reserve
seating. Concerts, including light refreshments, are free, donations
are appreciated, and Rhoda Long (304-0248) loves volunteers who can
help with snacks.
3 Restaurants now owned and operated in Richmond, Va. by Kendra
right), daughter of Conewago Hill residents
Joe and Laura Feather.
The Roosevelt, specializes in Southern food and harkens back to the New
Deal era "before there was fast food and mass transit," says
Kendra, who's becoming something of a celebrity. Her reputation at her
two other restaurants, Ipanema and Garnett's,
has garnered favorable attention in regional magazines and TV shows.
Another Paula Deen on the horizon?
8th Annual "Music Under the
Stars" big band dance party at the lake next month is guaranteed
to revive memories of music and dancing on summer evenings during the
1950s and 1960s, says this year's organizer
her fulfill that promise will be Nitrophonic,
a spin-off of the Hershey Big Band -- plus folks providing wine, munchables and tables for eight under cover in case
The date? Saturday, Aug. 27.
"It's a great way to end the summer," says Rhoda.
Advance tickets ($18) are
available from Music Under the Stars, P.O. Box 552, Mt. Gretna, PA
17064. Admission at the gate: $20. Phone orders? Call 304-0248 or
813-3880. Proceeds benefit the Mt. Gretna Fire Company, Lawn Ambulance
and other local non-profit groups.
Friday Mornings at 10
A Summer Series Where the Talk is About Writing
who arrived in Mt. Gretna a few years ago and now
owns (with fiancee Elizabeth Hummer) the
two-story mansion that was once the home of Jack and Jeanine Bitner, is, even for Mt. Gretna, an extraordinary
foremost, he's a writer. An adventure journalist, actually, one who
covers "anything on skis, wheels, dirt, road, dope, graft, hooves,
paws, wings, fins, waves, cheese, red wine, high heels and
wings, hooves and high heels
Just the sort
Mt. Gretna needs to light the spark for a new series of programs that
will unfold here this summer.
Bring in a slate of writers with solid reputations, experience and
talent, and let them talk for an hour or so each week at the Hall of
Philosophy in a Mt. Gretna Writer's Series. "I got inspired after
watching the PBS special about the 'other' Chautauqua. All the writers
who spoke there looked really happy to have an excuse to spend a
weekend in the woods. I figured the same could work here," he
It'll be held
every Friday morning, starting July 15, promptly at 10 a.m. "Not
exactly the best of times," admits Gifford, "but I'm hoping
we can get some respectable crowds."
Who's in the
lineup of speakers? Start with Jack Brubaker, son of Marie and
the late John Brubaker who once owned a cottage on Stevens Avenue, next
to Bill and Leanne Harrington. Best known locally as "The
Scribbler" columnist at Lancaster Newspapers, Brubaker has
published five books. His latest, Massacre of
the Conestogas, deals with the killing of the
last of the Conestoga Indians 250 years ago by the Paxton Boys gang.
Seth Fletcher, author of Bottled
Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars and
the New Lithium Economy,
follows on July 22. Fletcher, recently interviewed on NPR's "Fresh
Air," is a senior editor at Popular Science.
left) on July 29, is a former Associated Press war correspondent and
three-time National Magazine Award finalist. He's the author of Born to Run:
A hidden tribe, superathletes, and the
greatest race the world has never seen. Gifford calls the work
"a publishing phenomenon, inspiring controversy and debate about
who'll appear next month include Ken Wells (Aug. 5). The Good
Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous
won the Harry Chapin Book Award for Wells, who is a former reporter and
features editor for the Wall Street Journal.
Steve Volk (tentative, Aug. 12), author
of Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the
Unexplainable -- and Couldn't.
Gifford says that in this, Volk's first non-fiction work, he moves from
telling a family ghost story into the "unexplored territory where
science and the paranormal converge. . . . Along the way [he]
encounters a psychologist who concludes that there is life beyond
death, people who claim to have survived alien abduction, a former NASA
astronaut who's now an avid paranormalist,
professional ghost hunters and more."
the series is Chet Williamson (Aug. 19), who makes his home in
Elizabethtown. Since selling his first short story in 1981, Williamson
has written more than 20 books, including a locally popular children's
Dutch Night Before Christmas.
One of his short stories, "Ghandi at the
Bat," which appeared in The New Yorker, recently was made
into a movie now popular at film festivals.
As for Bill
Gifford, he's the author of a first book, Ledyard: In
Search of the First American Explorer, and is now deep into a second. Sample his writings
at the archives of Men's Journal, where he is an editor, and at
Kathy Snavely, perhaps the most energized Mt. Gretnan of all, needs help. She's looking for
volunteers to serve as discussion facilitators for Chautauqua summer
based on the popular Internet
feature TED: Ideas
Worth Sharing Series.
take place on Tuesday evenings (July 12, 19, 26, Aug. 2, 9, 16) at 7:30
in the Hall of Philosophy. Pick a
topic you'd like to facilitate from the list below,
check it out online, and contact Kathy (email:
TED Topics: Big History, Three
Things I Learned When My Plane Crashed (into the Hudson River),Why the World Needs Wikileaks,
Underwater Astonishments, On Being Wrong, Asia's Rise:
How & When.
matches and meatloaf vie for top honors
die-hards, it's sometimes hard to say what's the top
attraction at Mt. Gretna's annual tennis tournament: the quality
of play, conversations with friends or Jan Brandt's meatloaf
sandwiches. But you can always count on that winning combination to
draw a crowd every evening around dusk when play begins at the
Chautauqua courts along Route 117.
the event this year is Mike Rohrbach, a
Lebanon elementary school teacher who also teaches tennis at Hershey
Country Club each summer. (Mike's the grandson of the late Bob and
Betty Mason, who lived on Timber Road from the mid-70s until 2005.) He
expects to attract to this year's tournament 40 or so of the area's
best players, including 25 single competitors and 20 doubles teams.
countywide tournament starts on Sunday, July 31. And it will continue
every evening until around Aug. 7. Just how long the matches last will
depend mainly on the weather. Yet somehow, the foods prepared by
volunteers like Jan and Mt. Gretna's other kitchen magicians always
seem to hold out until the tournament's conclusion, whenever it comes.
absolutely can count on is "good tennis," says 84-year-old
Stan Templin, who for the first time in 44 years won't be around to see
the action. He and his wife are taking time off to enjoy more of their
retirement, even though he intends to remain active as a Hospice
volunteer at the VA Hospital where he continues to find that helping
dying veterans in the last stages of their lives "a beautiful
Questions Readers Ask
an item in last month's "Questions Readers Ask" column: Yes,
a few copies of Mt.
Gretna: A Postcard History by
Michael Schropp still exist.
They turned up two years ago when someone cleaned out the Hall of
Philosophy's second floor.
Area Historical Society president Fred Buch
says fewer than 20 copies remain on sale ($35 each) at Gretna Emporium,
with proceeds going to the society for the purchase of archival
materials to preserve the Chautauqua minute books and other items.
 Why is the
type so tiny on the online Summer
Calendar? It's barely
Calendar, of necessity, must fit into a PDF format for the Internet.
Online readers can sometimes make the type appear larger by pressing
the Control key simultaneously with the Plus (+) key.
copies of the calendar are distributed each year throughout the area.
Readers may order copies by mail: Send $2 to Mt. Gretna Arts Council,
P.O. Box 513, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
Quest to Do Useful Things
L. Grundon (1932-2011)
On a weekday
morning in mid-June, Elaine Feather stood on her tiptoes to straighten
out the community bulletin board in back of the Mt. Gretna post office.
It was all that she could do to rearrange the
jumble of out-of-date bulletins, cards and public notices -- especially
the ones along the top row.
and I thought it was something I should do now," she said. Pausing
briefly, she added, "Dale did this."
Dale. It is among a handful of first
names immediately recognizable in Mt. Gretna. Straightening the kiosk
was but one of at least a dozen miscellaneous tasks, maybe more, that
he undertook without anyone ever having to ask.
In the days
following his unexpected death from an apparent heart attack sometime
over the weekend of June 12-13, people throughout Mt. Gretna have
rediscovered how much he did for the community that he loved.
He was the
youngest of five children born to Nora and Forrest "Si" Grundon,
a former chauffeur, who as owner
of Si's Garage, became known as the best
Buick mechanic in Harrisburg, which is where Dale grew up. As a
youngster, he built his own Heathkit radios
and won the local Soap Box Derby. Dale first began coming to Mt. Gretna
during the 1930s and, as a teenager, worked as a bus boy at the former
Chautauqua Inn. Following studies at DeVry
Technical Institute in Chicago, he took a job as a radio station
engineer, first in York at WSBA and later at WHP in Harrisburg (for the
popular Ron Drake Show). He subsequently went to work at the Pentagon,
where he was chief of electronic media. "My job kept growing and
got so interesting that I stayed there for 27 years," he told a
Susquehanna Style magazine interviewer. He relished sports cars,
photography and skiing, and upon his retirement discovered the world of
stained glass-making. But Mt. Gretna was his first and most enduring
was leading nature hikes, teaching others how to make stained glass
artwork, or serving on the Borough Council, the Mt. Gretna Library
Board, the Chautauqua and the Mt. Gretna Arts Council, he was never
intimidated by a new challenge -- from mastering computers and Website
development in his 60s right down to peeling onions for his friends at
the Jigger Shop on Thursday afternoons. A tall, stick figure who
strode, never sauntered, he moved with the air of a man out to
accomplish something important. Even to his close friends, however,
Dale remained a man of mystery. Some say that amounted to purposeful
detachment, a style perfected in his years at the Pentagon, where he
scanned news releases to protect classified
information from going out to the news
media. That skill in parrying questions with enigmatic answers which
rarely disclosed anything you could sink your teeth into sometimes
closely. Wit -- the drier the better -- was
his unexpected, spontaneous specialty. Once, over breakfast, upon
hearing fellow artist Les Miller's complaint that his shell bracelets
and necklaces had fared poorly at an outdoor art show along the
boardwalk, the poker-faced Dale observed, "Well, I guess that just
goes to show you can't sell sea shells by the seashore."
a small town, even as a legendary figure, Dale remained essentially
unfathomable. A guy wearing a railroad cap who made Mt. Gretna a chief
concern for most of his 78 years. A guy who
never married, yet was fully engaged in the quest to do useful things.
In that, he succeeded.
service is planned for 6 p.m., Monday, July 18 at the Timbers
Restaurant. Contributions in Dale's memory may be made to either Music
at Gretna, 1 Alpha Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022 or WITF, 4801 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111.
Updates & Other Stuff
To Post on
TONIGHT, July 1: Memories of
the Summers of 50's. 7:30 pm, Hall of Philosophy. Recollections from people
who grew up here.
Sunday, July 3: Outdoor Worship Services at 10 am begin at the Tabernacle and
continue throughout the summer, offered by Mt. Gretna United Methodist
Church. An 8 am service is offered in the air-condition UMC sanctuary
on Fourth and Boehm avenues.The 10 am
Chautauqua Services,held throughout the
summer, also begin July 3 in the Playhouse.
Sunday, July 3: Bishop Peggy Johnson brings a deaf singer to tonight's Bible
Festival program to show how she works with deaf persons; 7 pm at the
Tabernacle. "Don't miss it," -- Tom Meredith.
Monday, July 4:
Grand Illumination throughout Mt. Gretna. After the band concert, walk to
the tennis courts to see the candle display, then stroll or drive
around Mt. Gretna to see the illuminated homes and decorated Liberty
Bells. At 9 pm, join the Tabernacle and Playhouse bells as they sound
this year's theme: Let Freedom Ring.
Saturday, July 9: Come to Your Senses. Use your senses on this woodland hike
with Diana Sprucebank; 9 am, Nature Center.
Sunday, July 10: Fire Company Buffet (inset, left), 8 am to noon at the fire hall. All you can eat for a
donation you stuff in a fireman's boot.The
most popular breakfast in town. This month, buy a chance on a
full-sized, handmade quilt donated by former Mt. Gretnan
Kim Miller Gardner, now living in Minnesota.
Sunday, July 10: Fitness Hike at the Nature Center, 8 am.. Join Diana Sprucebank
for this fast-paced walk. (After burning those calories, you can really enjoy a late breakfast at the fire
Sunday, July 17: Men in Harmony, a popular Christian male chorus, 7 pm
at the Tabernacle. One of the Bible Festival's bests..
Friday, July 22: Bird photographer Andy Ohrman
shares pictures and insights into birds plants
and animals, 7:30 pm. Nature Center. Gain tips on bird photography.
Thursday, July 28: "Jazz Reverend" Darrell Woomer introduces his new book "A Reasonable
Christianity," on which he'll base four 10 am Hall of Philosophy
classes that start today.
Thursday, July 28 Workshop for Forest Landowners, a Conewago
Creek Conservation program, 6 pm, Nature Center.
Highly recommended by Mt. Gretnan Matt Royer.
Other newsletters of interest:
Mt. Gretna Updates -- Issued as warranted to
alert local residents to such matters as temporary road closings,
utility repairs, shelter advisories for adverse weather and other
conditions affecting people who live in the seven neighborhoods served
by the Mt. Gretna post office. Send an e-mail request, with "LOCAL
UPDATES" in subject line, to
This Week in Mt. Gretna -- Issued during summer
months; a week-by-week listing of local events, sent by e-mail on
request. To add your name to the mailing list, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mt. Gretna Arts Council Newsletter -- Now available only online
(no mailed copies). Updated to include news concerning groups dedicated
to the arts in Mt. Gretna, Calendar of Events, Summer
Premier and Arts Council scholarships.Click here
Gretna Music bulletins -- E-mailed updates on
concert events, schedule changes and other news. See "Join Our
Mailing List" at http://gretnamusic.org/
Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society Newsletter -- Online
Mt. Gretna Bible Festival Newsletter -- Mailed
in the spring and fall without charge. Send request to Bible Festival,
P.O. Box 408, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
Governor Dick Park Newsletter -- Online
and by e-mail. See
Cornwall Police Department E-Mail Bulletins -- issued as warranted to update residents on events of community interest,
including crime alerts. To add your name to the mailing list, e-mail
request to email@example.com
Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to Mt. Gretnans
in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber
Bridge; online at
Newsletter -- Available online and mailed
Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter -- e-mailed
to Heights residents. Address inquiries to Michelle Shay,firstname.lastname@example.org
This unofficial community
newsletter has neither any attachment to a particular group or
organization nor any political or commercial ax to grind. Mainly,
it's a retirement hobby, much like woodworking, model airplane
building, or fishing might be for others. It produces no income, but
a great deal of personal satisfaction, mainly because it keeps us in
touch with people who have come to be friends.
We send it by e-mail to anyone who asks, without charge and with no
expectation of anything other than a gentle prodding when we err.
We don't cover everything. Some topics are better left to daily
newspapers, TV and others with greater skills, resources and
Generally speaking, we try to cover things that readers may not have
already read elsewhere. Yet since the majority of our readers live
outside of Mt. Gretna -- in other cities, states and countries -- we
sometimes supplement local stories that appear in area newspapers. We
also depend on our readers to alert us to news, including local
obituaries, relating to present and former Mt. Gretnans.
In preparing each issue, we try to keep in mind the example set by
the late Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas,
who felt as if listeners had invited him into their homes.
We also value the practical
wisdom of Rotary International's Four-Way
Test of the Things We Think, Say or Do:
"Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build
goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all
concerned?" It's a good guideline not only for writing a
newsletter but also for conducting a life. Anchoring that guidance is
the assurance that people may not remember what you said or did, but
they will always remember how you made them feel. .
We've been writing this newsletter since January 2001, usually once a
month unless we're traveling, ailing or attending to household duties
that, in the interest of domestic tranquility, take a higher
We thank the many people who help us gather the news, take the
photos, then edit, fact-check and proofread this newsletter. They
include folks with special skills and knowledge of Mt. Gretna who
live not only here but also in places like New York City, St. Paul,
Minn., New Cumberland, Pa. and Hilton Head, S.C.
If you have difficulty reading or printing the newsletter, please
click on the online version appearing at http://mtgretna.com/news .
Thanks to our friends at Gretna Computers, you can always find back issues of
this newsletter on the Web.
That online archive, we're told, occasionally proves helpful to
people planning to move here and who want to know more about what
goes on in a community which, as the late Marlin Seiders
once observed, "is not a place, but a spirit."
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