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October 2013

Dec. 2 Meeting Features Tavern Talk, Elections

Mark your calendars for Monday, Dec. 2! The Cumberland Township Historical Society will feature a presentation by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide John Winkelman on the taverns of Cumberland Township.

The public is invited to attend and get a glimpse of this segment of the township’s history.

CTHS members will also be asked to vote during this last meeting of 2013 to fill two positions on the board of directors. The two-year terms for chairman Speros Marinos and secretary-treasurer Judy Metheny will end on Dec. 31. Members are welcome to submit nominations through Nov. 15 by emailing or calling (717) 334-7110.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Brethren, 1710 Biglerville Road, Gettysburg.

The photo at left, courtesy of the Library of Congress, shows the Black Horse Tavern in Cumberland Township circa 1920.

Welcome to Our Newest CTHS Members

  • James Landis Jr.
  • John McCleaf
Thanks to all of our members for your generous support. Your membership dollars are helping the Society to foster identification and preservation of the township heritage and promote the public awareness and appreciation of this legacy.

From the Chairman:
The State of Your Society


We are small but mighty. It has been my belief that Cumberland Township history has been marginalized for too many years. Together we have a bright future while looking at the past.

We have reserved the site of the “Springs Hotel Bridge” on the Harmon Farm with the Gettysburg National Military Park. When the site becomes available for the Adopt-a-Position Program, it is ours to maintain. An environmental impact study has not yet been completed but is on the agenda for 2014. (Scroll down for more details on this project.)

October of 2014 will be the 265th anniversary of Cumberland Township. It would be nice to hold a birthday party. Some exciting things can happen if enough volunteers step forward. If you are interested in helping, please call me at (717) 752-0293.

A large thank-you is given to our publicity committee. This newsletter, the website, and press releases are just a few things that this committee does. Well done. Soon we will have two new important committees, finance and preservation. (You can find more information on these and other committees in this issue of the newsletter.)

Our agenda for 2014 is shaping up, with four quarterly public meetings and one walking tour planned. More details will follow in the coming weeks and months.

Let’s all look forward to the next quarterly meeting on Dec. 2.

Society Seeks Input on 2014 Meeting Topics

In just two years of existence, the Cumberland Township Historical Society has developed a reputation for presenting interesting, informative programs for both members and the public.

Planning is now in progress for the slate of 2014 programs, which will include quarterly public meetings and presentations, along with a special “field trip” to explore a historic site in the township.

And that’s where you come in. What topics would you like to learn about? Would you like to present a program? Either way, we want to know. Please email the Society at or call (717) 334-7110 with your ideas.

Share your piece of history

Do you have a piece of Cumberland Township history you would like to share — but don’t want to do a full-blown presentation during a public meeting?

A “show-and-tell” spot during a quarterly meeting or a feature on our website might be the answer.

Contact CTHS at or (717) 334-7110 and let us know what you would like to speak about. (For example, a recent show and tell focused on a property deed bearing the names of William Penn’s grandsons.)

We can schedule you to share a few words during a public meeting and/or feature the information on our website at

Meet the Board: Vice Chairman John Horner

Farm worker. Director of music and Christian education. Piano technician. Author, historian, and publisher.

Those are the occupations John Horner has laid claim to over the years, and they give a glimpse of the man now dedicated to “profiling and promoting” the history of Cumberland Township and its residents through his work with the Cumberland Township Historical Society.

Horner lived in the township from 1928 to 1950, returned in 1974, and has called it home ever since.

He explains that he’s a product of the local schools but did head out of state — New Jersey, to be exact — for a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

“This education prepared me for two 25-year careers as director of music and/or director of Christian education in various churches,” he says.

He charted a new career course in 1974, honing his talents as a piano technician. Now, Horner describes himself as an “author, publisher, and presenter of Civil War subjects.”

Horner and Mary, his wife of 63 years, have two children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Given Horner’s love of history, it’s appropriate that he lives in his ancestral home. Built in 1819 on property purchased in 1802, the land is listed as a Bicentennial Farm in Pennsylvania. That means it has been owned by the same family for at least 200 consecutive years, consists of at least 10 acres of the original holding, and has a family member residing there. The house and barn are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Horner continues his mission to share the history of Cumberland Township through his role as vice chairman of the Cumberland Township Historical Society’s board of directors.

Unveiling the secrets to success

When John Horner opened the September meeting of the Cumberland Township Historical Society, he also shared his thoughts on how, and why, the CTHS has progressed so far in such a short time.

“I don’t think that any one of us in our wildest dreams realized how far we would come,” Horner said. “I think our success is due to three main factors:
  1. an enthusiastic and hard-working board of directors;
  2. our speakers — we’ve had the cream of the crop of historical speakers who have been willing to share their expertise about the history of our township; and
  3. you, as members, who turn out every three months en masse to support us and provide esprit de corps and cause us to work diligently at the job before us.”

Have a Video Camera?

CTHS would like to begin recording and archiving its quarterly meetings and presentations. If you have a video camera and would be willing to record these events on behalf of the Society, please email or call (717) 334-7110.

Gantz Brings Lincoln Highway History to Life

The Lincoln Highway starts in the hustle and bustle of Times Square in New York City, ends in the calm of the Presidio in San Francisco, and winds through America’s heartland along the way.

Fred Gantz has made the trip many times, and on Sept. 9, he shared his knowledge and experiences of this country’s first transcontinental route with a full-house crowd at the Cumberland Township Historical Society’s quarterly meeting.

Gantz, a professor at Harrisburg Area Community College, former Gettysburg police chief, and a founding member of the licensed Gettysburg Town Guides, said the Lincoln Highway combines two of his favorite things: history and travel. And with a route that dates back 100 years, there’s plenty of history along the way.

The highway was the brainchild of Carl Fisher, who brought to life such diversions as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Miami Beach. He joined forces with several industrialists who envisioned a coast-to-coast route, and the dream started to take shape through a combination of public and private funds, Gantz said.

In 1913, the Lincoln Highway Association was formed to plan the route, promote the highway, and make it a rider-friendly experience with such improvements as good signage.

Gantz started his talk by banishing one myth: The Lincoln Highway and Route 30 are not one and the same. The Lincoln Highway comprises many different roads across the country, and one of those is Route 30.

“There’s a misconception because people said, ‘We’re going to build this route,’ ” Gantz explained, “but there was very little building. It was an accumulation of other roads and followed paths public and private that people were already using.”

Among those were the Lewis and Clark Trail, Mormon and Oregon trails, and the route of the Pony Express. The Lincoln Highway also paralleled rivers and railroad rights of way.

The issue of a public road that sometimes had to cross private lands created a good deal of tension. Those who saw dollar signs wanted the road nearby and were willing to sell their land to get it. Others put up incorrect signs to detour motorists their way and, they hoped, make a few bucks. Still others, Gantz said, were loathe to give up their property.

In Adams County, land for the Lincoln Highway started changing hands in 1912, Gantz said. The next year, on October 31, 1913, dignitaries and citizens alike celebrated the route’s opening with parades, speeches, and celebrations.

“A Nov. 5 [1913] Gettysburg Times article on the topic describes the celebrations in Gettysburg,” Gantz said. “For the first time, the common man could travel, business became more mobile, and there was a convenient way for what are now historical figures to move around. The automobile became the great democratizer.”

The Gettysburg area, including Cumberland Township, would feel the impact in the years to come.

“Travel and tourism dramatically changed in Gettysburg,” Gantz said. “Facilities were few and far between until then. If you were travelling, you really roughed it.”

In fact, he said, Lincoln Highway guidebooks from the period “show nothing” in Cumberland Township until the 1920s, with the exception of control points — places used to track mileage from one stop to another.

He added that “tourist homes” soon became a common sight. These were large houses that were divided up and used for lodging. Other names well-known to those traveling through the area on the Lincoln Highway included Lawson’s Cottage Court, Shields’ Gettysburg Camp Park, the Belmont Inn and Camp, and the Lincoln Highway Inn.

The Lincoln Highway also had an impact on a military officer who would one day be president — and the architect of the country’s highway system that we know today.

In 1919, Gantz said, Dwight D. Eisenhower was traveling the Lincoln Highway as part of the U.S. Army’s first “transcontinental motor convoy,” moving equipment from coast to coast. He recognized the importance of an efficient, well-maintained system of roads, and in 1956, as president, Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act, another watermark in the nation’s transportation history.

Over the years, the collection of roads known as the Lincoln Highway has evolved as much as the vehicles that travel them. In some cases, Gantz said, hairpin curves have been straightened. And some parts of the original route are no longer accessible.

Still, Gantz said, it’s worth the effort to plot a course and make a trek, long or short, on the country’s first coast-to-coast route.

His final words of advice? “Get off the interstate, wind down your window, and talk to people along the way.”

For more about the Lincoln Highway and early cross-country travel...

  • Across the Continent by the Lincoln Highway, a book by Effie Price Gladding, published in 1915 (available for free viewing online at
  • Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip, a Ken Burns film about Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson’s 1903 drive from San Francisco to New York
  •  The Lincoln Highway Association,

Lend Your Talents to a CTHS Committee

The Cumberland Township Historical Society is looking for a few good people willing to share their time and talents by volunteering to serve on one of several committees.

If interested, or if you would like more information, please email or call Judy at (717) 334-7110.  

Volunteers are currently needed for the following committees:

Program — Recommends topics for public meetings and tours, schedules speakers, and ensures availability of audio visual equipment and recording of presentations for the CTHS archives.

Preservation — Identifies and documents at-risk sites of historic significance in Cumberland Township and develops collaborative interventions to preserve the sites.

Membership — Manages membership enrollment and current membership information and develops strategies for recruiting new members.

Finance — Oversees all financial transactions and ensures compliance with all governing rules and regulations, audits, and reports.

On Battlefield Museum Tour, Members Take a Trek Through Time

About 20 members of the Cumberland Township Historical Society were on hand for a special, members-only guided tour of the Battlefield Military Museum Aug. 29.

The museum on Baltimore Pike has been a Cumberland Township landmark since it first opened its doors in 1963. The building, and the collection, are owned by George Marinos, father of Speros, who hosted the tour.

“Once he started collecting, he never looked back,” Speros said.

Today, cases on two floors are filled with rare, sometimes one-of-a-kind items that walk the visitor through a history of this country’s military engagements. About half of the collection is on display, and each item has its own story.

“You learn about the items through a network of historians,” Speros said. “You do the research, and hopefully it all comes together.

“We’re using artifacts to show how bad war can be to help us work toward peace,” he added. “War is wasteful.” 

Photos below show a few items from the museum's collection:
  • the boots of Gen. George Armstrong Custer;
  • one of the flags that was flying on the USS Maine when it was destroyed in the Spanish-American War;
  • leather footwear excavated from a garbage dump where military equipment had been discarded;
  • firearms, including a Colt experimental musket submitted to the U.S. government to replace the M1842 musket (the design was rejected); and
  • an 1863 patent for a prosthetic leg joint.

Adopt-a-Position Cleanup Start Targeted for 2014

As CTHS Chairman Speros Marinos referenced in his column, the cleanup of the Emmanuel Harmon Farm has been postponed until 2014.

The cleanup is being orchestrated through the National Park Service Adopt-a-Position Program, which engages volunteers to help maintain the historic setting of the battlefield. The Park Service must complete a Cultural Landscape Report before CTHS volunteers can get to work, and NPS staff say this is among the Park’s priorities for the new year.

The site, formerly the Katalysine Springs Hotel and most recently the Gettysburg Country Club, was in the midst of the fighting on July 1, 1863.

Volunteers are welcome to sign up by emailing or calling (717) 334-7110.

Thanks to all those who have already volunteered their services.
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