Gettysburg, PA Area Storm, Jan 1939
Severe Gale Sweeps Gettysburg, County; Variety of Damage
Considerable damage was reported in Gettysburg and Adams county Sunday as this section felt the force of the gale that swept North Atlantic states. The wind reached a velocity in excess of fifty miles an hour.
Electric and telephone lines were blown down and broken in several sections of the county, leaving at least two county current for hours and many sections without telephone service. Extra crews of workmen of the telephone and light companies replaced several scores of poles and restrung miles of wire.
Pedestrians and motorists on Baltimore street had narrow escapes from serious injury when the upper section of a double chimney at the front of the Deatrick brothers funeral home collapsed about 3:30 o'clock Sunday afternoon and sent a shower of bricks and mortar over the pavement and the eastern section of the street at that point. No one was in the immediate vicinity at the time.
Many Poles Down
The pavement was roped on in front of the building and "no parking" signs which had to be weighted down with some of the fallen bricks were erected to keep the area clear in case other sections of the chimney or loose bricks which remained on the roof might follow. The chimney was repaired today.
Telephones and electric poles blocked several main highways north of here and at the former Robert K. Major farm, two miles north of town along the Harrisburg road a large machine shed was blown across the road. A state snow plow was used to smash the debris and shove it to the roadside while state motor police directed traffic.
The United Telephone company reported about 30 poles and miles of wire down Sunday. Half the broken poles were along the Gettysburg-Harrisburg road between the county seat and York Springs. A number of others were down in the Biglerville section and north and west of Arendtsville.
Telephone and seven electric poles, including at least one joint pole, were blown over between Biglerville and Flora Dale Sunday evening. Although electric service was not interrupted there, traffic was blocked while the lines were restored.
Arendtsville and that section were without electricity from 1 o'clock Sunday afternoon until 9 o'clock in the evening excepting for several brief periods between 5 and 6 o'clock.
Roy Heckenluber, Arendtsville poultryman who is hatching 12,000 eggs in electrically heated incubators, said he would not be able to determine for about a week whether the break had killed the developing chicks. Five hundred chicks in electric brooders seemed none the worse for the drop in temperature resulting from the break in the current.
A number of trees and telephone lines in Arendtsville section also were blown down.
Telephone company workmen were busy today repairing storm damage and seeking to return many rural lines to service. The Metropolitan Edison company reported its crews were on patrol and repair duty from 11 o'clock Sunday morning until 1 o'clock this morning.
There was minor damage to buildings in Gettysburg. John Ogden Steinwehr avenue said his house roof was damaged and his garage doors were smashed. Charles Rosensteel, who reported damage to the roof of his dwelling.
Signs were blown down many places in town.
John W. Black, Cumberland township, said the large doors on his barn were blown in and badly damaged.
A large tree on the property of Miss Bess Baugher, 337 Carlisle street, was blown down and finally rested on the garage of Dr. R. S. Saby, whose property adjoins the Baugher home.
Shingles were blown off the roof of Colonel J. L. Barton's home Carlisle and Broadway.
12 Degrees Above.
At the Arendtsville weather station in low of 12 degrees above zero was recorded this morning. Sunday's lowest reading was 24 degrees above zero. The winter's low mark was set there Friday with a reading of two degrees above zero.
State motor police were called upon throughout the evening to handle traffic on the Biglerville. Harrisburg and Emmitsburg roads at points where poles or light and telephone lines had blocked the highways. Roads running east and west experiences little difficulty either from drifting snow or other obstructions.
Main highways were kept open throughout the county but several secondary roads drifted shut. Many country roads were choked with snow drifts some of which are reported to have measured five and six feet.
At Fairfield the town street lights were off throughout the night. Several window panes were blown in during the height of the storm at the homes of J. C. Knox, R. S. Reindollar and Frank M. Moore.
Twelve snow plows were ordered out Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock by the local highway department. The high wind threatened to close many of the county roads by drifting snow but all main roads were kept open. The plows, which operated all night, encountered their greatest difficulty on the Harrisburg, Biglerville and Emmitsburg roads.
At the National park office here this morning it was reported that a half dozen or more large trees had been blown down on the battlefield Sunday. One tree blocked Culp's Hill avenue for a short time.
The Gettysburg Times, Gettysburg, PA 23 Jan 1939
Transcribed by Linda Horton. Thank you, Linda!