In one of the previous issues I mentioned the Sesquicentennial celebration that occurred in 1987, when the town was 150 years old. I thought that for the benefit of the young and old that it would be nice to reminisce a little and relive some of the activities of that time.
Though the little borough, with 1,396 residents at the time, was 150 years old, it is actually one of the youngest boroughs in York County. The town was founded in 1837, but was not incorporated into a borough until 1929.
Several residents of Jacobus began to “gear up” for a gigantic 150th anniversary celebration in January of 1987. A public town meeting was called for Thursday, January 15, 1987 for the purpose of organizing committees and to get ideas of how the residents might want to celebrate this occasion. Citizens were asked to bring old photos and any family memories to add to the making of a history book as part of the celebration. This was going to be the year that York countians were going to get to know a lot about the little borough of Jacobus. Several possible events that were discussed included hosting a parade, choosing a Sesquicentennial queen, fireworks on the 4th of July and the selling of shares of stock for the event at $1.00 per share as a fund raiser.
The Jacobus Borough Council appointed a Sesquicentennial committee to take charge of the year long celebration. Those residents appointed to the committee were: George Keeney, Jr., Pres.; representing the recreation commission; and John Geiselman, representing the Jacobus leisure Club. This main committee would be responsible for appointing other committees and for making plans and preparation for the celebration.
The Jacobus Borough Council agreed to purchase the first 500 shares of stock to provide the financial aid to get things ”rolling”. The next meeting was held on January 29th and the festivities were tentatively scheduled to begin with a parade on May 23rd, and close on Labor Day in September with a ‘street fair’. The official name of the celebration was decided as ‘JACOBUS FOUNDING SESQUICENTENNIAL’ and the following officers were elected for this committee: George Keeney, President; Burnell Bollinger, Vice President; Darlene Bohnert, Secretary; George Baum & Gerald Lentz, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer; and Directors: Lance Beard, John Geiselman, Ronald Miller and Robert Benica.
Other meetings were held and the celebration plans began to grow. One of the highlights of the Sesquicentennial was the building of wooden stocks by Joe Richard, of Springfield Township, who was a junior at York County Vo-Tech School. Signs read “Ye who violate the Sesquicentennial rules and regulations may find yourself in these stocks”. Various other committees were appointed to assist with functions of the celebration. Darlene Bohnert was appointed chairperson for the committee to select the Sesquicentennial Founding Queen, who would rein over all the festivities. The Jacobus Lions Club was appointed to chair the “Brothers of the Brush” beard growing activities, which included the beard and mustache growing contests. Sam Andrews assumed the chairmanship of this committee. The men in the community formed a ’Brothers of the Brush’ committee and controlled 7 different groups of men, all growing beards and/or mustaches. The women formed a “Belles” committee, which was co-chaired by Hilda Goodling, Gladys Zartman, Bridgitte Birch, Mary Guise and Shirley Shilling. There were 10 groups of women in the “Belles”. They participated in fund raising and fun events.
A headquarter for the Sesquicentennial committee was established at the mini-mall, located across from the post office. The address was designated as 26 N. Main Street, Store #3. Old pictures and other memorabilia became available for display depicting the life during those early years. Souvenir items were sold here as fundraisers. Some of those items were: history books, plates, glass mugs, coffee mugs, little brown jugs, ceramic bells, sleeve garters, green window signs, hats, patches, logos, wooden nickels, children’s coloring books and stock certificates. Two quilts were made by the ’Cover Girls’ from Salem Lutheran Church and raffled off during the celebration.
One of the first tasks confronting the newly formed Sesquicentennial Founding committee was the selection and adoption of a logo. After several meetings and reviewing several designs a logo was selected and the art work was done by Barbara Tagliarina. The logo depicted historical landmarks of the community and illustrated scenes from 150 years of borough history. It depicted both Lake Williams and Lake Redman, the Dietz Bridge, the Jacobus Hotel, the old schoolhouse, the Lutheran and Reformed Church and the original fire house. This logo was used on most of the souvenirs that were sold. Local businesses participated by displaying old historical pictures and information in their windows and they also supplied the applications for young women, 18 years of age to 31 years of age, who desired to vie for the title of queen.
Work was progressing for the publication of the celebration history book, which would be for sale later in the year and would contain information and pictures of the town and the families who first settled in New Paradise (now Jacobus).
Planning was now to the point where schedules of events could be printed.
Some of the scheduled events were:
SELECTION OF THE QUEEN: The period for casting votes started on April 12th and ended on May 9th. Thirteen girls were competing for the title. Applications for the queen’s title were available at the various business places.
CORONATION OF THE QUEEN: Melissa Smith received the highest votes for the title of queen and Beth Hildebrand was the first runner up. The coronation of the queen was held at the fire hall on May 16th and committee president George Keeney, Jr. presented the crown to the queen.
MONTE CARLO NIGHT: The Sesquicentennial Parade was held on May 30th in the borough. U. S. Congressman William Goodling had been chosen to be the Parade Grand Marshal. The parade formed at 2:30 p.m., at Woodland Drive and Eagleton Drive in the Southern Pines Development. Spectators lined Main Street and the side streets along the parade route and ignored the hot sun to enjoy the parade. Many of the groups of the Brothers of the Brush and the Belles entered floats in the parade. The parade was quite long as many individuals and organizations also participated. Door prizes were awarded to the best appearing musical groups, floats, marching units, majorette groups, an organization representing the best Sesquicentennial theme and the best antique cars. Following the parade, a community picnic was held at the borough park.
OLD TIMERS BASEBALL GAME: On June 13th an old timers baseball game was played between the older “youngsters” from Jacobus and Loganville. Everyone had lots of fun, even if some of the players only lasted for an inning or two. Following the baseball game the Hour Glass Country and Western Band entertained the crowd of people, playing music from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
FIREWORKS DISPLAY: A 4th of July celebration was held at the borough park and it concluded with a fireworks display in honor of the 150th year birthday of the borough.
AT THE SESQUICENTENNIAL “HOP”: On August 1st a “hop” (dance) was held at the Loganville/Springfield Elementary School for all persons 18 years of age and over. Everyone had a wonderful time trying to remember those dance steps from ‘yester years’.
CHURCH VESPERS SERVICE: On August 9th a church vespers service was held at the borough park with Pastor Thomas Slater, Christ Lutheran of Loganville; Pastor George Knarr, Pastor of Salem Lutheran, Jacobus; Pastor Fred Walthour, Salem UCC, Jacobus; and Pastor John Loewen, Christ UM, Jacobus, participating in the service.
OLD SCHOOL REUNION: Sunday, August 16th was a typical, hor Sunday afternoon. But Wait, it was not so typical by finding a school in session at the Loganville/Springfield Elementary School on this day. The School Reunion committee had planned a re-creation of a school day of ’yester year’. The school bell rang promptly at 2:30 p.m. and one by one, beginning with the year 1900 and ending with 1954, the former students introduced themselves. Teacher Clair Trout took the students through their subjects. Jessica (Leader) Snider recited all 50 states and their capitals, and Jane (Geiselman) Snyder recited a poem by John G. Whittier. The highlight of the school day was a “spelling bee”. Several pranksters, such as George Keeney, Jr. and Earle (Foxy) Lehman played their usual pranks on the teacher.
BARBERSHOP QUARTET CONCERT: On August 22nd a barbershop quartet concert was held at the fire hall. There were two singing groups participating and they sang in perfect harmony.
6TH ANNUAL STREET FAIR: On Labor Day, September 7th, the Jacobus Fire Dept. conducted their 6th annual street fair in conjunction with the sesquicentennial celebration. Reserved spaces for vendors were sold at $5.00 per space.
BEARD JUDGING CONTEST: September 7th was that long awaited day for the men who grew beards and mustaches during the Sesquicentennial celebration and it was now time to decide who would win the prizes in various categories. (By the way, those men who chose not to grow a beard or mustache were required to purchase a shaving badge for $5.00, or face the wooden stocks as punishment.) There were all sorts of beards. Some were black, some were blonde, some were grey, some were white, some were long and others short, so it became quite a task for the judges to decide who the winners might be. But they did their job and the following people were the winners in the categories listed: Robert Leisenring (best mutton chops); Mike Beaverson (scraggliest beard); Mike Smith (best Lincoln beard); Earle (Foxy) Lehman (best full beard); Harvey Dubbs (prettiest beard); Francis McWilliams (most colorful beard); Lyn Smith (best overall beard); George Baum (best goatee); and Joe Hildebrand (best van dyke beard).
CONCERT BY DIANE KING SUSEK: On September 11th a musical concert was presented in the auditorium at the Dallastown Middle School. It was very well attended and everyone enjoyed Diane’s performance.
This event concluded the Sesquicentennial celebration for Jacobus Borough. It was a very successful endeavor by the residents and thoroughly enjoyed by all. There were several reasons for having the celebration. They were to (1) honor our heritage, (2) create new civic awareness among all the citizens, (3) discover more civic leaders, (4) stimulate local economy, and (5) focus attention on our future.
G. Burnell Bollinger
Mayor of Jacobus