The Greencastle-Antrim community is ready for Old Home Week

A tradition that dates back 120 years to the Old Boys Reunion of 1902 returns to the Greencastle-Antrim community with the 41st Triennial Old House Week which kicks off on Saturday August 6th and runs until Saturday August 13th.

The celebration lasted every three years through two World Wars and the Great Depression. The three-year schedule had the 40th installment in August 2019 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 41st after its darkest months.

Mayor’s reportOld House Week

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“After everything the world has been through for the past three years, we still have Old House Week,” Bonnie Shockey, chair of this year’s Old House Week, said near the end of the meeting. July 25 final planning.

Under his leadership, the chairmen of nearly 50 committees have met monthly since September 2021. The committees run the alphabet from the alumni meeting, vintage car show and vintage tractor show to the website, showcases and at WRGG’s David King concert.

Some committee leaders organize events that echo those of the former boys’ reunion.

Then there was a chicken dinner and picnic along Conococheague Creek.

Today, people sit at picnic tables or stroll the plaza munching hot dogs from the BSA Troop 99 concession stand. Then there was a minstrel show.

Today there is a competition, this year titled ‘Yesterday When We Were Young’ on stage at Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium at 7pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Then, an iconic photo was taken as the “Old Boys” reunited for their first – and last – reunion in 1902.

Today, around 2,000 people – from toddlers to nonagenarians – pack the square for the week’s traditional photo of the Old House which will be taken at 11.30am on Wednesday.

Then there were band concerts.

Today there is a concert at the Jerome R. King Playground from 7-8:30 p.m. and music in the plaza from 8-11 p.m. most nights. The action moves to Kaley Field in the Greencastle-Antrim School District for a US Navy Band Cruisers concert from 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Friday, followed by the Old Home Week fireworks display at 9 p.m. h.

The first – and only – reunion of the former boys

The Old Boys’ Reunion was orchestrated by Philip E. Baer, ​​born in Greencastle in 1865. He grew up to tour the country as a concert singer. Wherever he performed, he received a warm welcome from former residents of his hometown. He and his wife, Jannette, began talking about a gathering of these friends at their home in Greencastle.

“This concept grew into an idea that included the whole city with entertainment held over a weekend, which expanded into plans encompassing the whole week,” according to William P. Conrad, a late local historian and superintendent of schools of Greencastle-Antrim.

Conrad traced the evolution of the celebration in “A Safe Kept Memory: The Old Home Week Story” for the 29th Triennial Old House Week in 1986.

Sixty-five “old boys” attended the event and had so much fun that they decided to meet again in three years time in 1905.

This is the classic photo taken at the 1902 Old Boys Reunion, which became Old House Week in 1905.

Their enthusiasm and good times did not go unnoticed by their stay-at-home wives, according to Conrad.

“The ‘Old Boys’ reunion was over,” he wrote. “From 1905 to the present, Old Home Week has been the accepted title for the event with invitations for ladies and gentlemen.”

How is the old house week paid?

“Attendance at these triennial rites varied over the years, but the sixty-five ‘old boys’ who attended their reunion in 1902 would marvel at the growth of the institution they had originated,” Conrad wrote.

He noted that “early budgets rarely exceeded five hundred dollars.” In 1983, the expenses were about $20,000.

Today, Old Home Week is a $75,000+ business funded primarily by individual and corporate donations, as well as sponsorship of select events.

Money is also generated by selling Old Home Week badges. A badge costs $6 and is all that is needed for admission to all Old Home Week events except the Loyal Daughters reunion.

A $5 membership fee will be collected at the Loyal Daughters reunion, themed “Teach Love Inspire,” on Tuesday afternoon at Antrim Brethren in Christ Church. The money is donated within the community.

A different local landmark is depicted on the badge every three years. The badge for the 41st celebration features a sketch of Allison’s Tavern as it may have appeared when John Allison laid out the town of Greencastle 240 years ago in 1782.

A rendering of Allison's Tavern, the first structure in what is now the borough of Greencastle, is featured on the badge for the 41st Triennial Old House Week.

Badges are on sale at many local businesses and at the corporate office, 42 Center Square, during Old Home Week.

“Are you ready for Old House Week?”

The old boys’ reunion drew attendees from all over, and many of the movers come home every three years.

Those who still live here are also excited about the celebration and for months everyone’s favorite question has been “Are you ready for Old House Week?” »

Tim Starliper is one of many who plan a vacation for Old House Week every three years.

“Love it, love it,” the 1988 Greencastle-Antrim High School graduate said during a stop on his rounds as a UPS driver.

“It doesn’t get better than this,” said Starliper, who always takes the entire week off. He’s got some buddies coming home and they’re going to hang out and play a little golf.

Starliper listed the parade and the fireworks among her favorite things to do. Both are popular not only in the Greencastle-Antrim community, but across the region.

Left to right, Rita Plessinger, Carolyn Waltz, Esther Walck and Linda Stoler dressed for a patriotic entrance in the 2019 Old House Week Parade in Greencastle.

The parade is due to start at 6 p.m. Thursday and around 6,000 people will line the streets. Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas noted that he saw a lawn chair in position on the parade route with a sign on it on the last Saturday in July.

Thomas also praised “the officers, committee chairs and hundreds of volunteers who planned, practiced, met and are now ready to make the magic happen.”

The official opening ceremony for Old Home Week will take place from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, August 6 in the central square. Children under 16 are invited to help President Bonnie Shockey cut the ribbon.

The unofficial opening from 11 p.m. Sunday in Center Square is when many people feel Old House week officially begins.

At one time, thousands of people would gather in the square to greet old friends and welcome new ones, according to Conrad, and some “drunken groups” demonstrated “what absolute fools some mortals really can be.”

A crowd gathers in Center Square in Greencastle in 2019 for the unofficial opening and hosts Old Home Week at the stroke of midnight.  It's a tradition that should continue this year.

That gathering was replaced by a late-night family event decades ago. When the town clock strikes midnight, Vernon McCauley will say “Happy Old House Week, Everyone!” before the crowd broke into the song “The Old Gray Mare”, followed by other beloved songs.

The “magic” of Old Home Week also includes something for everyone, whether their interests are history, music, sports, learning about the city, or simply spending time with friends and family.

There are exhibits of cars, motorcycles, vintage tractors, flowers and dogs; worship services; and sporting events, from the Fred Kaley Memorial Run to an alumni baseball game.

Crossing Martin's Mill Bridge, the historic covered bridge that is normally closed to traffic, is a highlight of the first day of Old Home Week.

History buffs can start the week by crossing Martin’s Mill Bridge, the historic covered bridge which is normally closed to traffic on Saturdays. They can also visit the Allison-Antrim Museum and Brown’s Mill School and learn about ‘Roots of Tayamentasachta: Exploring the History of the School Farm’.

“Reminiscence” sessions spread over three days will feature current and former local residents sharing their memories and stories. Examples include members of the 1980s Greencastle-Antrim High School cross country team and coach Greg Hoover; people who grew up in Shady Grove; and Brian Fuss, who covered five presidents in his 23 years at the CBS Washington press office.

A mobile community mural will be created by many hands during Paint in the Park; there will be laughter all around during the ‘Good Morning Greencastle’ programme; the Greencastle-Antrim Christian Women’s Fellowship will organize a musical matinee; and a city and township bus tour and walking tours of the High Line station are planned.

Theodore Guy was one of the riders in the 2019 Old Home Week cycle races on North Carlisle Street in Greencastle.  In addition to the races, the youngest can also enjoy the funfair at the playground.

Children can press the pedals during bike races and have a good time at the carnival at Playground.

Old Home Week is a non-commercial business and food sales are limited to local Scouts, who take the opportunity to earn money for regular and special activities. BSA Troop 99 will be set up at their traditional spot in the plaza selling hot dogs, burgers, fries, steamers, pulled pork and rolling tacos, and other scouts will be offering gelati, snow cones , popcorn and cotton candy at activities throughout the week. .

Free food will also be available as community businesses, organizations and churches hold open houses and events such as ice cream parties.

The full schedule of events is available on the Old Home Week website. It is also included in the program that people receive when they purchase a badge.

Shawn Hardy is a reporter for Gannett’s Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania – Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro, and Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has over 35 years of journalism experience. Contact her at [email protected].

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