Steve Saunders, 1999

Steve Saunders, co-owner of the brand-new MoviE-town multiplex theater in Elizabethtown, poses in the theater in this photo from May 1999.

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Excerpts and summaries of news stories from the former Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster New Era and Sunday News that focus on the events in the county’s past that are noteworthy, newsworthy or just strange.

25 years ago

In May 1999, Elizabethtown was about to get its first multiplex movie theater.

MoviE-town, co-owned by Steve Saunders and Barry Garman, would open with six screens, stadium seating, state-of-the-art sound systems and an audience capacity of more than 1,000 moviegoers.

The theater's initial slate of films included "The Mummy," "The Matrix," "Never Been Kissed," "Life," "Analyze This" and "Baby Geniuses."

However, Saunders said, the biggest draw would be coming two weeks after opening day, when "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" would arrive. Fans were already stopping by the theater to see if they could buy tickets, Saunders said.

MoviE-town, which later reconfigured to support eight screens, would eventually close with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It never reopened.

In the headlines:

NYPD officers on trial in sexual torture case

Oklahoma, Kansas storms kill at least 43

U.S. jet shoots down Yugoslav warplane

Check out the May 5, 1999, Intelligencer Journal here.

50 years ago

Ross Riflemen, 1974

Ross's Riflemen, a company of Revolutionary War re-enactors name for a company of soldiers recruited from Lancaster in 1775, march in the Loyalty Day parade in May 1974.

An estimated 40,000 people turned out to see Lancaster's sixth annual Loyalty Day parade on May 4, 1974. 

Baton twirlers, marching bands, unicyclists, floats and more took to the streets for the entertainment of the crowds. One of the most popular attractions was Ross's Riflemen, a company of re-enactors led by future Lancaster Mayor Charlie Smithgall.

Named for a unit of Revolutionary War soldiers who were recruited from Lancaster, the re-enactors marched, waved flags and fired their long rifles into the air, eliciting gasps from the crowd.

Parade float, 1974

The Women's Republican Club entered this float in the Loyalty Day Parade in Lancaster in May 1974. The float won its division.

In the headlines:

Satellites to monitor weather

Nixon opens Expo '74 in Spokane

Judiciary unit to consider data on Nixon

Check out the May 5, 1974, Sunday News here.

75 years ago

"Atomic research" was set to take place over Lebanon County in May 1949, and the story made the front page of the Lancaster New Era on May 5.

A group of scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York were preparing to send a large helium balloon aloft from Lebanon County Airport to help study cosmic rays.

The balloon, measuring 75 feet in diameter, would carry numerous scientific instruments and would ascend to a height of 100,000 feet - about 19 miles. Once there, the instruments would gather data before being released by radio control to fall back to earth.

Spotters in airplanes would try to track the instruments as they fell, but the public could get involved as well - anyone spotting and returning one of the devices would earn a cash reward from the laboratory.

In the headlines:

Berlin blockade ends on May 12

65,000 Ford workers go out on strike

Physical study of 200 men discloses most are lopsided 

Check out the May 5, 1949, Lancaster New Era here.

100 years ago

In May 1924, two young men from Lancaster were preparing to "hike around the world." 

Charles Schneider, 20, and Smith Swords Jr., 21, were set to leave Lancaster on foot, each carrying a 50-pound knapsack and 25 dollars in cash. They planned to spend as little as possible on travel expenses - they would walk or hitchhike as much as they could - and would earn money along the way for necessities after their initial funds ran out.

The men, both 1921 graduates of the former Lancaster High School, would be accompanied by an Airedale terrier named Whiskers.

They planned to first travel across the United States to San Francisco, and then "journey by steamer to the Orient."

In the headlines:

German poll favorable to Dawes report

Soldier bonus submitted to voters

Check out the May 5, 1924, Lancaster New Era here.

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