Shippensburg’s 250-Year History

Below is a collection of excerpts from William H. Burkhart’s book, “Shippensburg’s 250-Year History” published on the occasion of Shippensburg’s 250th Anniversary program, July 6-19, 1980.


 1837–First Train Comes Through Town

On Nov. 16, 1837, a train of seven cars drawn by two locomotives, the “Cumberland Valley” and the “Carlisle,” left the Susquehanna between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. and arrived at Chambersburg at 3:00 p.m.

This was the first run through Shippensburg on the newly laid tracks of the Cumberland Valley Railroad. Waiting to greet its arrival were 1,000 people from the town and community and the town band played “Hail Columbia” for the occasion.

The account of this first run and celebration in the “Harrisburg Telegraph” is one of the earliest references to a band in Shippensburg.

1869 – Brass Band at Cleversburg

A Prof. Mowers organized a 12-member brass band at Cleversburg in Sept. 1869.

1872 – The Great Celebration of July 4

It was one of the four biggest celebrations in Shippensburg in the 1800’s. The other three were (1) the fireman’s parade of 1859, (2) the cornerstone laying at C.V.S.N.S. in 1871 and (3) the trades display parade of 1894.

July 4, 1872, started with cannon firing on Cemetery Hill. Arches of evergreens spanned King Street at its main intersections and American flags were displayed all along streets. In early morning the Shippensburg Drum Corps gave a concert.

The music helped Maj. N. L. Dykeman (with a staff of other Civil War officers) to marshal the parade that formed at 10:00 a.m.

Included in the parade were the previously mentioned Drum Corps, Silver Cornet bands from Chambersburg and Newvillle and the Shippensburg Cornet Band which consisted of 12 members directed by Prof. F. J. Keller. This last named band was seated in a car, canopied with an immense flag and drawn by four horses.

Another feature of the parade was a large wheeled vehicle bearing a huge evergreen wreathed pyramid on which were seated 47 little girls, and holding a flag bearing the name of the state or territory she   represented.

The colorful parade of bands, firemen, lodges and displays proceeded to J. W. Craig’s Grove south of town where an impressive program featured A. B. Sharpe, Esq., orator of the day. Following, refreshments were served from tables arranged in a square.

1886 – C.V. Hose Organizes Cornet Band

In 1886 the C.V. Hose Company No. 2 organized a cornet band which took part in parades and celebrations throughout the Cumberland Valley. This band’s founding date is documented in a photo taken in June 1886 showing the founding date on the bass drum. H.Frank Beidel took the picture.

1908 – Band Organized at Oakville

In 1908 a band was organized at Oakville consisting of Earl Beidler, John Wolf, Clarence and Frank Dunkelburger, Wilber Cramer, John Thrush, Wilbur Forney, Ray Dewalt (inventor of the Dewalt saw), Ralph Mouer, Charles Brewster, Leland Thrush, Jesse McCaleb, Harvey Hoch and James Chamberlin.

1910 – Edward Shippen Military Band

A group of young men playing wind instruments and drums organized themselves into the Edward Shippen Military Band Oct. 24, 1910. Their uniforms were all of the same design and resembled cadets in a military academy.

From 1870 on, there is frequent mention in news stories of a town band whose name changed frequently, two of which were Citizens’Cornet Band and Shippensburg Cornet Band.

1964 – High School Band is World Champion

In July 1964 Shippensburg Area High School Band with Lincoln s. Fogelsanger as director won the championship in competition with 80 other bands in the World Contest at Toronto, Canada. Lions International sponsored the competition.

Fogelsanger withheld news of the winning until the band returned to avoid a control problem, but when he made the announcement, band members lifted h