Sunday, May 31, 2020

About Town 5/31/2020

This week's photos of Columbia

All you need is love.

Artifacts from a bygone era

Has it been beaten into shape yet?
Back in the day, workers would say they worked at the Malleable, pronouncing it "MOWL-luh-bull."

Falcon watch in effect

Still there . . .

and believed to be part of this quartet, possibly known as the"The East Side Udders."
[Posted previously]

Off to be made into millions of pencils

A many-hundred gallon container for those who really like their iced tea

Linden Street lookout

Saint Francis and friend

Cardinal, elated

This could be posted at many places around town.

Broken light cover at the 5th & Chestnut clock plaza

Red-tailed hawk (?) on Bank Avenue

In case you lose direction

Eye bolts hanging out at Peerless Hardware

On the 500 block of Avenue H: soon to be demolished?

The planning commission and zoning hearing board recently approved the conversion of this building, the former Catholic War Vets, into a two-unit apartment building. There's no parking available on the property, and no setback on the Avenue H side. There's no exterior trash receptacle or dumpster. Trash will be stored in a compartment inside the building. There's also no exterior stairs. A plastic ladder will be stored onsite to be used to escape from the second floor, in case of fire.
What could possibly go wrong? 

The Betsy Ross Flag

The United States Flag and the flag of the Cult of Trump. The gray background could be smoke resulting from Trump inflaming the country.

Oh well, at least we have the flag of the United States of Watermelon.

Time for a good weeding on South 9th.

Sunflowers off to a good start

Fresh paint on the high school hill, undoubtedly dry by now

A mini hornet's nest, or what's left of a bigger one?
(It's about an inch and a half in diameter.)

Shades of Steven Spielberg, those clouds are absolutely ominous.

Air Force plane flying over

Yes, protect the vulnerable.

The Chestnut Street Turkey Hill store is temporarily closed due to an employee testing positive for the COVID-19, according to

This is the responsible thing to do. Congratulations, Lisa, as well as the other 2020 Columbia High School grads!


There's a naked snake out there somewhere.

All you need is love.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

"Art in the Gardens" tour to be held Saturday, June 13, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Gardens of Justin & Jennifer Albright

“Art in the Gardens”, Columbia’s garden tour, will be held on Saturday, June 13, from 10:00AM to 3:00PM and will be subject to any restrictions set in place by the governor’s office. The tour returns under the coordination of Create Columbia, a local non-profit organization that is the artistic branch of Columbia’s Merchant Association. This annual tour blends the artistry of several local gardeners with the artistic talents of a variety of artists and musicians who have each been assigned to one of the venues.

Gardens of Kelly & Rebecca Murphy

The garden tour is announced at this time in optimistic anticipation of an easing of restrictions by the scheduled tour date. The organizing committee hopes that many will enjoy the fresh air of this outside activity while maintaining appropriate social distancing. Guests are asked to wear masks while attending this event, and procedures are in place to limit the number of people at each venue at any given time. If guidelines prevent participation in the tour on J une 13, an alternate date of June 27 has been established for the 2020 “Art in the Gardens” Tour. Please check the Create Columbia Facebook page for updates on the tour date.

Gardens of Jerry King Musser & Janette Toth-Musser

The garden tour will truly be “Art in the Gardens.” Each of the residential stops will host at least one artist working en plein air. Acrylics, oils, collages, and more will be produced during the garden tour. Musical artistry will also be offered at some of the locations. Enjoy the gardens, and also enjoy the talents of our featured artists.

“Art in the Gardens” features seven gardens that showcase different styles and gardening features. The artists tentatively assigned to each location are included in the listings.

Gardens of Justin & Jennifer Albright: Look for fruit trees, a raised bed, and a water feature to complement the hardscaping here. Featured artists: Jay Dombach & Elizabeth Patton

Gardens of Gary & Denise Brubaker: Family handprints, patriotic plantings, and annual planters add character to the Brubaker’s gardens. Featured artist: Peggi Donnan

Gardens of Jim & Beth Kramer: A pergola anchors the plantings in this predominately shade garden. Featured artist: Freiman Stoltzfus

Gardens of Kelly & Rebecca Murphy: These Victorian style gardens, a National Wildlife Service Certified Natural Habitat, include a water feature, an herb garden, a pergola constructed from upcycled pieces, and more. Featured artist: Emily Frey

Gardens of Jerry King Musser & Janette Toth-Musser: Inspired by the English cottage style, this garden includes whimsical topiaries as well as native Pennsylvania flowers, herbs, and a variety of perennials. Featured artist: Janette Toth-Musser

Gardens of Dave & Vivian Rupp: A wide variety of ornamental trees and perennials add color to features including a goldfish pond, a grape arbor, and Dave’s shanty – a building that is over 150 years old which was removed from Mount Bethel Cemetery and reconstructed here. Featured artist: Susan Darling

Gardens of Tom & Kathy Ziegler: Evergreens, trees, perennials, grasses, and bushes give warmth to this Certified Wildlife Habitat recognized by the National Wildlife Federation. Look for a gazebo, bird houses, garden art, and more. Featured artist: Leslie Harbold

Gardens of Wright’s Ferry Mansion: Long a favorite of the Columbia garden tours, the gardens at Wright’s Ferry Mansion will not be able to participate this year due to closure caused by the pandemic. This site looks forward to returning to the tour next year.

The seven residential gardens will be featured for the duration of the tour. For a sneak preview of each garden in ongoing posts, visit Create Columbia’s Facebook page.

In addition, demonstrations were planned for the terrace of the Columbia Public Library. Plans for tours of the library and scheduled demonstrations on making grapevine wreaths and making bows for had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

Tickets for the tour will be available for purchase on the tour date, which will be dependent upon Governor Wolf’s orders. Admission programs costing $15 each may be purchased in the gazebo located in Columbia’s Locust Street Park beginning at 9:30AM. Cash or check is required for ticket purchase. Please refer to to determine the established tour date. This event will be held rain or shine.

[Source: Press release]

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Columbia Mayor Lutz pens letter supporting Superintendent Tom Strickler

Math error in Harrisburg may raise school tax bills

Lancaster City Council president on a mission to rid city of illegal 'we buy houses' signs

Lancaster City Council President Ismail Smith-Wade-El has been ripping down signs he says are posted without permission and could prompt desperate homeowners to sell their residences during a pandemic, tempted by the allure of quick cash.

The "We Buy Houses" signs tout cash for houses, as-is. They're often seen stapled to utility poles.

Smith-Wade-El has a couple problems with them.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Laurel Hill headstone memorializes local WWII airman who went missing in action over Japan

Columbia History - Did you know?

Did you know that a headstone at Laurel Hill Cemetery bears the name of a World War II airman who went missing in action over Japan? It's true.

Second Lieutenant Paul R. "Gat" Garrison, Jr.

Second Lieutenant Paul R. "Gat" Garrison, Jr., whose name appears on his family's headstone at Laurel Hill, was the navigator on a B-29 Superfortress known as "Waddy's Wagon." Garrison, from Lancaster, PA, had enlisted in the US Army Air Forces and eventually became a crew member on the plane, which was part of the 869th Bomber Squadron, 497th Bomber Group.  Waddy's Wagon was named for the commander, Captain Walter R."Waddy" Young, an All-American football player on Oklahoma’s 1938 Orange Bowl Team, who had played two years in the NFL.

Detail of the Garrison family headstone bearing Paul R. Garrison (Jr)'s name and the inscription "Missing in action over Japan" at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Columbia, PA

B-29 raids on Tokyo began on November 24, 1944, with the first raid targeting an aircraft engine factory at Musashino. Of the 111 B-29s sent, Waddy's Wagon was the fifth to take off for the 6-hour, 3,000-mile trip from Saipan to Tokyo and the first to return afterwards. All but two of the aircraft returned. The XXI Bomber Command's subsequent raids on Tokyo and other cities were mostly unsuccessful due to adverse weather and mechanical problems, and tactics were changed when Major General Curtis LeMay took over the Command in January 1945.

On January 9, 1945, Waddy's Wagon was among 72 B-29s dispatched from Saipan to bomb the Nakajima Aircraft Engine Factory in Musashino. Along the way, high winds scattered the 8-plane formations so that only 18 of the planes were able to bomb the primary target, Waddy's Wagon being one of them. Kamikaze fighters attacked the bombers as they reached their target, and a B-29 to Waddy's Wagon's right was rammed by an enemy plane. Captain Young turned back to help protect the damaged plane and escort it out, and to signal its location if it ditched. In the process, Waddy's Wagon also sustained hits from Japanese fighters, forcing Young and the other plane to ditch into the Pacific Ocean near the island of Hachijo Shima. Waddy's Wagon was last sighted 10 miles east of Choshi Point off mainland Japan at 27,000 feet and descending into clouds, according to one report. During a search the next day and for the next two weeks, no traces of either aircraft or their crews were found. Waddy's Wagon was one of six B-29s lost on the mission. Both crews were declared dead on January 10, 1946.

Paul R. Garrison, Jr.

Garrison received the following medals, most of them posthumously:

★ Purple Heart
★ World War II Victory Medal
★ American Campaign Medal
★ Army Presidential Unit Citation
★ Army Good Conduct Medal
★ Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

Garrison is also memorialized at the Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Garrison's name appears on one of the "Tablets of the Missing" at the Honolulu Memorial.

Waddy’s Wagon Crew:
Capt. Walter R. “Waddy” Young – Command Pilot (KIA) O-382584 Ponca City, Oklahoma
2nd Lt. Robert M. Phillips – Pilot (KIA) O-806902 Knoxville, Tennessee
2nd Lt. Paul R. “Gat” Garrison, Jr. – Navigator (KIA) O-698695 Lancaster, Pennsylvania
2nd Lt. John F. Ellis – Bombardier (KIA) O-685457 Moberly, Missouri
2nd Lt. Bernard S. “Bunny” Black – Flight Engineer (KIA) O-866285 Woodhaven, New York
Sgt. George E. “Sparks” Avon – Radio Operator (KIA) 32936470 Syracuse, New York
S/Sgt. Kenneth M. “Windy” Mansir – Radar Operator (KIA) 11097819 Randolph, Missouri
Sgt. Lawrence L. “Lucky” Lee – Central Fire Control (KIA) 37252164 Max, North Dakota
Sgt. Wilbur J. “Sleepy” Chapman – Right Gunner (KIA) 38606304 Panhandle, Texas
Sgt. Corbett L. Carnegie – Left Gunner (KIA) 12214591 Grindstone Island, New York
S/Sgt. Joseph J. Gatto – Tail Gunner (KIA) 12024315 Falconer, New York

The crew of Waddy's Wagon
Boeing-Wichita B-29-40-BW Superfortress
Serial number 42-24598
869th Bomb Squadron, 497th Bomb Group, 73rd Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force
2nd Lieutenant Paul R. Garrison, Jr. is in the first row, far left.

Document listing the names of the missing crew members

Waddy's Wagon is seen very briefly in this video, at about 13:21 and 14:19.


Honolulu Memorial

Sunday, May 24, 2020

About Town 5/24/2020

This week's photos of Columbia

As if in observance of Memorial Day, this bird bows his head atop the angel at Mount Bethel Cemetery.

 Then offers up a song

"The Returned Soldier" reminds us to observe Memorial Day.
(Columbia Spy posted the backstory of this statue HERE.)

Seemingly, this is the goal.

Not always a good mix

Air Force plane

Concentric arches

Bicycle built for two - or at least one and a half

 Columbia Borough and West Hempfield Police responded to a fight at the Chestnut Street Turkey Hill store earlier this week (here and below).

 Guardian at the Watch & Clock Museum

Bumblebee at work

 OK . . .

 Pouring cement at 403 Locust Street

Ongoing excavation work at the gas pumps at the Chestnut Street Turkey Hill store.

 Chairs for sittin' out

Chairs up for grabs


Congratulations Columbia High School Class of 2020!

And a 2020 college grad!

Guys doing things up high . . .

Broken things . . .


 Both lanes about to be blocked

 Putting the docks in (here and below)

 That's some paint job.

 Here's a closeup


 In the window


 Not a proper method of disposal

 Some day we will be OK.

 The black vultures were back briefly this week at North 5th and Avenue G.

 They want our money, but they don't necessarily want to see us.

 Vehicles with trailers only at this section of Columbia River Park


The latest at the Columbia Market House

The newly exposed bricks and mortar are probably more than 150 years old.


 At Shupp's Barber Shop

Down at Floyd's of Leadville (here and below)

 Ready for grillin'

 The River Trail welcomes you.

 Just remember to follow the rules.

 Limb down in Locust Street Park

Coming soon

In remembrance . . .

 Remember our veterans.