The Square in Carlisle has always been a focal point of local history.

The crossroads of Hanover and High streets saw a slave riot in 1847, artillery fire in 1863, a victory parade for Jim Thorpe in 1912 and a courtroom shooting in 1955.

But this public space is also the center stage of community spirit with annual events like the arrival of Santa Claus and downtown Christmas decorations.

This week’s Tour Through Time showcases the then and now of holiday scenes from the 1970s compared to the present-day.

Russell Weer, a former pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, was a witness to the seasonal transformation that included green boughs, attractive wreaths, pine cones and some holly.

“This scene was topped by a beautiful evergreen tree suspended in the center of the intersection, with [the] roping of laurel and pine intertwined with multicolored lights from each corner of the square to the center tree,” Weer wrote in a Dec. 23, 1978, column in The Sentinel.

“What a beautiful sight in the twilight of the evening when the lights were energized,” he wrote. “If by chance there was snow, each snowflake became a reflector of the beauty of Christmas on the town square.”

Tour Through Time runs every Saturday in The Sentinel print edition. Reporter Joseph Cress will work with staff at the Cumberland County Historical Society each week to offer a look at the county through the years.

Send any questions, future ideas or tips to jcress@cumberlink.com.

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Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.


Education/History Reporter

History and education reporter for The Sentinel.