50 years of memories with Gettysburg and GARMA
As a society we put a lot of emphasis on milestone birthdays, anniversaries, and moments in time. So, to jump on that proverbial milestone bandwagon, GARMA is celebrating our 50th birthday in August, First Friday style.
I’ve always enjoyed reading the birthday cards that give you fun, trivial facts about the year someone was born. So, I’ve taken the liberty of creating my own fun, fact filled birthday card about GARMA and the happenings and events in Gettysburg and the country in 1972.
In 1972 Richard Nixon was our 37th president. Minimum wage was $1.60/hour, a stamp would cost you 10 cents, and gas was 36 cents/gallon. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins in Superbowl VI and Hurricane Agnes rained hard, and devastated, many areas of Pennsylvania.
Honda came out with their compact car, the Civic, which is still produced today. 1972 introduced two food staples that are still popular. McDonald’s introduced our taste buds to the Egg McMuffin, and Stove Top Stuffing hit supermarket shelves.
Movies playing at the Majestic Theater in 1972 were The Godfather, Cabaret, and The Poseidon Adventure. And on the radio, America was introduced to David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust and his Spiders from Mars. Don McLean memorialized February 2, 1959 and the tragic deaths of Buddy Holly, J.P.
Richardson, and Richie Valens, with the release of American Pie.
Now for local news! Gettysburg has seen many transformations since 1972. In 1972 the hospital was still named Annie M. Warner, in honor of John Warner’s wife (Mr. Warner had set aside 19 acres of land for the hospital and was one of the main financial contributors when the hospital started construction in 1919). In 1982 it was renamed Gettysburg Hospital, and then in 2012 to the current Wellspan Hospital.
Some of Gettysburg’s major employers at the time were Westinghouse Electric (later changed to Schindler before closing the Gettysburg facility), DMI (Dolly Madison) Furniture Company, and Keystone Ridgeway (which is now the current Dal-Tile).
When GARMA first came to fruition we were known as the Retail Merchants Association. A constitution was created in October 1972. In minutes from the December 1972 meeting I found that is when GARMA (the RMA) took on the responsibility of hiring Santa for the holiday season, which we still do to this day. The RMA also promoted ‘Sales Days’ during the year that all members participated in.
One interesting request that was approved by the RMA Board was made by Gettysburg photographer Walt Lane that during the July 4th holiday, employees of member businesses be dressed in Civil War period attire. The Board approved this request.
The Outdoor Antique Shows were coordinated for the RMA by Norris Minter. Years later Wayne Schultz took over that responsibility, then John Angstadt, and now it’s coordinated in house by GARMA board members. The fee for the Antique Show was $22.
There were 38 RMA members in 1972. As I look over the list I remember many of the shops, of which all are gone except for Martin’s Family Shoes. I know that I’ve mentioned before that Martin’s has been with GARMA for all 50 years, and we do appreciate their support. For a time, current owner John Fidler was also a board member.
It’s sad to see businesses that are no more, but it’s exciting to see so many of the new
businesses that have come to Gettysburg. We hope that you celebrate our GARMA members with us this coming First Friday, August 5th . Look for First Friday flags and silver and blue balloons flying around and stop in and experience what all our members have to offer.
For a complete listing of GARMA members visit www.gettysburgretailmerchants.com.
Jennie Dillon is the President of GARMA