Several students from Dr. Michael Birkner’s Historical Methods course at Gettysburg College have asked Nancy and me about our memories of specific streets in our home town in 1945. Responding to these requests has brought to mind places we haven’t thought about since we left Gettysburg as a married couple sixty-two years ago.
One location is Ernie's Texas Lunch on Chambersburg Street between the Lutheran Church and Washington Street. With a menu that reminds guests of a diner from the Thirties, Ernie’s features old favorites like chili cheese fries, onion rings and classic hot dogs including chili dogs and one with everything.
If you were blindfolded while walking on Chambersburg Street, you could find Ernie's Texas Lunch from the distinctive smell of onions, peppers and hot dogs cooking on the grill in the front window.
And if you crossed to the south side of the street, there was another business you could find with your nose before you saw it. A roasted peanut machine stood in front of George’s shoe shine parlor and shoe repair business, and for a couple of pennies, you could buy a small bag of roasted peanuts in their shells. The aroma of those hot roasted peanuts could be recognized up and down the block.
One more place we remember where the aroma was exhilarating was Henning’s Bakery in the first block of York Street. It was the wonderful scent of warm bread that stimulated the senses and made the place so memorable.
I hope our comments about places we remember in 1945 are helping the Gettysburg students with their history assignment. It certainly has been fun for us to recall the charm of those businesses mentioned above.