Blasts from the past: March 11, 2017



On this date in 1897, March 9 exactly, the first edition of The Gettysburgian was printed. Although that issue appears lost in time, the March 16, 1897 edition recounts the pleasure with which community members received their copies … many submitted a dollar to become subscribers of the fledgling paper. One letter writer commented, “[The Gettysburgian’s] appearance marks an epoch in the history of the college, and I shall be greatly mistaken if an enthusiastic wave of college interest renewed does not pass through the entire alumni body. The pluck, energy, and enterprise you manifest is worthy of the very highest commendation.” Copies were available for five cents.

This week in 1977, the Office of Residential Life approved the first co-ed dorm in college history, which would be presented to the Board of Trustees for final approval. Patrick Hall was selected for the experimental project, and in addition to a resident assistant, there would be a resident faculty advisor. Students interested in the co-ed dorm had to attend a series of meetings before entering a lottery to be selected for participation in the trial.

On this date in 2000, The Gettysburgian published a column penned by one I.A. Isherwood (think Professor Ian Isherwood when he was a student), listed as a “social commentator” for a column called “This Side of Cynicism.” The March 9 edition explored celebrating the “Irish spirit … whatever that means.” He bemoaned St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday for “drinking lots of cheap colored beer and wearing stupid little plastic hats.” He closed on a more positive note, however, encouraging readers to visit Paddy O’Rourke’s (sic), which would open the next week as an Irish pub in Gettysburg. O’Rorke’s remains open today.

These archived “blasts from the past” were compiled by news editor Benjamin Pontz. Thanks to the digitized Special Collections in Musselman Library. For more archived content, visit

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Author: Benjamin Pontz

Benjamin Pontz '20 serves as editor-in-chief of The Gettysburgian. Previously, he served as a staff writer, event coverage coordinator, news editor, and managing news editor. During his tenure, he has written more than 120 articles, and he led the team that won first place in the 2017 Keystone Press Awards for ongoing news coverage of Robert Spencer's visit to Gettysburg College. Ben is a political science and public policy double major with a minor in music, and he reads up to seven newspapers daily. Follow him on Twitter @benpontz.

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