Blasts from the Past: November 2, 2017


The bell tolls atop Glatfelter Hall 24 times each day (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

The bell tolls atop Glatfelter Hall 24 times each day (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

By Shannon Zeltmann, Staff Writer

This week in 1927, The Gettysburgian sought a new editor, and 18 juniors as well as one sophomore wanted the job. Each student had to compose “three write-ups” that were submitted to a faculty committee for review. The committee looked for the best writers. Quite the rigorous standards to join The Gettysburgian‘s staff! (Shameless plug: To get involved today, visit for a slightly less rigorous process.)

This week in 1932 marked the 100th anniversary of the first day of classes at Gettysburg. The Gettysburgian reported that the first recorded day of classes at Pennsylvania College was November 7, 1832. In 1832, there were only three juniors, eight sophomores, and twelve freshmen. They met in a building on the southeast corner of High and Washington Streets; the college moved into Pennsylvania Hall in 1837. In 1932, students and staff celebrated by listening to a speech given by Dr. Samuel C. Schmucker, the grandson of the founder of the college, S. S. Schmucker. They were all called to the chapel to listen to Dr. Schmucker speak by the original bell of the Old Dorm, and, then, they marched down to the original building where the first 23 students had begun their studies a century prior. A service was held on the lawn of this building. Traditions seem like one thing that Gettysburg College students and faculty will always carry on.

This week in 1977, The Gettysburgian wrote about notes of Dr. William Bevan of Duke University on the need for liberal arts schools. Bevan states that modern society must rely people who have learned a more holistic view of the world. This came about with the needs of the age of technology, as a modern person must be able to utilize complex skills. Bevan suggested people’s energy should be focus on the “unity of life and nature.” Even today, the value of a liberal arts education receives constant attention; early this year, College President Janet Morgan Riggs wrote an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer on the subject.

This week in 2007, Dennis Mickley described working on the bell atop Glatfelter Hall. Mickley said he had been working on the bell of the past 24 years. While it runs on an electronic time system each day, the Glatfelter bell is rung manually for important ceremonies and at all other times is rung by the mechanism. The only time this system must change is with the daylight-saving time. In the spring, a pin in the mechanism is turned up an hour, while in the fall, it must go through the twelve hours of the day. Jokingly, Mickley said that he never saw the Glatfelter ghost in the tower and he has only had to ring the bell with a hammer once when he did not know how to work the bell when he first began. However, all students were thankful again to hear the 125-year-old bell ring an hour later than normal on Sunday as daylight savings provided an extra hour of sleep. (Note: Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday, November 5, at 2:00 a.m.)

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Author: Shannon Zeltmann

Shannon Zeltmann '21 is planning on double majoring in history and art history. She is also planning on being part of the Symphony Orchestra, the Civil War Club, and Nerd Nation. Shannon is an all-around nerd, who loves art and history too much and loves to read, draw, and play her cello on the side. She is excited to be a new member of The Gettysburgian team.

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