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 managing news editor of The Gettysburgian, a position he has held since the middle of his first year. In four semesters, he has written more than 100 articles on topics ranging from student activism on campus to sports. Ben previously served as the event coverage and social media coordinator and led the paper's inaugural efforts using Facebook Live and live tweeting events on campus. Aside from The Gettysburgian, he is a peer research mentor in Musselman Library, a research assistant in the political science department, and drum major of the Bullets Marching Band. He 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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