It was Aug. 15, 1969, when thousands of people converged on a 600-acre farm near Bethel, N.Y., to take part in a musical festival that was billed as “3 Days of Peace & Music.” We now refer to this event by its common name, Woodstock. On this 50th anniversary of what has been called ‘a pivotal moment in music history,’ it’s a time to look back and think of where we were then and where we are now. Think about standing in that massive crowd, that reached up to 400,000 people at the pinnacle of the festival, and wondering how on earth you would’ve found someone you were separated from without having a cell phone to call or text them. In 1969, the word text was a noun, not a verb. It’s hard sometimes to think about what we have now that we didn’t have then and wonder how we ever got by. Gettysburg has witnessed much change since 1969. I was looking at a 1969 GHS yearbook and was saddened at the names of businesses who advertised that are no longer in existence. However, I was excited to see familiar names such as Kennie’s Market, Ernie’s Texas Lunch, Town & Campus and Reddings Hardware, to name a few that are still here. Fifty years later these businesses are still going strong. What a great testament to these businesses and to our community for continuing to patronize and support them. I started looking at the addresses of the businesses that were no longer around and thinking about what is there now. I must say that it’s impressive how much Gettysburg has grown in 50 years, especially culturally. What was once a Pontiac car dealership at 125 S. Washington St. is now home to our treasured Adams County Arts Council. Not only does ACAC offer culinary, dance, art and photography classes, you can also rent their reception hall to hold your next performance or community event. The Elks was a members-only social club at 49 York St. that has been transformed into the Gettysburg Community Theatre. Their moniker ‘Find Your Stage Door and Open It’ encourages people of all ages to try their hand at acting, singing and dancing. You may discover a talent you never knew you had. One of the other familiar addresses in those old advertisements is 90 Buford Ave. What was Glenn’s Diner has now been home to Dunlap’s Restaurant for 20 years. Just as I’m sure it was 50 years ago, you can walk into Dunlap’s any morning and see a row of ‘regulars’ sitting at the counter, enjoying a good cup of coffee and discussing what’s happening in Gettysburg and the world today. With so many changes in the past 50 years globally, it’s nice to reminisce about the changes that have happened locally. In 1969 you could purchase your ‘Spring Coats and Wool Suits’ at Tobey’s on Baltimore St. or put your dress on layaway at the Carol Ann Shoppe. In 2019 you can purchase name brand fashions at shops like Fresh Boutique on Chambersburg St. or Rosie’s Collection on Steinwehr Ave. Dinner at The Plaza is now dinner at The Blue & Gray. Lunch at the Varsity Diner is now lunch at the Lincoln Diner. And I’d certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention my own location, 30 York St. The original home of Redding’s Hardware and Gallery 30, is now home to my store, Artworks. A variety of ‘unique finds’ await you at Artworks, varying from handbags, candles, metal works, Fair Trade items and local art. There have been so many changes, but is still so much great shopping and dining in downtown Gettysburg. I’d love to put this article in a time capsule to be opened in 50 years so the next generations can see what this big, little town had to offer. I can only wish us all the best and hope that the names I mentioned above are still here in 2069. Promote small business in Gettysburg — visit www.gettysburgretailmerchants.com.
Jennie Dillon is the vice president of GARMA, owner of Artworks on 30 York St., and office and events manager at Gettysburg Rental Center.