welcome to Riggtown logo

Notes on newspaper articles about
West Chester (Pennsylvania) in 1969

by Jim Jones

---   Go to Riggtown Home or the HIS480 Syllabus   ---

This file contains notes on articles that appeared in various newspapers (mostly the Daily Local News) in 1969. They have been edited for punctuation, spelling and grammar by Jim Jones of the History Department.

Disclaimer: These notes were collected for specific research projects. They do not include all of the articles in any issue, nor do they contain all of the information in any particular article. While every reasonable effort was made to insure its accuracy, the information on this website is presented AS IS without warranty, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy, timeliness, or completeness. It is intended as a resource for historians, and nothing more. To report an error, make a comment, or submit notes on additional articles, please contact Dr. Jim Jones.


"Soviets issue new W. Berlin charge" in Daily Local News (March 1, 1969), 5. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"The Soviet Union Friday accused West Berlin of shipping war materials to the West and called on East Germany to prevent such misuse of traffic routes across Communist territory."

"Terrorist activities spreading in Vietnam" in Daily Local News (March 1, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

The Communists went on a nationwide terror spree and shelled 50 towns and Allied camps, marking what U.S. intelligence today called the beginning of a new phase in their seven-day-old offensive.

"Senators Balking at Nuclear treaty" in Daily Local News (March 1, 1969), 5. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"Administration experts assured the Senate Friday that the treaty to stop the spread of nuclear weapons imposed no new restrictions on the United States."

"Guardsmen use gas to quell demonstrations at Berkeley" in Daily Local News (March 1, 1969), 5. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"National Guardsmen with bayonets fixed moved onto the strife torn University of California campus Friday and hurled tear gas canisters at rampaging demonstrators."

"Negros and white students battled each other with clubs and fists at a Michigan College."

"No discrimination at 14 state colleges" in Daily Local News (March 1, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

The State Education Department has denied there is any discrimination in the 14 state owned institutions of higher education and points to various programs aimed at recruiting and assisting the disadvantaged student.

Dr. Frederick K. Miller, commissioner for higher education, said Friday he had presented a report to Dr. David H. Kurtzman, public instruction superintendent, in which he stated all the college presidents have attested that no unfair educational practices exist at any of their institutions.

"A negro has been hired at West Chester College to work primarily with potential students from the black community."

"After the Mansion House what?" in Daily Local News (March 1, 1969), 4. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"West Chester s sidewalk superintendents are going to have a field day in the not too distant future. The Mansion House Hotel is coming down."

"It will follow into oblivion the Green Tree Inn, the Turk s Head Hotel, the David Meconkey Mansion, the railroad station and even more recently the Chestnut Street Friends Meeting House."

"Reds check allied airliner" in Daily Local News (March 3, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"Communist jet fighters streaked up today to look over a British European Airway Comet airliner as it neared Berlin on a flight from Bonn, but did not molest the aircraft."

"Soviets, Red Chinese clash over disputed Island Border" in Daily Local News (March 3, 2969), 9. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"The Soviet Union and Communist China accused each other Sunday of provoking extremely grave armed conflict that killed both Soviet and Chinese troops at a disputed point in the border between Manchuria and Soviet far eastern maritime territories."

"Truckers hear safety discussion" in Daily Local News (March 3, 1969), 8. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"The Chester County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association met at Lenape Inn on Feb. 25."

"The program for the evening was given by Ed Wilkinson of the Chester County Safety Council, who presented slides and a talk concerning the cause, prevention and future elimination of accidents. A discussion followed."

"Students plan peace seminar on Wednesday" in Daily Local News (March 4, 1969), 3. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"A Peace Forum, sponsored by the Student Christian Association at West Chester State College, will be held on Campus in the Phillips Memorial Ballroom on Wednesday evening from 7:30- 10:30 O clock."

"State Colleges hit by HEW for segregation" in Daily Local News (March 6, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"The state of Pennsylvania was accused Wednesday of operating a system of racial segregated systems of colleges by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare."

"Church women hold World Day of Prayer" in Daily Local News (March 8, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"Women from more than 20 churches in the West Chester area joined yesterday in a World Day of Prayer service at the borough s Church of the Holy Trinity. It was sponsored by the Church Women United of West Chester and vicinity. The world-wide worship service was prepared this year by women from Africa in cooperation with an international committee."

"West Chester Council hears details of public housing" in Daily Local News (March 13, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"The prospect of a spring start on nearly 100 more new public housing units for West Chester was dimmed somewhat by the spectre of outdated sewage facilities as members of West Chester Borough Council and the Chester County Housing Authority put their heads together last night."

"Area GIs aid youngster with blood disorder" in Daily Local News (March 15, 1969), 16. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"While out fighting men in Vietnam are giving their blood for a different cause, some of their counterparts on the home front are engaged in other blood giving efforts to help save their neighbors lives."

43rd Artillery detachment at the Edgemont Nike Base near West Chester in conjunction with Children s Hospital of Philadelphia donated blood for 6 year old leukemia patient, Jimmie Lloyd.

"Rocket Launch from Stetson" in Daily Local News (March 17, 1969), 8. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

12 year old Tom Dever launched his home made rocket with chemical fuel he made himself. The luanch took place at Stetson Middle School.

"Plans for shops, apts. Heard in Thornbury" in Daily Local News (March 20, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Westtown Village. A 28 acres tract for business and 36 apartment units along Route 926 was discussed at the Thornbury Township Zoning Board on March 19, 1969.

"40 students resume sit-in at Phoenixville" in Daily News Local (March 31, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Phoenixville Area High School sit-in to dramatize demands for increased opportunity for blacks at all levels of school operation.

"Police end school sit-in at Phoenixville" in Daily News Local (April 1, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

50 black students and 3 adult leaders were arrested as demonstrators and charged with Disorderly Conduct.

"Viet death toll tops Korean War" in Daily News Local (April 1, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

As of this date there have been more than 33,629 GIs killed (more than the Korean War) and 210,000 GIs wounded.

"Westtown board will study zoning appeal" in Daily Local News (April 2, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

William L. Redditt, Jr., s appeal for small shopping convenience center was denied due to township s two-acre minimum requirement.

"Phoenixville board lifts suspensions of 50 pupils" in Daily Local News (April 4, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

50 Students involved in sit-ins had their suspensions lifted with the promise of immediate arrests if they demonstrated again.

"Apartment decision haunts Westtown Township" in Daily Local News (April 8, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Zoning issues of Penn Springton Corporation of Newtown Square s 10 acre tract on the southeast corner of West Chester Pike and Manley Road.

"Deadly road raises furor in Thornbury" in Daily Local News (April 8, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

A severe accident on Route 202 in Thornbury Township brought out strong opinions and anger during last night s supervisor s meeting.

"Hearing scheduled for fraternity house zone in West Chester" in Daily Local News (April 10, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

"To be held during council s May 14 meeting, the hearing will deal with proposed changes in the ordinance involving fraternity and sorority houses building heights, hotels and motels, and off-street parking provisions."

"Mansion house closes, faces uncertain future" in Daily Local News (April 16, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

The Mansion House finally closed with no clear decisions as to what will be built on the property.

"West Chester Parade will be Loyalty Day Highlight" in Daily Local news (April 26, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Veterans groups, marching and musical units, and youth groups will participate on April 27 in the largest Loyalty Day Parade in West Chester.

"Negotiations end confrontation threat at W. Chester State" in Daily Local News (May 5, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

A confrontation called for by black students at 12:30 p.m. was cancelled after officials representing the Black Student Body met with administration and an agreement was reached. The four goals stated by the students were: 1. Provide a body which can speak for the black students at the college; 2. to secure increased black enrollment at the college; 3. Integrate the college in the legacy of black culture; and 4. Promote an active relationship with those neighboring institutions which have huge black enrollment.

"Thornbury gets added support for road safety" in Daily Local News (May 6, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

The danger of Route 202 is being addressed by concerned citizens in a letter campaign to the governor and highway department. They would like to see 45 mph speed signs be posted south of Route 926.

"West Goshen apartment report draws criticism" in Daily Local News (May 8, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

A major bone of contention at last night s meeting was a 29 page report on the status of apartment development and the apartments constituted a tax advantage.

"4 hurt in another Rt. 202 accident" in Daily Local News (May 10, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

A three car accident on Route 202 sent four young men to the hospital.

"College fraternities, student antics aired by borough council" in Daily Local News (May 15, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

The subject of disturbances created in and around off-campus housing facilities were discussed at the West Chester Borough Council meeting last night. One of the proposed changes would be where fraternities and sororities would be permitted.

"Reject apartment plans" in Daily Local News (June 5, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Action taken last night to stem the flood of apartment development in West Goshen Township. Of particular importance is a petition from Amy-Jo Realty Co. to have a tract of land south of Rosedale Avenue re-zoned from R-3 to R-4 for apartment buildings. The commissioners recommended the entire R-3 zone be changed to R-4.

"Rt. 202 crashes kill one, injure 13 others" in Daily Local News (June 16, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Two separate car accidents on the exact same spot of Route 202 killed one person and sent 13 others to the hospital.

"West Chester soldier dies in Vietnam" in Daily Local News (June 18, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Pfc. Thomas M. Marchand of West Chester was killed in hostile action in Vietnam. He was only in Vietnam for six weeks.

"Drug use is a fact of life right here in Chester County" in Daily Local News (June 23, 1969), page 1. [scanned]

(Editor's note: The sweet euphoria of marijuana, the bouncy "high" of "speed" and the assorted kicks, trips, thrills and jags of a multiplicity of other illicit drugs are becoming more a part of today"s turned-on generation than a lot of parents and well-meaning adults would like to think about, or even imagine. There is no way of really knowing how serious the problem is in Chester County, but in the following report there is enough evidence to demonstrate that the drug situation is bad, and getting worse. We take you now to your local drug underground, where a young man we will call Richard -- for his own protection -- discusses some facts of the "high" life.)

By KEN LOCKERBY (Of the Local News Staff)

"I can get you a nickel bag in five minutes."

That claim came out of a conversation on drugs and whether or not they were a major factor among students at West Chester State College.

Richard -- young, tall, affable, clean-cut by today's standards and a student at the college -- contended drug use among students at the school was widespread, as he said it was throughout the county. The rest of us, older and supposedly more knowledgeable, argued it wasn't.

Within five minutes Richard was back, smiling and holding a small brown envelope containing $5 worth of marijuana, enough for perhaps 10 cigarettes.

"If you're not afraid to ask, you can get it easy." he said. "In fact, they'll come to you."

His first point made, Richard set out to prove there was a lot more to it than that.

A little more than a day later he had his proof.

In that short time he managed to acquire -- for a little more than $30 -- enough marijuana for 20 cigarettes, enough methedrine ("speed") for eight doses, a small block of hashish and a quantity of opium, an unusual find and due chiefly to his friendship with a supplier.

He also had found a girl who said she could get him some "acid' (LSD) "by the weekend." a feat that usually takes about 10 days and proves that being a ladies man is an asset no matter what you're trying to do.

The general reaction to Richard's endeavors was: "Are you kidding me?"

But Richard wasn't. And he wasn't at all surprised by his feat. Richard is well under 30, the magical age of trust, and no stranger to what is going on. Despite a distinct lack of what the sociologists like to call "family ties," Richard, at 20. is articulate beyond his education and wise beyond his years.

At Home Anywhere

He is equally at home with a roomful of adults, talking about whatever adults talk about, as he is on a dance floor with a shrieking rock and roll band.

And though he is no hippie, he can understand that point of view as well as he can accept middle class Americans apparent desire to make cannon fodder out of him -- something he accepts though he does not like.

His contacts apparently are much like himself.

"Hell, about one college kid in 200, at least in Philadelphia, is getting his spending money from selling the stuff," says Richard, with authoritarian nonchalance.

One he mentioned is a student in a two-year technical college in Philadelphia and is his age. "You wouldn't believe the stuff they turn out in the labs in that glace." Richard said. And, he added, "It's not unusual, particularly for Philadelphia."

Don't, however, get the idea that Philadelphia is to blame for it all.

Not only is a teenager in the county seat within five minutes of a drug source, according to Richard, but at times he is no more than 20 seconds away from it when he is in front of the county courthouse.

The Providers

The drugs at West Chester State College are provided in the main by commuters. "Anyone who has an interest in the stuff can go home and get it and bring it back, and there are a lot of people who live in off-campus apartments who can get it," Richard said. The night before, he said, he had been to an off-campus party where there were drugs as well as beer.

To each his own.

It is also interesting that these collegiate entrepreneurs are scarcely hampered in their money making efforts by either the police or the condemnation of their fellow students.

Commenting on the avocation of these lads, who years ago might have been "Playboy"' representatives, Richard said, "Nobody hates a pusher. The only thing they don't like is that he usually makes them pay too much for the stuff."

(Richard figured he could probably get about $50 for the goods he had bought to prove his point. Though he is no user, he knows others who are.

Bolster His Point

Subsequent talks with other West Chester State students indicated Richard knew whereof he spoke. No student we talked to ever condemned marijuana or its purveyors, though several were against speed or acid because of possible aftereffects. On (sic) girl said she was afraid of them because "they can mess up your chromosomes."

Two students out of six interviewed at one point claimed they had never tried marijuana -- but did not condemn its use by others.

Richard, who admits he has sampled maijuana, prefers alcohol. It has nothing to do with the relative legal dangers. "I just like booze better," he said. "Because I'm sure I'm going to get a high out of it. With pot you can't always be sure."

From talks with other students it appears he isn't alone in that sentiment.

Even those who personally disavowed drugs were almost adamant in their lack of condemnation fir those who indulge. "It's the accepted thing. It shocks you at (Continued on Page 16, Column 1) first, but once you get over thai, it doesn't bother you." a dark, pretty young freshman said. She added that her mother had a drinking problem, and "maybe that's worse."

Photo caption: $30 buys a lot of high "highs". Any kid with some cash end a yen for illicit kicks can find a seller in the local drug market. One young man with $30 and a good contact bought enough "stuff" for at least 40 "highs," as the drug induced sensations are known among users. The pills he identified as "speed", the tinfoil-wrapped substance as opium, the small charcoal-like chunk as hashish and the contents of the envelope, marijuana.

"Just Like Drinking"

It's just like drinking." another girl added.

According to Richard, older students who imbibe (juniors, seniors) divide their loyalties about 50-50 between drinking and drugs (chiefly marijuana). "at parties they are afraid of drugs so they drink."

It may surprise all you ex-Hail-Fellow-Well-Met college boys that no longer are the Greeks the BMOCs they once were.

"Those guys are jerks." one pert 19-year-old freshman commented "They don't even drink beer." It may also comfort you some to know that athletes aren't big on drugs. "They just drink all the time." she noted.

But hers is only one viewpoint.

Many Have Sampled

Richard estimates that at least one in four college students has at least tried marijuana, though many refuse to admit it. and he is among the many who feel current laws against marijuana are unrealistic and that its use can never be effectively curbed. "It's too well established, too many people like it too much, and its use is already too widespread." he said.

Another thing Richard credits for the current interest in pot -- marijuana use began to rise about 1950; lately it has been soaring -- is the war in Vietnam. He claimed a lot of GIs were shipping marijuana home to friends and relatives, thus adding to the usual sources -- Mexico and Europe.

Somewhere between the Army's denial that any troops are using the drug, and the underground magazines' claims that when a Viet Cong village is burned the troops turn out for miles around to get a free sniff of the marijuana-thatched roofs, is the truth.


But the Army only recently saw fit to deny that half the troops in Vietnam use the drug, and it was also necessary for the Army to insist that combat troops going on R and R to Australia refrain from taking marijuana with them, because the Australians "don't understand."

I can remember a boy I knew in college who had just come back from the war zone telling me the troops smoked a lot of pot, partly because "a `nickel bag' over there costs a nickel." and. perhaps more importantly -- "I would have gone nuts without the stuff."

Marijuana's widespread popularity continues unabated and. according to Richard. "There aren't enough cops to stop it either."

This proved to be a moot point.

One girl, whose home is on the Upper Main Line and who contends the use of marijuana is rampant there, said the police "cover their eyes -- they just ride around and don't look for anything."

Police, however, are making more drug related arrests than ever belore.

Richard contends that it is police "stupidity" rather than "payoffs," and admits, in all fairness, that police are generally well past 30 and not the kind of people anyone would confide in an awful lot. "If a parent doesn't know what his kids are doing, it is a lot to expect of a cop."

A Put-On?

Throughout the whole thing, it was hard to keep from repeating over and over again, "Are you kidding me?" You never really realize how old you are until you start talking with someone 10 years younger on a subject you had long ago deluded yourself into thinking you were hip on.

And when you lasciviously mention to a pretty young girl that you graduated from West Chester State yourself, and she replies "Was that when it was a normal school?" you start to wonder if she is kidding.

It was very enlightening.

But, perhaps the most enlightening thing to come out of all the discussions was Richard's chance remark when I told him I was interested in writing something on what I had learned: No matter what you write, or how much you hoke it up, you could never blow it out of proportion."

TOMORROW: Richard's acquisitions.

"Obtaining pot regarded as no big thing" in Daily Local News (June 24, 1969), page 1. [scanned]

(Editor's note: In part one, the availability of illegal drugs in Chester County became apparent, but what is available, what will it do to you and how do you get it? In part two, again with the help of our main informant, "Richard," Local News writer Ken Lockerby explores these and other aspects of the drug situation.)

By KEN LOCKERBY (Of the Local News Staff)

Besides making me realize I was un-hip and an incipient dirty old man, what did Richard's project prove?

Well, for one thing, he proved he could get marijuana. In West Chester. In five minutes. Though that, according to him, was nothing to get excited about.

He also proved, at least to my satisfaction, that he could get a lot of other stuff almost as easily. And, even according to him, that is something to get excited about.

It should be recalled that Richard's familiarity with drugs is confined to marijuana. Admittedly, I had to take his word, just as he had to take the word of his suppliers, that the rest of the drugs he bought were genuine, with one exception. Wetting the tip of his finger, Richard sampled what was sold as opium and waited. He said it hit him about an hour later. "Oh, Wow,"'was his only comment, but he was woozy for at least an hour afterwards.

Obviously Richard's opinions aren't as valid as a chemical analysis might have been, but in a legally unsanctioned experiment they were the best we could do.

They satisfied me.

What He Bought

For about $10, Richard bought enough marijuana to make about 20 marijuana cigarettes -- this in addition to the "nickel bag" he borrowed to make his first point.

According to him, and depending on the quality of the stuff, that is enough to get about five people high. The varying quality of marijuana, you will recall, is Richard's reason for preferring liquor, which he considers more reliable.

Personal preference aside, Richard concedes there is something to be said for a marijuana high. This is further witnessed by the thousands of teens and young adults who are willing to risk fines, jail and the stigma of arrest just for the pleasure of smoking "grass."

The wide range of effects the drug produces are largely due to its quality. Marijuana imported through Europe or from Mexico is of better quality (stronger) than that grown locally -- yes, locally.

Remember that potted pot plant the West Chester police confiscated some time ago?

The Dosage

According to the latest findings on marijuana -- the most active ingredient in the drug was only recently isolated, so research on marijuana is sadly limited -- one cigarette-sized dose of American marijuana (the weakest variety and the most readily obtainable) can make the smoker feel excited or silly. After an amount equal to four cigarettes, his perceptions change, making colors brighter, hearing keener.

After dosages as high as 10 cigarettes, the drug acts (Continued on Page 3, Col. 1) as other hallucinogenic drugs and may create, illusions, delusions and can cause feelings ranging from great euphoria to extreme anxiety.

At $1.50 each, Richard bought four methedrine (speed) tablets -- an amount sufficient for eight doses.

Thought It Expensive

The price Richard paid for speed, by the way. he considered high. It varies from four tablets for $1 to four for $2, for the same reason everything else does: supply and demand. Its advocates have at least enough sense to shun the homemade variety, insisting on the purest product they can hold out for (be it crystal, tablet or powder).

Methedrine is perhap the least known -- and the most potent - - of the drugs classified as amphetamines (stimulants) which also includes benzedrine and dexedrine. Like the other stimulants (usually prescribed as diet aids or anti-depressants), speed speeds the action of the heart and the metabolism. It distorts how people see things and can slow down their reactions and responses.

Some years ago there was a great hue and cry over the use of amphetamines by long-haul truck drivers, who found the drugs helped them stay awake over long periods of time.

Mind Awake, But ...

A number of traffic fatalities have been attributed to the use of "pep pills." The mind stays awake, but the body can become physically unable to carry out the mind's orders.

The stimulant drugs are usually taken as pills or "sniffed as snuff," but speed is occasionally mixed with water and injected into the veins. This adds to the inherent dangers of the drug's ability to make someone drive his body past its physical limitations and toxic psychosis (temporary mental derangement), the dangers of serum hepatitis, abscesses and even death, in case of unaccustomed high doses. Speed in any form can contribute to abnormal heart rate and may result in serious psychotic states and longtime personality disorders.

(No attempt was made to purchase any other kind of stimulant," as Richard noted: "They are readily available from any doctor. Everyone knows at least one girl who is on a diet." Actually, all you need is a fat friend and, again, the money. Amphetamines are usually used in conjunction with beer and can produce more effect than the shots the user's father drinks with his beers.)

Strange Relationship

Diametrically opposed, and yet strangely related, to the stimulant drugs are barbiturates -- depressants. Used medically for a number of things, barbiturates are, according to Richard, also readily available for less therapeutic uses.

Barbiturates -- the "down" drugs -- slow the metabolism and relax the body. Used improperly, they can produce, among other things, the effect of drunkenness.

Overdoses of barbiturates are a popular mode of suicide and their use coupled with alcohol -- they tend to heighten its effects -- also produces a depressing number of deaths. It is easy to forget how many you have taken, and alcohol -- despite popular belief -- is also a depressant, not a stimulant.

Graphic: Newspaper clipping wih headline "HEW estimate cies 7 million U.S. drug users."

Richard didn't waste any time trying to get barbiturates either. They -- like codeine-based cough syrups -- are no farther away than the corner drug store.

Area Product

According to Richard's source, the speed he obtained was a product of the area -- a large crystal block worth a reported $1,000 -- smuggled from a chemical firm to Philadelpia and now finding its way back -- in tablet form.

Obviously one of the more nefarious drugs available, speed is frowned on by most teenagers as too dangerous.

Throughout all my discussion with Richard and his friends, an important thread was constantly visible beneath the surface -- the youth of today are infinitely more sophisticated than anyone gives them credit for, and they are generally too smart to do anything to hurt themselves. They know they have too much to live for.

They know the risks involved and act accordingly. They may try "hard" stuff like speed or LSD once or twice to see what it's like, but they usually go back to the safe port -- marijuana.

Their curiosity -- and their distrust of what the older generation tells them -- are such that they have to try things for themselves. Once they do, they hurry to get back on familiar ground, their cruiosity sated, content that they didn't accept, they found out for themselves. And it is okay if what they were told was right in the first place -- they want to test it for themselves.

They Know

They know, for instance, that the chief danger of pot is a jail sentence. That they are willing to risk -- drug busts are not an uncommon way of avoiding the draft. Speed, LSD or Vietnam can kill you, but a drug "bust" can't last forever, Richard said.

They use marijuana like their parents once used beer, the only difference in drinking underage and smoking marijuana is the way the law views it. "What the hell, for drinking you just have to pay a fine, but pot just ain't worth the hassle, for what you can get," Richard said, listing another reason for his affinity for alcohol.

Most of those familiar with its use feel that someday pot will be legal -- they already feel it should be -- and "maybe then, we won't have to ride around in cars smoking it because we don't have any place to go. The law is stupid."

They find it hard to accept the caveats against the drug -- they have tried it and nothing has happened to them, they didn't get hair in the palms of their hands and they didn't go insane. They agree with the former head of a federal health agency who was quoted as saying he'd rather see his daughter smoke a marijuana cigarette than drink a cocktail.

Only recently has the central agent in marijuana been isolated, making research into the drug more possible at last. Perhaps the findings will validate the J. Edgar Hoover viewpoint on pot, perhaps not, but until then, kids will go on much as we did when I was a kid and had to drive 60 miles to get a legal drink, usually coming back in no condition to drive.

That is something to think about.

The $10 quantity of "hash" Richard bought would, according to him, suffice for 20 people. "One drag and you are out of your mind."

Stronger Cousin

Hash, a stronger version of marijuana -- a product of the Indian hemp plant, cannabis sativa -- comes from the Middle East -- Haifa, Israel, as a matter of fact -- and was once hard to come by. Its strength is an estimated 10-20 times that of its weaker sister, Richard said. Hash aficionados prefer the water pipe, though it, too, can be used in cigarette form, or even eaten.

According to another youth, somewhat older than Richard and perhaps more hip to the drug scene, there is currently a plethora of hash on the market.

"The syndicate is really pushing the stuff," he said, noting that he preferred marijuana. He accepted a proffered analogy that hash is to marijuana as whiskey is to beer. It appears we are all beer drinkers at heart.

By way of a historical note, the word "assassin" is derived from "hashish." Indian cutthroats used to gear themselves up to work on the drug, much as the youths in today's urban gangs ready for rumbles with cheap wine.

The Vikings preferred mead.

Comes in two colors

Richard said he had never tried hash, which comes in two psychedelic colors, red and black (red, which Richard bought, is supposedly stronger, so he was relying on second-hand information in his assessment of the drug).

Keep the historical note in mind.

Graphic: Newspaper clipping wih headline "Gross exaggeration" according to the pentagon regarding claims that half of all soldiers in Vietnam use marijuana.

Opium is the basis for all painkilling drugs -- morphine, paregoric and codeine, and their residue, or "junk," heroin.

The opium that Richard got was by way of a bonus -- and until his little fingertip experiment, he had no idea of what the stuff could do.

If his reaction was any indication, it could do plenty.

Again, by way of historic note, it was opium that the British encouraged the "heathen Chinee" to use, effectively keeping the Chinese people subjugated for centuries and leaving them with little use for the white man.

Pure opium is rare, because by cutting it, its value increases phenomenally.

According to Richard, all the drugs he obtained came from one source -- a student in a two-year college in Philadelphia, where "they have labs in there you wouldn't believe." The opium came from a supplier in Northeast Philadelphia.

Faithful readers will also recall that Richard was able to get a promised delivery of LSD, though he never made the pickup

Hard to Get

LSD, "acid," is relatively hard to get (it takes about 10 days in Chester County) and has few hard-core advocates, save for a few thousand mystics. Nonetheless, it poses a threat because of the inherent curiosity of youth and their lack of faith in what they are told is truth.

Perhaps the best example of what the drug can do is found in a short film entitled "LSD -- Cat and Mouse." made some years ago by drug researchers at the Army's huge chemical research center at Edgewood, Md.

The film shows the effect of LSD on a cat of the house variety.

The cat. obviously a virile Tom of the variety you'd expect to find outside your window at night, filling up on your garbage and lusting after every female feline within 20 miles, was injected with the drug.

Suddenly Pitiful

Little change in his behavior becomes evident until a mouse is put into his cage. The cat suddenly becomes a pitiful sight, back-pedaling and scrambling around the cage looking for a way out. It looked like the drug -- known for its mind-bending qualities -- made him think he was an elephant.

Levity aside, the film was used by the Army years ago to explain the effects of chemical warfare -- they claimed the drug was a form of "nerve gas." The film had the desired effect, however, on recruits undergoing CBR warfare training.

The distortion of the mind produced by LSD is a real danger - - people have been known to leap from tall buildings and walk in front of cars while on the drug, simply because they thought they couldn't be hurt or thought they could fly like Superman.

By Products

Panic and paranoia are byproducts of the use of LSD, according to reports from some hospitals which use the drug for therapy. There is also a slight possibility that it can cause birth defects. But perhaps the most frightening thing about the drug is that its effects can recur long after it has been taken and the effects seem to have worn off -- like a champagne hangover. One that could be fatal, because there might not be anyone around to keep you from testing your vulnerability.

Before anyone gets self-satisfied: though the source of Richard's drugs was Philadelphia, they are obviously available in the county, provided one has the interest and a nominal amount of savvy. Richard's supplier set up two buys, one at High and Market streets in West Chester, half a block from the district attorney's office and the borough police station, and another in the municipal lot directly across from the police station.

Just 5 Minutes Away

Richard claimed that at no time in the borough of West Chester "are you ever more than five minutes from a supply of marijuana. -- and that occasionally on the courthouse steps you are little more than 20 seconds away

It also became subsequently apparent that the county seat is by no means unique. Of the five persons interviewed later -- none of whom evinced more than a passing interest in the subject -- all were able to pinpoint a source of drugs.

Three of those interviewed -- all girls -- said they could get various drugs "at home." meaning on the Upper Main Line. Two were from Malvern, the other from Paoli. Malvern boasts ready supplies of at least marijuana. In Paoli. speed as well can be obtained.

The other girl -- from the western part of the state -- said she, too, could procure both. Two other youths from the West Chester area agreed wholeheartedly with Richard.

Those interviewed agreed that the problem -- though they don't see it as such -- was greater than perhaps anyone realizes. They estimated that one in four college-age students had at least tried drugs.

All is not lost, however.

Though all the people sought out said they had had some contact with drugs when they were in high school (three of the schools are in Chester County) they didn't think drugs had reached the junior high level -- to any great extent.

There are junior high kids who may tell you otherwise today.

Letter to the editor, "Illicit drug use in Chester county" in Daily Local News (June 24, 1969), page 4. [scanned]

Illicit drug use is not confined to large cities where questionable characters lurk in the shadows waiting for their "customers" to come along.

This fact was substantiated in the first of two reports which appeared in this newspaper yesterday regarding the availability of dangerous drugs in West Chester. The second report appears today.

These reports were not conceived one day and written the next. They are the result of a long and careful investigation on the part of this newspaper which decided to look into the situation when persistent rumors had it that almost any of ihe drugs young people buy for "kicks" could be obtained here.

No one should be under the illusion that because this report has been published, drug "pushers" will pack up their wares and move on. Peddlers who traffic in such things aren't that easily discouraged or should we say intimidated?

West Chester and Chester county are simply one area of many all over the country which are being "victimized" by those who cater to many of the under-30 crowd as well as to some who are older but who have a hankering to get in on the so-called "high" life. This fact, however, should not deter parents who are determined that their teenagers shall not become victims of such nefarious practices.

Some idea of the extent of the illicit drug "trade" may be had in reading what John E. Ingersoll, director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, has to say on the matter. Commenting on the Nation's drive against drug abuse, he says we "have failed miserably. We are not preventing enough drug abuse. We are not apprehending enough peddlers, and we are not rehabilitating enough abusers."

So widespread is the problem in the Pittsburgh area that a special agent has been named to the newly organized Pittsburgh District office of the Narcotics Bureau which is working closely with the District Attorney's office in Westmoreland county as well as with the State Police, the head of that office recently said: "There is almost an explosion in the use and abuse of drugs, and most of it centers on the use of marijuana." The use of that drug, he pointed out, is the first step toward what he termed the "hard drugs," including heroine. (sic)

Federal Narcotics Chief Ingersoll is reluctant to estimate the extent of the use of illicit drugs, but he did hazard the opinion that the number of people involved "is far greater than we would care, or dare, to think".

What is the extent of the problem here in our own community? That question, as pointed out yesterday, is not easily answered. The fact that these drugs can be obtained and are being bought should be warning enough to put parents on their guard.

The Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Bureau knows that one of the solutions to the growing problem is the arrest and conviction of the drug peddler, but as Mr. Ingersoll says this is difficult. That fact in itself should be enough to cause parents to double their efforts in making sure that their children steer clear of the kind of company that is liable to become a prey to such shady individuals.

"West Chester sells land to East Goshen" in Daily Local News (June 24, 1969), page 1. [scanned]

A three-acre parcel of land was sold by West Chester Borough Council last night to the Municipal Authority of East Goshen Township which sought the land for its sewer system. Part of a seven-acre tract bought recently by the borough for expansion of its water works at Milltown, the land was sold for $7,500.

The borough originally paid about $10,000 for the entire seven acres.

Council also granted the township authority a sewer easement over the rest of the borough land.

In other action during last night's special meeting, council confirmed the appointment of a new police officer bringing the force to 26 men, one short of the authorized complement

Approved was the appointment of James Bell, 27, of 200 W. Chestnut St., West Chester. A Henderson High School graduate and eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Bell is the brother of Patrolman Fred Bell.

The borough fathers also discussed the possible utilization og Boy Scouts for borough improvement projects. Councilman Robert Baldwin noted that often scout troops are looking for some project to undertake so the scouts can meet the advancement requirements.

A suggestion from P. Edward Jefferis that the borough institute a four-way stop situation at New and Sharpless streets was turned over to the police committee.

"Sex education again aired at board session" in Daily Local News (June 24, 1969), page 1. [scanned]

By HANNAH AIZUPITIS (0f the Local News Staff)

The continuing issue of sex education was again aired at the meeting of the West Chester Area School Board last night.

At two points when the meeting threatened to break down into a confusion of catcalls and vocal discontent among the audience of 300, sharp reprimands from board president Conrad Muhly III silenced the shouters and an orderly presentation of opinion ensued.

Although Muhly had said that neither he nor the board would engage in discussion on any facet of the sex education issue while the appointed committee was sitting, he did read a progress report from that committee.

The 19-member committee reported that in determining "whether a unit on the reproductive system should be included in the health course along with units on the respiratory, gastrointestinal, central nervous system and other systems of the human body," it had to date held four meetings.

The first meeting included the committee, the school board and administration and the ninth and tenth grade health education faculty. Syllabi from the local courses and fact sheets from the American Medical Association, the National Education Association and the Sex Education Council of the United States were reviewed.

Curriculum content of sex education designed for the elementary grades was reviewed critically at the second meeting "if the eventual extension of the course in this area is deemed advisable. Miss N. Ruth Reed and Dr. Charlette King, from the faculty of West Chester State College, spoke to the committee. Two films, "Human and Animal Beginnings" and "Human Growth" were viewed.

Content reviewed

The curriculum content of the ninth and tenth grade courses occupied the third meeting including two films, "Boy to Man" and "Sex: A Moral Dilemna" were seen. Also submitted were a resolution on sex education from the American (Continued on Page 2, Col. 4) Council of Christian Churches and a family life education report issued by a similar committee in Connecticut.

The fourth meeting, slated for last night, was designed to review "the potential risks of reproductive education in the public school system."

The report concluded thai "the reproductive system differs from other body systems in that motivating emotions and value systems are involved in its use or abuse." The committee also asked that opinions be made to its members and that "the continual sensationalism and controversy regarding the family health and reproductive system can seriously undermine the effectiveness of our group."

Dr. Robert Poole, chairman, signed the report for the committee which includes: Sherwood Angelson, Maurice J. Dana, the Rev. Robert H. DuVall, Edward H. Gibson, Mrs. Mercedes Greer, Mrs. Gerald Gordon, the Rev. Joseph L. Kirkner, Dr. Hubert J. McShea, the Rev. Donald McNamara, the Rev. Anderson Porter, the Rev. Elwood W. Reitz, Mrs. Redmund A. Sandmann, Dr. Peter D. Schindler, Dr. Lawrence R. Soma, William P. Tait Jr., Mrs. J. M. Townes III, Mrs. John Weber and the Rev. Robert D. Young.

Thirteen speakers, including a ninth grade student at Stetson, walked to the microphone to present their views on the issue to the board. Mrs. Harold Pendlebury, 6 Monte Vista dr., West Chester, was the first to speak. She argued that sex education in the schools would "simply add to the heavy emphasis on sex" in our society.

'Bridge the gap'

"God loves us so much he has established immutable laws ... which if we choose to disregard will truly cause us to suffer," she said. She asked that the board seek a solution which would "bridge the gap between anxiety and apathy."

Mrs. Harvey C. Waltz, 1138 Pottstown pike, West Chester, explained to the board and the audience that a group of concerned parents had engaged legal counsel to take up the issue, but that he was not present due to their understanding that the issue would not be discussed. "We do not wish to discuss the issue without benefit of counsel," she said.

Earlier in the evening there had been shouts of injunctions, and boycotts from the back of the auditorium.

Loud applause followed a statement by another citizen that he was "in complete disagreement with the emphasis on sex education outside of a course in biology and that much more to the point Is the reinstatement of the Bible and prayers."

Muhly answered that "as long as the Supreme Court has ruled I am sure this school board will not go against the law. If the ruling is changed, I am sure it will be the first to follow the new tack."

Charles DiSabato, 1411 Hunter la., West Chester, Democratic candidate for the board, asked about the purpose of sex education and would the board "accept irrevocably the committee findings or what other factors would be considered.

Carrying a small baby, Mrs. Pearl Peters, said that as a parent she "would like the privilege of making the decision on sex education for her children."

Parents inadequate

"I realize that many parents may be totally inadequate to the task, but so they are in religious instruction and I certainly wouldn't want the schools teaching that," she said. "A teacher, who should be impartial, cannot help but give forth what he feels," she concluded. Other speakers against sex education in the schools accused the board of "sneaking the program in."

Joe Rivers, 811 Spruce ave., West Chester, said he firmly believes sex education has a place in our school system. "I think it is high time that children learn to talk about sex In an objective manner and the classroom is as good a place aa any to learn this."

Catcalls and jeers disrupted the meeting until Muhly reminded the audience that each side of the issue deserved a hearing.

Rivers continued that "children see so much emotion-charged material on sex that they need a dispassionate view."

Miss Marsha Taylor, 1130 Gateway la., West Chester, spoke on behalf of several students at Stetson Junior High School.

She said that a survey among the students showed that the majority felt that the basis of sex education should be taught in the home and the greater details in schools!

"We would rather learn in the school because the emotional effect is not as great," Miss Taylor said. "When a child knows the facts about sex he is more afraid to go out and try it than be would be if he wanted to find out for himself," she concluded.

Carl Brown, 1400 Walnut Hill rd., said that he would like to commend the board for the intelligent, open way In which the issue was being handled and that he was in favor of sex education. "It is simply a matter of information or misinformation," he said.

"Six are injured in crash on `Most Dangerous road" in Daily Local News (June 26, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Six people were injured, one seriously, on what has been labeled as one of the "most dangerous" roads.

"Fraternity hearing slated" in Daily Local News (June 28, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

West Chester Borough scheduled another hearing on a proposal to establish a special zoning classification for fraternity and sorority housing and a specific area where they would be permitted.

"Improvements begun on Murderous Mile" in Daily Local News (August 19, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Funds have been diverted from other highway projects to finance much needed improvements to Route 202.

"Lower speed limit on murderous mile learned the hard way" in Daily Local News (August 30, 1969), 1. [Notes by Suzanne Irvin, 2011]

Police made 436 arrests in the month of August for speeders on Route 202 for exceeding the 45 mph speed limit.

"Watches Campaign" (letter to the editor) in Daily Local News (November 3, 1969), in CCHS clippings file "West Chester Politics 1969" [scanned]

Editor News: As a Republican I have been observing the local political race for mayor and borough council with interest.

While observing, I also remember the controversial Chestnut Street Friends Meeting issue, the promise of a high-rise parking garage, the well designed ground-level lot that is in its' place -- with its many empty spaces.

As a follower of campus activities, I read with dismay in the Daily Local News and the Quad Angles of the notarized allegations of misconduct in official affairs of the college, of personal relationships, and alleged conflicts of interest. Yet I hear no vehement reply to these allegations. I'm rather worried.

Some incumbents for council can run on their own merits and the election returns will verify the people's confidence in them -- they've done the best they could. Other candidates are running because of the "machine," and some aren't even being challenged.

On the other hand, I can't help being impressed by the minority party's efforts in recent days. My own party doesn't seem to be doing much except for a few bumper stickers and straw hats that I've only heard about. (Are they that confident?)

But these tokens can't begin to replace the personal contact that has characterized the campaign of the opposition. Imagine the enthusiasm and zeal needed by the Democratic candidates for mayor and council to go door-to-door to many West Chester residents and personally present their qualifications, to mail voter informations to everyone who is registered, to distribute leaflets three times to every house in town, and to phone every voter for support. Imagine this vigor and interest in the Borough Hall working for of us.

Perhaps we do need a change ... In any event, lots of luck to all the candidates on November 4th.

John P. Voge
202 Price St.
West Chester

"West Chester awards contract for sewer lines" in Daily Local News (November 26, 1969), page 1. [scanned]

A contract tor the reconstruction of sewerage interceptor lines along Downingtown pike and Ashbridge street in West Chester was awarded by borough council this week.

Expected to begin on or before Dec. 20, the project will be carried out by low bidder G.D.M. Construction Co. of Souderton The contract price is $180,394 30.

G.D.M. was low bidder among four firms who submitted proposals to the borough. The high bid was $259,486.

The project. which will alleviate periodic sewerage overflows, is being financed by a $245,000 bond issue, purchased recently by the First National Bank of West Chester. The contract provides for completion in 180 calendar days.

"Noted Sexologist to speak at West Chester" in Daily Local News (November 26, 1969), page 25.

At 8:15pm on Thursday, December 11, 1969, [forgot to write down his name] will speak at Phillips Memorial Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Intracollegiate Government Association and freee to the public. The topic is "Is America Undergoing a Sexual Revolution?" The speaker is an author and editor of several journals with scholarly-sounding names.

"Police arrest five men on burglary charges" in Daily Local News (November 27, 1969), page 2. [scanned]

State police from the Avondale and Exton substations along with Chief County Detective Eugene Sharp and Kennett Square Patrolman Kenneth Grier arrested five men yesterday in four simultaneous raids, uncovering what police called a burglary ring.

The articles recovered, police said, indicated the group was involved in a series of house burglaries in the last several months. The burglaries are still under investigation.

Arrested were David Kirt Johnston. 21, of 1412 Lenape rd. West Chester RD; Norman Lee Johnson, 19, of the same address; Joseph Theodore Griffin. 20, of Man's Choice, Bedford County; Passmore Johnston, 25, of 522 Birch st., Kennett Square; and Dean Harold Matherly, 30, of 620 Stenning Hills Apts., Kennett Square.

David and Norman Johnston and Griffin were all taken into custody at 1412 Lenape rd., and Passmore Johnston and Matherly were arrested at their homes. Police said a search was also made at the home of Bruce Johnston, but no arrests were made there.

The three Johnston brothers were all charged with burglary, larceny and receiving stolen property and released on $5,000 each after arraignment before Justice of the Peace Eugene DiFiliopo Jr.

Griffin and Matherly were charged with receiving stolen property and released on $1,000 bail each.

"Council okays 11.6 million budget" in Daily Local News (December 11, 1969), page 1. [scanned]

West Chester Borough Council last night approved for advertisement a tentative 1970 budget of $1,692,616 and scheduled an adjourned meeting for 7:30 p.m. Monday. Dec. 29. to take action on the fiscal blueprint.

Up about $300,000 from this year despite some last minute surgery, the 1970 budget is based on the retention of the borough's 18-mill real estate tax ($18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation) and other current tax levies plus the implementation of a 1 per cent earned income tax. The wage tax will take effect Jan. 1 and will apply to the incomes of all persons either living or working in West Chester.

While figures are still ... [snip] ... patrolmen. Council also authorized seeking bids on the new police cars which had air conditioning scratched from the specifications at the last minute.

Council also acted on the resignation of Dr Horace F. Darlington from the housing advisory committee and the commission on human relations. They were accepted with a motion that a letter of appreciation be sent. Dr. Darlington. active in professional and civic endeavors in West Chester and Chester County for many years, listed as his recent illness as his reason for relinquishing the two appointments.

Council President W. Earl Thomas asked that the naming of ... [snip]

Editorial "An 'advisor' for college trustees" in Daily Local News (December 12, 1969), page 4. [scanned]

The "establishment" at West Chester State College, that is to say the board of trustees, is going to have a student "advisor" in its midst at future meetings. So will Pennsylvania's 13 other State-operated colleges and its one university -- Indiana.

This innovation, which is indeed a novel one for West Chester State as well as its sister colleges, is the result of Governor Raymond P. Shafer's idea that the 70,000 or more students enrolled in these schools should have a voice in shaping policy and decisions directly affecting them.

In the case of West Chester, this means that the president of the Intracollegiate Government Association, 21-year-old Lawrence D'Antonio. member of the senior class, will join the trustees in their deliberations While he will not have a vote, he will be able to present the student view and side of all decisions relating to the student body and other matters concerning the general operation of the school.

Mr. D'Antonio will hardly need to be introduced to the trustees when he first pulls up his chair around the official table. He has been vocal on several occasions, notably in October when the House Higher Education subcommittee visited, the campus to listen to faculty and students who had something to "get off their chests."

During that visit, Mr. D'Antonio presented a petition to the legislators signed by 900 students (there are more than 5,000 undergraduates enrolled) calling for a full investigation of the college board.

Prior to that, he led a delegation of 50 to 75 students, two weeks before the election, up High street to the office of Justice of the Peace Anthony L. Stancato, a member of the college board and at that time a candidate for mayor. The students protested Mr. Stancato's candidacy, charging a "gross conflict of interest." It marked the first time in the school's history of well over a century and a half that its students had a hand in determining the outcome of a local election. So Mr. D'Antonio is no stranger to college authorities.

Interestingly enough, this student leader who deplored the fact that students had no voice in shaping college policy, will become that voice in the months ahead.

Governor Shafer. in naming Mr. D'Antonio and others to these advisory posts, made one point clear. "With this new voice." he said, "we will demand from you a much greater responsibility in seeing to it that you help provide solutions to the problems you complain about. No longer will we accept criticism without your involvement."

Mr. D'Antonio should consider that as a special charge from Harrisburg and govern himself accordingly.

---   Go to the top of this page, Riggtown Home or the HIS480 Syllabus   ---

Copyright 2011 by Dr. James A. Jones