York Town Square

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Dogs, cats float through York County’s air

York County’s Balloon Fest, held for the third year at John C. Rudy Park, is growing in popularity.
To tie into this hot air balloon festival, former York County Heritage Trust achivist June Lloyd wrote about some of the quirky early lighter-than-air efforts from the 1830s on Sunday.
I took my turn a few years ago in “Never to be Forgotten:”

George Elliott prepares himself in 1954 to ascend in a balloon over Hanover. A newspaper reported that arrangements are made with the “intrepid Aeronaut” for the public-pleasing stunt. Elliott is one of many itinerant balloonists to tour the county in the mid-19th century. An added crowd pleaser comes when the aeronauts toss dogs or cats in parachutes from balloons… .

James Mills, another such aeronaut, ascended from York’s Penn Park in 1835, floated over the Susquehanna and landed in Columbia, Lancaster County. A couple of months later, he died of a stroke. About which, a newspaper reported, “Needless to say, the balloon ascension scheduled for next Saturday will not be held.” Unmanned ballooning is a popular hobby in the county. People send small, paper hot air balloons aloft with the aid of burning sponges. Charles Ginter’s balloon, made up of 96 sheets of red, white and blue paper, travels three miles from York to Peter Peter’s York Township farm.

(Yes, that’s right. His name was Peter Peter.)