History & Traditions
The area’s first settlers were mainly Scot-Irish with a few German and Swiss, who settled into the area in the 1730s. During the colonial era, the Greencastle-Antrim area was a part of the still-young frontier. Settlers, most of whom were looking for religious freedom, were attracted to this area because of its fertile soil.
Antrim Township was created in 1741. At that time, the township included most of what is present day Franklin County.
Following the Revolutionary War, John Allison, a colonel in the Cumberland County militia and veteran of the war, founded Greencastle in 1782.
The Allison-Antrim Museum captures the history and spirit of the Greencastle-Antrim area with its impressive collection of both rotating and permanent exhibits. The museum was established in 1995 and opened its doors on South Ridge Avenue in 1998. Rotating exhibits at the museum are usually composed of pieces on loan by private collectors. Permanent collections include pieces unique to Greencastle-Antrim’s history. The museum also houses an array of artifacts from the Civil War era. In addition to uniforms, medicinal kits, period newspapers and soldiers’ letters, the museum tells the story of Dolly Harris, a Civil War heroine who lived in Greencastle. The chamber has walking tour map guides of the historic downtown.
The Conococheague Settlement is located at Rock Hill Farm on Bain Road near Welsh Run, west of Greencastle. The non-profit institute was established in 1994 and maintains a well preserved colonial farmstead, genealogy, research library and visitors welcome center. Its focus is the area’s colonial and pioneer history. It emphasizes the cultural clash between pioneers, the local Native Americans as well as the local impact of the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. Visitors can also enjoy the more than 20 walking trails at the institute.
The Renfrew Museum and Park offers an year-long calendar of events including Civil War reenactments, special holiday exhibits, and a summer concert series. The museum is open mid-April to mid-October, while the Park is open dawn to dusk year-round. Renfrew encompasses 107-acres of farmstead that includes history structures, the museum, visitors’ center, picnic area and hiking trails.
The Rescue Hose Company houses an excellent museum about the history of our local fire department and memorabilia since its inception.
The Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce annually honors a distinguished business member. Since 1992 the Chamber yearly presents the James P. Oliver Award to an honored business associate of the Greencastle-Antrim area, who, through their business practices, has displayed an above-normal standard of personal commitment and service to the community. Any business owner, manager, or business representative whose business is physically located in the Greencastle-Antrim area is eligible for nomination. To download the 2020 James P. Oliver Award nomination form click HERE.
Previous Recipients Include:
1992-James P. Oliver
1995-Dr. Robert Pascale
1996-Dr. Evon Barvinchack
1997-Robert “Red” Pensinger
2000-Gary and Nancy Gembe
2002-Wayne and Sharon Baumbaugh
2005-Harold and Jean Zimmerman
2009-Russ and Dody Clever
2017-Ken and Bonnie Shockey
2018-H. Martin Zimmerman
Greencastle is proud of its many community traditions which include Sidewalk Sale Days in July, Heritage Christmas, and Old Home Week which is the first week in August every third year.
Sidewalk Days happen in Greencastle the 2nd weekend of July. Friday and Saturday sales include art & craft tents and food vendors downtown and in walking distance from Center Square. Indoor sales are also held in downtown venues. Many community yard-sales take place throughout Greencastle. It is a great weekend for eating ice cream while treasure hunting.
Old Home Week is the longest running reunion in the United States and dates back to 1901 when Philip Baer wrote a letter to the newspapers in town asking for their help to get people interested in organizing an Old Boys’ Reunion in August of 1902. In April of 1902 the program was announced for the first Old Boys’ Reunion that would be held August 10 to 20, 1902.
Events that year included a chicken dinner at the Town Hall; a picnic at Sandy Hollow (a favorite swimming place since colonial times) along the Conococheague Creek; speeches; and band concerts by the Citizens Band. Sixty-five men responded to invitations and the Old Boys’ Reunion was such a success that they decided to do it again in three years in 1905. And so was born the now century-old and most unequaled triennial tradition in the nation.
August 2019 will marked the 40th triennial celebration. Visit: oldhomeweek.org to learn more.
Heritage Christmas is an annual tradition in Greencastle, beginning with a tree lighting and a large parade in November. With the Christmas tree prominently centered, the town square is the site of Friday evening festivities in December. Featured activities include horse and wagon rides, musical performances, strolling entertainers, pictures with Santa, and food for sale or provided free by non-profit organizations. An annual Home Tour, held on a Sunday in December, highlights some of the town’s notable residences.