Dr. Douglas Warnock looks at old photos with Harold Forrester as they discussed his life as a homestead in Letterkenny. (photo credit: Pam Goodhart, LEAD photographer)

Members of Letterkenny Army Depot’s Historical Committee gathered in May to discuss upcoming interviews and events. (photo credit: Pam Goodhart, LEAD photographer)

Committee Dedicates to Preserve Depot History

By Nora Zubia, PAO


Community members gather quarterly at Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) to share details of decades past in an effort to collect and preserve valuable history about the depot and the rich history that lived before its time.


On July 17, 2017, in conjunction with celebrating its 75th anniversary, LEAD announced the formation of its official Historical Committee with the mission to collect, preserve and display the depots’ heritage. Prior to this time LEAD did not have an archive repository in place. The committee is comprised of LEAD and Letterkenny Munitions Center employees as well as local community leaders and history aficionados.


The committees acting president, Dr. Douglas Warnock is Letterkenny’s Environmental Management Division Chief and is responsible for the management of LEAD’s cultural resource program. Warnock is also active in the Franklin County Historical Society.


Since July of 2017, Andrew Newman has taken on the role of resident archivist and historian at LEAD, managing all artifacts and documents within a designated facility on the installation. Newman stays busy collecting and caring for irreplaceable memorabilia that tells the depots story and the stories of the people who contributed to its legacy.


While relatively new to the position at LEAD, Newman brings with him an extensive background in historical preservation. He served as an archivist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and was a museum technician for the Gettysburg National Military Park. Newman is currently the president of the Fort Loudon Historical Society.


Most recently, members of the group toured the preservation facilities of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (AHEC) in Carlisle, Pa. The committee plans to work with AHEC to put some plans into action that cannot be accommodated at the depot. Newman will have the opportunity to use their unique scanner to preserve periodicals that will not stand the test of time in their original condition.


The committee is also working on recording interviews with former homesteaders who lived on the land before the government took control in 1941. Mr. Harold Forrester is a local wealth of information and told the stories of growing up on his family’s farm and learning the trade of wheat farming at an early age before his family was displaced.


Former homesteader and head of the annual Letterkenny homesteader reunion, Mr. Richard Lehman, is scheduled to sit down with the group in the near future.


Community members include Commissioner Bob Thomas, Mr. William Pananas, Ms. Ann Hull of the Franklin County Historical Society – Kittochtinny, Mr. John Van Horn and Kip Feldman, Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority President and Colonel Paul Cullinane (USA, Ret.) of the Franklin County Veterans Park.


At a glance, LEAD’s archives date back to 1941 and consist of a catalog of the depots newsletter, “Kenny Letter’s,” scrapbooks, photos in multiple formats and film.


The committee is currently seeking to collect artifacts that are an important part of the local community’s history. They ask members of the community who have any paraphernalia related to the depot that they would consider donating to please contact: 717-267-9234.


Some artifacts the group are looking for include: official or commemorative coins, books, badges, items of clothing, photographs, awards and publications.