50 Years Ago: New shopping center planned in Bel Air

As taken from the pages of The Aegis dated Thursday, June 21, 1962:

Part of a Route 1 property was being proposed for a new Bel Air Plaza. The property, which was listed at 44 acres, was then part of the Durham farm. The first phase of the Bel Air Plaza was to include 15 different store locations using 100,000 square feet at a cost of $14 per square foot to construct. The yearly revenue to Bel Air was expected to exceed the expenditures for construction of the building. Bel Air would profit from the real estate property taxes, traders' licenses and personal property taxes collected from the shopping center occupants.

Harford County's first soapbox derby was scheduled for this week in 1962. Hundreds of spectators were expected to turn out to see the 30 contestants compete for prizes. A ramp had been constructed near Boyd & Fulford's Drug Store for the start of the event. The racers were going to start on top of the ramp and coast northward on Main Street to the finish line near Lee Street. The winning racer would receive a $500 savings bond along with a trip to the national championships in Akron, Ohio. In Akron, the top prize would be $30,000.

The Lamm Brothers Inc., owners of the Bel Air Manufacturing Company, broke ground at the site of the company's new manufacturing plant on Williams Street. The company originally manufactured summer clothing when the business started in 1910. Lamm Brothers grew to a be known nationally as a manufacturer and distributor of Gleneagles men's wear. Other plants in operation at the time were in Baltimore, Fallston and New York.

Two people were arrested on charges of illegal possession of amphetamines, more commonly known as "pep pills," following a search of John's Truck Stop on Route 40 at Joppa. The Maryland State Police troopers who made the arrests thought the pills were being sold to truckers. The pills, once confiscated, were promptly turned over to the FDA.

Joppatowne received approval for a water treatment plant, three well houses, two elevated water storage towers and an observation well. The zoning board required that the installation be fenced, locked at all times and landscaped. The tower would only carry the word "Joppatowne," no other advertisement would be allowed. The sewer and water systems had to be in place before a single home could be occupied in Joppatowne. This approval brought Joppatowne one step closer to becoming a reality.

Three more Harford Countians lost their lives on county roads. An accident on Route 40 and Route 22 at Swan Creek took the life of 36-year-old Ronald Davis and his wife, Anna Davis, 43. Both suffered fractured skulls and were pronounced dead at the scene of the two car accident. The couple lived in nearby Brothers Trailer Park. The third victim, John Baldwin, 30 of Havre de Grace, died 16 hours later at the Harford Memorial Hospital also of a fractured skull. This increased Harford's traffic fatal totals for 1962 to 13 people.

Sgt. Virgil Scheerer of the Aberdeen Proving Ground was credited with saving his 18-month-old son, Stephen, from drowning in the bathtub. Scheerer told police that he put his two young sons in the bathtub and then left them alone for a few minutes. When he returned he found Stephen underwater and not moving. Scheerer immediately administered mouth to mouth, and after a few minutes, the child started breathing on his own.

Talles Jewelers, in the Bel Air Shopping Center, advertised: "Dining Elegance at an Unbelievable Low Price! Exquisite Dinnerware, 61 piece service for 8, includes 8 dinner plates, 8 bread & butters, 8 cereal bowls, 8 fruit dishes, 8 cups & saucers, large covered coffee pot, salt & pepper, chop plate, vegetable bowl, creamer, and a covered sugar bowl. All of this complete set for $24.95."

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