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From The New York Times front page article, dated May 28, 1960.


 

 

Eisenhower Spends $7.13 in Old-Style Country Store President Eisenhower spent a happy hour Saturday making $7.13 worth of purchases including dried corn, apple butter and a measuring cup at an old fashioned country store. Fascinated by the quaint store’s 20,000 items of merchandise, the President went away with a variety of food supplies for use in his own cooking, a favorite hobby.

He turned the handle of an ancient coffee grinder and reported with a chuckle that he used to crank a similar one “for 10 cents a day” when, as a boy, he worked in a grocery.

Flusters Storekeeper
Mr. Eisenhower’s unheralded visit so flustered one of the storekeepers, pretty Mrs. Marion Harbaugh, that she unwittingly addressed the President and his companions at one point as “you boys”. Mr. Eisenhower was accompanied by William E. Robinson of New York, board chairman of Coca Cola.

Mrs. Harbaugh, 36 and brunette, completely forgot in the excitement to charge Mr. Eisenhower an 11-cent sales tax on his non-food purchases. And she momentarily overcharged him 33 cents before discovering one can of

 

 

food on the counter didn’t belong to the President. But Mrs. Harbaugh isn’t giving any of that a second thought.“We were so thrilled the he came,” she said. “It was wonderful just wonderful!”

 

 

North of the Farm
The country store, opened in 1909, is at Biglerville, PA, a town of about 800 population 10 miles north of Mr. Eisenhower’s farm at Gettysburg. It still is owned and operated by Mrs. Harbaugh’s father, 80-year old Ner Thomas, who was on hand Saturday. So was Mrs. Harbaugh’s older sister, Miss Jean Thomas.

Mr. Eisenhower paid his bill in cash, but the wealthy Robinson found to his chagrin that he had no money with him to settle for his purchases totaling $14.54. They included a luncheon tablecloth and napkins for Mrs. Eisenhower.

The President offered to lend Robinson some cash but he declined and accepted a blank check from Mrs. Harbaugh. Mr. Eisenhower and Robinson drove from the President’s farm to the country store after rain had washed out their plans to play golf.

Greeted by Clerks
When the President walked into the store he was greeted by two astonished clerks, Mrs. Edith Fraim and Mrs. Raymond Kuhn. They quickly rounded up Mrs. Harbaugh and Miss Thomas form the back of the store. The sisters’ father showed up later.

 

 

The President explained that Mrs. Eisenhower, who has visited the store, had suggested he would find it interesting. Newsmen, who had been waiting to see whether Mr. Eisenhower would turn up at the golf course, did not accompany him to Biglerville. But the folks at the store gave reporters a full account of the visit.

“The President was just fascinated,” Mrs. Harbaugh said. “He said he had never seen anything like this store in his life”.

 

 

Corn Fascinates Him
Burt Mr. Eisenhower was most interested in the food department. There he picked out a big can of apple juice put up by an area farmer’s cooperative, a jar and crock of apple butter, corn relish, a can of plums and a box of dried corn. He was particularly delighted about the corn. Mrs. Harbaugh said, and exclaimed: “I haven’t seen any of that in years”.

He also bought a one-quart measuring cup, saying, “That’s just what I need for my barbecues.” Mr. Eisenhower’s other purchases included a pitcher for juice and four glasses. He looked at dolls and told Mrs. Harbaugh that his granddaughters don’t care much for them.—that “they like tomboy things more”.

By the time Mr. Eisenhower was ready to leave, a crowd of Biglerville residents had assembled in front of the store. They gave him a big hand as he drove off.

 

 

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