Lancaster County Commissioners, Lancaster Mayor announce Barney Ewell Week

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Photo Courtesy of LNP Media Group, Inc. Lancaster Newspapers Barney Ewell holds some old track shoes in a 1984 file photo. “I think I wore them once in the Olympics,” he said at the time. ( From LNP Archives )

LANCASTER, PA. — Mayor Danene Sorace and Lancaster County Commissioners Joshua Parsons (Chair), Dennis Stuckey and Craig Lehman have proclaimed February 17th-25th Barney Ewell Week. The Barney Ewell Committee announced a series of community events and plans for permanent public tributes to honor the life and legacy of Henry Norwood “Barney” Ewell (1918-1996) in recognition of the 100 year anniver-sary of his birth in February.

“This heroic son of Lancaster — one of the premier track & field athletes of the 20th century — is little known today, and he’s remembered mainly by people who knew him personally. Barney deserves lasting memorials to his many accomplishments, so that he will live on in the minds of current and future generations of Lancastrians,” said Arthur Morris, a McCaskey grad, speaking on behalf of Committee members.

About Barney

Henry Norwood (Barney) Ewell (1918-1996) emerged as a track and field prodigy while growing up in the City of Lancaster, earning recognition around the country as “another Jesse Owens.” He became the fastest man in the world while running for Penn State, breaking the world record for the 50-yard dash with a time of 5 seconds flat in 1940.

Though World War II suspended his Olympic aspirations, he surprised everyone at the 1948 Olympic trials, not only qualifying for the United States team but also tying the world record for the 100-meters dash with a time of 10.2 seconds. He went on to win the Olympic gold medal for the 4×100 meter relay and the silver for both the 100 and 200-meter dash at London’s Wembley Stadium later that summer.

To ensure that this great Lancastrian’s legacy is never forgotten, the Barney Ewell Committee is hosting a series of free events during the week leading up to Barney’s 100th birthday (February 25).


Saturday, February 17 at 12:15 PM: Penn Square Visitor’s Center
In close proximity to one of his favorite locales, Central Market, Barney Ewell Week in Lancaster City will be officially declared by Mayor Danene Sorace and information will be distributed at the Visitor’s Center.

Tuesday, February 20 at 11:15 PM: Lancaster Train Station (53 McGovern Ave.)
Legend has it that there were more friends gathered at the train station for Barney’s Olympic sendoff and triumphant return than had converged to greet President Franklin Roosevelt some years before. At the site of this massive gathering, hear remembrances from those who were there, see a new exhibit of Barney Ewell memorabilia, and witness an official proclamation of Barney Ewell Week in Lancaster County by Lancaster County Commissioners.

Tuesday, February 20 at 3:30 PM: Corner of Green Street & Pershing Avenue,
In his later years, Barney was honored for his service to Lancaster’s southeast where he lived his whole life. Be there for the dedication of a newly installed sign near his home of 30 years, commemorating his community roots.

Saturday, February 24 at 11 AM: Conestoga Memorial Park Cemetery (95 Second Lock
Road, Lancaster)
Barney was a private and corporal in the U.S. Army during World War II and a participant in the first post-war Olympics. Join us for a wreath laying ceremony at his graveside highlighting his status as a hero who ushered the world out of a war-torn era.

Sunday, February 25 at 2 PM: Barney Ewell’s Birthday Bash: J.P. McCaskey Gymnasium
(445 N. Reservoir St. – Rear Entrance)
Activities geared for children including a bounce house, indoor racing and a short program on Barney’s influence will be hosted by the Lancaster Recreation Commission. All are welcome for cake and ice cream to celebrate Barney’s 100th birthday.

Source: The Barney Ewell Committee press release

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