Blog: Ludwig’s Beer Cellars

Did you know that there were several subterranean chambers used to store vats of beer under Chambersburg? In 1942 D. Harvey Diehl converted them to bomb shelters capable of holding 1,500 people. The chambers had been built by George Ludwig (1811-1887), who immigrated from Germany and began working as a brewer for Mr. Washabaugh in 1836. (Washabaugh’s brewery was near the West King Street bridge). Ludwig then started his own brewery, eventually becoming so successful that he bought Washabaugh’s. These were lost in the burning in 1864, but he rebuilt and continued to be very successful until he retired in 1881. The caverns were 4 to 6 six feet below the surface and had ceilings about 12 feet tall. Each was furnished with a stove and electric lights. There were two toilets and ventilation shafts to allow for fresh air. Mr. Diehl covered the surface with a 60 X 60 slab of concrete and made two entrances to the underground caverns. There was supposedly a third cave that was not used for the project. The chambers are closed off and paved over now. They were located in the area behind Olympia Candy Kitchen.