Bob Shank’s mother asked him to help run Shank’s Tavern in Marietta in 1968, which got him involved in the family business and Lancaster County’s oldest tavern established in 1814.
Four years later in 1972, Shank had to deal with the aftermath of the destruction wrought by Tropical Storm Agnes.
Shank recalled in detail what the tavern looked like in the wake of the storm. Whiskey bottles lay broken on the ground instead of neatly displayed on the shelves. The piano collapsed in the corner where it once stood. The floodwaters managed to lift the bar and drop it into several inches of mud and oil sludge that coated the ground when the waters subsided. “It’s a memory that’s burned into my brain,” Shank, 74, said. “When the reality sets in that you’ve been in a major flood, you just take a deep breath, put your bathing suit on and go to work.”