Mont Alto Stories

By: Patti Spencer

Mont Alto is a borough in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, midway between Waynesboro and Chambersburg. In the first half of the 20th century, Mont Alto was a stop on the railroad for the South Mountain Tuberculosis Sanitarium.  Mont Alto was home of an ironworks, the Pennsylvania State Forestry School (now a campus of Penn State),  and a town full of characters.

When I brought my roommate home for a visit from college, she said Mont Alto reminded her of the old movie, The King of Hearts.  In the movie, a British soldier is sent to disarm a bomb placed in the town square by the retreating Germans.  The soldier arrives to find a very eccentric group of townspeople, inmates of the local insane asylum, as it turns out, who have stepped into the characters of the fleeing villagers.