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In the 1870’s, Chambersburg was bustling with activity. The aftermath of the destruction of the town by Confederate forces in 1864 left Chambersburg rising from the ashes like a phoenix. New buildings were rapidly built with new and old businesses inhabiting them. One of these new businesses was a jewelry store started by an enterprising young man of 19 years, George W. Ludwig. His shop became “the leading house of its kind in Chambersburg” as reported by the 1887 History of Franklin County. George’s brother, William H. Ludwig, joined him in the business. At the age of 30, George decided to leave the business and fulfill his life-long dream of becoming a doctor, leaving the store in the hands of his brother. William was noted for his innovative display windows and newspaper advertisements. When William died in 1926, it was the start of a difficult period for the business.
The Great Depression wasn’t a time that many people were buying jewelry or gift-ware. The store hardly survived however, a partnership with Dr. Hunter, an optician, helped keep the business afloat. Walter Ludwig, William’s older son, kept his hand in the family business during this time on a limited basis. His main occupation was a forester, working at the state level in the Carlisle area for Governor Gifford Pinchot. After Pinchot left office so did Walter back to the store that was his roots.
Walter’s younger son, William came into the business in 1939 but soon left for World War II. After the war, he came home to run the store and eventually owned it with the deaths of his parents in 1951 and 1952. William “Bill” did much to modernize and upgrade the store. He took gemological courses from Gemological Institute of America and became a registered jeweler with the American Gem Society. He remained active in the business until his death in 1990. Bill’s daughters Ann, Jane, and Emily, now operate the business. Kyle, Jane’s daughter, now works full-time and Lacey, Emily’s daughter, works part-time as she also teaches.
Above all, the legacy of George Ludwig continues to offer quality merchandise and service at reasonable prices and always treat the customer with respect and honesty. If you’re looking for the perfect Sylvie Collection engagement ring or wedding band, Ludwig’s has everything you need and more!
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