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This is a picture of the Church of the Sacred Heart
and the rectory in about 1910. Renovations and improvements have been
made to the home and church over the years. One major change
occurred in the 1970’s when the bell tower was removed from the
church. Because of its deteriorating condition it was decided to remove
the bell tower and bell, which was accomplished with the use of a
helicopter. When the church and rectory were built in 1887 there was no
water system in town, the windmill behind the building was used to pump
water from a well. Other residents that could afford their own wells had
hand pumps installed, but most people would carry water in buckets from
local springs or streams to their homes.
This is a picture of the last girl’s basketball
team of Nesquehoning High School, 1931 under Harry Miller. First row,
left to right, Eva Fetsurka, Anna (Katalek) Kitchko. Second row, Ester
Hallahan, Anna (Derkosh) Allgaier, Jean Curry (Captain), Mary (Gazdick)
Hadnagy (Co-Captain), Olga (Halupa) Benek. Third row, Pauline Grover,
Margaret (Ferko) Knox, Helen Steventon (Assistant Coach), Harry Miller
(Coach), Lillian Patinko and Kitty (Kusko) Stianchi.
This is a picture of West Catawissa in 1905. There
were no cars or trucks in town back then, in fact, the first horseless
carriage in Nesquehoning was purchased by Ralph Corby on April 16, 1909,
and when he returned from Philadelphia with his new Ford he was besieged
with requests for rides. In the early days business places used wagons
pulled by horses or mules to make deliveries to the people in town.
There were hitching posts and water troughs for horses along the
streets. T. Dermott, a plumber and owner of a stove and tinware
store on Catawissa St., purchased the first auto truck for his business
in March 1911. By the end of the 1920’s most businesses bought trucks
but some continued to use horses and wagons into the 1940’s.
Andrew Cully delivered ice in the 20’s and 30’s and picked up the
town’s garbage with his horse and wagon in the 1940’s. The use
of horse and wagon wasn’t as safe as some would think. Andrew was
injured many times when his horse became unmanageable and would make a
mad dash through town, which usually ended abruptly when the animal and
wagon turned topsy-turvy. Sometimes the horses became scared and started
on a wild rampage. On April 21, 1921 Andrew sustained a compound
fracture of the leg from being kicked by one of his horses and spent
three months in the Coaldale Hospital.
Nesquehoning Post Office 1912. The
building on the right was built by Squire W.R.Watkins 1910. It was
located next to the M.E. Church. One side was occupied by the Post
Office; Thomas Floyd was postmaster, and the other side by Thomas
Kiggins, a clothing dealer and tailor. In 1913 Thomas Kiggins moved his
tailor shop and J. C. Bright and Company opened a store there.
Postmaster Floyd retired and James McArdle became the Postmaster on
January 9, 1915. Bright’s store was doing a fantastic business in town
and asked Watkins if they could rent both sides. On May 28, 1915 Watkins
leased the entire building to J. C. Bright & Co. and the Post Office
moved into the Hughes building on Main Street. On October 25, 1915 the
following article appeared in the newspaper: “The new post office
makes a very good appearance and it is a credit to our town. New
furniture has been installed; a bulletin board has been placed on the
wall and also a glass case in which are placed letters held over at the
post office. It is an up to date building and Mr. McArdle and his able
assistant Miss Hartneady are to be congratulated for their efficiency.
The old post office building has been remodeled and is being used as an
annex to the Bright store. A beautiful display of furniture is shown in
the annex and on the other side is a hunting display that attracts
attention of both young and old and also passing trolley passengers.”
Back then mail wasn’t delivered to people’s homes, they had to pick
it up at the post office. In 1920 a delivery system was planned. The
first thing that had to be done was the numbering of houses and the
placing of street signs at intersections. John Kuntzweiler and James
Bradbury were in charge of numbering the houses. The first mail delivery
was on 10-1-1920, Cornelius Hartneady and Daniel Dougherty, Jr., were
the carriers. The mail was delivered to homes twice a day and to
businesses once per day. Another interesting item about the post office
was a request from the postal department on 9-15-1920, inquiring into
the feasibility of establishing an emergency aerial station at
Nesquehoning for the New York – San Francisco route. A plot of ground
2000 square feet is necessary for landing purposes. It must be
convenient to a gasoline supply store and the post office roof must be
painted with the name of the town as a guide to the bird-men. On
10-16-1920 the postal department had the name of the town painted on the
roof of the West End schoolhouse also on the roof of the post office. A
landing place on the baseball field was selected in the event of an
emergency requiring the bird man to descend.
This is a picture of West Catawissa
St. around 1905. Bond’s Hotel, seen on the left, was owned by William
H. Bond. He acquired the property in 1900 and for a number of years he
conducted a machine repair shop, doing a fine business. He was intensely
energetic in all his undertakings and had a great interest in mechanics,
he put in many a happy hour over some piece of intricate machinery.
The building because of its central location was converted by him into a
Hotel. After a year or two he leased the hotel to others and “Billy”
Bond, as he was familiarly called, returned to the mines in which he had
begun life when a mere lad. He had the reputation of being one of the
brainiest miners in the employ of the company. At 10 o’clock, Monday,
Dec 13, 1909 he was instantly killed by a blast in Nesquehoning’s No.2
shaft. The blast it is said had failed to explode. After waiting for
some time and thinking the fuse had missed fired, he went to examine it
and just as he had reached the vent the explosion occurred and his life
paid the forfeit, he was 45 years old. Mr. Bond’s son, Harrison, who
worked by his father’s side, had a most miraculous escape, having been
detained at home for an hour or two and not yet reached the mine. Rev.
B. A. Barnes of the M. E. Church officiated at the funeral and spoke
feelingly of the many noble traits of the deceased, who was respected
and loved by all with whom he came in contact. “His many acts of
kindness, his charitableness to those in need and distress are living
monuments to his memory. The sympathy of the entire town goes out to his
wife and six children in their sad bereavement. By his death
Nesquehoning has lost a citizen who was always foremost in every move
towards the betterment of the town’s interest and one whose advice was
generally sought for in all movements toward the above end.” William
Bond’s mother, Elizabeth, was Nesquehoning’s oldest resident when
she died in 1931, at the age of ninety-one. Elizabeth and her husband
had the family record in the County with, 13 children, 42 grand
children, 66 great grand children and one great great grand child.
This is a picture of two Model AC chain drive Mack
trucks owned by the Fauzio Bros. in 1941. These trucks were used to haul
slate, rocks and other waste from the breaker. The picture was taken on
the mountainside opposite the Youth Center where Redner’s store is now
located. Back then the Youth Center was a mule stable. Men in
picture are, left to right, Paul Fauzio, Terry Canzoneri, Ben Turrano
and Jerome “Gigi” Vaiana.
After the stock market crash in 1929 the Country fell
into a great depression. Many people were without jobs. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt started the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).
People were offered an opportunity to engage in healthful, outdoor work
on forest, park and soil conservation projects. They were paid $30 per
month, the workers were allowed to keep $5 and the remaining $25 was
sent home to their families. A CCC camp was started at Nesquehoning, it
was located at the east end of town. The location of the CCC camp would
later become a roadside rest and is now the site of the Nesquehoning
Hose Co. #1. Company 3308CCC was made up of all black ex-soldiers,
except for one or two white officers. The original company strength was
187 enrollees and three officers. They built barracks, mess hall,
recreation building, tool shop, office, black smith shop, a garage to
fix their vehicles and Captain Lockridge’s quarters where he and his
wife and two children lived. Using picks, shovels and wheelbarrows these
men built fire roads through the mountain, a fire tower and cleaned out
streams at Farm Run and Shady Rest. They also did work in the four
hollows – like building rustic bridges across streams out of white
birch, cutting the under brush along the streams and roads, putting out
brush fires and cutting forage for deer to eat. The camp was dismantled
in 1938 and the lumber was furnished to athletic fields for the erection
of field houses. The first field building was erected at Nesquehoning.
This is a picture of Nesquehoning’s American Legion
baseball team in the 1950’s. Front row from left – Anthony Vignone,
Richard Nalesnik, Benjamin Davis, John Kusko, Robert Foster and Donald
Kulick. Second row – Robert Marsden, Richard Bubon, Edward Kusko, Ted
Drigan, Paul Krajcir, Robert Higgins and Joseph Kurash. Third row –
manager Joseph Bincarowsky, Anthony Talocci, John Feddock, George Mitzen,
Leo Drozdak and Tom Bretzik.
This photo was taken around 1914 and shows coal cars
being pulled by an electric mine motor. The mine motor pulled the cars
from the mine to a point where a small steam locomotive (lokie) would
take them to the breaker. In 1908 electric motors started to replace the
mules that were used to pull the coal cars, and proved a great time
saver. In 1909 two new motors were put into service, making five in all.
By 1929 electric motors replaced most mules in under ground workings and
the mine mules were added to the list of coal oil lamps, horses and
buggies and other relics, which the march of time has relegated to the
old and discarded classifications. An electric motor didn’t need time
to rest; it required no stable, boss or veterinarian to keep it in
shape. It could haul fourteen cars of coal whereas a mine mule could do
its best with only 4 to 8. Hence the mine mule was to vanish. Some
miners were sad to see their “buddy” go. Maude, the four footed
faithful but somewhat loose footed friend of the hard coal miner for the
past century was to be retired. While the mule was of a temperamental
type that might be classed as sometimes being as high tension as were
the wires that supplied the new electric motors, she was loved in the
mines by those who cussed her the most. Companion of the miner in the
darkness, often the vigilant safety first agent who sensed a body of gas
or could tell that the roof was falling, she was able to warn the miner
that he should be on his guard. Able to eat anything, even to taking an
arm off a careless driver, the mines proved too much for the average
mule, despite the rough and ready existence that she was fitted for.
Even though Jennie was 10 years old, Colonel was 12 and Frank was 16
when he died from injuries in the #2 shaft, two years was the average
length of life of a mule in the mines.
This is a picture of West Railroad Street in 1907.
The man standing by the fence is Edward R. Ronemus with daughters,
Amelia and Margaret. Amelia was born in 1897 and Margaret in 1903. The
children standing in the street are unknown. Some children shown in this
picture and other old pictures are not wearing shoes. This is not
because they wanted to go bare footed, its because their families
couldn’t afford shoes for their children. Some had shoes but could
only wear them to school and church. Many miners’ families could not
enjoy even the barest necessities of life. Miners were paid very little
and worked only 2 or 3 days a week, some months the miners didn’t work
at all. Many families couldn’t even afford the 8 cents needed to have
new soles put on their children’s shoes, they would cut cardboard and
put it in their shoes to cover the holes.
This is a picture of the intersection
of Railroad, Center and School Streets in the early 1900’s. Back in
those days people referred to it as the Five Points. Because of the
large open area, it was a favorite site for children to play baseball.
Many different businesses occupied this spot, some sold groceries,
confectionery, fresh fish, shoes, cigars & tobacco. There were shoe
repair shops, barber shops, meat markets, a pool room, hardware store,
Ukrainian Club, VFW, even a pop corn factory in 1914 operated by Robert
Charles. This was also the site of many open-air meetings. In 1912, John
P. White, international president of the United Mine Workers Union held
a large mass meeting at this intersection. 1,500 mineworkers listened as
their President and other high-ranking officials gave rousing speeches
from the porch. Mr. Matti addressed the Slovaks in their native tongue
and Mr. Paggoni did likewise to the Italians.
This picture was taken in front of a
Hotel conducted by U. S. Bobst (Shermay) in the year 1901. It was
Nesquehoning’s first football team. In the early years, young men
formed football teams on their own. After their team was completed they
looked for someone to be their manager, who would arrange games with
other towns. These games drew many spectators sometimes over a thousand
paid admissions to view these games. The players were paid very little
sometimes nothing. The manager usually kept most of the money.
Nesquehoning teams played hard, tough ball, many of their opponents
refused to come back because they said Nesquehoning played too rough.
Four standing on back row, left to right, Thomas Mulligan, Lawrence
Radcliff, Ernest Steventon and James Smitham. Man sitting down, James
Doak, man to his left, Jack Sheeney Morgan, man to his right, Phillip
Floyd. Nine men in second row, left to right, James Watkins, John
Watkins, James Coll, Edward Donald, J. J. McDonald (became Nesquehoning
doctor), William Kelly Watkins, Clarence (Smokey) Marsden, John R.
Mulligan and Harry J. Steventon (Stimpey). The three Watkins boys are
brothers, the two Mulligans are brothers.
Inside Back Cover
After a disastrous fire that destroyed the Scared
Heart Parochial School on January 9th, 1929, it was determined the fire
company needed better equipment. It was decided to assess every citizen
of Nesquehoning one dollar per month to purchase two new fire trucks. A
committee was appointed and after demonstrations by various fire truck
manufactures, a decision was made to purchase a ladder truck and a
triple combination pumper, hose and chemical truck of 600 gallon
capacity and 105 horse power motor from the Hahn Motor Truck Company,
Allentown. The order for the trucks was placed on May 24th and the
pumper arrived on November 19th and the ladder truck a week later.
One of the pieces of equipment on
Nesquehoning Hose Company’s ladder truck was a rescue net. If people
were trapped on the upper floors of a burning building they were told to
jump into the net. From 1929 to 1970, when it was disposed of, this
rescue net was used once or possibly twice for its intended purpose at a
dwelling fire. Most of the time it was used to treat the neighborhood
children to some fun by letting them jump into it from the top window of
the firehouse, as seen in this 1938 photo.