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Up This is the 2003 Nesquehoning Calendar



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When coal was first discovered at Nesquehoning in 1785 men used sledgehammers to break it into small pieces. In the early 1800’s coal processing plants known as breakers were built. The first breaker at Nesquehoning was run by waterpower, and it is believed that with a single exception it was the only one thus operated in the anthracite region. There were several breakers built at Nesquehoning throughout the years. The one shown in this picture was built in 1908; it was the last breaker at Nesquehoning. The total production of coal that year was 381,422 tons, and was sold for $2,288,532. In 1909 this breaker processed more than 502,000 tons and 712,000 tons in 1910. Weight was measured in long tons of 2,240 lbs. There were 1,420 mine cars loaded at this breaker during a single day in August 1911. It was steam powered until 1918 when it was electrified. The coal from Nesquehoning had the distinction of being the highest quality anthracite coal ever found, not only in the Panther Valley, or in Pennsylvania but the entire world. When the government bought coal, it was tested and had to meet certain standards. The government always bought coal from the Nesquehoning mines; even other coal companies would buy coal from Nesquehoning to mix with their coal, so it would pass the governments tests. Many coal dealers demanded that the coal they received come from the mines at Room Run. It is said the term “black diamonds” was first used when a Philadelphia coal dealer described coal from Nesquehoning’s Room Run mines. He said “when shoveled it has the sound of glass and it sparkles like black diamonds.” This breaker was abandoned Dec. 31, 1947 and on July 28, 1948 the breaker was sold for scrap.



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1931 basketball team. Top row, left to right, George Roscoe, Jackie Grainger, William Bincarowsky, Buddy Large, Cramer Grover, Adolph Wasas, Louie Beneck and Harry Donald. Front row, left to right, Johnny Kusko, Steve Kusko, Jimmy Shelhammer, Johnny Hotsko, Mike Hudicka and Ed Speshok. This team ended its season in 2nd place in the Carbon Schuylkill League.



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Steam locomotives used by the coal company were called lokies. Lokies were various sizes depending on what they were used for. The one in this picture was considered large and would pull up to 30 loaded cars. Surface, open pit or more commonly called strip mining relied heavily on the use of these lokies. Millions of tons of dirt and rock called overburden had to be removed to get to the coal. This picture was taken at Nesquehoning in the early 1900’s. Frank McCabe, a long time and well-known lokie engineer at Nesquehoning, is the only person identified in the picture, he is the third man from the left. These lokies were extremely powerful machines and at times would become unruly and uncontrollable.  On July 12, 1914 an engineer at Nesquehoning said his lokie became unmanageable and he tied down the whistle and leaped for his life. It finally crashed into a rock train, badly damaging the lokie and cars. Frank had some frightening and scary experiences with these machines. The following was an article in the local newspaper dated August 31, 1907. THRILLING RUNAWAY. Lokie engineer Frank McCabe seriously injured on the trolley track. Frank McCabe of Nesquehoning, the engineer on one of the lokies at the Nesquehoning colliery had a thrilling runaway at that place at 8 on Tuesday morning. His engine went over the bank and into the dirt until out of sight and McCabe was very severely injured. His left arm is broken and his spine is injured. Friends took him to St. Luke’s hospital. Four others were on the engine at the time. Joseph Evans the fireman, two Hungarian young men as brakemen and Richard Fegley who was piloting the lokie over the trolley track, these all escaped. The accident happened on the Eastern Pennsylvania electric railway. After the trolley cars stopped running at midnight McCabe began hauling material with his lokie from Lansford to the Nesquehoning colliery. He was coming down No.6 hill with a big gondola of sand attached to his engine. Half way down the lokie got vicious and it took but a few minutes to cover the rest of the distance. With the speed of the wind it flew over the first crossing at No. 2 dam and then over the second, and with a bound she jumped the track and bored into the adjoining bank. The trolley track was much bent and twisted.



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Hauto, October 1902, rent $2.00 per month was written on the bottom of this picture. Hauto Valley was named after one of the founders of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, George F. A. Hauto. Shortly after the completion of the Nesquehoning Valley Railroad in 1863, a tunnel was dug through the Nesquehoning Mountain, linking the Panther Valley and Hauto Valley. A settlement (Hauto village) was started when a coal processing plant was built there in 1873 that employed over 100 men. W. Tippett opened a post office at Hauto in July 1883. In 1913 the worlds largest coal burning power plant was built at Hauto.



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In the early 1900’s, James Newton opened a theatre on W. Catawissa called the Empire Theatre; the movies in those days had no sound so Mr. Newton would hire someone to play a piano during the movie. The Empire Theatre closed in 1928. In 1924 a new theatre was built next to the High School, called the Strand. The building was 40x150 feet, and had a seating capacity of 1,000. They boasted ladies and gents toilet rooms and every accommodation of a modern theatre. The stage accommodated the largest kind of a show company, although moving pictures and vaudeville were featured. In 1929 the Strand became the Roxy. When the Roxy opened on 11-22-1929 the local newspaper said, “Talkies at the Roxy Theatre have taken the people of Nesquehoning by storm. Capacity crowds nightly express their delight with the perfect sound.” Starting in the 1950’s there was a steady decline in business; theatre owners said the culprit was the television. The Roxy Theatre closed in the 1960’s.



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This 1940 photo shows Lenious Marsden and his milk delivery truck in front of his home at 106 E. Center St.. In 1917 Len and his twin brother Bob were among the first to answer their countries call for World War I. On November 15, 1920 Len purchased William Bectel’s milk route. Len was a well known young man, a volunteer of the World War who fought with distinction over there and he promised to give his patrons the benefits of the promptest and best service possible. Len started delivering milk using a horse and wagon. A newspaper article dated 3-12-1923 read – “Dairyman Len Marsden’s horse become scared as he was being driven on East Catawissa Street, Friday, and was rather unmanageable for a time engaging in a kicking bee that demolished the front of the wagon and which will likely earn him an indefinite furlough for the good of the service”.  In 1928 he built a modern and roomy garage behind his house, 26x30 feet with a capacity of four cars and quarters in which to conduct his dairy business. He retired in 1961.



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The first two blocks of East Railroad Street were known as "Red Row." These were houses built by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. In 1902, the rent was six dollars per month, which included one ton of coal provided every month by the company. These were the most expensive houses the company had; others were rented for as little as one dollar per month. Before the water system was installed in Nesquehoning in 1908, people would get their water from wells or springs. Barely visible in this picture between the second and third house from the left is a well with a hand pump. People who lived in this neighborhood shared this one well.



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This picture was taken at Hauto Dam in August 1922. Writing on the picture said “Will Watkins & Porky diving.” Coal breakers used enormous amounts of water in the washing process. The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company built many dams to supply water to these breakers, Hauto being on of them. In 1883 the dams capacity was 220 millions gallons. In 1913 the LC&N built a coal burning power plant here, it was the largest in the world and ranked 2nd in high voltage, Niagara Falls being 1st. The water supply needs of the plant were 300,000,000 gallons daily, most of which was carried back into the dam after condensation. A new dam was built 1700 feet in length and the height of its embankment 31 feet, 150 feet was the width of the dam’s base, and 15 feet the width to which it slopes at the top. In 1923 the breast of the dam was raised, bringing its capacity to 1,250,000,000 gallons. In 1916 the Hauto Dam became a fashionable bathing resort, a miniature Atlantic City. What Atlantic City was to the Eastern Coast, Hauto Dam was to Nesquehoning. Hundreds fished and bathed daily, quite a number of ladies were among those who indulged in dips in the cooling water, a jitney ran between it and Nesquehoning for the accommodation of the patrons. Boating was also a feature of the resort. On June 4, 1916, James Newton launched his new motorboat on the Hauto dam. It was made by himself and was named “Anna.” Ben Oxley assisted in the launching. It was the pride of the Nesquehoning boat club. The Nesquehoning Boat Club held outings at the dam, a feature was a clambake and music furnished by the Williams Orchestra. During the First World War it become necessary to keep all persons away from the Hauto dam on which depended the operation of the Hauto power plant. Guards were placed around the dam and a vigilant watch kept over it. After the war the dam returned to its former resort status as seen in this newspaper article dated July 5, 1921, “Hauto was a mecca for thousands of people escaping the terrible heat in the past few days. The beautiful bathing spot was aglow with varicolored bathing suits and many people enjoyed the boating. Gabor Wasas conveyed a bevy of young ladies on Monday. They report having a wonderful time. Mr. Wasas has secured a license to take auto parties to parks and any desired places.”



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This photo was taken in the early 1900’s. The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company hired outside contractors such as Joseph Zehner Stripping Contractor and Loomis and Co. to do the surface mining or more commonly called strip mining. When a vein of coal lies near the surface of the earth it is mined in the way shown in this picture. All the dirt on top of the coal is removed by big steam shovels, one of which you can see at work. By the stripping method all the coal can be mined, but in mining from shafts, supports of coal must be left at certain distances apart to hold up the ceiling. Although strip mining required less manpower, the cost of drilling and blasting, cost of explosives and the removal of millions of tons of dirt and rock made this type of mining expensive. In a normal year, two and one-half million cubic yards of overburden were removed to produce 625,000 tons of coal. Many of the employees of these stripping contractors were from Little Italy. Because these workers were not union members it caused the union miners to protest. On November 8, 1915, Little Italy started a local union of the United Mine Workers. The organizers were Paul Petrucci and Leo Morelleu.



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Nesquehoning Cheerleaders 1963. Mascot: Michele Belovich. FIRST ROW, Left to Right: Mary Lou Sluck, Inez Sehar, Barbara Kravelk, Mary Ann Lukac. SECOND ROW: Roxanne DeAngelis, Roseanne Cannariato, Sandra Williams, Ilona Thear, Martha Jean Slivka, Christine Yaniga.



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This is a photo of E. Catawissa St. in the early 1900’s. The residents of Nesquehoning were pleased when trolley service came to town in 1902. For 5 cents they could go to Mauch Chunk or Lansford, and the miners could ride to work instead of walking. In the 1920’s a lot of people had automobiles and they became less dependent on the trolley. By the end of the 1920’s many people complained about the trolleys and wanted them removed. Local radio set owners were loudly and justly complaining of the unnecessary static from the bad street railway bonding and the leakages in the high-tension electric lines.  Citizen’s also complained about the high number of children that were injured and killed by the trolley cars. In 1931 the trolley was discontinued, and the tracks removed. Busses took the place of the trolley.



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Nesquehoning’s scrapbook. 1. Nesquehoning’s first traffic light. 2. Jane Zlock, Legion Band. 3. Jacob Buss, born in 1834 was a pioneer resident of Nesquehoning. After the Civil War he became the landlord of the Landing Tavern, at the mouth of the Nesquehoning Creek, in 1872 he became the landlord of Nesquehoning’s Miner’s Hotel. He was also one of the first directors of the Nesquehoning Building and Loan Association when it was chartered in 1889. “Old Jake,” as he was familiarly termed, was the ideal landlord. Generous to a fault, open hearted, free from guile or envy, everybody liked him and respected him. He was a plain, blunt business man who spoke as he thought and meant what he said, never fearing to give an honest opinion on any question whatever. Appeals for aid were never brushed lightly aside, no matter by whom made. He was scarcely ever angry and when angry could control himself with a firmness that was truly remarkable. Although in the business for over 40 years, he was strictly temperate and was never known to have indulged to excess 4. Joe Hadnagy on E. Railroad St. Joe died at an early age due to a shooting accident. 5. Children swimming at Curry’s Grove. 6. Celebrating the end of WWII in New Columbus. JoJo Digilio, Sam Alonge, Joni Digilio, Charles Vaccro, Charlie Lopresto, Bill Santore, Juice Cermele, Dan Greek, Sam Greek, Louie Nardozzi, Louie Mele, Bandy Rutch, Joe Riccette and Anthony Mele. 7. Ed Watkins and Chief McGinley in the 1950’s.


Inside Back Cover

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At one time banks were allowed to issue their own money. Above are three examples of these bills issued by the First National Bank of Nesquehoning. The top one was issued in 1912, John Corby cashier and Levi Marsden president. The one in the middle is from 1929, and is the first bill of that series, A000001A.  John Corby cashier and Levi Marsden president. Both Corby and Marsden signed their names above their printed names on this bill. The bottom bill is from the 1929 series, John Corby cashier and John McDonald president. On February 12, 1920 there was an attempted bank robbery, the following are articles that were in the newspaper.

2-12-1920 - Daring attempt to rob Nesquehoning bank by masked man frustrated. A daring but unsuccessful attempt was made to rob the First National Bank, at Nesquehoning at 4 a.m. today by a masked desperado armed to the teeth and determined to kill if necessary to accomplish his purpose, but the plucky, nervy wife of John C. Corby, cashier of the bank frustrated his designs by her daring act in putting her foot on an alarm which led to nearby houses and aroused the occupants, augmented by the faultless system of protection with which the bank is equipped.  It was at 4 a.m. that the desperado forced an entrance into the Corby home. He did his work so quietly and effectively that Mr. and Mrs. Corby were not aroused from their slumber by his intrusion. With kit of tools he jimmied a rear window open. The first intimation they had of the presence of their unwelcome visitor was when the burglar thrust a flash light on Mr. Corby and at the point of a gun commanded him to get up and open the safe. Mrs. Corby was commanded at the same time to accompany her husband and make no outcry under penalty of death.  Mr. Corby remonstrated with the burglar that he was powerless to open the vault which is operated by a time lock. “Very well,” said the desperado “we will wait until it opens” which is shortly before opening of the bank for business each day.  After waiting some time, Mrs. Corby was inspired with the plan to spread an alarm by reaching and touching the alarm with her foot and with quick wit executed the act. The burglar alarm rings only at the home of Wesley Norwood and Levi Marsden. Unable to open the vault the desperado compelled Mr. and Mrs. Corby to retire to their bedroom where he bound them.  Mr. Corby with rope and Mrs. Corby with an electric light extension wire because there wasn’t enough rope. In the meantime he sat at the top of the stairway awaiting the opening of the vault. A short time later people began to arrive in response to the alarm.  The burglar heard them and knowing he had been tricked fled in wild disorder by way of a rear door. It was Levi Marsden who scared him by ringing a doorbell.  Mr. and Mrs. Corby were released from their bondage by their rescuers and made as comfortable as possible. Mrs. Corby was sick in bed when the burglar called, but he had no regard for her condition and subjected her to the peril of endangering her health by compelling her to leave her bed and go down stairs. Mr. Corby was the object of the burglar’s constant attention. He kept him covered with his gun every minute. He realized the danger of permitting a relaxation upon Mr. Corby whom he appreciated would give him a fight if the opportunity afforded. It was in this way that Mrs. Corby was allowed a little leeway and took due advantage of it to the burglar’s sorrow. The burglar under all kinds of dire threats tried to make Mr. Corby reveal the concealment of valuables and securities outside of the vault but Mr. Corby was unyielding in his position that everything of value was in the vault. It was a trying moment for Mr. Corby, who knew not the minute the burglar, would shoot and kill him, but despite his peril he remained steadfast that he was useless to the burglar. It was a critical situation for Mr. Corby, but it proved his unflinching nerve and mettle. There is no doubt the robbing of the bank was well planned. The burglar evidently selected the special time for the robbery an account of the day being a holiday, Lincoln’s birthday, when the bank would be closed. He figured on being compelled to await the opening of the vault by the time clock in the absence of the failure of Mr. Corby to open it. He figured on coolly getting away with his loot. The only description of the burglar they observed was that he was masked and wore a light colored overcoat, was medium in height, thick set and wore a black slouch hat. He disappeared via. C. R. R. tracks going Westward. Mr. and Mrs. Corby suffered considerably from shock. This was but a natural sequence to the exciting encounter through which they passed. The robbery indicates the desperation of the money-crazed criminals when they shift the scene of their operations to country banks. The directors of the bank met this morning and assured the patrons of the bank that not a cent had been taken which they attributed to the up to date system of protection installed at the bank. There was general relief that Mr. and Mrs. Corby weren’t harmed, the robbery being a second consideration. 

2-13-1920 - No trace of bank robber. John C. Corby, cashier of the First National Bank, Nesquehoning was on the job today despite the thrilling experience with a burglar the morning previous. Mrs. Corby is in bed. She was ill for a week when the robber appeared. Her condition has been aggravated by the shock she suffered. There is no clue to the desperado. It was evident he was well acquainted with the lay of the land, apparently having mapped out his line of procedure from a prior visit to the building. His equipment would indicate that he was a professional. An amateur would hardly be as cool and collected. No reward has been offered for the arrest and conviction of the robber as yet. As a matter of protection to other banks in the county and as a lesson to the burglars that they will not be permitted to ply their nefarious trade in this county, the county commissioners should offer a reward for the arrest of the robber. No doubt the directors of the Nesquehoning National Bank will take suitable action with regard to effecting the arrest of the burglar by the offering of a substantial reward. The attempt to rob the bank verifies the good sound judgment of the directors in making it burglar proof. It is gratifying to them as well as the patrons of the bank and the general public that the bank was put to the test and proved its efficiency as burglar proof. General gratification is felt over the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Corby weren’t harmed by the robber. Few women would have the presence of mind in such a trying moment as Mrs. Corby in putting her foot on the burglar alarm. It was that act that saved the bank from being looted at the opening of the vault at 8 a. m., which the robber was waiting for. He evidently intended to get the money and coolly walk away with it in broad daylight. Only a professional would have the daring to do this. Mrs. Corby is deserving of a hero’s medal.


Back Cover

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