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one time baseball was almost an obsession with Nesquehoning residents.
Sometimes over 2,000 fans attended the games. The coalmines and the coal
breaker would close and extra trolley cars were added to accommodate the
fans. Ministers of local churches became angry because many people went
to see the baseball game instead of going to church. Rev. Joshua, of the
Baptist Church and Rev. Noon, of the Methodist Church had warrants sworn
out against seventeen members of the baseball team on the charge of
desecrating the Sabbath by playing baseball on Sunday. It was decided
not to start the games until 4 p.m. when services at the churches would
be over. This is a picture of the 1904 Nesquehoning team. Pictured in
the front row, left to right: Charley Collins, Bill Oxley and Morris
Grainger. Second row: J. J. McDonald, Albert Reese, Harry McGorry, Bob
Wisely, Frank McGorry and Tom Corby. Back row: Fred Hooper Sr. and Jr.
and Ed Taney and James Coll. Bob Wisely was a well know athlete from
Nesquehoning, and went to pitch for Holyoke, Mass. Besides being an
excellent pitcher he was a .350 hitter and could play any infield or
This picture shows a steam locomotive
entering Nesquehoning at an area know as Paradise. Paradise was an area
where people held picnics and children would play football and baseball,
the photo was taken in 1923. On the back of the picture was written
“C. N. J. #457 with #2201, last run of this train”. This K1 class
locomotive was a mastodon type with a 4-8-0 wheel arrangement, it was
built in 1900 by the Brooks Company. Railroads played a big part in the
history of Nesquehoning. When coal was first discovered at Nesquehoning
the chief difficulty was getting it to market. At first wagons were used
to transport the coal to the docks at the Lehigh River. The wagons held
one ton of coal and required two horses; each wagon could make two trips
per day. The first railroad at Nesquehoning and one of the first in the
United States, was called the Room Run Railroad, it was started in 1831.
Much time was spent on preparing the grade where the tracks would be
laid. Since this was a gravity railroad, you needed enough downward
pitch for the cars to roll and not to steep for the mules to pull the
empty cars back to the mines at Room Run. When finished it was acclaimed
the greatest railroad bed and an engineering marvel. It was finished in
the spring of 1833 and was considered the best railroad ever built and
the most expensive. The final cost was $123,000, almost $100,000 more
than the original estimate of $29,123.75. In the first year 21,000 tons
of coal glided down the new railroad from the Nesquehoning mines to the
Lehigh River. Each train consisted of six to eight cars loaded with coal
and a special car to haul the mules. This car contained water and food
bins where the mules could eat, drink and get a well deserved rest after
pulling the empty cars back to the mines at Room Run four miles away.
The Room Run gravity Railroad was replaced in the 1860’s with a new
railroad that used steam locomotives, it was called the Nesquehoning
Valley Railroad. This railroad was built principally to carry the output
of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company mines, receiving the traffic
that formerly passed over the Room Run and Switchback railroads.
1890’s photo shows mine inspectors examining a tunnel at Nesquehoning
after a cave-in. Miner’s worked under the most intolerable and
inhumane conditions of employment imaginable. Miners had extremely
dangerous jobs, working in tunnels hundreds of feet underground. He went
down into the bowels of the earth each day, knowing that he may or may
not return, perhaps descending to his everlasting tomb. Explosions,
cave-ins, poison gasses and flooding, killed many. Jobs in the mines
were dangerous, dirty and hard. Even under the best of conditions dust
was impossible to completely control. As a result, miners were subject
to black lung or anthrasilicosis. One new resident to the mining area
observed that the only time he saw the miner’s smile was when they
were on strike.
is a picture of the First Baptist Church shortly after it was built. The
church was dedicated on April 27, 1907. Baptist services were conducted
here as early as 1889 by Rev. J. R. Ellis of Summit Hill. Services were
held in the schoolhouse and sometimes at the homes of Baptists. Rev.
Ellis organized a mission in 1889, and on November 19 1895, Rev. James
Marcus Marwick organized a regular congregation. About this time the
Methodists erected Meads Memorial Methodist Church and the Baptists
bought the building that had been vacated by the Methodists and moved it
to Railroad Street. It was unpainted and humble but happy hours were
spent within its four walls (this is now the site of the Sokol Club). In
January 1896, S. J. Cleeland a student at Bucknell, conducted a series
of services, which happily resulted in the conversion of 22 souls. On
April 12, they were baptized by Rev John T. Griffith. It was the first
public baptismal service in Nesquehoning and was witnessed by thousands.
Rev J. E. Kauaar was the first regular pastor. He served only from
November 1897 to June 1898. Rev. Alfred Wells became pastor in September
and labored faithfully for nearly two years. Rev. Partridge succeeded
him in a short pastorate and then the church was again supplied by
students and others until January 1906, when Rev. J. E. Kanaar returned.
One of the results of his labors was a beautiful house of worship. It
replaced the little old frame building of 15 years ago and was located
on a corner on the opposite side of the street. The church had a seating
capacity of 300 and was erected at a cost of $6,500. Including the lot,
organ, carpets, furniture and a few other needed improvements to the
basement the cost was $10,000. Thomas Brothers, (Barnet and George) of
Nesquehoning were the contractors. Samuel H. Evans, also of Nesquehoning
did the painting for them. The handsome colors of the memorial windows,
was also the work of his brush. On the day the church was dedicated John
Lauer the commissioner of finance said “We need $1,500 to clear the
church of debt,” he told his audience. Mr. Lauer never collected money
easier in his life. It fairly flowed into him, ten hundred and forty
dollars at the morning service and the remainder afternoon and evening.
The spirit of these people may be fairly inferred by the act of two
little coal breaker boys. George and Davy Jones, one 16 the other 14.
George handed in a $5 gold piece and Davy a silver dollar. “If there
are many more boys in this congregation like these two” said Mr.
Lauer, no one need fear its future.
is a picture of the Hauto power plant during construction in 1913. It
was built by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company and was the worlds
largest coal burning power plant. This power could be transmitted
anywhere within a radius of 175 miles. The nearest plant that
transmitted power at so high a voltage was located at Niagara Falls. It
was the beginning of the most important step ever taken in the United
States toward the economic use of coal and generation of electrical
power on a large scale. By transforming the coal into electric energy
near the mines and transmitting it direct to consumers, handling
loading, hauling and dumping was eliminated. The company had an annual
waste of about 500,000 tons of coal particles and dust. As this culm was
unmarketable it was burned in the company’s boilers, there by
affecting another large saving. The main generating plant was located at
Hauto because of an abundant water supply, the reservoir was increased
to 1,000,000,000 gallon capacity with an area of about 400 acres by
construction of a higher dam. The water supply needs of the plant was
300,000,000 gallons daily, most of which was carried back into the
reservoir after condensation. To run the plant at the contemplated
maximum capacity of 100,000 kw, approximately 1,000,000 tons of coal was
needed yearly. The power house was characterized by a number of
innovations. Fifty-ton gondolas ran from the mines into the boiler
house, where the coal was deposited in steel bunkers, this method doing
away with the necessity of other coal handling apparatus. After the
consumption of the coal the ash was removed from the hoppers under the
boilers by the opening of the gates, which allowed the ashes to fall in
specially designed steel cars. The ash was then gathered in a train and
lugged away by the locomotive. At first it was called the Lehigh
Navigation Electric Company and in 1920 the name changed to Pennsylvania
Power and Light Co. The plant was closed in 1969 and in 1973 demolition
began and took three years to complete.
This is a picture of “Red Rock
Quarry” in the 1950’s. It was located in the east end of
Nesquehoning and is now the site of Whitewater Rafting Adventures. The
Fauzio Brothers of Nesquehoning operated the stone quarry until the mid
1960’s. Bill Brazzo purchased all the equipment and continued
operation until the early 1970’s. While building a road over the Broad
Mountain in 1914, Charles E. Stermer, of Pottsville, a district engineer
in the State Highway Department, and foreman J. H. Rothermel, of Mauch
Chunk found the fine quarry of red shale stone on the hill side north of
the Nesquehoning creek where the creek crosses the Broad Mountain road,
alongside of which Rothermal was told to locate a stone crusher and put
it into operation as soon as possible. In 1915 the State Highway
department said Nesquehoning would have a permanent quarry. It is the
intention of the highway department to use the stone from this quarry
for the roads of this and adjoining counties to be shipped via of the C.
R. R. of N. J., which will run a spur from its Nesquehoning branch to
the quarry at the foot of the Broad Mountain. The stone from this quarry
is said to be the best in the state. At one time all the streets in
Nesquehoning were made with this stone. At this time there is still one
street made with the red stones, its Allen Street. It starts at
Catawissa St and goes behind the baseball field to Rt. 209; many people
refer to it as the “Red Road”.
Looking west at the intersection of
Catawissa and Ratcliff Streets in the early 1900’s. At the time this
picture was taken transportation was by horse and buggy, trains or
trolley cars. The trolley came up Catawissa St. and made a left turn at
Ratcliff St., it continued for 2 blocks where it made a right turn on
High St. heading toward Lansford. The building on the right is the Eagle
Hotel. The Eagle Hotel was one of Nesquehoning’s oldest and best-known
landmarks, being a licensed place as far back as 1846, when the hostelry
was owned by the late James McCabe. The building was destroyed in one of
Nesquehoning’s worst fires on May 8, 1977. Faintly visible in the
background is the Nesquehoning coal breaker.
At one time Nesquehoning’s main street was lined
with all kinds of stores. Some of them are shown in this 1940’s
picture of W. Catawissa St. Bill’s Lunch owned by Bill Steventon is on
the left. His menu included hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and hoagies. One
of his customers said the little 25-cent pizza’s Billy made were great.
The next store was the Ho-Maid ice cream store. The entire left side of
the store from front to back was lined with candy cases. Ice cream was
served in the rear of the store and there were 2 booths where you could
sit. The next store is Newton’s Cut Rate owned by Asenath Newton. She
sold a variety of items, from playing cards to cough medicine. Many
people in town went there to buy newspapers and magazines. The bowling
alley next to the Cut Rate store was operated by the Newton’s. Bill’s
Lunch was a popular hang out at this time, some people identified in
this picture are Joe Marczyk on left, John Shefchik (second from left),
Minners Stemetzki (fourth from left) and next to him is Theodore Taptich.
On the right side of the picture is John Hudicka holding the newspaper
and next to him is Mike Bazik. The man in the background wearing the
overcoat and tie is Hanah Morgan. My Little Salon and St. Lukes
Rehabilitation Center now occupy the buildings shown in this picture.
school districts and municipalities pay people (crossing guards) to help
schoolchildren cross streets and intersections. At one time schools
utilized students for this purpose. As shown in this 1939 photograph
students were assigned to this job, they were called the Safety Patrol.
The boy on the left is David Conway.
knee-hi football team from the early 1970’s. They were known as the
Redskins. Front row l-r: Dominic Farole, Michael Greek, Vito Focht, Jim
Zuzu, Greg McPeak, Martin Maurer, Vince Maradeo, Robert Ficocelli. Back
row l-r: John Pondish, Dave Hudicka, John Staivecki, Anthony Daminio,
Alan Kulick, Randy Reis, Tom Shober, Vernon Corby, Ed Jacobs, Nicky Joe
This is a picture of Corby’s Bakery;
it was located on W. Catawissa St. at the site of the present Borough
Offices. The following is a newspaper article from June 12, 1915. The J.
W. Corby Bakery will occupy their well-equipped plant, early next week.
The bakery is fitted with all the latest improvements, including a
Schaller steam oven, doing the baking in manner to assure excellent
results and sanitary advantages. During the opening, the operation will
be in charge of a demonstrator from the Fleischman Yeast Co., New York.
The public is invited to examine the working of the immense oven, with a
capacity of 5000 loaves daily, or 400 every thirty minutes. The
equipment will enable the Corby Bakery to continue former routes and at
the same time extend to unusually large proportions. Every surrounding
town will extend patronage, especially the County Seat, where the
Manager has a broad circle of friends. Appetizing delicacies in fancy
and pastry cake, as well as pies will be offered including the famous
banquet cake in caramel, lemon, orange, raspberry and cherry flavors.
White mountain sponge, pound, orange and Spanish bun cakes, jelly rolls,
macaroons, ladies fingers and a complete line of lemon custards and
meringues, cocoanut and pineapple custards. Arrange to visit the plant
and view this important addition to Nesquehoning’s business
scrapbook. 1.This picture was taken on 10-2-1947 in front of
Nesquehoning’s American Legion. Chief of police, Ed McGinley was
examining bicycles. Riders were given actual riding tests and also were
required to know a series of traffic rules and regulations. All cyclists
who successfully passed the tests were given a license plate to be
placed on their bike and a membership in the Bicycle Institute of
America. 2. A truck wreck at “dead mans curve” on the Broad Mt.
highway. It was a car carrier owned by stunt driver Joie Chitwood. 4
cars, 2 motorcycles and a scooter were on the trailer. The “hell
drivers” as they were called preformed stunts at area fairs and
racetracks. 3. The Hurricanes Model A Ford team car. The Hurricanes were
Nesquehoning’s semi-pro football team in 1946-47 and 48. They had a
record of 29 wins 2 losses and 1 tie. In 3 years they racked up 769
points and gave up only 96 points. 4. Gary Miller and Joe Boyle on a
bicycle built for two. The picture was taken in 1927 on W. Catawissa St.
5. The old Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. 6. Hoopers gas station and
Lapo’s Grocery Store in the 40’s; it’s now M J’s Restaurant and
Tommy’s Hoagie Shop. 7. Long time Nesquehoning milkman Jack Hager in
1947. 8. Police chief Harold Billig.
Inside Back Cover
Above is a stock certificate issued by the Lehigh
Coal and Navigation Company in 1869. It was for 100 shares at $50 a
share. The stock was made out to E. W. Clark and Co. who was the
president of Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company from 1867 to 1882.
During WWII Nesquehoning was one of
the most patriotic towns in the Country. On a per capita basis,
Nesquehoning had more people in the armed services than any other town
in the whole United States, (over 1200 men and women.) Coal was a
precious commodity during the war and miners were exempt from going into
the armed services but most of the men declined the exemption and went
to fight for our country. Many young people fibbed about their ages so
they could enlist. The residents were proud of these men and women and
honor rolls were placed at various locations. These honor rolls
contained the names of the men and women from their neighborhood in the
military. The one shown in this photo was the work of O. Joseph Rutch of
New Columbus. It was built by him in his basement and was placed on East
Garibaldi Ave. Mr. Rutch is the man in the picture.
2005 was the last year for the Nesquehoning calendar.
We were running out of good pictures, sales were down and printing
prices were going up. Some people were disappointed when they came for
the 2006 calendar. Each year a girl gave one of our calendars to her
grandfather for Christmas, she said he received many presents each year
and one of the presents he liked best was our $3.00 calendar. He would
spent hours looking at the calendar and showing the grand kids the
pictures and tell them about his memories of old Nesquehoning.