2000
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This is the 2000 Nesquehoning Calendar

 

Cover

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January

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This is a picture of the Bethlehem Carolers or “Jaslickari” from St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church taken around 1915. Front row - Mike Slivka, Frank Slivka, J. Swigar, and G. Lazorchick, Back row – Malatak, D. Drigan, B. Swigar, unknown, M. Andreoski, and M. Mikovich. St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church, sometimes referred to as the “Greek Church”, followed the Julian calendar, celebrating Christmas on January 7th. One of the features of Christmas celebrations was the visit of the Jaslickari – Shepherds of Bethehem – to the homes of parishioners where they re-enacted the Nativity scene and sang a few Christmas Carols, concluding with greetings from the Old Shepherd, “Staryj Pastyr”. One member called the “Kuba” was the comedian and a great attraction, chasing the children with his wooden hatchet and threatening to kidnap the bad ones in his bag, which he carried for gifts from generous people.  A model of the church (shown in picture) was carried to each house. At one time St. Mary’s Church had ornate domes on top; they were removed around 1950.

 

February

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Photo of Nesquehoning’s Room Run No.1 drift taken around 1900. Man holding sledgehammer is Richard W. Johns, and the man on the right is Richard (Dickie) Thomas. In 1785 and again in 1787 workers for Jacob Weiss discovered coal along Room Run. At that time most people were unfamiliar with anthracite coal, and early attempts to use it were not encouraging. The public knew nothing about the new fuel; wood was then plentiful and low priced. Small quantities of coal were mined, but people were slow to appreciate its value. The majority of persons approached were entirely incredulous as to its being anything else than a stone, incapable of being burned. Another problem was getting coal to market. At first wagonloads were taken from Nesquehoning to Philadelphia, it was 100 miles. In 1806, William Turnbull had an ark constructed at the mouth of the Nesquehoning creek which took to Phila. about three hundred bushels of coal. A portion of this cargo was sold to the managers of the Water Works, located in Center Square. Upon trial there, it was deemed rather an extinguisher of fire than anything else, was rejected as worthless, and was broken up to spread on the walks of the surrounding garden in place of gravel. The war of 1812 caused a fuel crisis in Philadelphia, then America’s chief metropolis, since English coal shipments stopped and a British coastal blockade stopped other shipments by ships.  During the period of the scarcity of bituminous coal during the War, a Phila. nail company purchased a cart-load of hard coal for  $1 a bushel to burn in the factory furnace. The first experiment with it was a failure. Workmen spent most of a night in a second attempt to burn the new fuel, but finally, long after midnight, gave up stoking and went home. One of the men had forgotten his coat and later returned to the shop for it. When he saw the building it was aglow, thinking it was on fire he ran and opened the door to find the furnace white-hot. By accident they learned that what they should have done with the anthracite was to leave it alone and let it burn, seeing only that it had a sufficient supply of air.  During the Civil War a lot of coal was needed and the mines at Nesquehoning were geared to the demands of war. Tunnels were driven three thousand feet through Mammoth Vein. Miners worked twenty-four hours a day. Anthracite leaped from three to eleven dollars a ton. Wages of miners bounded upward. There could not be too much coal mined to make iron for rails, locomotives and ammunition. Two Confederate spy’s were caught and had in their possession a map showing the mines. The South wanted to stop the production of coal and sent these men to blow up the mines. Production of coal was of the utmost importance to the North and guards were sent to prevent sabotage to the mines.  

 

March

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Nesquehoning’s elementary school teachers in 1958. This was the first year at the new school; it cost $406,000 to build. Sitting – Grace McGeehan – Elizabeth McGinley – Principal Marie Donegan – Rose Marino and Mary Crossin. Standing – Edith Eade – Amy Frantz – Kathryn Hackett – Sara James – Rose Ginetto and Solome Floyd. The most important teachers in any school system are the elementary teachers. As a building needs a good foundation so does a child's education. These teachers gave their students a strong foundation on which to build their lives, not only in the A B C’s but teaching manners, respect and discipline. They emphasized morals in the lessons that guided the child’s judgement and character. In those days they believed in the saying “spare the rod and spoil the child.” Each teacher had a paddle of their own design; boys in shop class usually made them. One teacher said, “the paddle went a long way in maintaining order so that the pupils could absorb the lessons taught. Most Nesquehoning teachers were born, raised and educated in Nesquehoning. They knew everyone’s parents, grand parents and probably taught them when they were in school. Hard working, dedicated and caring people, working for little pay, their reward was when they saw their students go on to be good responsible citizens. The teachers knew how hard miners worked and how dangerous it was. They saw many men killed in the mines; some were their own fathers and brothers. Teachers wanted their students to get a good education so they didn’t have to work like an animal, 1000 feet under ground in the coal mines. Miner’s worked under the most intolerable and inhumane conditions of employment imaginable.  Colleges and Universities knew Nesquehoning’s reputation of having such high standards for their graduates that most students going to college were exempt from taking entrance exams. Some Nesquehoning trivia – In July of 1919 while on vacation in York, Pa. Sarah James became the first Nesquehoning female to ever ride in an airplane.

 

April

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This is a picture of the 1923 basket ball team. Front row Nick Dobosh, Harry Miller, Charles York, Bill Christopher. Back row, Dominic Greco, George Roscoe, Bill Eckert, Principal Mr. Henniger, Victor Skakandy, Billy McGeehan. Basketball was Nesquehoning first high school sport. The origin of basketball at Nesquehoning started in 1909 when Prof. Gordon Ulshafer, John York, William Meese, Bernard Hines, Joe Watson and the senior boys solicited the business men of town for donations to buy material to place the auditorium of the East End School in condition for playing basketball. The chief business men contributed one or two dollars each, making $19.25 which was enough to buy baskets and wire screen light protectors. Willie Fisher, tinsmith, made the light protectors and when they were placed in the building and the baskets erected, the place was ready. Mr. Levengood, who was then high school principal, went with the boys as chaperon in the evening for a little game. P. I. A. A. rules were then unknown. They made their own rules. The boys did it more for pastime than for anything. You got your gang and I got mine then they’d play a game to see who had the best gang. No games were scheduled that year with out of town teams, but it was the beginning of our first high school sport. The first official game was in 1911 at Liberty Hall, Tamaqua. In 1911 the Athletic Association was organized. The dues were 10 cents a month for 6 months, which admitted all members to games free of charge. The admission for people who were not members was 15, 10, and 5 cents. The 1913 team of Morgan, Becker, Kishbaugh, Watson and York won nineteen games out of twenty. The only loss was to the Hazleton professional Y. M. C. A. team.

 

May

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On July 18,1912 a lokie from the Nesquehoning colliery crashed into a passing train. Lokies were small steam engines used to haul coal to the breaker or refuse to the culm banks. According to the engineer the lokie became unmanageable, he told Company officials he tied down the whistle and leaped for his life. One person was injured and taken to the Coaldale Hospital.

 

June

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On July l6,1921, the School Board awarded a contract to Roberts and Meck for a new Wayne School bus to transport school children from Hauto to the Nesquehoning High School for $1288.00. The bus arrived on August 24 and Henry Zaengle was chosen to be its chauffeur. Back in those days snow wasn’t a reason to close the schools. The following is a quote from a newspaper article, “Henry Zaengle is at present making record speed conveying the teachers from Hauto and back and also bringing the Hauto pupils to school here and back. Ever since the heavy snowfall he is using a large sleigh instead of bus and the merry jingle of sleigh bells makes one think of the former old-fashioned winters.”

 

July

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This is the first block of West Catawissa St. The streets began to look better in the teens. These changes were brought on because citizens formed groups and demanded changes. The streets were in horrible condition and the people were complaining bitterly. A notice was posted that read “Do you appreciate Nesquehoning, its possibilities, its people and its enjoyments? Our town is distinctly on the move, a big future looms up for us. Do not fail to give full value to the rare sociability of your neighbors, our healthful mountain air, and the romantic mining scenery. Good old Nesquehoning. Let us make it bigger and better. Nesquehoning has not yet reached the zenith of its possible attainments, but its residents can give it a forward and productive impetus by getting together and organizing.” They picked as their slogan “Watch Us Grow.” This group made their voices heard and officials listened. Another demand was that they wanted something done about the garbage that people threw on the streets and alleys, they said this was the cause of contagious diseases and high doctor bills. On May 14, 1915 garbage collection was started.  A dumping ground on the north side of Nesquehoning creek, east of Newtown Bridge was established. The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company said every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the Company wagons will travel from house to house collecting garbage for removal. There was one condition to the liberal offer. The garbage must be in barrels or boxes, in form easy to handle.

 

August

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This is a picture of the parochial school of the Sacred Heart parish taken in 1953. At its dedication on August 30, 1925 it was said that the new school is of the most modern type, handsomely equipped throughout lacking no detail in its accommodation. Construction cost was $60,000. It was in charge of five Sisters of Mercy and had over 200 pupils under their efficient instruction with the opening of the new school Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1925. On January 8, 1929 the school was completely ruined and destroyed by a fire which broke out in the basement of the building about 5 p.m., an hour after school was dismissed. Several firemen were injured and many were overcome by smoke and had to be carried from their activities within the raging structure. The fire happened on the coldest day of the season and the firemen were subject to severe physical suffering. As the water poured on the fire it was converted into crystals of ice. The next when men went through the building to determine the cause of the fire, onlookers were astonished to see someone walk out of the totally destroyed school with a statue of the Virgin Mary untouched by the raging inferno. Many declared it a miracle. Three days after the fire a largely attended meeting of citizens was held for the purpose of better equipping its fire department. It was agreed that every citizen would pay $1.00 per month for the purpose of replacing their antiquated fire truck and obsolete equipment. Students attended classes in St. Mary’s church hall during the period of rebuilding. The school closed on June 8, 1973 and students were transferred to St. Anne’s in Lansford. In 1978 the school was sold to the Federal Government, HUD, for construction of an 18-unit apartment for the elderly. The nuns are standing in front of the convent, which was built in 1925. With the closing of the school the convent was no longer needed and was sold to Dr. Malik in Dec. of 1973. In 1977 Dr. Malik transformed the building into eight apartments.

 

September

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This photo was taken around 1914 and shows coal cars being pulled out of Nesquehoning’s No. 1 tunnel with the use of an electric motor. In 1908 under ground trolleys started to replace the mules that were used to pull the coal cars, and proved a great time saver. The company greatly increased the output from these mines. In 1909 two new motors were put into service, making five in all. The motormen were Morris Granger, James Mulligan, John Malone, Jenkin Davis and Richard Eustice. 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.  

 

October

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This is a picture of James McGorry’s barbershop; he is the barber on right. His tonsorial parlor was located on W. Railroad St. until November 28, 1911when he moved to Catawissa St. On November 18, 1915 he made another move to 134 E. Catawissa St. The barbers in town were always kept busy. Most had two barber chairs, while the barber gave a person a hair cut or shave, a helper would get the next customer ready in the second chair. Seen in this picture are the shaving mugs used by the barber. Regular customers had their own mug and brush with their name on them. A certificate on the wall shows that he was a member of the barbers union. James placed an article in the newspaper on Sept. 11, 1917 that read: Owing to the increased list of all barber supplies and living expenses because of the War, the following prices will take effect on and after Sept. 17th. Shaving 15 cents – Hair Cutting 25 cents – Hair Cutting on Saturday’s 35 cents. An advertisement from November 1926 read: JAMES McGORRY, Hair Cutting and Bobbing – Shampooing, Massaging and Shaving. We Aim to Please.

 

November

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Football was almost an obsession with the Valley’s residents. Local high school teams played hard, tough ball. Rivalry between towns was strong, and virtually everyone attended the games. The emphasis on sports contributed to the excellence of many players, who were later drafted by various colleges. Local residents always followed with pride the progress of the area’s star athletes. This 1947 team was one of Nesquehoning’s best. They were the Southern Division champions of the Eastern Conference. What they lacked in experience, the Maroon and Gold squad of Nesquehoning High replaced with grit and determination. With only three veterans in the starting eleven, Coach Tony Mezza built a strong and winning team. The 1947 team went through conference competition undefeated, six of their opponents went scoreless, scoring 205 points to 44 for the opponents, piled up more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage, made 117 first downs and completed almost half of the total passes thrown. Nesquehoning was unbeaten in 17 straight Eastern Conference contests. The team scored 362 points while holding the opposition to 58. In their string of 17 straight, the Nesquers blanked 12 of its rivals. Two players on this team went on to be honored as two of Pennsylvania’s best, when Vic Mikovich and Lou Higgins were named to the All-State Scholastic Grid. Gene Watto made All-State second team and Billy Feddock, Mike Feddock and George Macinko gained honorable mention.  First row: Charlie Dankanich, Frank Porvaznik, Joe Ouly, Richard Bubon, Joe Kurash, Nelson Tonkin, Marty Kovich, Ray Choley and Frank Krajcir. Second row: Lou Higgins, Frank Troiana, Andy Sweetak, Mike Feddock, George Macinko, Jim McCann, Leo Drosdak, Vic Mikovich, Gene Shelhimer and Pete Spinella. Third row: Gene Watto, Bill Feddock, Ed Kusko, John Artuso, Ted Epton, Joe Span, Bob Pathroff, Joe Canzoneri, John Kulick, Eddy Koval, Joe Malyniak and Coach Tony Mezza. 

 

December

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This is a rare 100-year-old photo of the 100 block of West Railroad St. At one time there was a stream that crossed this block. It was called Kitchen Run and was covered by a wooden bridge. In the 1890’s men enclosed the stream with a stone arch that is still under the street today. On the far left can be seen the steeple of the Baptist Church. The tall steeple was removed around 1930 because of structural problems, caused by a lighting strike. When the steeple was removed the bell was given to the Immaculate Conception Church. Seen in this picture is a small house in the middle of the block on the left side. This property was purchased by Samuel Grieff. In the spring of 1908 the house was moved to High St. and converted into a double dwelling, and a new four story building, 70 feet by 42 feet deep, containing a store room and four dwellings was built in its place.

 

Inside Back Cover

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Map of Nesquehoning - September 1831

 

Inside Back Cover

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This is a picture of Curry’s Grove in the 1940’s. Thomas Curry owned 22 acres of land on the East End of town where the old DuPont powder plant was located. In 1914 he cleared the land and started a poultry business, people called it Curry’s chicken farm. He also grew some crops and had a produce business. As seen in this picture this property was later made into a grove.  Churches and various organizations from town would hold picnics and clam bakes there. During WW II events called Victory picnics were held and the money made was used to buy war bonds in support of our servicemen. The swimming pool in this picture originally started out as an ice dam. Going into the ice business in 1915 Mr. Curry built the dam and an icehouse. Pure Mountain spring water was piped into the dam.  In 1920 John Hoefling of New York visited Curry’s ice dam, he said this place offers the best natural advantages, principally pure mountain water and close proximity to the railroad tracks. He took over the ice dam and shipped the ice from here to New York on the Central Railroad. In Dec. 1990 the Nesquehoning borough bought this property for $8,500 and built a sewage treatment plant there. 

 

Back Cover

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This picture shows Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in the 1940’s. The dedication services at the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel were of a high order on Sunday June 27, 1920. The day was perfect and the weather ideal so that the combination served to beautify the occasion. At the bridge the procession headed by Citizens’ Club, St. Mauros Society, Foresters of America, and the Band was greeted by a double column of children. As the autos conveying Monsignor Crane and other priests approached the bridge the children showered them with roses. It was an impressive sight. The following prelates were in attendance: Monsignor M. J. Crane, Rev. T. J. Larkin, Rev. F. T. Meagher, Mauch Chunk; Rev. J. L. O’Connor, Nesquehoning; Rev. Paul Lasitske and Rev. H. J. Bowen, Lansford; Rev. Joseph Assman, East Mauch Chunk; Rev. Robert Hayes, Coaldale; and Wm. P. Courisy, a Seminarian. In 1949 this church was torn down and replaced with the present one. Also seen in the picture are some boys sleigh riding down Venice St. (the name was changed to Angelini Ave. in 1987). Actually it wasn’t called a sleigh; it was called a scow and was made by Mr. Barachie. The person who sat in the front usually wore ice skates and would steer the scow with the skates.

 

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