Nanticoke Historical Society

Nanticoke Historical Society

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 2012

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who attended our November presentation "Vintage film of 40's, 50's and 60's".  Our Historical Society is alive and growing. The need to expand is increasingly becoming larger and with the co-operation of St. Stan's Community Center and the St. Faustina's Parish we will have access to the new facility for events such as this.  Unfortunately, while it is in its construction phase the Center is not available.  Our home, the Samantha Mill house is quite adequate for housing our business needs but undersized for presentations such as this.  With the growing interest in our Society we hope we can better serve our community. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you and plan to present the films again in the spring at the new facility.
On Thursday evening of the 29th the Historical Society gave its presentation to about 30 guests whom tightly packed our limited seating area.  The presentation was on early events in Nanticoke donated to the Historical Society. Chet Zaremba, whom took on the task of acquiring and transferring the films to digital, gave the presentation.

How the films where acquired:
 Years ago in Nanticoke there was a photo store, Borofski’s photo. Chet Zaremba got know Norm Borofski, the son.  Then last year, when he passed away these films were found in his basement. We were able to acquire these films through the people who did the house sale, a store in Plymouth called Yesterday’s Treasure’s an antique store.  When they realized the historical value they donated them to the Nanticoke Historical Society.  The original films were on 8 mm and 16 mm formats. We had taken four of the most significant films and had them transferred to a digital format for a presentation such as this.

The first film of  WWII vintage were made somewhere around the time of 1942-1944 and showed enlistees or draftees boarding a train in Nanticoke leaving for the 2nd World War.  The Pennsylvania Railroad rail station, by recollection of some of the attending guests, was located down on Lower Broadway.  The first film only ran 4 minutes, but the significance was that they were in color.  Considering the age the images were quite clear and the transfer process preserved and enhanced the original media.  The film also showed a parade and the crowd that came to see the boys who went off to war.   At the time Nanticoke had two train stations a freight station and a passenger station.  In the film you could see the train arrive, the boys board the train and the train leaving.

A second film in B&W showed an early 6 County Firemen’s Convention Parade, showed Nanticoke in a way that probably few remember with streets filled with busy shops and businesses and crowds of people. Guests pointed out how slim everyone was and how people were well groomed and dressed and how the Ladies all had worn hats.  Fire apparatus was then all open cab and some guests could identify the years in which the machines were made, some dating back into the 1940’s.  Visiting companies from Hazelton and Tamaqua could be seen.

A third film showed a high school football game. Players had no pads and referees wore no stripped uniforms.  The old high school stadium could be seen.

Chet continued the presentation with photos of Nanticoke selected from his vast library. Photos showed Main Street Nanticoke from the pre 1900’s. Included were photos of the old State Theater, Frank Matheson’s Nanticoke Hotel, the old post office, the old Acme, Al Fink Oldsmobile Dealership.  Photos showed store fronts which had window displays and what Chet referred to as Islands or window displays with passage ways to the main entrance to the store on either side. Photos showing old telephone poles had up to seven cross members to support a separate subscriber wire line for each telephone customer. Chet also showed photos of Diamonds Candy Store after the closing with ornate trim, seating booths and malt shop decor. Everyone immensely enjoyed the presentation and we are looking forward to making it again when we can use the facility.

Luzerne County Community College Tree Festival

Katy Sweeny again did an outstanding job with a unique tree decorating design for our entry.  The theme of course was history and the ornaments were cleverly crafted vintage photos of Nanticoke.  The event feature delectable creations from the Culinary Art students with an assortment of baked Holiday treats. The event was held on Friday Nov. 30th in the Conference Center of the LCCC Campus off of Prospect Street and was open to the public from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fall / Labor Day / Halloween 2012

Pumpkin Patch at Braces Orchard
Hurricane Sandy devastated most of the east coast and damaged quite a bit of the central United States.  Fortunately the Wyoming Valley was not hit as hard as many other places.  Nanticoke was graciously spared. Now with Halloween behind we can look forward to Thanks Giving and some of us who were spared the devastation of the Super Storm have a lot to be thankful for.

But, in spite of such misfortune there was some good things about this fall to celebrate. The Fall season typically starts with the unofficial close of the summer, Labor Day.  The Fall equinox, which  occurs around the 22nd of September, marks the time of the year when the tilt of the Earth''s axis is neither towards or away from the Sun.  A time of a change of seasons, a time when daylight hours grow shorter, a time when the sky takes on a yellow-golden-red hue,  a time when the weather is neither frigidly cold as in the winter nor brutally hot as in the summer, a time of magnificent color.  Our thoughts often turn to cool morning and evenings, warm afternoons, crisp fresh apples, gourds and pumpkins, corn stalks and scarecrows and yes apple cider. The Fall is perhaps the most pleasant time of the year to get out and enjoy.  With so much to partake in one must choose.  Here are some of the things that I have chosen this year.

Mt. Airy Lodge & Casino - Labor Day

 A leisurely ride in the country side makes for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.  I, myself am not much of a gambler.  But, the ride out to Mt. Airy Lodge was pleasant and relaxing.  I had gone with friends, while they went off to wager for some good fortune, I strolled around the grounds where there was plenty else to do.  It was the Labor Day celebration at Mt. Airy and had much for others that did not choose to enjoy the gaming.  There were food vendors, live entertainment, fireworks, horse drawn wagon rides and the very pleasant Lodge grounds to stroll around  and enjoy.  We stopped for lunch inside the Casino in a 50's style dinner.  The food was quite good.  Service excellent.  And the prices, considering that we were in the Poconos  were quite reasonable.

Carlisle Fall Auctions

On a Friday in October I took a ride down to Carlisle for the Fall Auctions.  If your not familiar with the Fall Auctions, they are all about a vintage automobile enthusiasts and their cars. No matter what vehicle of choice is yours, anything and everything you might imagine is available here. Whatever your year make or model, there is something for your restoration project. New re-manufactured stock, new old stock, used old stock, it's all there.  Many times parts for your old car are simply not made any more. Fellow enthusiasts may buy old cars from people who may have old vehicles in barns or fields for parts and then sell off parts they may not need for themselves.
I, myself am not into automobile restoration, but I do have a friend that is.  My interest was in visiting South Central Pennsylvania, the Shippensburg area in particular.  There is something about the South Central PA that I've liked since visits to Carlisle. Just slightly warmer by a few degrees the fall colors were at their peak. The area, very close to the DC area, is a very pleasant place to visit. I immensely enjoy visiting my new friends Teri & Chris Pensinis, proprietors of North Hanover Grill Carlisle. Their restaurant, only a few minutes from the Carlisle Fair Grounds is a great place to get something to eat and beverage or two. Chris's establishment is very pleasantly styled in concert with the N. Hanover Street Historic District in Carlisle.

Wheels @ Nuangola Halloween Bash

Cindy and Roz stop for a picture. My friends Roz and Bruce setup for an evening of good music.  R&B DJ's, you would think would be Rhythm & Blues, but they do all kinds of music.  This evening at Wheels @ Nuangola they had an impromptu Halloween Bash.  Good food, Good prices.  When your up in Mountain Top stop by for a quick lunch. Visit them @ Wheels

Center Street Hot Dog / Block Party

Vampira came down with the bug to the Hot Dog Block party on Center Street in the Hanover Section.  Yes, it was contagious,  But we loved it. About 200 hot dogs were passed out to ghosts, goblins, pirates and hobos.  There might have been a few little angles there as well. Hurricane Sandy hit the night of "Trick or Treat", fortunately Nanticoke was not hit as hard as a lot of other places.  So, the block party did go on.  During the day there were lingering  showers and although the evening was seasonably chilly the party did go on.
On a closing note:

Members of the Nanticoke Historical Society are working with Fr. Nash and St. Faustina's Parish Community Center to help bring the Arts back into town as well as  civic and community related events for the betterment of our town. The old St. Stan's Church makes for a fine small size hall for such work.
We plan on some upgrades and improvements and hope to have a first rate facility for everyone to enjoy.

  We appreciate and thank you for your support.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall events 2012

100 Years!

Sometimes I can't think of anything to blog about and again there are times when there is so much that you can not choose.  Several events have happened lately that deserve honorable mention.
A great deal of work went into the preparation of the 100th Anniversary of Holy Transfiguration.  Centennial books, dinner preparations, invitations and so much more.

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church Nanticoke Pa celebrated their 100 Year Anniversary on Sept. 23, 2012.  A Celebration Mass was held at 2:00 pm that afternoon. I had done a blog spot earlier this year while centennial preparations where in progress Transfiguration-100-years. The Mass Celebration was followed by a dinner at the Church Hall. Guests  included: Rev. Stefan Soroka, Msgr. Peter Walso, Rev. John Seniw, Rev. Volodymer Popyk, Rev. Roman Petryshak, Rev. Volodymer Klichka, Msgr. Myron Grabowski, Rev.John Wysochanski, Rev. Paul Wolensky, Rev. Nestor Iwasiw, Rev. James McGahagan, Rev. Adam Sexton, Sister Thomas Hrynewwicz and Sisiter Martin Rodko.

Dr. Richard Barno has been the choir director for 37 years.  He has masterfully instructed and directed the Holy Year Choir with dedication and commitment.  This day's celebration included a magnificent performance. The choir's harmonies were precise and tight and added a great deal to the joy to the parish on their special day.  The day concluded with dinner at the Church Hall.

St. Stanislaw's Community Center
 Sept. 29, 2012. The Nanticoke Historical Society hosted Charles Patrillo - Historian.  Charles had earlier presented a lecture on steam boats on the Susquehanna River at the Samantha Mill House.  This day, Charles offered a presentation on Hansen's Amusement park.  Charles interestingly explained how the early trolley companies built the amusement parks to promote ridership on the the trolleys.

This was the first time Historical Society had the opportunity to use new community center and although there is plenty of work yet to be done, it holds great promise of great things for the community. They have already done a children's talent show and may possibly move the Christmas Nativity play held at Holy Child picnic grounds to the new venue, just one possibility of many.

Father Nash with Board member Jack Minsavege stops for a snapshot.  They have been working hard planning and organizing future events at the new center. Jack offers to the board a vast knowledge and experience in sound engineering and mixing that he has acquired in his very own recording studio right here in Nanticoke.
His professional expertise will help local productions here at the community center.

St. Faustina's Pork -N- Sauerkraut Dinner

Sunday October 7 St. Mary's Hall Hanover St.
Tickets will be available after Masses at St. Faustina's and St. Mary's
Support the Church and the Community!

Many people have been working hard on this first ever pilot project.  This fund raiser will generate proceeds for the general maintenance fund.  But, that's really not what it's all a about.  It's really about community involvement with Church and Community, fellowship and friendship.  There's always someone behind the scene's rolling up the sleeves and doing the work.  The idea probably originated the basement of Jimmy Kline.  It's kind of a tradition to make the homemade Sauerkraut and when they do it's no small project.  Helping out making cabbage out of sauerkraut for the Church are his buddies Rich & Franky.  If you see them at the dinner thank them for the fine effort!

Our Story of the Month

This one is extraordinary as it has been the fruit of almost a quarter century of research.  John Rynkiewicz has been doing extensive family research that has shown to touch the lives of so many here in Nanticoke.  There is a fascinating story of the family homeland in Poland with photos and documents of the past generations. It is an ongoing quest for knowledge. As this unfolds, I'm sure like a web this will in some way touch your own personal life by acquaintance or relationship.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Local Model Airplane Show

I've taken a little break from Blogging, but I haven't forgotten about all my loyal followers.  With so much happening around our community, getting around can sometimes be a challenge and this aging beat up body doesn't get around like it used to.  So much to do and see, I had to pick something.  This month's blog is about something I've been involved with in the past.  It's something I've enjoyed for many years.
Although I do not fly models myself, I admire and enjoy the skills these gentlemen have accomplished.  I had enjoyed the company of the members of the club for a few years now. And, many of them are residents of Nanticoke. I have posted on YouTube videos that I had made to help promote club, not for personal gain but for the love of the art.  Now I write this blog to help you keep connected with the old home town or if you have moved away or you don't mind my endless ramblings and your just looking for somewhere to surf on the web.

Model airplane flying can be an expensive and challenging hobby.  It involves a learned skill set, as crashes can be painfully expensive as well as dangerous. To be a member of the Wyoming Valley RC Flyers organization you are require to have bond protection in the event of an accident. It requires commitment, as some people may have a natural ability with hand-eye coordination and spacial cognizance others may need to develop it through perverseness and dedication.  Computer simulator programs and hardware can be purchased for a considerably less cost that an actual model and although crashes are a lot less costly than with an actual model, they are equally as humbling.  It requires a level  of dedication, as these gentlemen are truly pilots. If you have any doubts, ask a pilot to let you fly with a buddy box.  It is a device were the owner can take over control when you are headed for an eminent disaster.  Believe me, unless you have trained andd I have tried, your flight will be short. It requires a basic knowledge of radios, aviation, small engines, aircraft design and rules of operation defined by the AMA the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Radio channel assignments must be administered by a coordinator so that signals from your controller do not interfere with another pilots aircraft at least in public venues such as this. Understanding  the difference between analog and digital controllers and receivers helps the pilot determine range and control limits of his aircraft.  Although younger people enjoy the hobby,  it is well suited for the older person, as it keeps one's mind sharp with physical and metal exercise.  It is a hobby better suited to an individual who has the time and resources to dedicate to the purpose.  If you are an individual who's time is consumed by a career, occupation, family or other responsibilities then perhaps your considerations would be better applied else ware. If you have the fortitude to maintain all that is necessary for the hobby your rewards will be great.  As for myself, perhaps I will venture forward to the challenge one day in the future, but for now I prefer to watch the pros fly. That  is good enough for now.

 I have visited in the past, the Wyoming Valley RC Flyers. To watch the planes soar and  fly lends to the imagination what it must be like to pilot of a full scale aircraft. Moon Lake Park, where the hobbyists fly, is one of the finest assets Luzerne County has to offer.  It was at one time  a well maintained facility offering the residents of Luzerne County some real quality of life alternatives with camping, fishing, a beautiful public swimming pool. The degradation of the park and loss of the amenities  has been a devastating set back for the residents of the county.  The lake is still accessible for fishing and the club still has access to the field where they have for years honed their skills.  It is a relaxing ride to a haven from from the reality of real life of being unemployed or under employed.  To take an hour or two to enjoy water and fresh air regenerates one's soul. And, to take up conversation with people who share your interests is both satisfying and refreshing.

A few weeks a go I did just that and took a ride out to Moon Lake Park to take in the the fresh air and water.  When I go, I always stop at the model airplane field and usually find a pilot or two to visit with and chat.  Upon entering the park I had noticed signs of the upcoming event of which was Sunday Sept. 9, 2012. I sat and chatted with pilots,  we talked about the radio controllers and how the park was once quite the place to visit. One gentleman was adjusting the fuel mixture of his plane as the idol of the engine would drop off and the engine would stall which could be a disastrous in flight experience. While I was there it happened. But, because of the skill of this pilot, he saved his air craft with a powerless landing.  Simply Awesome! The other pilot had a battery powered electric plane that when took to the air accept for the much quieter whrrr of the motor seemed more like a bird rather than a model. I made note of the date of the pending show, told the gentlemen I was looking forward to them and was off on my way.

 At one time the club had a website where information about events such as this could be found.  But, as time passes, people come and go and things change and the website is no longer available..  After some surfing and searching on the web I managed to find information to confirm what I thought I had gathered. And thus, proceeded.  On Sunday of Sept. 9, I started out a little after noon.  The show already started at 11:00am and when I arrived a respectably sized crowd had gathered for the event. They had a tent set up where hamburgers and hot dogs could be had in return for a donation to the club,  raffles and chances were available and prizes provided by Walter's Hardware where kits and accessories for the hobby are available.  A flight simulator was set up with a nice HD monitor, where you could fly without crashing a model. A pit area was setup for exhibitors to prepare their aircraft weather it be fueling, assembling, tweaking or adjusting.  Spectators were asked to refrain from entering for their own safety as well as the welfare of the models.  During intermission periods the spectators were allowed in side the pit area to view the aircraft up close. The decals and extraordinary detail were amazing.

This was a  fine show by some amazing gentlemen.  Thank you for your contribution to our Community.

Friday, July 27, 2012

NE PA Retro

I've added a new Facebook page.  Of course everyone is welcome here at the Nanticoke History Online Blog Spot.  But, because we are Nanticoke History you may not be entirely comfortable with your posts or input on events of history outside of Nanticoke.  That's all right, they are still welcome.  My new page offers a wider range of latitude.  A lot of times events not directly related to Nanticoke affect our lives here.  We want to know and share some of those special memories. We encourage you to share events or stories of Nanticoke on our Facebook page .  But, they will be welcome as well on NE PA Retro.

Of course our coal mining heritage is an important and integral part of who we are.  How Nanticoke developed and grew through some hard times, the depression, floods and  World War II showed the strength and endurance of the people here.  But, there is so much more.  Our businesses, community, schools, churches and special events not only in Nanticoke but our surrounding communities contribute to the aggregate of our lives and our past. Remember and share some of your most rewarding and happy times with us.  Let us say, Oh yes! I remember! What you post or contribute does not have to be 200 years old. To the Children of recent generations, President Kennedy's visit here or the Bicentennial Celebration is of their time.  As time progresses we will leave on to the next generation our heritage and past  that will grow and progress with the generations to follow.

NE PA Retro is not intended to chronicle so much the events of our past but rather to share some of those special experiences.  It may be a church picnic, a drive in theater that you once visited, school dances, special football or basket ball games or other memories that we share.   

But most of all, it is about having a little fun and finding something in common with someone who yesterday did not know but is now a new friend.  So, come visit, share and enjoy.  And, say Yes! I' remember.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You are important in our community!

I've noticed, at meetings, that most people interested our Historical Society are prone to be the over 50 crowd. That, in itself is not a bad thing.  We are a bit older and can remember from some experience or stories from our parents, their friends or older relatives a lot of things we discuss as topic.  We are also less occupied with social events that lend themselves to younger people, such as young children who have scholastic activities, sports, academics and so forth . Being of senior years or closely approaching we may have interests in our grandchildren's activities or affairs, but may not be as consumed in it as much.  After all, they have parents, our children, to deal with it as we did in our time.

Many of us have a strong spiritual connection with our community, through our churches or other institutions of faith, inspiration or spirituality.  But, it is also important as we grow older that we maintain of our civic community connection.  It is what helps keep our minds and bodies healthy.  That is why we have joined and contributed to organizations like the Nanticoke Historical Society.

You are an integral and important member of our society that helps promote our community.
 (not just the Nanticoke Historical Society)

 It is also important to let your voice be heard by voting.  Your vote elects your proxy in our government, to represent your concerns and needs from and in our community. Your proxy, your representative, your Congressman takes your issues of concern to Washington, if you allow yourself to be heard. You must make your voice be heard if you would like him/her and other people to listen. Do not be afraid to address your concerns with your Congressman.  Whom ever she/he maybe, Republican, Democrat or Independent,  they are not as distant and unapproachable as you may think.  In fact, this person has a great deal of interest in listening to you. If you are not as smart phone or computer savvy as you would like to be then  pen, paper, stamp and envelope still work.  Talk to him/her on any issue that is of concern to you about our community. If you have an elderly neighbor or relative who needs help with Police, Fire, Street Dept., pitch in.

Let your voice be heard:
Lou Barletta for Congress
8 West Broad Street, Suite 410
PO Box 128
Hazleton, PA 18201

Office: 570-501-VOTE (8683)
Fax: 570-501-8688

Lou Barletta for Congress

An Issue of Mine - Resolved!
 As an example: The recent voter ID law may have created a problem for some senior citizens or even students of voting age that have not obtained valid identification, making the task of obtaining proper ID and voting more difficult.  Whether this problem was intentional or not is of no matter.  It is now the law to be respected and dealt with appropriately.  I have scourered the internet  for information on this subject, not to find a whole lot. Those of us who have not grown up in the information age may find the digging and surfing to be just to much work and  just give in to the fact that we will not vote this November. After all, its only one vote. Who listens to me anyway? Our good congressman, who may not necessarily represent all my views (that's my fault) has come through for me with flying colors. I have found answers through this resource as I expect you will as well.

You as a person are important.  Your voice is to be heard.  Maintain your purpose by staying involved. Stay active in our community.  Do what you can.  Never give up. You need not fill out an employment application form.  You will not have personnel file.  Any help or contribution you make will be appreciated.  Make Friends! Have fun! Join our Community.

The purpose of this blog  is to promote our community and Nanticoke Historical Society.
Your are always welcome at our home
Samantha Mill House • 495 East Main Street • Nanticoke, PA 18634•             570.258.1367      
Please call first. We work part time.

I refrain from political commentary on this blog.  But if you are interested in my personal views  you may visit me at Life in NEPA 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Patriots Day Parade 2012

A brand new project for the City of Nanticoke and the South Valley Chamber of Commerce got off precisely at 11:00 am.  The first ever Patriots Day Parade was an event by City and the Chamber of Commerce to honor and salute those who have given to us public service and added a another accolade to the list of positive achievements of our community. The parade which was  promptly dispatched from the high school grounds with police escort  at 11:00 am.  proceeded down Green Street to Patriot Square where vendors and Honey Pot Productions where already setup.  Honey Pot productions provided digital music for the event.

 The parade lined up at the Nanticoke High School parking lot at about 10:00 am Sunday morning.

Line up in order of arrival Rear to Front

  • Various Emergency Service vehicles
    Nanticoke, Newport township

  • Nanticoke Boys Softball Champs
  • Five Mountain Bear Clan
  • Endless Dreams Animal Rescue
  • UGI Gas division Car gas fueled Car
  • Nanticoke Historical Society
  • Birchwood Nursing Facility
  • South Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • National Guard
  • VFW Color Guard
  • Nanticoke EMS

The events of the day
 The Nanticoke Boys Champion Soft Ball Team.

Members from the South Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Nanticoke Historical Society where on hand as well to contribute and pitch in. Of course there was the Five Mountain Bear clan dressed in traditional Native American attire, representing the rich history of our region. The National Guard and VFW units where there as well as EMS and fire units from Nanticoke and Newport townships.
The Ladies From Birchwood Nursing Facility Middle Rd Nanticoke With Chris SVCC parade Chairman.

One of the most interesting participants was an organization from the Benton area- Endless Dreams Animal Retreat. An Educational organization dedicated to the rescue and care of animals.  Not just any animals but some very exotic animals.  On their float, among other animals  like a raccoon, cockatoo, goat and various snakes was a crocodile. The young girls from pre-teen to mid- teen years gently and affectionately handled snakes, showing the benign and gentle nature of these  creatures. The crocodile was obviously not one of the creatures be handled.  It was interesting to see this creature, caged but up close. You can find out more about Endless Dreams.
 Visit their Facebook page

 The people of Nanticoke enjoy and attend events like this regularly.  It seems that they just didn't know about the event. And, that is where I myself have room for improvement. Working with the Historical Society, I  want to contribute to the cultural awareness of our community.  It's not just our history, but  our story, who we are and where we are going. The events of today are important, as one day they will be history and we will have a means  to reflect, remember and look back at this time. For more photos of this event and to post your comments visit us on Facebook.
The South Valley Chamber of Commerce on Facebook

Saturday, June 30, 2012

St Faustina's Summer Picnic

June 29, 5:00 pm started the St. Fustina's summer picnic at Holy Child Picnic grounds in New Port Township.

 The infamous St. Fuastina's Potato pancakes were just to good too wait for.  Ticket sales started promptly at 5:00 pm when I could wait  no longer.  Lines, even then started early, but the help was prepared and moved quickly. The pancakes, fresh out of the friers where of course too hot to eat.  So, with great anticipation, I waited diligently until I could take the first heavenly bite.

Of course there was all the usual games, food, music and social gathering.
The younger people were happy to man the games geared for the younger crowd.

Channel 16 came out to visit and report!

The traditional bake sale offered a variety of breads and other delicious

And last but not least, the music by Stealing Neil was a band on the local circuit followed by a younger crowd. Myself being of somewhat advancing years, had not heard of them and did not know all their music.  However, I must say I was impressed.  A five piece band comprised of drums, bass, rhythm and lead guitar and a lead vocalist had a clean sound.  You could hear each instrument that was played well. Vocals and harmony for the most part where well done. Under the pavilion the hard concrete floor and wooden roof made for a poor acoustic venue.  In spite of that,  it was nice to hear real music not just noise garbled up in wall of over amplified sound. In my opinion, I think they have potential and wish them well.

Want More Photos?!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Steamboats on the Susquehanna: the Wyoming Valley experience

 On May 31st 7:00pm guest speaker Charles Patrillo Historian and author gave a slide presentation on steamboats on the Susquehanna.  Charles explained how, in the mid 1800's, transportation systems evolved in the Wyoming Valley.

Charles explains that In the pre-railroad days transportation for both people and freight was necessary. Our coal rich region also created the need to move the coal.  Charles illustrated in slides of drawings and photos  early disposable coal barges  that could carry up to 180 tons of coal down the Susquehanna River to towns below.   When the barges reached their destination, they were dismantled and the operators would hike back to the the Wyoming valley to prepare another load.

In the pre-trolley days canal systems were created by damming the Susquehanna, thus creating lakes and a supply source of water for the canals.  Canal cars would be pulled by mules to their destination. Remnants of such systems are still around today and are visible right here in the Nanticoke, West Nanticoke and Hanover township areas. In spite of the river being polluted with both mining waste water and sanitary sewage, beaches and bath houses existed along the Susquehanna and the river was used for recreational purposes.

Steamboat ferries, although short lived, did exist here in the Nanticoke, Wilkes-barre, Pittston areas. Both types of ferries with rear paddle and side wheel construction carried passengers up and down the Susquehanna.  Stations existed in West Nanticoke and Wilkes-Barre near the Market Street Bridge.

Although this short and probably inaccurate synopsis of the presentation does not do justice to Charles' informative and fascinating presentation, it does highlight the key topics.

Charles books are available through our friends at the Luzerne County Historical Society

150 Years of Photography in the Wyoming Valley
Author:  F. Charles Petrillo
Description:  A brief history of the area’s historical photographers.
Size:  8 ½ x 11   Paperback – 12 Pages
Published:  1990
Cost:  $3.50

Steamboats on the Susquehanna: The Wyoming Valley Experience
Author:  F. Charles Petrillo
Description:  A history of the valley’s unique experience with steamboats on the river between 1825 and 1902, with 37 photographs and illustrations.
Size:  11 x 8 ½  Paperback – 79 Pages
Published:  1993
Cost:  $10.00

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tony Brooks Luzerne County Historical Society Visits NHS

Building of Wilkes-Barre 250 years of local Architecture

Tony Brooks of the Luzerne County Historical Society gave a lecture and a slide presentation on the origins of  Wilkes-Barre Architecture at the Samantha Mill House, home of the Nanticoke Historical Society on Thursday March 29, 2012.

 Here is a resource, probably terribly under utilized simply because many people are unaware of it. Having gotten a last minute invitation to the lecture, I went in completely unaware of what was about to follow.  And, to my pleasant and unexpected surprise I found it to be entertaining and informative.  Anyone from the area interested in the history and beginnings of the  area would be fascinated by attending an event such as this.

Tony starts out with a brief explanation of the village of Wilkes-Barre, identifying well know streets by their original names and explaining how and why the changes came about.  He explains the progressions and changes through out the years,  the influences from people who came into the area who made their mark and what they brought with them and how changes came about.  The lecture then continues to identify different architectural influences on Wilkes-Barre, who introduced them, how it happened.

Because of the migration of people from Connecticut and Massachusetts the first influence on the architecture of the area were brought here by them.

Then other  influences were to follow:
saltbox New England Architecture influence
Philadelphia Style Gregorian Architecture
Tutor Revival English Influence
Greek Revival Greek Influence
Queen Ann Queen Ann Style Architecture
New York Styles Different styles of New York Influence

I'm not going to tell the whole story as I would not do it justice as Tony could.

Having been made aware of the the different styles of buildings around the city of Wilkes-Barre one can see the influences. Who brought them here?  You maybe surprised or maybe not.  A lot of the names that you are familiar with have deep roots and have left lasting impressions.  If you dig deep and research on your own you may find the answers. Or, you could visit the Luzerne County Historical Society and be pleasantly enlightened. The hard work has been done for you and is presented in a very fascinating and entertaining  way.

Two interesting slides in the presentation particularly caught my eye.  One was of the Wilkes-Barre Lehigh-Susquehanna Railroad Station.  I can remember as a child, perhaps in the late 1950's or early 1960's, while visiting home from out of town, actually arriving at the station while it was still in operation.  The second slide was about a particular building in Wilkes-Barre that honored  from Wilkes-Barre an artist of Native American Culture.  Having taken a day trip to Manhattan Island and  a short stay at Battery Park, I had discovered, quite by surprise, the George Catlin Museum just across the street honored an artist who was one in the same.

When in high school we took history classes not thinking of how it would effect our personal lives.
Think about your life and how it has been influenced by the places or events around you.  You may find a connection closer than you think.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Story of the month February 2012 Col. Edward C. Mack

This is a reprint of the story of the month for February 2012 on Nanticoke History  Our web site is a way for us to talk to you and our blog is a way for you to talk back to us. I try to find stories of interest about our area that you may not find on your own and post them here. If you have once lived here and moved away but would like to know a little about whats happening around town or the area, I will try to fill you in with what I find. 

From time to time we get reader feedback.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to allow you the reader to share your thoughts and stories in your own words about this article.  Please feel free to share your comments with us as we love to hear from you.  Your comments on this article as well as any other are welcome.

Lt./Col. Edward C. Mack
Edward C. Mack
Many residents of Nanticoke may not know that Mack Street was opened in 1959 and was named in honor of Col. Edward C. Mack, a Nanticoke native and WWII Veteran.
As early as high school, the youth distinguished his self by defeating a wrestler by the name of Joe Mott, who challenged all comers at a carnival in Lincoln Field.
Mack, a West Point graduate, was stationed with the US Army in the Panama Canal from 1931 to 1933 and then Fort Wadsworth.
Col. Mack was one of three soldiers from Nanticoke captured by the Japanese during WWII. The men were tortured and used as slave labor until the end of the war. Despite painful injuries after the surrender of Corregidor, he continued to help and minister to the troops of his command until his death as a prisoner of the Japanese. Joseph L. Stepanski, another Nanticoke native, later recalled that Col. Mack was “a fine soldier and gentleman.”

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Little Theatre: Forever Plaid

See Dave!
 Promo Card
Little Theater-Wilkes-Barre, PA
Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, PA is currently celebrating 89 years of Wilkes-Barre Theatre.

 In 2012 they will present:
  • Forever Plaid
  • Chicago
  • Stepping Out
I had the opportunity to see Forever Plaid, courtesy of  Dave Mitchell and the Mitchell Financial Group. Forever Plaid was originally  written, directed and choreographed  by Stuard Ross. The original Musical supervision and arrangements were by James Riatte and the original production was by Gene Wolsk.

The Play Featured:

  • Dave Mitchell as Francis
  • Kevin Holbert as Sparky
  • David Baker as Jinks
  • Thomas J. Major as Smudge
The story is about four young men who in the era of the Fifties  performed in a vocal group by the name of The Plaids. Of course they featured the music of the era such as Connie Francis, Perry Como and Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Apparently, by some misfortune, the group met an untimely demise.  But, had the rare opportunity to return to earth to get a second chance to perform again as they did in their own  time. The four,  hilariously and awkwardly,  stumbled around the stage with being  uncomfortable in front of a live audience.  After all the awkward moments the choreography and harmonies were tight and clean. This was truly an entertaining evening.  The music, just slightly behind my time, was often familiar not only from what I may have remembered from the notorious music  collection commercials as seen on TV in the wee hours of the morning, but also from the music my parents often collected vinyl LP's. 

The music selections included: Three Coins in a Fountain, Gotta be This or That, Moments to Remember, Crazy 'Bout Ya Baby, No Not Much, Perfidia, Cry, Sixteen Tons/Chain Gang, Heart & Soul, Catch a Falling Star, Caribbean Plaid, Lady of Spain, Scotland The Brave, Shangri-La/Rags to Riches and Love is a many Splendid Thing.

Featured in the photo was audience participant Kathrine Capristo.  Photos courtesy of her husband Ralph Capristo. Kathrine was shamelessly coaxed to come on stage and with the cast where she splendidly fit right in.

The Show Play dates are: January 21, 27, 28 2012 at 8:30 p.m.  and January 22, 29,2012 at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $18.00 and Reservations are available at  570.823.1875
The Little Theatre is located at 537 N. Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pa 18705
Truly an affordable and entertaining evening or  afternoon out.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Holy Transfiguration 100 Year Anniversary Celebration Part One

  The 100 Year Anniversary of The Holy Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Church  in the Hanover Section of Nanticoke Pennsylvania will be celebrated in the month of February of this year 2012. In preparation for the event the Church will prepare a book by the parishioners.  My friend asked me to help her prepare her page contributions to their book.  Getting out the old photos was an adventure.  I, myself do not usually attend services at this church, but having been close friends with these people, it is difficult not to get at least partially involved.  All cultures and faiths have their traditions and customs.  However, these people are steeped with tradition and history.

Perhaps the one thing most of us can remember is the traditional Labor Day Picnic.  It marked the end of the Summer Season and was probably one the most fun events of late summer and early fall.  The late summer days were often warm, but you could be certain a jacket or at least a sweater would be in order by dusk.   Of course, you would have to like Rolling Rock beer served in chilled pony bottles, potato pancakes and polka band music.  If you didn't, it wouldn't take long after a few Rolling Rocks that you could get into the Spirit of the Picnic. The big name attractions were the Krieger Brother Orchestra, John Stanky and the Coal Miners, Joe Stanky and the Cadets and of course the Ray Barno Band. If you lived in the Hanover Section of Nanticoke, you could bet that your friends and neighbors would be there working or picnicking there.

One of top radio celebrities of the area at the time was Bobby Z.  Polka Music was a staple for a church picnic and the man to make it happen was Bobby Z.  John Barno (left) the picnic chairman for many years was responsible for the organization and planning of the event.  This particular year Pastor Rev. Dr. Nick Kostiuk lead the congregation. John had a barber shop on Center Street in the Section Hanover Nanticoke across from the festival grounds.  Saturday morning was the only time I could get in for a haircut.  It was unheard of, getting a hair cut for only $3.00 (late to mid 80's), but he did it because of his love for the neighborhood and his community.  His customers were his friends and neighbors. You would have to arrive early (8:30 a.m.) and expect to wait to be taken care of.  He would close at noon, often to attend to the needs of the Church.

The three driving factors to get people to one of the most popular picnics in the area were the food, the music and the beer. The potato pancake line was often over an hour long wait  and often limits to how many one could buy at  time were set so everyone would have a chance to tastes and enjoy the church picnic pancakes.  Of course the haluski and sausage sandwiches were always ready.  But, the pancakes were always in short supply.

Of course, everyone knows the famous actor Jack Palance called the Poconos home.  Jack on occasion would attend the picnic.  Here with Chairman Barno, Jack is shaking hands..

Having a little Photoshop fun, I took a photo of Bob Barno, first son of Chairman John Barno and wife Mary. The original photo showed Bob giving a seminar on mnemonics, but since Bob enjoyed vending articles of his heritage so much at the festival, I thought it would be a funny and interesting addition to this article.

The Ukraine is bordered by Romania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Russia. The rich traditions of the Ukrainian people were always colorful and interesting.  And, not so unlike many European Ethnic cultures in our region, they are more closely akin to others like us that live here. The difference being, at least at this parish, is their pride in their heritage and their passion to celebrate it. This artistic rendition of a Ukrainian dancer was taken at an Easter  Myasopusna or Feast at the new banquet hall.

The old Holy Transfiguration School House was home to the Ukrainian Festival for many years and also the First Horror Hall now presented by the Tilbury Fire Company, our neighbors across the river.

 The Hall burned down in a terrible fire the winter of 1987.  It was a cold frigid night and I was a member of the Nanticoke fire Dept. at the time.  The fire was hopeless, all we could do was contain the fire to the best of our ability to prevent the flames from damaging neighboring properties.

Since then the new banquet hall has been built. The Festival continued for a few years after but, the parishioners were aging and it was getting more difficult for the parish to do the needed work to hold a festival. The younger people had moved away to find a sustainable life or where not interested in working a festival.  And, so the closing of an era came to pass.
This article featured a lot of the Barno Family, whom was very active in their Church Community.  Of  course, the Festival and Barno Family involvement were only a part of the history of Holy Transfiguration. Extra attention was given to the Barno Family since the photos and stories here were submitted by Dolores Barno Jennings.