Peeking into the past

June 27th, 2015 1:35 am

First Posted: 5/7/2013


In a 1947 survey, it was revealed that Pittston had 114 of these. What were they?

1947 – 66 YEARS AGO

Pittston residents formed a Property Owner’s Association, born of the concern over heavy mine blasts taking place under South Main Street. The association planned to form a committee to attend school board and council meetings in the interest of taxpayers. Merchants supported the idea as Pittston was cited as the only community in the Greater Pittston area that did not have an association to advocate for residents.

After months of being closed for renovations, the Comerford Company reopened the Pastime Theatre in Duryea in May 1947. Improvements included new restrooms, lighting and facade. The theatre opening was highlighted by the showing of the “Al Jolson Story.” The film was a tremendous financial success and won Academy Awards for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Sound/Recording and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Color and Best Film Editing

Members of Dupont 210 Sportsmen’s Club, Troop 361 Boy Scouts of American and a group of high school students planted 1,000 trees at Smith’s Pond. Named after Harrison Smith, chairman of the Sportsmen’s Club Camp of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the pond was a favorite of local fisherman. George Pearage, local camp chairman, planned to use the area to instruct youngsters on forest conservation and protection of wild game.

1957 – 56 Years Ago

Train traffic on the DL &W Railroad was held up for more than five hours after a massive tractor trailer plunged over an embankment on South Main Street in Duryea. The truck sideswiped the wall of a railroad overpass, careened through an iron guardrail and plunged 20 feet over a concrete embankment, wedging itself against railroad tracks. While investigating the accident, Duryea Police Sgt. Joseph Wycallis proclaimed the two occupants who survived the crash as fortunate for. if the truck had been carrying cargo, the weight would have possibly crushed the cab. The impact of the truck striking the railroad bed moved tracks five inches out of line.

Army Pvt. Sam Giamber, of Pittston, participated in Exercise Sledge Hammer with the 1st Armored Division in Louisiana. The maneuver was designed to test the combat readiness of the newly-formed Pentomic Division. In the late 1950s, the Army reorganized each infantry division into five battle groups in preparation for tactical nuclear war in Europe. These groups were large battalions containing five rifle companies, a combat support company, appropriate field artillery and service support. The battle groups were self-sustaining. The division structure was abandoned in the early 1960s when the Army adopted for all divisions the combat command organization of the armored division.

1967 – 46 YEARS AGO

Demolition workers razing the former home of the Greater Pittston Masonic Temple on Water Street thought they discovered a treasure when they found a locked copper box among the debris. Upon prying open the container, the men found copies of the Valley Lodge Magazine, a 1900 Jubilee edition of the Pittston Gazette and a photo and story of the building being razed. In 1919, the Masonic Building Association purchased the former Music Hall building on the Water Street site. During the remodeling, they had placed the box into the cornerstone.

Detato’s Supermarket planned the construction of a new store at the corner of North Main and New Streets, a block away from its existing site. A 30,000 square foot brick building was designed with 17,500 square feet of shopping area, 10 checkout counters and 6,000 square feet of storage, making the market one of the largest independent supermarket operations in the state.

The primary election of 1967 was deemed “highly unusual” in that there were more candidates listed on the ballot than in many previous years, and it was the first at-large election in the newly-merged Wyoming Area and Pittston Area School Districts. According to, “With at-large systems, all voters can vote for all seats up for election. Depending on the system, all candidates may run against one another, with the highest vote getters winning election, or candidates may run for individual, designated seats.”

1977 – 36 YEARS AGO

Mockingbird bowling team members Lucy Orkwis, Angie Walker, Jean Morreale, Fran Pisano, Doris Moughan and Marion Perks were honored as champs of the Lady Birds Bowling League 76-77 season.

In 1974, the West Pittston Little League Girls Softball Organization, the first of its kind in Northeastern Pennsylvania, was organized. That season, the girls of Division I won the district championship and went on to compete in the first state tournament held in Downingtown, taking the runner-up spot. In 1977, the organization was starting its fourth year with elected officers Richard Belmont, Cathy Petruncio, Jane Firestine, Jerry LaMarc, Pat Evans, Rocky Redmond and Jim Melberger.

Mike Satkowski, of Dupont, was selected Outstanding Science Student of Luzerne County. With interests in chemistry, biochemistry and immunology, he planned to attend Wilkes College. In addition, he also received certificates of merit from Luzerne County Society of Engineers, NEDT and PHEAA Scholarship Program.


Pittston merchants felt there was little reason for anyone to shop outside of the Pittston city proper as a survey revealed there were 114 specialty shops in Pittston, as well as a number of grocery stores. It was noted in the May 11, 1947 issue of the Sunday Dispatch, “ From one end of Pittston to the other, it is possible to purchase anything. And if you get thirsty, there are 12 modern soda fountains, cocktail lounges and a goodly number of respectable taverns.”

“She’s Your Mom” – a Mother’s Day poem, published in the May 11, 1947 issue of the Sunday Dispatch.

Maybe she “spared the rod and spoiled the child.”

Or maybe her disposition’s not so mild

She’s Good Angel and General all mixed up in one

She scolds and she kisses for the bad things you’ve done.

She’s a streamlined young modern or lavender and lace

She’s your Mom

So remember her

Whatever the case.

Author Unkonwn

Spend the day “Peeking Into the Past” with Mom…Happy Mother’s Day.