Peeking into the past

June 27th, 2015 1:53 am

First Posted: 8/13/2013


In 1952, What did Sam Gorgone, proprietor of a Mobil Gas Station in West Pittston, find himself in a battle to “evict” from his business after reading unfavorable articles about the item in the Sunday Dispatch?

1952 - 61 YEARS AGO

One thousand ears of corn provided by Sullivan Park Playground Association and Tony Narvid of Narvid Oldsmobile were served to youngsters and adults at the playground picnic. The association featured an outdoor movie, shown on a screen rigged to the back of the scoreboard. Over 100 families enjoyed “Francis,” a movie starring Donald O’Connor and Francis the Talking Mule, a character originated by writer David Stern. The distinctive voice of Francis, who was actually a female named Molly, was provided by veteran character actor Chill Wills.

1962 - 51 YEARS AGO

They were tough and they were good, that was the consensus of sports fans about the Black Knights. The name representing the Greater Pittston GI Vocational School, football, basketball and baseball teams. In 1962, the school closed, but for the over 100 young veterans who donned the black and orange school uniform, memories of the tough games against college teams and semi-professional outfits remained vivid. Ex-high school stars such as Carl “Hoodsie” Petroziello, Sammy Latorre, Frank Dessoye, Bill and Aaron Hastie, “Chev” Evans, Mickey Insalaco, Jack “Bull” Loughney, Pat Finnerty, Johnny Stokas, “Sudsy” Flume and many others competed from 1946 to 1948. John Flanagan of St. John’s High School coached the teams during those years.

1972 - 41 YEARS AGO

A request was sent out to all women in the area to support the Pony Tail Sluggers, a group of girls in training to challenge their brothers on the West Pittston Little League, to a baseball game. Team members, coached by Anna Mae Ayers, were listed as M. Williams, D. Evans, C. Evans, J. Chonka, L. Mundy, P. Brannon, M. Williams, S. Tippett, C McDonnell, M. Devers, S. Selenski, D. Kovaleski, K. Mikita, C. Pope and S. LaNunziata.

August 1972 presented a whole new set of challenges in preparation for the beginning of the school year. The Valley was recovering from the devastating flood produced by Hurricane Agnes. Due to temporary relocation of families, it was estimated that 2,200 new students attend the Pittston Area School District. The numbers showed that the district would need 42 additional classrooms and 46 mobile units to accommodate students. Realizing that five other states were seeking government-supplied mobile classrooms, District architect Ettore Lippi advised school board members to move fast as units were to be supplied on a first-come/first-served basis. Mobile home sites accommodating displaced families were located at the Barnum, Lakewood Gardens, Rutledge and Lombardo sites.

Top 10 songs of 1972

1. Brandy – Looking Glass

2. Alone Again – Gilbert O’Sullivan

3. Too Late to Turn Back Now – Cornelius Bros. Sister Rose

4. Go All the Way – Raspberries

5. I Don’t Want to be Right – Luther Ingram

6. Hold Her Tight – The Osmonds

7. Goodbye to Love – Carpenters

8. Looking Through the Windows – Jackson 5

9. Rocket Man – Elton John

10. Guitar Man – Bread

1982 - 31 YEARS AGO

Joe Rostock, Joe Casper, Joe Shambi, Dan Kulich, Henry Halat, Ed Bellas Jr., Stanley Chikansky, Anthony Dylo, Frank Bednarski, Leslie Webb, Andy Salansky, Charles Antal and Pete Carroll, members of the Dupont VFW Post 4909, gathered at the post home to raise a new flag. Provisions were made to enable the flag to fly 24 hours a day. On June 22, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Federal Flag Code which led to Congressional enactment on Dec. 22, 1942. To read more about the Flag Code, log onto

With 50 percent of its $7,500 goal collected, the Knox Mine Disaster Committee held a meeting to discuss efforts to obtain the rest of the funds necessary to erect a memorial to honor survivors and victims of the disaster. Committee members hoped to attain their goal well before the Jan. 22 anniversary date. To see all of the markers dedicated to this major event in Wyoming Valley history, log onto


In 1952, Sam Gorgone leased the Mobil Gas Station at the corner of Wyoming and Luzerne Avenues in West Pittston. Prior to his taking over, owners of the station had installed an oil burner and, since coal was the source of revenue for many families in the region, the Sunday Dispatch alerted residents to businesses that installed burners. Finding his business dwindling, Gorgone battled owners over an 18 -onth period for the burner’s removal. Gorgone prevailed, “evicted” the burner and installed a coal furnace.