Peeking into the past

June 27th, 2015 1:55 am

First Posted: 6/18/2013


In 1949, What item was John P. Konicki, of Dupont, the second person in the borough to have?

1949 – 64 YEARS AGO

Mr. and Mrs. John Coffee, of Avoca, were visited by approximately 150 fight fans at their summer home to witness the televised boxing match between Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles. Their living room could not accommodate the large crowd so another television set was placed on the front lawn. Guests were pleased with the reception on both sets. Ezzard Charles won the championship in 15 rounds. on July 18, Walcott joined a handful of boxers who claimed the world title in their fifth try. In a re-match, he knocked out Charles in seven rounds in Pittsburgh to finally become world’s heavyweight champion at the relatively old age of 37.

1959 – 54 YEARS AGO

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring photographer asked, “Jokes about the inferior quality of women drivers are steadily disappearing. Do you think it is because women drivers are improving?” James Backman, of Pittston, answered, “I guess women are pretty good drivers; we all have to pass the same test. You could say they’re so good you can’t joke about them anymore.” Maryanna Pavlico, of Pittston, stated, “Those jokes might have been funny years ago, but they don’t fit now. Men do a lot of silly things when they’re driving.” Joseph Kizis, of Cork Lane, added, “I can’t see they’re showing any improvement; I think some got their licenses in the dime store.” Ann Lubinoskey, of Exeter, said, “I’d rather ride with a man any day; they’re much safer drivers. I suppose the jokes stopped because so many women drive cars these days.”

1969 – 44 YEARS AGO

It was announced in the Sunday Dispatch that “History will be written on June 23, as two Naval Reserve Training Centers in Dunmore and Kingston closed and moved to a new million dollar center on Spruce Street in Avoca.” It was estimated that more than 600 Naval Reservists would merge under the Group Command 4-17 at the new center which was also slated to house a Coast Guard Reserve unit. According to the website, “On June 12, 1775, the first Reservists in American history served their country at sea. Throughout the battle for American independence, the small size of the Continental Navy often necessitated the service of Citizen Sailors. Today, with approximately 20 percent of the Navy total force made up of Navy Reservists, the role and contributions of the Navy Reserve and its men and women are as vital as ever, on all fronts.”

1979 – 34 YEARS AGO

St. Mary’s Assumption School in Pittston needed $60,000 for state-mandated renovations which included new steps, ceilings, fire doors, sprinkler system and other safety requirements. Joseph Frank, general chairman, along with Carmen Uritz, Betty Yeremsky, Michael Loncoskie, Margarite Moran, Mary Redding and Donald Humphrey embarked on a fundraising campaign to secure monies so the school could open in September. Father Gerald J. Bishof, pastor, related the fact that “many students who graduated from the school had gone on to higher education, becoming doctors, lawyers and business and professional leaders.” The first St Mary’s School building was built in 1890 on the corner of Church and Sand Streets. In 1924, construction of a new school building began. Due to restructuring, St. Mary’s School closed on June 15, 2011.

1989 – 24 YEARS AGO

The weather did not cooperate for the 58th Annual John A. Alan Golf Tournament being held at the Fox Hill Country Club in Exeter. Defending team champions Wally Kuharchik and Art Brunn Sr. still built a two-stroke lead regardless of the heavy rains during the first two days of play. Both men were seeking their third consecutive Allan title. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, Fox Hill Country Club President John Allan financially supported the club, ensuring its survival. Allan held the position from 1935 to 1937. More than 100 teams participated in this year’s tournament honoring the former president.


John P. Konicki became the second resident of Dupont to install a television set in his home. Frank Blattner a “trailblazer in this field” was enjoying his set for several months. Blattner erected an antenna from the ground in the rear of his home. Konicki installed one on his roof. Konicki was happy with his one-channel reception from Channel 3 in Philadelphia. His feeling was that, as competing stations “removed the bugs,” viewing choices and quality would improve.

“I think it is only proper that recognition be shown to the members of the 1969 graduation class of Pittston Area High School for the manner in which they conducted themselves on the night of the senior prom and on graduation night. I was on duty the night each affair was held. I observed a large number of graduates traveling in and out of the Borough of Avoca. At no time did I observe any misconduct. You, as graduates, have established a goal for the class of 1970.” Letter to the Editor written by Captain William Thomas of the Avoca Police Department published in the June 22, 1969 issue of the Sunday Dispatch