Peeking into the Past: Duryea Civic Club asked governor for flooding solution in 1956

Peeking into the Past - Judy Minsavage | May 12th, 2016 3:48 pm

1956 - 60 Years Ago

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “Do you think this present high school generation has lost some of its zip because the students drive to school instead of walking?” James Switzer of West Wyoming answered, “I don’t think riding to school reduces your pep. If someone is always tired, there’s probably some other cause for it.” Thomas McNulty of Pittston stated, “Youngsters of today have just as much zip as school children ever did. I think it helps them in the long run.” Mary Ann Pomichter of Pittston added, “I had to walk all the way from the Junction and never regretted it. After that long walk you felt wide awake.”

Realtor John P. Sammon advertised these West Pittston homes for sale: “1016 Susquehanna Avenue, Beautiful home in a beautiful spot — $25,500; 106 Exeter Avenue, A good address, 4 bedrooms — $21,000.”

Mr. Wasilewski, the secretary of the Duryea Community Civic Club, sent a letter to then-Gov. George M. Leader informing him of the flood problems existing in the borough. The governor sent this reply: “Thank you for your letter concerning the long-standing flood problem in the Borough of Duryea. The conditions cited in your letter were previously scheduled for investigation. The department will obtain information on the need for expedient localized emergency relief. The problem will receive thorough consideration, but let it be understood that because of the overwhelming number of similar commitments placed upon our engineering personnel by the floods of 1955, appreciable delay in initiating any but emergency projects should be anticipated. Sincerely yours, George M. Leader.”

In 1955, states dealt with the destruction left in the wake of Hurricanes Connie and Diane after both hit the East Coast in close succession and traveled into the Northeastern United States. The 1955 hurricane season, at the time, was the costliest in U.S. history.

1966 - 50 Years Ago

An article in the Sunday Dispatch paid tribute to Battery B, Pittston’s unit in the 109th Field Artillery of World War I, led by Lt. Leo Tierney. The article described the units arrival at the Lehigh Valley railroad station in 1918, at the end of World War I. Among the 88 soldiers returning were, John F. Mangan, Thomas J. Gaffney and August Weitz of Pittston, Alfred G. Stark and John VanLeuven of West Pittston, Alfredo Dente, Yatesville; Jacob Breese, Wyoming and John Clifford of Avoca. According to, “the 109th Field Artillery is one of the oldest units in continuous existence in the United States Armed Forces. It was organized under Colonel Zebulon Butler in the Wyoming Valley on Oct. 17, 1775, nearly a year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Wyoming Valley was then considered part of Connecticut, thus the unit was originally formed as the 24th Regiment, Connecticut Militia.”

Tech Sgt. Kenneth F. Nicholson of Exeter received a citation and medal at a ceremony while serving with the United States Air Force in Germany. Nicholson received the citation for “meritorious service as administration supervisor, executive services divisions office of vice-chief of staff, United States Air Force for outstanding administration skills and knowledge of staff procedures. He set an example which few non-commissioned officers can equal.”

A grant was awarded to Pittston City schools for a summer remedial reading, English and physical education programs for low income families. Costing over $110,000, the program would be offered to 450 students in the schools and required 31 teachers and 18 teacher aides to administer.

1976 - 40 Years Ago

A crowd of approximately 2,000 spectators lined the banks of the Susquehanna River to watch the first hydroplane races held on the river. Congressman Daniel Flood fired the starting gun, putting 200 boats from the Eastern Marine Power Boat Association into action. Merle Bainbridge, West Pittston mayor, and Raymond Crisci, councilman, were also at the starting gate. The Greater Pittston Area Jaycees, along with Flood, co-sponsored the event that was held to promote recreational use of the river.

Wyoming Area and Pittston Area track teams did very well at the District 2 PIAA championship meet, finishing second and third, respectively. Members of the Wyoming Area team who qualified for the state meet scheduled in Shippensburg were Ray Smith, Mark Kendzor, Steve Sickler, Tony Sindaco, Henry Mikolaichik, Joe Radzwilka, Andy Hreha, Mark Casseri, Mike Clonan, Lou Mischianti, J. Rubico, S. Rubico and Paul Rushefski. Members of the Pittston Area team who headed to the districts were Mike Corcoran, Mike Lokuta, Tom Sebetta, Frank Czerniakowski and Joe Yanchis.

1996 - 20 Years Ago

Over 300 people gathered at the very first Pittston police and firemen’s ball. Some of those who attended were Judy Kaminsky, Mike Coolbaugh, JoAnne Veronick, Joseph Viccica, Paul Profirio, Gregory Policare, Carol Bayer, Michael Goham, Debbie O’Brien, Judy Armitage, Stanley Piontek, Joseph Kelly, Eleanor Cawley, Jack Toole, Jody Williams and Bob Morgan.

Local V.F.W. members sold Buddy Poppies to residents of Pittston and West Pittston. Proceeds benefited the needs of local veterans and their families. One penny from each poppy sold was channeled to the V.F.W. National Home for Widows and Orphans in Michigan. The V.F.W. conducted its first poppy distribution in 1922, it was the first veterans organization to organize a nationwide distribution.

Today in History

1820 — U.S. Congress designates the slave trade a form of piracy.

1886 — Emily Dickinson dies in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she had lived in seclusion for the previous 24 years.

1972 — Gov. George Wallace is shot by Arthur Bremer in Laurel, Maryland.
The Luzerne Avenue Baptist Church of West Pittston honored its 50-year members. From left, first row, Jean Heal, Estella Dively, Mabel Richmond, Rachael Jones. Second row, Rev. Douglas R. Kline, Mary Lou Fisher, Marion Byerly, Alberta Vanderburg, Naomi Martin and Dr. R. Eugene Crow. Luzerne Avenue Baptist Church of West Pittston honored its 50-year members. From left, first row, Jean Heal, Estella Dively, Mabel Richmond, Rachael Jones. Second row, Rev. Douglas R. Kline, Mary Lou Fisher, Marion Byerly, Alberta Vanderburg, Naomi Martin and Dr. R. Eugene Crow. Sunday Dispatch File Photo

Peeking into the Past

Judy Minsavage

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