1947 – 76 YEARS AGO
The State Department of Commerce in Harrisburg reported that the rapidly growing shoe manufacturing industry was going to be the saving grace for employment in the Anthracite Region. Easy access to power, intelligent workers and cost-cutting factors in the simplification of manufacturing were given as reasons the region was the best place for new industry. The Mercury Shoe Plant in Exeter was cited for its growth in a short period of time. The company announced that, at full production, the plant would employ 500 persons and produce 4,000 pairs of women’s shoes daily. The annual payroll was expected to be $1 million.
1948 – 69 YEARS AGO
Cy Morgan, chief scout of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Joe Reardon, director of the Phillies farm team, were impressed with Bob Linskey, of Pittston, after the right-hander chalked up a 14-1 record during the 1948 season in the St. John’s, Luzerne County and Pittston Eagles leagues. Linskey signed a contract with the Phillies which included a “substantial bonus” and headed to Terre Haute, Indiana for training.
Wyoming Borough Council was warned that, as far as the Dial Rock Colliery was concerned, the councilmen would “be compelled to wear their overcoats and mufflers” at future winter meetings as the borough owed the coal company for past coal shipments. A legal fight was brewing as borough council members in turn accused Dial Rock of not payingits 1947-48 taxes.
1949 – 68 YEARS AGO
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “What was the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make?” George Delvecchio, of Pittston Township, answered, “Which doctor would give me the greatest aid in my fight against arthritis. I had to decide whether or not I would let the doctors use a new powerful drug on me. I finally agreed to let them do so.” John Heston, of Pittston, added, “During the depression when I had to make up my mind to leave my home and family to go to Detroit to seek work.” Miss Anne Sfarnas stated, “A gentleman asked me to marry him and I asked my mother for advice. She said the problem was mine and I would have to decide.” Miss Sfarnas obviously made the choice not to marry.
The United Mine Workers Union was on strike and the workers at the Pittston city jail failed to make sure the “coal bin was full” prior to the upcoming walk-out. It was reported in the Dispatch, “Office workers wore coats and the females turned to a typical ‘old maid’ device and brought in electric heaters to work.” Police officers picked up a “panhandler” from Scranton and took him to city hall to appear before police clerk Harry Morrissey. The loiterer was remanded to the basement jail, but It was determined that the cells were “too cold for occupancy” so they put the man on a bus headed for Scranton.
1954 – 63 YEARS AGO
Captain Mary C. Connors, Pittston, was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in military operations in Korea supervising medical wards of the 21st Station Hospital in 1953. Captain Connors also received the American Theater, European Theater, World War II Victory, Korean, United Nations and National Defense Service Medals for serving 20 months overseas. During World War II, nurses were the only military women allowed into combat areas serving in Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals or MASH units.
1964 – 53 YEARS AGO
A steel frame that held letters identifying the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad or Laurel Line was removed from the location it had held for decades. The Laurel Line Station was located on Market Street and the sign stood at the corner of Market and South Main. The demolition removed the last remnant of the once busy rail station. The line, which ran from Scranton to Wilkes-Barre, served as many as 4.2 million passengers a year, but declined in service after World War II.
1967 – 50 YEARS AGO
Mounting labor and material costs and rising taxes forced the Sunday Dispatch to raise its price per issue. Since 1947, the Dispatch held its issue price at 15 cents, but with the aforementioned rising costs of producing “Greater Pittston’s only newspaper,” owners decided it was time to set the price at 20 cents per issue. According to the US Inflation Calculator, what cost 20 cents in 1967 would cost $1.47 today — a cumulative rate of inflation of 635.1 percent.
Staff Sergeant William D Morgan Jr., of Pittston, received the Bronze Star after completing a year of combat duty in Vietnam. Morgan served with the A Company second battalion, First Calvary Division and had 16 years of service. He also received the Presidential Citation. According to the American Award Library, “The Bronze Star Medal Is awarded to any person who, after December 6, 1941, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight.”
Pfc. Albert Felker, of Harding, arrived in Vietnam where he would serve as crew chief and operate one of the machine guns of an assault helicopter. Felker also earned the Expert Riflemen’s Badge. The 11th Calvary also known as Blackhorse arrived in Vietnam on Sept. 7, 1966. At that time, the Regiment was equipped with M113 Armored Cavalry assault vehicles and tanks. The Air Cavalry Troop also had a mix of scout helicopters, UH-1H Hueys, and later, AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. The Regiment received its own distinctive patch, won 14 battle streamers, and had three of its troopers awarded the Medal of Honor.
1971 – 46 YEARS AGO
Sandra Broody held a unique job in 1971. She joined Rick Shannon, Paul Grimes and Norman Davis as deejays for WPTS Radio. Sandra was the area’s first female disc jockey and could be heard from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. WPTS, known for its split format of easy listening, country, oldies, top 40, polka and dinner music, converted to all rock in 1970, gaining 14,000 new listeners.
W.T. Grant was set to open its modern new store at Pittston Plaza. The new facility offered three miles of fashions, appliances, a restaurant, cameras and home furnishings. Lincoln Fenno, general manager, stated that the store would employ approximately 150 people and its new credit account system would enable residents to make purchases. Joseph Hines headed the furniture department, Anthony Reggie managed the extensive shoe department. A variety of wigs was available along with stereo console units and TVs. The W.T. Grant 25 Cent Store opened in 1906. By 1936, the company had grown to $100 million dollars in sales.
This date in history:
1582 — This day was one of 10 skipped to bring the calendar into sync by order of the Council of Trent. Oct 5-14 were dropped.
1793 — John Hancock, US merchant and signer (Declaration of Independence), died at 56.
1871 — Around 9 p.m. on Sunday, a fire broke out in or near Patrick and Catherine O’Leary’s barn in the crowded southwestern section of Chicago. Fanned by high winds, the fire burned out of control in the tinder-dry city for more than 24 hours, until rain on Tuesday morning finally extinguished the flames. Three and a half square miles were leveled, wiping out one-third of the city.
1944 — “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” made its debut on CBS Radio on Ozzie (1906-1975) and Harriet (1909-1994) Nelson’s ninth wedding anniversary. In 1949, their sons David (1936-2011) and Rickie (1940-1985) joined the cast.
1991 — Slovenia and Croatia began operating independently from Yugoslavia. Slovenia took over its own borders and began printing its own money.
1994 — Oct. 8, President Clinton, responding to the massing of Iraqi troops near the Kuwaiti border, warned Saddam Hussein not to misjudge “American will or American power” as he ordered additional U.S. forces to the region.
1998 — Astronomers reported sighting galaxies 12 billion light-years away using the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) on the Hubble Space Telescope.
2003 — Vietnam and the United States tentatively agreed to allow the first commercial flights between the two countries since the end of the Vietnam War.