In 1947, Pittston residents threatened to dump what item at the mayor’s office door?
1947 – 70 YEARS AGO
Pittston Toy Manufacturing Company located on Cron Street advertised a factory close-out on velocipedes. A velocipede is described as, “a vehicle, usually having two or three wheels, that is propelled by the rider.” With only 2,000 in stock and priced at $5.95, the tubular steel vehicles or tricycles, as they were more popularly known, were expected to sell out.
DeGregorio’s on North Main Street Pittston, advertised an electric freight train set for $22.95, a Casco Electro Tool Kit with 20 accessories for $14.95 and a junior storekeeper cash register complete with bell and pop out drawer for $4.98. According to the US Inflation Calculator, those prices would respectively equate today to $253.85, $165.36 and $55.08, reflecting a cumulative rate of inflation of 1006.01%.
In an effort to highlight local football players the Sunday Dispatch, for the first time, selected a Greater Pittston All-Scholastic Team. Those chosen were Joe Connors, St. John’s; Walter Ostroski, Avoca; James Musto, Pittston Twp.; Sydney Wruble, Exeter; Thomas Hermitt, Exeter; Joseph Korick, Pittston; Louis Adams, Dupont; Len Mackalavage, Exeter; Anthony Rossi, Jenkins Twp.; Louis Lepore, West Pittston and Steve Nalewjko, Wyoming. The Dispatch planned to make the All-Scholastic list an annual tradition.
1964 – 53 YEARS AGO
Honored as past commanders of the John D. Stark Post 542 American Legion Post since its organization in 1920 were William Dendle, 1926; Stanley Leonard, 1930; Joseph Reilly, 1934; William Bonser, 1936; Frank House, 1939; Alfred Stratton, 1941-42; A. Loftus, 1949; Mayor Robert Campbell, 1950; John Sammon, 1951; Eugene Clark, 1953; Atty. Richard Hughes, 1954; Dolph Huber, 1956; Clarence Boone, 1958; John Casey Jr., 1959; Robert Scott, 1960; Ralph Toole, 1961; William Detato, 1962; and John P. Connors, 1964.
Pennsylvania state officials were in Pittston to check the condition of St. James Episcopal Church located on Charles Street. The rear section of the structure appeared to be sinking. State Secretary of Mines Dr. Charmbury did not have an immediate answer to the situation, but felt the subsidence was due to an old air shaft under the westerly side of the building. According to History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania by H. C. Bradsby, the parish was organized Aug. 12, 1849. The various rectors of the church were Revs. John Long, 1852; W. C. Robinson, 1857-8; John A. Jerome, 1859-62: Chancer Hare, 1862-71; S. H. Boyer, 1872-3; John K. Karcher, 1874-5; George C. Foley, 1875-9; George H. Kirkland, 1879-84; Jacob Miller, 1884-6; George D. Stond, 1886; George Rogers, 1887-8, missionary; Elijah J. Roke, 1889-91, missionary; J. W. Burras, 1892. The church building was erected in 1858.
Peter Castellino, of Pittston, became interested in weight lifting at the age of 15 after President Kennedy, in 1962, announced his physical fitness program for young Americans. Castellino entered his first P.A.A. Powerlift contest and won first place in the 123 lb. class. He went on to earn two other first place trophies during that year. In 1964, he won two additional championships and decided it was time to try out for the Olympics which were to be held in Tokyo, Japan. Other young men who also took up the sport were Phil LaFoca, Hal Raker, Tony Capitano, Bob Mullen, John Centrella, Pat Dougherty and Tony Arnone. The 1964 Summer Olympics were the first Olympics held in Asia. The 1940 games were to be held in Tokyo but the honor was switched to Helsinki due to Japan’s invasion of China. Those games were subsequently canceled because of World War II. In the 64 games, South Africa was barred from taking part due to its apartheid system in sports. These games were also the first to be telecast internationally without the need for tapes to be flown overseas.
1968 – 49 YEARS AGO
Mark Celusniak, of Duryea, Joseph DeFazio, of Avoca, Peggy Driscoll, of Exeter, and Lorraine Ferraro, of Old Forge, were set for the red carpet world premiere of Topps Chewing Gum film “The Hidden Treasure,” an 11-minute film depicting a young boy who finds a treasure map that leads him to the Topps plant in Duryea. The promotional film was produced in response to inquiries from “all parts of the country” asking for information on how bubble gum was made. Scheduled to be shown on local and national television stations and schools, the film featured Topps employees and their children.
1985 – 32 YEARS AGO
Grablick’s Dairy Bar at the corner of Wyoming and Delaware Avenues in West Pittston was purchased by Miners Savings Bank. The landmark dairy and ice cream bar was to close on Dec. 15 and, upon approval, the bank would establish a branch on the property.
Forty-four years after the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, veteran Frank “Fritz” Zyzneski, of Duryea, a member of Foreign Wars Post 1227, remembered vividly how the Japanese pilots tried to shoot down the American flag flying on one of the buildings. “They were shooting at it; you could see what they were trying to do to the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory. The next day it was still there. The Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key, knew what he was talking about.” Zyzneski remembered the devastation in an interview with Michael Cotter for the Sunday Dispatch. “Keep in mind, we were all young, only 18 to 20. We were sitting ducks; every guy on Hickam Field during the attack was separated from his unit. People tend to forget we had a full alert over Thanksgiving just two weeks before, but on December 1, orders came from Washington to pull everything in. The wounded and dead were everywhere. Everywhere you went, things were demolished.”
Americans were expected to spend $30.2 billion on Christmas gifts and decorations in 1985, which averaged out to $126.88 for every man, woman and child in the country. In 2012, the National Retail Federation announced it expected holiday retail sales to be from $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion in 2016.
After a rumored announcement by Pittston Street Department Superintendent Thomas Delaney that bottles, cans and ashes would not collected by the city workers anymore, city residents threatened a “dump party” at the door of the city mayor. Complaints poured in, with one woman saying she and her club members would dump tin cans at the mayor’s office. In defense of the decision, city council members cited instances where a man dug out his cellar and left 30 boxes of dirt for the garbage collectors. Another cleaned out a building and left scores of boxes of bottles and debris for cleanup by city workers. It was later determined that the directive was misunderstood by collectors and, in fact, it had meant that city workers should use their judgement as to what they felt was collectible garbage.
This day in history:
1817 — Mississippi is admitted as the 20th state.
1869 — Governor John Campbell signs the bill that grants women in Wyoming Territory the right to vote as well as hold public office.
1918 — U.S. troops are called to guard Berlin as a coup is feared.
1919 — Captain Ross Smith becomes the first person to fly 11,500 miles from England to Australia.
1941 — Japanese troops invade the Philippine island of Luzon.
1941 — The siege of Tobruk in North Africa is raised.
1943 — Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill that postpones a draft of pre-Pearl Harbor fathers.
Born on this day
1830 — Emily Dickinson, American poet; wrote more than 1,000 poems, seven of which were published in her lifetime.
1911 — Chester “Chet” Huntley, American broadcast journalist.
1914 — Dorothy Lamour, actress, best remembered for co-starring with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in their “Road to” movie series.
1956 — Rod Blagojevich, 40th governor of Illinois; arrested on federal charges of trying to sell the US Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.