1947 – 71 YEARS AGO
Seven-year-old West Pittston lad Edgar Bennett decided to take matters into his own hands by addressing the West Pittston Borough Council in regard to the lack of a playground in the borough. After he and a few of his playmates broke a window in his neighborhood, Bennett decided that a lot in the rear of the borough building would make a safer area for kids to play and hoped council members would approve such an effort. Council advised the young man that the lot was necessary for storage of equipment and suggested he and his friends travel to another neighborhood with more area to play. Bennett argued that the suggested neighborhood was too far from home. Impressed with the young man’s persistence, council members asked Bennett to find some locations he felt were good for the playground and report back to them.
1952 – 66 YEARS AGO
Pittston City police officer Eddie Armitage couldn’t believe what he was seeing and hearing as a Pittston Alderman gave a local railroader a pass for beating his wife and failing to provide food for his children. At his hearing, the railroader told a “story of woe” to the judge of how his wife refused to let him attend dances and other events in the area and that she only allowed him one case of beer in the house at any one time. The beating incident happened only because she failed to have bacon with his eggs on a religious fast day. Throwing the plateful of food, the railroader claimed that only the plate hit his wife, the eggs splattered on a framed Brotherhood of Trainsmen membership certificate hanging on the wall behind her. This angered him even more. The judge, overcome with the railroader’s sad tale, only fined the man $15. But the judge didn’t stop there; he pulled the money out of his own pocket and paid the fine for the man. It was stated in the article in the Sunday Dispatch, “Several minutes later, they revived officer Armitage and Pittston Police Lieutenant Tom Walsh. The shock (of the outcome of the hearing) was too much for them.”
Freed’s on North Main Street in Pittston advertised a 97 sq. ft. Philco television set for $219.95. With 18 months to pay, the cost averaged to 35 cents per day. According to the US Inflation Calculator, that per day cost today would be $3.29 for a total of approximately $2, 057. The Rosedale Dress Shop on North Main Street, Pittston, advertised women’s Easter finery from $8.95 to $19.95.
1956 – 62 YEARS AGO
Morris Jewelers, Main Street, Pittston advertised a 23 diamond bridal ring duet for $99 and solid gold wedding bands for $9.88. Frank Felice Auto, Exeter Avenue, West Pittston advertised the 2-door 6-passenger Buick Special for $2,438. The Sweetland Confectionery advertised the “largest selection of homemade Easter candy” and Janesko Brothers installed triple track aluminum storm windows for $11.95 each. Julio Motors offered the Mercury Montclair Phaeton for $2,265. According to car collector websites, the values for the Mercury Montclair Phaeton are rising due to the fact that parts, as well as the cars themselves, are hard to find.
1957 – 61 YEARS AGO
The Dupont Lions Club hosted Louis Carpenter, “chief deliveryman” for Buckeye Pipeline Company, who gave some interesting facts about transporting gas and other industrial liquids through local underground pipelines. Buckeye, established in 1886, extended their pipelines in the 1950s to include New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Local terminals in Dupont and Exeter supplied the California Oil Company, The Texas Company, Tidewater Company, GLF Cooperative Cities Service and Esso Standard. Terminals have a 575,000 barrel storage capacity. Buckeye pipelines run under Jenkins, Pittston and Exeter Townships.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
Over 200 children attended the first Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Harding Fire Company and its auxiliary. Samuel Salus chaired the event along with Jack Lewis. Auxiliary members Catherine Koelsch, Ann Salus, Vickie Winters, Elaine Mikolosko, Annette Fetch, Rosemary Codekas, Gertrude Coolbaugh, Eleanor Mann and members of the fire company Robert Winters, Charles Marcy, George Brodbeck, Jack LaBar, Donald Gross, Elwyn Carey, Frank Simko, Theodore Simko, Andrew Simko, Kenneth Mann, Richard Dymond, George Codekas, Jack Simko, J. Gordon Ramsden, Paul Harned, Warren Scott and Pete Brudage handed out 50 prizes and 150 consolations prizes to the kids.
The baseball season was expected to be a blockbuster as over 1,000 youngsters signed up for Little League and farm system teams. The renewed interest was credited to the fact that the Pittston All-Star Team advanced to the state finals in 1963. Team managers Jim Barrett, Leo Scoda, Ed Strubeck, Joseph Testa, George Morgan, Steve Cerullo and Wilbert Leppert were expected to return.
1966 – 52 YEARS AGO
Easter was coming and the Wyoming Valley in Vietnam Committee had special cargo to send to Major Michael Thomas, commander of the Army’s 161st ammunition company stationed in Qui Nhan. St. John’s Byzantine Church in Wilkes-Barre donated a bell to the committee to ship to Vietnam. The bell was to be installed in a makeshift chapel constructed by the army unit. Contributing to the effort were Avoca airport manager Edward Smith, the Major’s sister Margaret Thomas; Irving Hughes, Joseph Shaver, Ted Zawilla, Robert Kirchner, Gene Allegrucci and George Ondek and the Major’s wife and children Paul, Steven, Michael and Celeste.
1967 – 51 YEARS AGO
Army First Lieutenant Michael Winslow, son of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Winslow, Pittston received a Bronze Star Medal from Brigadier General John S. Hughes, for outstanding meritorious service against hostile forces in Vietnam. Lieutenant Winslow was a 1959 graduate of West Pittston High School.
1976 – 42 YEARS AGO
A revision made of the Flood Hazard Boundary Map for the National Insurance Program to utilize resulted in a “considerable” reduction in the number of West Pittston residents who would pay increased flood insurance premiums because of their proximity to the river. The map, prepared by Gannett, Fleming, Corddry and Carpenter of Harrisburg at the request of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Insurance Administration, reflects curved or “curvilinear boundaries” which “more accurately reflect flood prone areas.” The map and report highlighted the York Avenue region as being removed from the flood hazard area, but listed Susquehanna Avenue as “possibly having to pay increased insurance premiums.”
1977 – 41 YEARS AGO
Avoca native Tom McHale was spotlighted for receiving the Thomas More Association medal for his book entitled “School Spirit” an award given annually for the most distinguished contribution to Catholic Literature. McHale also wrote mainstream literature. His darkly comic style was compared to Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, and John Updike. McHale’s third novel “Alinsky’s Diamond” won the Guggenheim Award. McHale wrote six critically acclaimed novels before his passing in 1982.
This day in history
1668 — The first horse race in America takes place.
1776 — The Continental Congress authorizes a medal for General George Washington.
1807 — The British Parliament abolishes the slave trade.
1905 — Rebel battle flags captured during the American Civil War are returned to the South.
1911 — A fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, a sweatshop in New York City, claims the lives of 146 workers.
1953 — The USS Missouri fires on targets at Kojo, North Korea. This is the last time her guns fire until the Persian Gulf War of 1992.
1969 — John Lennon and Yoko Ono stage a bed-in for peace in Amsterdam.
1970 — The Concorde makes its first supersonic flight.
Born on this day
1867 — Gutzon Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore.
1908 — David Lean, British film director (The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia).
1934 — Gloria Steinem, political activist, editor.
1942 — Aretha Franklin, American singer, the “Queen of Soul.”