1947 – 71 YEARS AGO
An article in the Sunday Dispatch called for the legalization of gambling in Pennsylvania reinforced by the idea that gambling is supported by many a fine citizen and revenue from it should work to aid the community. With tax payments from coal lands decreasing, it was believed that monies accumulated from gambling would help to lift the burden of school and municipal expenses from the taxpayers. Pennsylvania’s gambling industry began in 1959 when the state legalized horse racing. Slot machines were legalized in 2004 and tables games in 2010
According paonlinecasino.com, Pennsylvania is the second largest casino market in the country. In November 2017, Pennsylvania legalized internet gambling, making it the fourth in the nation to allow online betting.
Three young men, Tom McKeon, Browntown; Eddie Ward, of Pittston; and Gene Caputo, of Cork Lane; were signed by the Philadelphia Athletics and were playing with the Appalachian League. The Athletics baseball team headed by Connie Mack came out of the formation of the American League in 1901. Rival to the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies, the Athletics finished their inaugural season in fourth place. By 1950, the franchise won five world championships and nine pennants. But with more fans following the National League Phillies, the Athletics were sold in 1954 and moved to Kansas City. The team moved to its current home in Oakland, CA in 1968.
1952 – 66 YEARS AGO
Army Sergeant Clarence Gale, of Duryea, was awarded the commendation medal for meritorious achievement while serving in Korea. The presentation was made at Camp Kilmer, N.J. Gale served in Korea for nine months.
After battling a fire at the Wyoming Valley Lumber Company, the Exeter Hose Company turned in a bill of $242 to borough council. Council contended it could not legally pay that much as the borough ordinance restricted the total of firemen who can be paid for fighting a fire at 10. The hose company listed some 40 men as fighting the lumber company blaze. Council was mulling over the idea of making a new ordinance that would eliminate any limit on firefighters being called to the scene.
1953 – 65 YEARS AGO
May Park in Port Griffith was known as a safe haven for children to play during the long hot summers. Established in the Greater Pittston area, The May Park Association was organized on July 25, 1922, with a charter granted in the same year. Captain W. A. May, president of the Pennsylvania Coal Company, donated land to the park association and furnished supplies and labor to clear the land. Official opening of the park was held on Sept. 4, 1922 with a parade of 700 to mark the occasion. Flag-raising ceremonies were performed by the two oldest residents of Port Griffith, Mrs. John Noone and James Morris, and the two youngest, Alice Dillon and Terry Burke. The first officers of the association were Patrick Delaney, president; Michael Martin, treasurer; and John Killian, secretary. The park closed between 1939 and 1945 due to World War II. After the war, the park association reorganized and began rebuilding efforts. The equipment at the park included a dozen swings, two maypoles, six teeter totters, sliding board, covered sandbox and wading pool. An outdoor fireplace used for barbeques was constructed near two refreshment stands.
The slogan “On To Williamsport” was adopted by the Pittston Little League as its inched toward the end of regional playoffs. With four games to go, District 2 Tournament Director James Melberger announced an upcoming playoff match-up between Moosic and Pittston could not be played at Pittston Little League Park due to the infield condition. The game was moved to West Pittston. Even though losing home field advantage, teammates hoped Tommy Keen, regular season leading home run hitter, would continue his hitting streak and pitchers Bobby Knowles and Eugene Thomas would hold the opposing teams to minimum hits. Other big hitters were Sammy Scalzo, “Yogi” DiBuono, Art Bruno, Fred Gubitose, Steve Levanavage and Frank Tribett.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
A feud between the morning edition of the Wilkes-Barre Record and Joseph Delaney, Pittston chief of police, escalated as Delaney contacted a local attorney about filing a libel suit against the paper. The feud reportedly started after Delaney told the paper he would report Pittston news to them only if they assigned a reporter to cover the town as had other local newspapers. Shortly after, Delaney claimed that less than complimentary stories were printed in the paper regarding him and the police department. Delaney cited one printed story in which a known sexual offender criticized the chief and the department for receiving a traffic ticket. Delaney was quoted as saying, “With incidents like this one, and the general breakdown of law and order in the country, possible departure from police work is on my mind.”
1972 – 46 YEARS AGO
At Detato’s Food Center, a shopper could get 300 S&H Green Stamps with a $30 order. Chiquita bananas were 10 cents a pound, White Cloud bathroom tissue was advertised at eight rolls for $1, and Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets were 79 cents for a box of six. At Insalaco’s Grocery in Pittston, Hills Brothers coffee was sold for 75 cents for a 1 lb. can, A 2 lb. jar of Kraft grape jelly was advertised for 49 cents.
Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce and the Pennsylvania Coal Company were wondering what to do with the “controversial” New Rail Dam, a popular swimming hole for area youths. Originally there were few problems, but the area started to see more people “intent on activities other than swimming.” A decision to drain the area was being considered.
The Tastykake Baking Company Home Run Derby was scheduled to come to Pittston. Boys and girls age 8 to 15 could participate and the winners in each age division would represent Pittston in the regional finals scheduled in Reading. Finalists would then move on to participate in the championship derby at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. It was reported the Tastykake Home Run Derby started in 1970 with 500 batters. In the second year, the amount grew to over 20,000 youngsters.
1992 – 26 YEARS AGO
To mark the 39th anniversary of the signing of the truce to end fighting in the Korean War, The Korean War Veterans of Wyoming Valley dedicated a memorial to the 142 men from Luzerne County who lost their lives in the war and 33 men killed in the 109th Field Artillery train wreck in 1950. Soldiers killed in the Korean War from the Greater Pittston area were Zigmund M. Maruk, George W. Busch, Peter J. Panetski, Leo Russavage, Robert J. Volack, John Potorski, Peter Kubic, Earl A. Brown, Charles O. Evans, Charles J. Montagna, Frank J. Chesnowski, Eugene A. Donnelly, John P. Powell, John Kundratik, Joseph Gregori, Robert Venetz, Lawrence Troy, Robert J. Kishbaugh, Saverino Panzita, James Colarusso Jr. Victims of the train accident: James F. McGinley, Donald Zieker, Edward Gallagher. The memorial stands on the south lawn of the Luzerne County Courthouse.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1848 — A rebellion against British rule is put down in Tipperary, Ireland.
1858 — Japan signs a treaty of commerce and friendship with the United States.
1862 — Confederates are routed by Union guerrillas at Moore’s Mill, Missouri.
1921 — Adolf Hitler becomes the president of the Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis).
1945 — After delivering parts of the first atomic bomb to the island of Tinian, the U.S.S. Indianapolis is sunk by a Japanese submarine. The survivors are adrift for two days before help arrives.
1981 — Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer.
2005 — Astronomers announce the discovery of dwarf planet Eris, leading the International Astronomic Union to clarify the definition of a planet.
1883 — Benito Mussolini, Dictator of Italy (1922-1945)
1936 — Elizabeth Hanford Dole, US secretary of transportation (1983-1987), secretary of labor (1989-1990), unsuccessful candidate for Republican presidential nomination (2000), US Senator (2003-2009).
1938 — Peter Jennings, ABC evening news anchor
1953 — Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker (“The Civil War,”“ Baseball,” “The War,” “The Dust Bowl”).
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.