1958 – 60 YEARS AGO
Gar Wood Products Company in Exeter produced its 1000th truck body. Housed in a 62,000 square foot building erected by Pittston Area Industrial Development, the new firm turned out 240 truck bodies for the U.S. government and looked forward to increasing sales due to proposed highway construction. Officers of the company were Ed Fisher, president; J.W. Considine, sales manager; and Harold Hippler, plant manager. Owner Garfield Wood made a fortune by inventing the first hydraulic hoist for dump trucks before the 1920s. He founded the Wood Hydraulic Hoist & Body Company to manufacture and distribute his invention. He then expanded the business to include truck equipment, bodies for trucks and trailers, cranes, pole derricks, road machinery, oil burners, water heaters, and fender guards. In December 1933, the company name was changed to Gar Wood Industries.
Five hundred people attended the jubilee dinner celebration of the Polish Falcons Nest 128 in Duryea. The event honored 50-year members Andrew Rosiewicz, Lad Wywiorski, Stanley Kijek and Joseph Kondratowicz. Falcons District 7 president William Maziarz presented pins to each of the men.
Joey Stella, the Diary King, promised not to ring the bell of his ice cream truck at 9 p.m. since the children were back to school. Stella, who also catered parties, advertised milk shakes for 25 cents, banana splits for 35 cents and quarts of ice cream for 25 cents.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
Pittston city police officers Michael Cummings and Louis Mantione could not believe the fantastic tale related to them by a 16-year-old boy they had apprehended. Upon interrogating the young fellow, he told the officers he traveled from Chicago, had been housed at an orphanage but soon ran away. He ended up in Pittston, and decided to make his home there which was described as a nest of sorts on the roof of the Cohen Brothers Building on North Main Street. The apprehension solved a rash of burglaries reported in the area as the young man confessed to walking the streets at night and entering homes, stealing what was the easiest to take. One theft was particularly easy he told police. Peering in the unlocked front door of a home, he noticed a handbag hanging from a door knob in the front hallway. He simply snatched the bag and was able to buy food and clothes for himself. He admitted that some things were not worth anything or were broken, which he quickly discarded as he traveled back to his home base. One large haul of cash and jewelry enabled the 16-year-old to travel to the World’s Fair in New York. While there, he spent $500 in one day. The youth was turned over to the Juvenile Detention authorities in Wilkes-Barre.
1968 – 50 YEARS AGO
Players and over 12,000 fans were treated to the first game in Pittston Area High School’s new stadium. Fans were impressed with the comfortable surroundings and the overhead lights that dotted the parking area which some said created a “beautiful picture.” “Cars were parked everywhere, some as far as a half mile away.” Everyone had hoped the first game would end with a victory, but sadly the Patriots went down to defeat, 40-0, in the Big 11 game against Blakely.
1983 – 35 YEARS AGO
Joseph Romasiewicz, of Harding, was honored for his 20 years of service at the Acker Drill Co. Inc. Romasiewicz started his career in marketing and was promoted to domestic sales manager in charge of national sales. Acker Drill Company, founded in 1919 by W.L. Acker, was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce for exporting excellence and received the Presidential “E” award. According to the web site www.commerce.gov “The President’s “E” Award was created by Executive Order of the President to afford suitable recognition to persons, firms, or organizations which contribute significantly in the effort to increase United States exports. President Kennedy revived the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters. Thus, the “E” Award Program was established by Executive Order 10978 on Dec. 5, 1961.”
1985 – 33 YEARS AGO
Both Pittston Area and Wyoming Area School Districts faced declining enrollment, leaving Pittston Area Superintendent Gerald Musto and Wyoming Area Superintendent Joseph Olesky considering teacher layoffs. Both schools, however, were planning to move ahead on instructional improvements. Wyoming Area had received a grant from the State Department of Education to fund a computer program. Over 300 school districts applied for the $39,775 grant.
The Pittston By-Pass was shut down for a time as 130 runners participated in the first Pittston By-Pass Run sponsored by the Mall Merchants Association. Joe Polansky, of Scranton, was the overall winner covering the 3.1 mile course in 16 minutes 4 seconds. Among participating females runners were Jane Lucas, of Wyoming, Susan McAndrew and Laurie Brogan, both of Avoca.
1995 – 23 YEARS AGO
The Duryea Wildcats junior football league celebrated its 25th year. Frank Brosso, one of the original incorporators and first league president, along with Woody Wudarski, Robert Ryzner, Richard Queeney, William Smaltz and Mike Pearage, attended a junior football conference in Scranton cementing their decision to organize the teams. Money donated by businesses and residents was used to purchase 52 blue and white uniforms. The colors chosen were in honor of the former Duryea High School Wildcats. Members of the first A team were Fred Tonkin, Ray Scoda, Danny Nawrocki, Joe Haduck, Ken Budnovitch, Ken Hodick, Ray Pintha, Robert Frutchey, Steve Swantkowski, Joe Giuntkowski, Alan Hoover, Ed Winn Andrew Vanyo, Joe Fahey, Mike Guarilia, Bob Moluski, Joe Chipolis, Kenny Guntkowski, Sam Capitano, Joe Grebeck, Harold Hatter, Peter Duncan and Mark Breymeier. A Team coaches were Bob Galuska, Carl Luder, Sam Capitano and Joe Murphy. Members of the first B Team members were Sid Booth, Mike Birochak, Dave Rugletic, Robert Szewczyk, Dan Doran, Paul Lojewski, Ken Webb, John Martinelli, Tony Martin, Neil Orenich, Tony Lovenduski, Jim Balchune, Andy Gorzkowski, Danny Webb, Rick Duncan, Clarence Van Ness, Rich Vrable, Mike Carlin, Steve Chipolis, Neil Orenich, Bruce Moluski, Mike Mlodzienski, David Mlodzienski, Lonny Graziosi, Chris Balchune, Kyle Lambert, Bob Mehal, T.J. Hoeffner, Leonard Vrable, Ed Folckomer, Jerry Langan, Skip McGlynn, Paul Booth, Billy Scoda, Joseph Pakutler, Nick Radle, John Anderika and Roger Wesenyak. B Team coaches were Gary Sworen, Woody Wudarski, Bob Ryzner and Ron Rugletic.
2003 – 15 YEARS AGO
An observant gentleman discovered a Pittston High School Board meeting logbook from the 1890s in a dumpster outside of the school. For an historian, this was like finding a piece of gold. He eagerly retrieved the book and gave it to the Greater Pittston Historical Society. The article written for the Dispatch detailed the importance of documents, photos, events, people, and buildings that are integral parts of the history of Greater Pittston. The writer urged people to share their family histories and photos with historical societies.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1620 — The Pilgrims sail from England on the Mayflower.
1864 — Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest leads 4,500 men out of Verona, Miss. to harass Union outposts in northern Alabama and Tennessee.
1893 — Some 50,000 “Sooners” claim land in the Cherokee Strip during the first day of the Oklahoma land rush.
1908 — General Motors files papers of incorporation.
1920 — Thirty people are killed in a terrorist bombing in New York’s Wall Street financial district.
1940 — Congress passes the Selective Service Act, which calls for the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.
1950 — The U.S. 8th Army breaks out of the Pusan Perimeter in South Korea and begins heading north to meet MacArthur’s troops heading south from Inchon.
1972 — South Vietnamese troops recapture Quang Tri province in South Vietnam from the North Vietnamese Army.
1974 — Limited amnesty is offered to Vietnam-era draft resisters who would now swear allegiance to the United States and perform two years of public service.
BORN ON THIS DAY
1875 — James Cash Penney, founder and owner of the J.C. Penny Company department stores
1885 — Karen Horney, psychoanalyst who exposed the male bias in the Freudian analysis of women
1891 — Karl Doenitz, German Admiral who succeeded Adolf Hitler in governing Germany
1925 — Charlie Byrd, jazz guitarist
1925 — B.B. King, blues guitarist
1927 — Peter Falk, actor, best known for his role as detective Columbo in the TV series of the same name
1956 — David Copperfield, magician
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