1950 – 68 YEARS AGO
Plans for the placement of two Exeter historical markers were formulated and site work was scheduled to begin in November. The first marker placed “near the building of Joseph Esposito at the intersection of Wyoming Avenue and Valley Street” in Exeter, denotes the line of the Battle of Wyoming. The second marker was set on a lot donated by H.B. Schooley and marks the location of Fort Wintermoot or Wintermute, as it is occasionally spelled. According to the web site www.northamericanforts.com, Fort Wintermoot was a stockade house built by Tory settlers from New York. Even though the occupants sided with the British forces in July 1778, the fort was burned by the British.” The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars in Exeter arranged for the markers to be erected.
Jean Salio, Maureen Kelly and Charlotte Karichner, of Hughestown, were not only close friends but military reservists, as well. All three enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserves and were expecting orders to report to Parris Island, SC. In 1950, the Women Marine Corps Reserves were mobilized for the Korean War, and 2,787 women were called to active duty. At the peak of the Vietnam War, about 2,700 women had served both stateside and overseas.
1960 – 58 YEARS AGO
The Duryea Civil Defense Auxiliary Police unit celebrated its third year. In 1960, the unit received new uniforms for its members after experiencing growth in each of those years. Members were Leroy Kellaway, Edward Neureuter, Henry Evans, Leonard Lankowski, Tom Williams, Henry Levandowski, John Zajulka, John Novakowski, Henry Levandoski, John Salek, Paul Komensky, Joseph Rava, Leonard Nawrocki, Al Thorne, Joe Sherinsky, Chester Dempski, Stanley Niewadomski, Joseph Belaski, Leonard Wendoloski, Mike Girman, John Roberts, Joseph Rava Jr., Robert Hynoski, Peter Pochalonis, Joe Gross and B.J. Gross.
It was a lucky Columbus Day for Edward Ziobro, of West Pittston. He was the winner of the annual Knights of Columbus drawing which featured a new four-door Pontiac Catalina sedan. Vincent Yermal, contest chairman, handed over the keys to the shiny-finned beauty that touted amenities such as full carpeting, glove box and trunk lights, dual front ashtrays, cigar lighter, glove compartment snack bar (two cup indents on the glove box door that could be opened for use at drive-in restaurants), heater/defroster and a choice of cloth and vinyl upholstery.
1968 – 50 YEARS AGO
Members of the Pittston Area High School Class of 1969 will celebrate their 50th anniversary reunion in August 2019. They have been sharing senior highlights from the class in our Peeking into the Past column throughout the coming months leading up to their reunion event.
The new Pittston Area High School building in Yatesville was officially dedicated at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13. Atty. Robert P. Casey, former state senator and future governor, delivered the dedication address. In the address he stated, “Without a doubt, this is the finest school I have ever seen in the state. There is no school that can compare to it.” More than 400 were in attendance. Ceremony participants included Rep. James Musto, Sen. Martin Murray and Judge Peter Paul Olszewski. Remarks were made by Wesley E. Davies, superintendent of Luzerne County schools, and Terrance Burke, president of the Pittston Area School Board. Several borough officials were also present. Architect Ettore J. Lippi presented building keys to Thomas Kelly, principal of the Pittston Area High School, Terrance Burke of the Board of Education, and Howard G. Stahl of the State Public Building Authority. Invocation was given by Hughestown native Rev. Joseph J. Adonizio of St. Mary’s Church, Wilkes-Barre.
1970 – 48 YEARS AGO
There was a controversy brewing regarding the Wilson School in Duryea. The building, constructed “about 1915,” was in the process of being razed, and rumor had it that 13 homes were to be built on the site. Some residents felt Jones Park, adjacent to the school property, was being included in the plan as the school property was not large enough to construct that many homes. Residents believed the park belonged to the community and was never to be sold. After the school closed, residents heard a buyer of the school canceled his purchase because he learned the park was not part of the grounds. To the dismay of the residents, it was believed new owners of the school property may have purchased the park from Jones’ family members.
1971 – 47 YEARS AGO
W.T. Grant was set to open its modern new store at Pittston Plaza. The plaza was said to offer three miles of fashions, appliances, a restaurant, cameras and home furnishings. Lincoln Fenno, general manager, stated that Grants would employ approximately 150 people. Joseph Hines headed the furniture department and 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 in sales.
Sandra Broody held a unique job in 1971. She joined Rick Shannon, Paul Grimes and Norman David 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.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1912 — Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is shot and wounded in an assassination attempt in Milwaukee. He is saved by the papers in his breast pocket and, though wounded, insists on finishing his speech.
1933 — The Geneva disarmament conference breaks up as Germany proclaims its withdrawal from the disarmament initiative, as well as from the League of Nations, effective Oct. 23. This begins the German policy of independent action in foreign affairs.
1943 — Prisoners at Nazi Germany’s Sobibór extermination camp in Poland revolt against the Germans, killing 11 SS guards, and wounding many more. About 300 of the Sobibor Camp’s 600 prisoners escape, and about 50 of these will survive the end of the war. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1944 — German Field Marshal Rommel, suspected of complicity in the July 20 plot against Adolf Hitler, is visited at home by two of Hitler’s staff and given the choice of public trial or suicide by poison. He chooses suicide and it is announced that he died of wounds.
1947 — Test pilot Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier aboard a Bell X-1 rocket plane.
1969 — The British 50-pence coin enters the UK’s currency, the first step toward converting to a decimal system, which was planned for 1971.
2012 — Felix Baumgartner breaks the world record for highest manned balloon flight, highest parachute jump, and greatest free-fall velocity, parachuting from an altitude of approximately 24 miles (39km).
BORN ON THIS DAY
1644 — William Penn, English Quaker leader and founder of Pennsylvania
1888 — Katherine Mansfield, short story writer
1890 — Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. president (1953-1961)
1894 – E.E. Cummings, American poet
1896 — Lilian Gish, film actress, “The First Lady of the Silent Screen”
1916 — C. Everett Koop, U.S. Surgeon General
1926 — Son Thomas, blues guitarist and singer
1927 — Sir Roger Moore, actor; played James Bond in seven films (1973-85) and starred as Simon Templar in The Saint TV series (1962-69)
1939 — Ralph Lauren, noted fashion designer
1954 — Mordechai Vanunu, Israeli nuclear technician who provided details of Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986, citing his opposition to weapons of mass destruction.
1974 — Natalie Maines, singer, songwriter, activist; lead vocalist of the Dixie Chicks, the top-selling all-female band and country group since Nielsen SoundScan tracking began in 1991; Maines’ comments against the coming U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to radio boycotts that virtually ended the group’s career for several years.
1978 — Usher (Usher Raymond IV), singer; among the top-selling artists in music history and a multiple Grammy winner (“Nice & Slow,” “OMG”)
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