In 1964, what was the one thing that stood in the way of the borough of Duryea receiving the go-ahead from the General State Authority to solicit bids to construct a dike system along the Lackawanna River?
The Spanish American War veterans commemorated the 49th anniversary of the day they were mustered into service. Thirty-four surviving members of the original 71 from the Pittston camp attended the event. It was announced that the Spanish American War Veterans honor roll, located at the Baptist Church in Pittston, was the first memorial erected in honor of the veterans, not only in the area but in the country. John M. Ryan, commander of the Pittston camp, introduced Robert J. McKane, adjutant; Roy Schollenberger, vice commander; and Robert Fox, quartermaster. Other surviving members attending were Charles Austin, Dr. Richard Brenton, George Bidwell, James Connell, Fred Bennett, John Callahan, Thomas Dobbie, George Davis, Robert Fox, Frank Fairclough, Michael Fisher, William Francis, Walter Garman, Curtiss Hewitt, Harry Hallstead, William Jimms, William Miller, William Makar, John Maxim, Robert McKane, Bernard Nevin, William Owens, John Ryan, William Ryan, Byron Sickler, Louis Shaffer, R.G. Schollenberger, John Toole, John Tigue, Robert Thompson, James Taylor, David Williams, William Williams and John Ellis. Three years prior to The Spanish-American War of 1898 Cuban revolutionaries fought to gain independence from Spanish colonial rule. The unrest in close proximity to the U.S. caused economic and political instability, forcing the U.S. to enter the conflict. The U.S. victory compelled Spain to relinquish claims on Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. The United States also annexed the independent state of Hawaii during the conflict. The war enabled the United States to secure its position as a Pacific power.
Ann T. Gallagher, of Pittston Township, was offered to try out for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. A graduate of St. John’s High School, Gallagher was to report to Allentown in hopes of getting a position on a team. Gallagher played second base and served as catcher in high school and college. The All American Girls Baseball League was founded in 1943 by Phillip Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs and a group of businessmen as major league parks across the country were in danger of closing with the loss of big league players to induction into service during World War II. In operation until 1954, the league enabled over 600 women the opportunity to play major league ball.
Chiampi Motors of West Pittston announced, “Priced at $1,407.12, now you can own a new Henry J. Vagabond for hundreds of dollars less than America’s lowest priced cars. The Henry J. was introduced as an economy car in 1951. Named after Henry J. Kaiser, a businessman who gained notoriety for producing Liberty Ships at a fast pace during World War II and owner of Kaiser-Frazer car company, the auto did not do well with consumers. Production was halted in 1954.
The West Wyoming Hose Co. No. 2 held a mortgage burning ceremony at its newly constructed headquarters on the corner of Stites and Oak Streets. First organized in 1956, the fire company garnered community support in its effort to pay off the mortgage in a short period of time. Officers of the hose company who led the ceremony were Joseph E. Barush, president; Richard Kropp, vice president and chairman; Leonard Chesterfield, financial secretary and treasurer; William Keller, secretary. Several borough council and school district members attended, as did many residents of the borough.
Grablick’s Milk Bar in West Pittston featured a strawberry shortcake sundae, smothered with Grablick’s vanilla ice cream, fresh frozen strawberries and topped with whipped cream. Diskay Discount Mart on North Main Street, Pittston, advertised Bath towels for 44 cents, Miss Clairol hair color for 64 cents and Gleem toothpaste for 57 cents. The Rosedell Dress Shop on North Main Street, Pittston, promoted its spring coat sale saving up to 50 percent with items priced from $12.98 to $24.98.
Christine and Thomas Huk, Wyoming; Annette and Anita Berrettini, Wyoming; Mary Ann and Joseph Petro, Exeter; Ann Marie and Carmen Bolin, Exeter; and Barbara and Robert Kirk, of Wyoming, had something in common. They were all students at St. Cecelia’s School in Exeter but they also were five sets of twins. The school did not see any foreseeable problems, but thought the situation may post some unusual situations.
The Pittston Hospital held a volunteer day to honor more than 50 women who gave their time and talents to serve the hospital and its patients. Mrs. Edward Dommermuth, president of the hospital auxiliary, thanked volunteers and event chair and co-chairpersons, Mrs. George Nagy and Mrs. Joseph Walsh. Esther Tinsley, hospital administrator, expressed gratitude to the women for their work in the hospitality shop and assisting the medical staff. Mrs. Louis Zurla, directress of nurses, introduced freshmen students Mary Francis Stuccio and Susan Tomashunas, who entertained with guitar and vocal selections. Some of those honored at the event were Loretta Morrow, Mrs. Sidney Friedman, Mrs. Carlton Stauffer, Mrs. Bert Ardoline, Mrs. C.F. Fisher, Mrs. Jack Burns and Mrs. Santo Tabone. According to the 2015 Bureau of Labor and Statistics Survey of main organizations for which volunteer activities were performed, hospital or health organizations accounted for 6.6 % of the total unpaid labor force.
Charlie Infantino celebrated his 16th anniversary with the popular band Take Four. A party was scheduled at the Staircase Lounge and would be a reunion of past players, such as Donnie Occhiato, Chick Colarusso, Vince Saracino, Ernie Coassolo, Danny Argo and Al Perry. The band, performing at the best area nightspots, included Jim Musto on drums, John Basta on guitar, Anthony Piazza on keyboards and Charlie on base. Doc Fasciana, owner of Doc’s Sports Bar in West Pittston, was master of ceremonies.
Len Phillips, of West Pittston, along with several other local men, celebrated the 59th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corp. The Corps, established in 1933, was a public work relief program that operated in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men aged 17-23 from “relief” families. A part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. Phillips was paid $30 a month, $25 of which went to his parents to “help put food on the table.” He traveled across the country sleeping in tents and working on government projects. With the increasing threat of war, the CCC proved a successful program as it provided nearly 3 million disciplined men for the service.
Duryea Borough Council was prepared to have a dike system constructed to guard against future flooding of the borough. But at a meeting in Philadelphia, borough attorney William Degillio was confronted by the General State Authority representatives who requested it be furnished with titles to land in the river bottom and titles to streets affected such as Canal, Marcy and Stephenson. The Lackawanna River is classified as navigable which puts it under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The original owners of land under the river were the Pettebone, Chittenden and Marcy estates. It was found that, throughout the years, the river gradually changed its course requiring re-surveying of the properties along the banks. The dike system was built by 1967; however, in 2011 a gap in a section of the dike and a low point on Chittendon Street created flooding problems during Hurricane Lee.
This day in history
1792 — President George Washington proclaims American neutrality in the war in Europe.
1861 — Robert E. Lee is named commander of Virginia forces.
1889 — The Oklahoma land rush officially starts at noon as thousands of Americans race for new, unclaimed land.
1898 — In the first action of the Spanish-American War, the USS Nashville takes on a Spanish ship.
1955 — Congress orders all U.S. coins to bear the motto “In God We Trust.”
1976 — Barbara Walters becomes the first female nightly news anchor on network television.
1451 — Isabella I of Castile, Queen of Spain, patron of Christopher Columbus.
1870 — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov), leader of the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and first head of the U.S.S.R.
1873 — Ellen Glasgow, American novelist.
1916 — Yehudi Menuhin, violinist.
1918 — Robert Wadlow, the world’s tallest man (8’11.1″).
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