In 1950, what guilty pleasure enjoyed by the women of Greater Pittston was deemed criminal?
1948 – 70 YEARS AGO
An estimated 268,116 bottles of liquor were purchased by residents of Greater Pittston, according to State Liquor Control Board reports. The report showed the year’s totals exceeded 1947 by 12,941 bottles or a value of $19,550. Sales totaled 1,032,250.17 which, according to the US Inflation Calculator, equates to $10,664,771.87 today. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board fiscal year 2016-17 reflected record retail sales of $2.53 billion (including liquor and sales taxes), a $95.5 million or 3.9 percent increase over the prior year and previous retail sales record.
1949 – 69 YEARS AGO
The funeral of PFC Albert Przybytek, of Dupont, was held at the Sacred Heart R.C. Church in Dupont. Przybytek was the first Greater Pittston serviceman to lose his life in World War II. Przybytek entered the service soon after war was declared and trained at Camp Forrest in Tennessee. He lost his life on Christmas Eve 1942 while serving with Company G, 129th Infantry, 33 Division in the Southwest Pacific. The South West Pacific theatre was a major theatre of the war during World War II. It included the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Borneo, Australia and its mandate Territory of New Guinea and the western part of the Solomon Islands.
1950 – 68 YEARS AGO
Several busloads of people returned to Pittston after attending the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. Parents and friends traveled to New York to watch members of the St. John’s High School Band as they marched up the two-mile stretch of Fifth Avenue. There are no floats, vehicles or balloons in the parade. The organizers have consistently maintained that marching bands are the most important part of the parade because they set the pace and provide a cadence. For the first few years, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade was organized by military units. However, after the War of 1812, Irish fraternal and beneficial societies took over the duties of hosting and sponsoring the event. The first St Patrick’s Day Parade was held in New York on March 17, 1762, 14 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In the early 1990s, the parade was criticized for its traditional values, resulting in lawsuits. The organizer’s rights were upheld at the US Supreme Court level.
1955 – 63 YEARS AGO
The Elm Street Sportsmen Club in Dupont came to the rescue of at least 1500 Boy Scouts expected to attend a “Camporee” sponsored by the Wyoming Valley Council of Boy Scouts of America. After seeing a notice requesting available camping sites in the newspaper, Stanley Barnek, president, of the Sportsmen Club, along with Martin Pierchota, contacted the council and offered two parcels of their 1200 acres of land for the Camporee. The Sportsmen’s Club also opened the doors of the “Wilkes-Barre Contagious Hospital” to Dupont residents stricken with a contagious disease by depositing $300 with the hospital to be used for patients with limited funds. At that time, it was customary for a patient or their family to pay $300 prior to admittance for treatment. According to the US Inflation Calculator, $300 is equivalent to $2,787 today.
1958 – 60 YEARS AGO
Members of the Duryea Council of Republican Women Mary Rincavage, Lucille Logue, Bertha Swenton, Jean Wywiorski, Marge Gryczko, Betty Howell, Stella Piorkowski, Jean Lambert, Sylvia Williams and Edith Evans prepared to model the most fashionable styles of the year at the council’s Easter Hat Fashion Show. Donning a new chapeau at Easter began with the New York Easter parade in 1870 where ladies and gentlemen would attend services and parade down the street to give onlookers a peek at their Easter finery.
1961 – 57 YEARS AGO
The Pittston Visiting Nurse Association, which began in 1911, was celebrating its 50th year. Mrs. Ernest Hayes, association president, named Mrs. S.A. Shoemaker, Mrs. C.F. Fisher, Mrs. William Shafer, Mrs. John Loughney, Mrs. William Dendle, Mrs. Joseph Kennedy, Mrs. Minnie MacLellan and Mrs. Edna Baldrica to a committee that would plan the anniversary celebration.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
The annual East-West Pittston Lions Club Basketball Classic was set to be played at West Pittston High School. The East team was under the direction of Gene Guarilia, Northeast High School coach, and the West was under the guidance of Nick Anselmi, of West Wyoming. Members of the East team were John Heditniemi, Jerry Virgilis, Dick Rodeghiero, Tony Bellanco, Paul Melvin, Frank McCabe, Joe Mullarkey, Mike Burke, Jay Rowan, and Frank Smith. Members of the West team were Dave Ball, Mike Saia, Frank Conniff, Rich Roberts, Tom Burke, Ron Coleman, Ray Klapal, Mike Babushko, Joe Sova and Andy Hudak.
1974 – 44 YEARS AGO
Members of the St. John High School Chess Club were participating in heated competition. Jimmy Delaney defeated Paul Rece, pushing himself to a top position that included Bob Bath and O.J. Gavigan in top positions. Mark Kohmansburger, Matt Fino and Cris Krall took top position in intermediate division, and Anthony Alfano, Mike Lavelle and John Caputo rose to top standing in beginner’s competition. Chess first appeared in India around the sixth century and, by the 10th century, had spread from Asia to the Middle East and Europe. Wilhelm Steinitz, an Austrian, held the first world chess champion title from 1866-1894. American Bobby Fischer won the World Chess Championship in 1972, defeating Boris Spassky of the USSR. The match held in Reykjavík, Iceland was publicized as a Cold War confrontation between the US and USSR which gained the event more worldwide interest than any chess championship before or since.
1975 – 43 YEARS AGO
Homer Schmaltz and his son William, of Duryea, claimed 37 trophies, three plaques, and 500 ribbons from winning competitions throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York with their brood of white satin rabbits. The elder Schmaltz became interested in rabbits after his first win at the Bloomsburg Fair in 1953. In 1955, he began traveling to rabbit shows exhibiting his White Satins which are known as one of the most beautiful of bred rabbits. Recognized varieties of satin rabbits are black, blue, broken group, Californian, chinchilla, chocolate, copper, otter, red, Siamese and white and weigh approximately 8 ½ to 11 pounds.
Andrew Querci, of Exeter, needed one to two cylinders of oxygen a day to facilitate his breathing. Mr. Querci suffered with Anthra Silicosis or Black Lung Disease. A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives to provide for payments of $100 per month to every person disabled by the disease. In 2008, Senate Bill 263 was passed to increase miner’s compensation to $175 per month. It took effect in July 2009.
An article written in the Sunday Dispatch in 1950, entitled “Our Lady Criminals,” described how each night several hundred women in the Pittston area finished their dinner dishes and then hurried off to a bingo game. The game, which was characterized as a “blessing for mostly women,” was deemed as gambling ,stopping all bingo games throughout the area which supposedly left the ladies with “no other form of enjoyment.” According to bingocallers.com, English archeologist John Stephens first witnessed a form of the game in Mexico around 1838. Section 301 of The Pennsylvania Bingo Law passed in 1981 states: The General Assembly hereby declares that the playing of bingo for the purpose of raising funds, by certain nonprofit associations, for the promotion of charitable or civic purposes, is in the public interest.
This day in history
1881 — Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth opens in Madison Square Garden.
1911 — Theodore Roosevelt opens the Roosevelt Dam in Phoenix, AZ, the largest dam in the United States to that date.
1939 — Georgia finally ratifies the Bill of Rights, 150 years after the birth of the federal government. Connecticut and Massachusetts, the only other states to hold out, also ratify the Bill of Rights in this year.
1942 — The third military draft begins in the United States.
1943 — Adolf Hitler calls off the offensive in the Caucasus.
1970 — The U.S. Postal Service is paralyzed by the first postal strike.
1971 — U.S. helicopters airlift 1,000 South Vietnamese soldiers out of Laos.
1986 — Buckingham Palace announces the engagement of Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson.
Born on this day:
1837 — Stephen Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and the 24th President of the United States (1885-1889 and 1893-1897); the only U.S. president elected for two nonconsecutive terms.
1932 — John Updike, American poet and novelist.