1950 – 68 YEARS AGO
Fred A. Ramage, cashier at the Liberty National Bank in Pittston, announced a new service for customers. A check imprinter manufactured by the Todd Company of Rochester, New York made it possible for customers to have personal checks printed in-house with their name and address free of charge and bound in a pocket checkbook. Taking just two minutes to complete, the service was an innovation in banking. Prior to the new method, checks were sent away to be printed taking up to two weeks to process. The Todd Company was purchased by the Burroughs Corporation in 1955 and was assimilated in the 1986 merger that resulted in the creation of Unisys. According to a Federal Reserve study in 2012, the number of debit card payments increased more than any other payment type. Fewer checks enter the banking system as paper, showing one in seven checks were deposited by account holders as an electronic image rather than paper.
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked Pittston residents, “Do you think married women should compete with men in the field of employment.” Cas Azaravich answered, “I don’t think they should work unless the money is needed.” Paul Whyte said, “They got married to make a home so they should do just that.” Catherine Curley added, “At the beginning of a marriage, I think it proper for a wife to work.” Ann Cabot answered, “There’s no crime in a woman working, as long as it’s honest work.” Tony Lizza stated, “What did they get married for, for better or for worse?”
1952 – 66 YEARS AGO
Just 12 years old, the Pittston City Hall building was beginning to deteriorate, causing the city to spend a considerable amount of money to repair the roof, replace deteriorating bricks and mortar and refinish sections of the second floor ceilings damaged by water seepage. City officials blamed the type of brick used in the construction of the building. Shortly before the building was completed, a complaint was filed against the grade of brick used on the front of the building. No specific amount for repair and renovations had been finalized but council members agreed the amount needed would be sizable. The total cost of construction of the building totaled $91,000. According the US Inflation Calculator, that amount would total $840,212.88 today.
1953 – 65 YEARS AGO
The Globe Shoe Shop advertised the American Girl Shoe for spring. Prices ranged from $6.95 for a suede pump to $7.95 for a black patent leather sandal. According to the US Inflation Calculator, those prices are equal to $64.52 to $73.80 today, an 828.3% cumulative rate of inflation.
1960 – 58 YEARS AGO
A tractor trailer plunged over a 30-foot embankment near the Avoca-Dupont boundary, taking with it two poles that carried high-tension wires and transformers. Kayo Kirocholek, of Avoca, was the first on the scene. His first thought was to call his employer John “Sacki” Slezak, owner of a car dealership and service garage in Avoca. When John arrived, he quickly went to work, attempting to free the driver from his dangerous prison. Fighting a blinding snowstorm and high voltage wires, John freed the driver. Many suggested Slezak’s name should have been submitted to the Carnegie Hero Commission in Pittsburgh for his heroic rescue.
Six-year-old Betsy Bilbow was in danger of not being promoted to second grade. Not because of poor grades, but for the fact she had broken her leg ice skating on a Yatesville pond. Betsy’s recovery time was estimated at eight weeks, and therefore she would be unable to attend classes at St. Mary Help of Christians School. In order to keep her attending classes on school days, her sister Patrice, a sixth-grader, hauled Betsy in a wagon up to the school which was 50 yards from their home. Eighth-graders Edward Williams and Billy O’Brien carried Betsy up the steps to the school and into her classroom where she stayed until lunch time. Then the process reversed with Betsy arriving home for a quick bite and then back to school to remain until the end of the day. Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Order, who taught at the school, reported that she was doing well in all of her classes.
In a Sunday Dispatch article entitled “History of Public Education in Area,” Charles A. McCarthy local historian, detailed the history of the Roosevelt School at 328 S. Main Street. Construction of the school commenced in 1909. The contract for the brick and steel structure was awarded to Sax and Abbott of Philadelphia. Owen McGlynn, of Wilkes-Barre, was the architect. In 1910, President Theodore Roosevelt, while visiting his friend Rev. John Curran in Wilkes-Barre, decided to make a visit to the school named for him.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “How do you feel about the Beatle craze?” Marietta Resio, of Pittston, answered, “The Beatles do not faze me at all, I do not care for them. It’s only another fad and will fade out before too long.” Ann Potenza, of Pittston, stated, “The Beatles are a great new exciting group. Their hairdos make them original. I hope they are here to stay.” Mary Lou Barletta, of Exeter, added, “ Some boys are already letting their hair grow long.” Mrs. Walter Cohowitz, of Duryea, stated, “I think they are nuts. They can’t sing and there’s only two of them who look anywhere decent.” Janice Gutowski, of Avoca, added, “I don’t believe their style of singing will ever die out.”
1968 – 50 YEARS AGO
West Wyoming Borough celebrated its 70th birthday. After separating from Wyoming in 1898, the new borough experienced growth in industry and population. Some of the early mayors and councilmen were Jacob Hizny, Bert Space, William Blannett, Ferdinand Gianinni, Raymond Beglomini, Paul Fosko, Charles Amato, Onofrio Arnone, Peter Morgantini and John Korpusik. It was stated that the first police chiefs received a $12 per month salary. According to borough history, Benjamin Carpenter was one of the earliest settlers and mining was the principal industry. This year the borough will celebrate its 120th birthday.
1970 – 48 YEARS AGO
Growing up as friends on Chittenden Street in Duryea, Michael Rakowski and Paul Baclawski had no idea they would one day be decorated for gallantry in action while serving their country. Sgt. Rakowski received the Army Commendation Medal for distinguished and meritorious achievement in Vietnam. He also received the Air Medal and the Bronze Star. Sgt. Baclawski earned the Silver Star for gallantry in action while serving as squad leader with the 9th Infantry Division near Vinh Conh, Vietnam.
1988 – 30 YEARS AGO
By popular demand, it was decided that the 1988 Pittston Tomato Festival would be expanded from three to four days due to the ever-increasing attendance. Val Delia, president and founding father of the festival which began in 1983, said “If it was up to me, we’d expand it to a month.” It was estimated that 80,000 people attended the festival in 1987. Another popular event, The Pittston City St. Patrick’s Parade, was added in 2014. This year’s parade will be held at noon on Saturday, March 3.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1885 — “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, is published in New York.
1944 — The U.S. Army and Marines invade Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1945 — U.S. Marines storm ashore at Iwo Jima.
1954 — East and West Berlin drop thousands of propaganda leaflets on each other after the end of a month-long truce.
1962 — Robert F. Kennedy says that U.S. troops will stay in Vietnam until Communism is defeated.
1964 — The United States cuts military aid to five nations in reprisal for having trade relations with Cuba.
1967 — The National Art Gallery in Washington agrees to buy a Leonardo da Vinci for a record $5 million.
1968 — Three U.S. pilots who were held by the Vietnamese arrive in Washington.
1972 — The California Supreme Court voids the death penalty.
1974 — Randolph Hearst is to give $2 million in free food for the poor in order to open talks for his daughter Patty.
BORN ON THIS DAY
1848 — Louis Comfort Tiffany, glassware artist and designer
1862 — Charles M. Schwab, “Boy Wonder” of the steel industry; president of both U.S. Steel and Bethlehem Steel
1922 — Helen Gurley Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan magazine
1929 — Len Deighton, English spy writer (“The Ipcress File”)
1931 — Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author (“The Bluest Eye,” “Beloved”).