In 1965, Homer Schmaltz and his son William of Duryea had over 100 of these in their backyard that today might not be so welcome by neighbors. What were they?
1955 – 61 Years Ago
West Pittston resident and local television personality Manny Gordon had an exciting week in 1955. He held a ticket for a horse in the Irish Sweepstakes. He was notified by telegram that he could receive $140,0000 if his horse, Storm a Head, came in first. He could also receive $60,000 for second place or $30,000 third. Unfortunately at the end of the week Gordon found out he had not won the top prizes, but did win 300 pounds or $1,400 in consolation.
The Irish Sweepstakes, popular from 1930 to 1987, was established in Ireland by several prominent businessmen to provide much needed financial aid to hospitals there. The sweeps garnered millions of dollars each year from ticket purchasers around the world, with the promise of a once in a lifetime chance to be rich, while providing funding for the hospitals. However there was a dark underside to the sweepstakes. As outlined in ‘The Greatest Bleeding Heart Racket in the World” by author Damian Corless and “The Irish Sweep, and A History of the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes, 1930-87” by Dr. Marie Coleman, it seems distribution of some of the funds was not without controversy. Apparently many a new business venture was established by the businessmen and fortunes made using part of the proceeds.
1965 – 51 Years Ago
The architect’s model of the proposed merged Northeast School District high school was unveiled. The 60-room structure was scheduled to cost $3,722,000, which included $22,000 for site preparation, $2,500,000 for general construction $325,000 for general heating and $350,000 for electrical work. Original plans allowed for the housing of 1,900 students in the proposed Yatesville location.
It was time for the seventh annual East-West All Star basketball game, that featured senior players from seven high schools. The West, which had won four of the six games played up to that time, were favored. The contest originated in 1959 and was sponsored by the Lions for the benefit of their youth activities. Members of the West squad were John Serino, Joe Cefalo, Gene Lepore, Ray Judge all of West Pittston; Bob Pace and William Thubborn, Exeter; Carlyle Robinson and Jim Cicon, Wyoming; and Tom Schultz and Frank Allen of West Wyoming. Members of the East team were Joe Hughes, Billy Richards, and Len Lojewski of Pittston; Frank Allan, Bob Murphy, John Dargis and Jim Ware, St. John’s High School; and Dale Heckman, Damian Lokuta, Dan Yuhas and Frank Hanzyc of the Northeast School District.
1975 – 41 Years Ago
Suzanne Skuntz of Wyoming departed for a week of activities at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. She was scheduled to serve as the Pennsylvania Cherry Blossom princess at the festival. At the end of the week a queen would be chosen from 50 contestants. Skuntz was sponsored by in the pageant by Pennsylvania Society of Washington, D.C. The original cherry blossom trees that arrived in Washington, D.C in 1910 were a gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the United States. After arrival in America, the trees were discovered to have a disease, and many died. A second batch of 3,000 trees arrived in 1912, were planted and survived. They bloom in abundance in Washington each spring. Each year the festival brings thousands of visitors to the city.
In 1965, Homer Schmaltz and his son William of Duryea were raising 100 rabbits in their backyard. These weren’t ordinary rabbits — they were White Satins and prize winners, every one. The men had won a record number of 13 consecutive farm shows with the breed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York accumulating over 500 ribbons, 37 trophies and several plaques.
This Date in History
1912 – The second shipment of cherry blossom trees were received in Washington, D.C. The trees were a gift from Japan.
1933 – About 55,000 people staged a protest against Hitler in New York City.
1941 – Tokeo Yoshikawa arrived in Oahu, Hawaii, and began spying for Japan on the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
1976 – Washington, D.C., opened its subway system.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage