Peeking into the Past: Dan Flood warned Congress of Knox Mine-type disaster in 1949


Peeking into the Past - Judy Minsavage



Ron Voveris of Yatesville shared this undated photo of a place that some long-time Greater Pittston residents remember as having an eerie presence. Ransom Home, located in Ransom Township across the river from Harding, was built in 1922 and initially was listed as a home for the indigent. In later years it housed the mentally infirm and, at the time of a devastating fire in May of 1947, had 328 patients. The home was scheduled to be rebuilt in 1949 and operated for several more years. According to online accounts the home moved all patients to Allied Services Skilled Nursing in Scranton in the late ’70s, early ’80s. It’s unclear as to when the building was demolished. The Sunday Dispatch thanks the Pittston Historical Society for assisting with some of this information.


Sunday Dispatch File Photos

An induction ceremony for Seton Catholic High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society was held in 1989. Seniors inducted into the society were from left, first row, Angie Anastasi, Al Mueller, Amy Redington, Ellen Leonard, George Kamage, Leslie Madrak. Second row, Mark Rasimas, Michelle haddock, Melanie Stankiewicz, Rebecca Ardoline, Andrea Morgan, Sr. Joan Quinn, teacher; Kelly Curtin, Sr. Mary Pio, teacher; Sandy Van luvender, Becky Drouse, Colleen McGarry and Bob Kobylus.


Sunday Dispatch File Photos

1949 – 67 Years Ago

Ten years before the Knox Mine Disaster, Congressman Dan Flood introduced an amendment to the Interior Department of Appropriations in the House of Representatives authorizing an appropriation of $500,000 for control of fires in inactive coal deposits. Flood also was adamant about the dangers of water in the mines as well. Flood argued, “I have already made several statements with reference to an anthracite flood prevention project enabling an engineering study of the conditions in the anthracite fields. I cannot emphasize, Mr. Speaker, too much, the importance of this problem of water and to reiterate, that it is a great hazard to the anthracite industry.” Flood went on to stress the danger miners face every day. “At any moment there is a possibility of a break someplace in the system which will bring water pouring in to the mine workings. Too large a percentage of the coal in the first or second mining, leaves insufficient pillars to protect the surface.” The funds were appropriated but it is unclear if the engineering study Flood asked for in regard to the water issue was ever addressed by the committee.

1959 – 57 Years Ago

William Medico, president, West Pittston Chamber of Commerce, and Fred Peters, Bureau of Employment Security were present when the Ambassador Mobile Home plant in West Pittston rolled their first 50-by-10-foot mobile home off the assembly line. John Jensen, president of the company, expected to increase production to three or four trailers a day. The new plant was housed in the building that was formerly occupied by Imperial Mobile Homes. The company employed most of Imperial’s former employees when it opened.

At the beginning of 1959, it was bad news for the stores that stocked and customers that purchased a 49-star American flag for the upcoming Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays. But as it turned out Paul S. Riffle, manager of the J.C. Penney store on North Main Street in Pittston, announced the 49-star flag was flying off the shelves as it now had become a collector’s item. In March 1959, the U.S. government approved statehood for Hawaii. In June the Hawaiian people voted by a wide majority to accept admittance into the United States, and in August, Hawaii officially became the 50th state.

The Women’s Society of St. Casimir’s Church in Pittston planned a spring card party. Committee members were Mrs. Ignatz Mincavage, Mrs. George Dobilas, Mrs. Joseph Smalanskas, Mrs. Edwin Sites, Mrs. George Burdette, Mrs. Mary Ambrozaitis, Mrs. Anna Walutkavage, Mrs. Stuart Clark, Mrs. Anthony Smalanskas, Mrs. Constantine Sherin, Ann Berulis, Mrs. Casimir Kizis and Mrs. Anna Morris.

1969 – 47 Years Ago

Barbara Woronko, Janis Jumper, Catherine Tylutke, Sylvia Drasinski, Diane Richard, and Cheryl Grayson were in competition with each other. They were all contestants in the Miss Wyoming Valley Pageant that was scheduled to be held at the Wyoming Area High School. The pageant was sponsored by the Pittston Lions Club. Pageant winner, Barbara Woronko, went on to compete in the 1969 Miss Pennsylvania Pageant and was chosen third runner-up in the contest.

Lt. Jule Ann Loughney, R.N. returned home after serving a year aboard a hospital ship off the coast of Vietnam. Loughney served in Vietnam from March 1968 to April 1969. She was a graduate of St. John Evangelist High School, Pittston Hospital School of Nursing and Misericordia College. When asked about her experience in Vietnam, she noted, “There are so many soldiers who have lost limbs, and are returning home wondering about how they will be received. They feel that maybe nobody cares, and that the country isn’t standing behind them.” Loughney did have one bright spot while attending to the wounded, she received the Sunday Dispatch from family members which reminded her that “back home things were normal. I read every issue, several times.”

1979 – 37 Years Ago

Nancy Alexandrian of West Pittston entered her 150-pound shark in the unlimited division of the Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament. She caught the hammerhead shark while fishing out of the Castaways Dock in Miami Beach.

Coach of the Pittston Area Patriots baseball team Charlie Turco said with an expanded 20-game schedule, he was sure his team had unlimited potential for the coming season. With six pitchers, Gus Turonis, Bob Miller, Jerry Renfer, Paul Lojewski, Jerry Delaney and Jim Limongelli, Turco felt he had “the best pitching staff in the league.” Sam Berto, Gary Vogue, John Martinelli, Mike Nasatka, Jim Musto, Ray Micheletti, Dave Bernoskie, Ray Rosato, Randy Jones, Bob Leshingski, John Timek, Jimmy O’Malley, Joe Drahus, Nick Dardes, and Mike Ardoline rounded out the rest of the team.

1989 – 27 Years Ago

The state approved $30,000 grant to fund a computer laboratory for the Pittston Area Middle School. The grant was to be used to meet the increasing need for computer training in business and industry. James Heffers, middle school computer literacy teacher, said, “The laboratory will give students a head start on high school, possibly even college. If you don’t have computer skills, you’re out of luck in practically all industries.”

This date in history:

1790 – The U.S. patent system is established.

1912 – The Titanic begins her maiden voyage, which will end in disaster.

1938 – Germany annexes Austria.

1947 – Jackie Robinson becomes the first black Major League Baseball player as he takes the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Ron Voveris of Yatesville shared this undated photo of a place that some long-time Greater Pittston residents remember as having an eerie presence. Ransom Home, located in Ransom Township across the river from Harding, was built in 1922 and initially was listed as a home for the indigent. In later years it housed the mentally infirm and, at the time of a devastating fire in May of 1947, had 328 patients. The home was scheduled to be rebuilt in 1949 and operated for several more years. According to online accounts the home moved all patients to Allied Services Skilled Nursing in Scranton in the late ’70s, early ’80s. It’s unclear as to when the building was demolished. The Sunday Dispatch thanks the Pittston Historical Society for assisting with some of this information.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_RANSOM-HOME.jpgRon Voveris of Yatesville shared this undated photo of a place that some long-time Greater Pittston residents remember as having an eerie presence. Ransom Home, located in Ransom Township across the river from Harding, was built in 1922 and initially was listed as a home for the indigent. In later years it housed the mentally infirm and, at the time of a devastating fire in May of 1947, had 328 patients. The home was scheduled to be rebuilt in 1949 and operated for several more years. According to online accounts the home moved all patients to Allied Services Skilled Nursing in Scranton in the late ’70s, early ’80s. It’s unclear as to when the building was demolished. The Sunday Dispatch thanks the Pittston Historical Society for assisting with some of this information. Sunday Dispatch File Photos

An induction ceremony for Seton Catholic High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society was held in 1989. Seniors inducted into the society were from left, first row, Angie Anastasi, Al Mueller, Amy Redington, Ellen Leonard, George Kamage, Leslie Madrak. Second row, Mark Rasimas, Michelle haddock, Melanie Stankiewicz, Rebecca Ardoline, Andrea Morgan, Sr. Joan Quinn, teacher; Kelly Curtin, Sr. Mary Pio, teacher; Sandy Van luvender, Becky Drouse, Colleen McGarry and Bob Kobylus.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_2SETON-SR-HONOR-SOC-1989.jpgAn induction ceremony for Seton Catholic High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society was held in 1989. Seniors inducted into the society were from left, first row, Angie Anastasi, Al Mueller, Amy Redington, Ellen Leonard, George Kamage, Leslie Madrak. Second row, Mark Rasimas, Michelle haddock, Melanie Stankiewicz, Rebecca Ardoline, Andrea Morgan, Sr. Joan Quinn, teacher; Kelly Curtin, Sr. Mary Pio, teacher; Sandy Van luvender, Becky Drouse, Colleen McGarry and Bob Kobylus. Sunday Dispatch File Photos

http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_Miss-Judy-2.jpgSunday Dispatch File Photos

Peeking into the Past

Judy Minsavage

Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

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