1952 – 64 Years Ago
When mine inspectors ordered work in the Checker Vein in Pittston be discontinued due hazardous working conditions, owners of the Kehoe Berge Coal Company announced the closing of Pittston’s No. 10 Tunnel operation. With having to shut down a productive area, the company decided that keeping the mine open would create a financial burden. The pumping operation was stopped allowing the mine to fill with water. The No. 10 was the first mine opened by Kehoe Berge after Lehigh Valley Coal Company abandoned the mine during the Depression. Partners John Kehoe Sr. and Dr. W. H. Berge acquired a lease on the property in 1932.
Rocky Castellani, popular middleweight boxer, knew he had fans in Pittston — after all, he was born in Luzerne County. But one fan, Johnny Constantino of the Browntown section of Pittston, followed Castellani’s career closely and became an expert on him. Bill Watson Jr. of the Sunday Dispatch made a connection with Castellani through friends and arranged for Castellani and Constantino to meet at his home. Joining the two men at the meeting were Marty Micklas and Joe Bruno.
John Leroy Christie, of Pittston, was 12 years old when he won a prize in a car interior design contest sponsored by Motor Trend Magazine. In 15 minutes, he created his design of an instrument panel in a car, submitted his entry and soon learned he was selected a winner in the national contest.
1962 – 54 Years Ago
Charles A. McCarthy, local historian gave an account of Monockonock Island, “located below the Wyoming Borough bridge” in the Susquehanna River. The history of the island begins with the murder of Henry Pencel by his brother John in the days after the Wyoming Massacre in 1778. The island was once owned by the Cooper family and was sold to Pennsylvania Coal Company in the early 1880s. In 1888, the Blanchard family grew strawberries on the island and maintained a farm there as late as the 1930s. According to Indian Placenames in American Vol. 1 by Sandy Nestor, Monockonock was actually spelled Menachhenonk, which is a Lenape expression meaning “at the island” or “island place.”
Due to lack of rain, folks in Duryea were having trouble sleeping. With the Lackawanna River reduced to a stream, sewage deposited in the river was not carried away. On hot summer nights residents were torn between opening their windows to the unbearable odor or keeping them shut making sleep difficult in the high temperatures.
The Daughters of the American Revolution, Dial Rock Chapter, restored the Harding Monument located on the Sullivan Trail. The monument commemorates the massacre of Harding on June 30 1778, three days before the Battle of Wyoming.
“State Fair” starring Pat Boone and Bobby Darin was showing at the Oak Hill Drive-In. “Spartacus” starring Kirk Douglas was screened at the Comerford Drive-In.
1972 – 44 Years Ago
In the wake of Hurricane Agnes, the Pittston Area High School complex in Yatesville was turned over to Major Vincent Barabella and 165 members of the United States Army 76th Engineer Batallion from Fort Meade, Maryland. The troops worked with local contractors and heavy equipment operators assisting in the clean up after the flood. The soldiers slept in the gymnasium while stationed there.
It was estimated that at least 60,000 lives were saved due to an alert broadcast by the WPTS radio station for residents to evacuate during Hurricane Agnes. Despite losing everything along with countless other residents of the Wyoming Valley, Rick Shannon, traffic manager and Paul Grimes, chief announcer, stayed at the helm keeping those inside and outside the flood zone informed. Other staff members who worked around the clock were Scott McAndrew, Tom Welby, Emery James, Norman Davis and Eleanor Castelli.
Local sports programs were halted after flood water receded in 1972. Cancellation of the summer programs at various locations in the Pittston Area School District affected more than 500 area youngsters. The match-up for the annual UNICO East West All-Star football game was doubtful for Wyoming Valley West stadium, and for the alternate site, Charlie Trippi Stadium, as it was being used to billet troops helping in the flood cleanup effort. Basketball programs were also affected as basketball courts were left damaged at several schools.
1992 – 24 Years Ago
Carmella Calabrese, Amanda Karaffa and Nadine Vasell were three 5-year-olds experiencing their first talent competition. The three performed as a group and were awarded second place in the contest that was held at the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven.
The Lady Lions were the Jenkins Township softball champs in 1992. Members of the team were Katie Nardone, Kara Barnic, Jennifer Walsh, Kelley Vaxmonsky, Sharon Tommaselli, Kimberly Morgan, Tara Montini, Marina DeMinico, Jamie Meade, Nina Struzzeri, Lori Tommaselli, Chere Simon. Coaches were Alana DeMinico and Kelly Widdick and manager of the team, Frank Waxie.
West Pittston Borough Council voted to be included in a proposed dike system stretching from Nanticoke to West Pittston. Council members agreed that the borough should be considered for a levy and adopted a resolution that was to be mailed to then Congressman Paul Kanjorski and the Army Corps of Engineers. The project was expected to cost $25 million.
This Date in History:
1776 — The statue of King George III is pulled down in New York City.
1890 — Wyoming becomes the 44th state.
1965 — “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” becomes The Rolling Stones’ first No. 1 single in the United States.
1993 — Kenyan runner Yobes Ondieki becomes the first man to run 10,000 meters in less than 27 minutes.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage