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History of Freeland, Pa.
1886 Freeland's 10th anniversary

Freeland's 10th Anniversary Celebration, 1886, from Danny Balon

Freeland celebration
                1886 Freeland celebration 1886 Freeland celebration 1886

This was originally posted as a Featured Photo in 2013. Three versions of a single historical image come to us from Danny Balon. He wrote:

"I have software on my computer that lets you take a picture and turn it into a negative, so I decided to take the negative and by turning it negative, see what the resultant positive image might look like. I was stunned to see the image. It would appear to be taken from the corner of Center and South St looking up Center St. Interestingly enough, I was able to verify this location via some other information on your website.

"If you look closely at the bar in the picture, the sign above the Lager Beer sign says Manus Brennan. I saw on your website that Manus Brennan had a bar on the corner of Center and South and suddenly the location became evident. At the far end of the block up on the left side, you can see the 3 story building that is the tallest building presented here. That is clearly the apartment building that is still there on the corner of Center and Main St.

"What is now intriguing me is that as you come closer down the street, our bar would be the second building working your way closer. It almost seems to me like our building does not even exist yet, that space seems to be an open area. Our building is a 3 story structure that is a story taller than the 2 story building that is currently on the corner of Center and Main. So, it looks to me like it's not even there yet. If that is the case, it helps somewhat to date this photo, because I know that my father was born in our building in 1919. So if the building isn't even there yet, we are probably looking at about 100 years ago here. Pretty cool, huh?"

As I was searching in my files for something else a day or two later, I found a copy of the Freeland's Suburban PennySaver for May 1971, and there was this same image on the front page! That's how we knew what it was that Danny had sent me. The photo that was published in the PennySaver had been sent to Tom Zubach by Ben Davis, who thought that it had been taken during the 10th anniversary celebration of the founding of Freeland. (Although the town was first laid out in the early 1870s, it was not incorporated as Freeland until September 11, 1876.) The man in the striped clothing in front and to the left was identified as Benjamin Davis, an early Freeland resident. As Tom Zubach wrote in the article accompanying the photo:

"By deduction it seems the picture was taken just about at the, or near the intersection of Centre and South Sts. Through inspection of the original picture with a magnifying glass some of the businesses were identified. The building on the left, above the house with flags was McNulty Bros., Undertakers. On the right side of the street, above the Manus Brennan Saloon are Webers Meat Market, Lewis Getz Meat Market, and as near as can be determined, the big watch belongs to Bachman Jewelers." He also noted that the trees on the left side of the street near the horizon would have been the trees in the area of the Central Hotel. (See the Central Hotel page for pictures of the hotel and of what later would be reduced to a single tree.) The tall building on the left side of the street with the John Turnbach sign on the side on the 3rd floor is the building that still stands on the northwest corner of Centre and Main Sts.

Note that the streets were not paved and that the sidewalk seemed at least partially to be something like a boardwalk. We're looking at 1886! Think about that!

Please also visit the earliest of three collections of Featured Photos for more information about B. F. Davis and others, immediately under the posting repeated here.

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