Merkt Market in
                the Birkbeck Block

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History of Freeland, Pa.

Happy anniversary, Freeland! These new photos and site updates are posted on the 141st anniversary of Freeland's incorporation as a borough on September 11, 1876.

What's on this page:

  • Mystery religious ribbon
  • Freeland Chamber of Commerce annual fashion and appliance show, Fall 1950 (appliances only)
  • Views around town in 1966

Religious pin Pat Ferko Miller shares this item that had belonged to her mother. Pat wrote: "I am not sure what it is but I think it was a "mourning pin" of some sort. It may have been an aunt of my mother's or her mother. If anyone can give me more info I would grateful to have this mystery pin identifed that I have seen since I was a young girl." I suggested that Zenski Spolek might be a women's guild or organization; Svaty (holy or saint) Alzbeta Matky (mother) could be St. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, or a different St. Elizabeth; Sv. Jana is St. John; zalozeni might mean founded or founder, but I'm not sure. This may have been from St John Nepomucene Church. If anyone can share any information about this pin, would you please email me? Thank you.

Besides the great photos below from Charlie Gallagher and Ed Merrick, sports pages were updated, including great 1948 basketball memories from Larry Maso and a new Y.M.C.A. page. Mr. Nick Deitos contributed 3 Pearl Jubilee postcards; pages were made in the Schools section for classes from FHS 1932 and 1948 and MMI 1924; a short history of the 109th Field Artillery, Third Penna. Field Artillery, 1879-1917 was added to the Military page, and more.

What else is new here? Please visit the News page for more recent site updates.

Freeland Chamber of Commerce annual Fashion Show, Fall 1950, from Charlie Gallagher

Charlie wrote:
It was fall of 1950.
The war was over and things were turning for the better
The Freeland Chamber of Commerce had its annual "Fashion Show" at the Freeland Public Park Pavillon.
This showcased all the new modern appliances and television!
These were annual events until about 1953.

Fall 1950 Fashion
                  and Appliance Show

This picture has John Mulhearn
of J.A. Mulhearn on the left.

Fall 1950 Fashion
                  and Appliance Show
Centre Electric:
Right to Left:
Louise Zarosky
Peter "Potsy" Zaroski
Mary B. Gallagher
Elizabeth Gallagher
Bernard Gallagher
The rest I don't know.

Fall 1950 Fashion
                  and Appliance Show
Right to Left:
Peter "Potsy" Zaroski
Louise Zarosky
Elizabeth Gallagher
Bernard Gallagher

Fall 1950 Fashion
                  and Appliance Show
The crowd in the Pavillon!
Right to Left:
I don't know!!

Fall 1950 Fashion
                  and Appliance Show

[CT: Charlie did not supply any text with this one, but it's my favorite. The large and small stoves, the Coolerator refrigerators, the "Syncro-Brain" TV, the radios (More Tubes, More Power!), and the Betty Crocker endorsement with a very different picture of her than I remember from my childhood because apparently she'd been updated by the late 1950s. These must have been really wonderful events for the community - AND a fashion show, too!]

Fall 1950 Fashion
                  and Appliance Show

Jeddo Supply.
I don't know any of these gentlemen.

Fall 1950 Fashion and
                Appliance Show
Last picture.
I don't know who they are.
Maybe the Stuntz family ?
Maybe the Horn family ?

Thank you
CT:  Finally, here's a letter to Bernie Gallagher and Potsy Zaroski from Martin O'Donnell on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, thanking them for their work on the event. Elizabeth Gallagher also got a shout-out.

Thank you, Charlie, for sharing these fabulous photos with us all. Think of all the work that went into staging this event every fall! The pavilion has seen some amazing things over the years.

Views around town in 1966, from the camera of Ed Merrick

This is Freeland as I remember it from my high school years. Thank you, Ed, for capturing some of it on film! Three of these photos were posted here in 2011, when Ed was one of our earliest featured photo contributors.

Caster's Florist
                  Shop and Fairchild's Looking south from above Front Street, there's Caster's Floral Shop on the right, next to Fairchild's news shop. That Fairchild's business was in the building that was built in 1893 and which contained Freeland's post office at one time. On the other side of Caster's, Dr. Drogowski had his office in that corner building. Seventy years earlier it was the site of Amandus Oswald's General Store. Below Front Street the People's Bank, Genetti's and Citizens Bank signs are visible.

St. Patrick's Day parade
                1966 Here Ed was standing in front of the Refowich Theatre, watching the St. Patrick's Day parade on March 13, 1966. To the right across Main St. is Allan's Show Store, with Vercusky's Drug Store and Bellezza's Shoe Store signs visible. Seitzinger's Drug Store is across Centre St. The same buildings shown in the previous photo are seen here from the other direction. Charlie Gallagher, another early contributor, commented that the box on the telephone pole is a phone box that the Freeland Police used up to about 1973 or 1974. When you called the Freeland Police  (636-0111) the phone would ring in the borough building and on the pole in front of the Refowich. It was a locking box with the Police having the key. He added that the Freeland PD used to park on Center in front of the Ref and watch the town before the advent of radio communications with the Luzerne County Communications Center, and about this photo he said "I believe that is Rich Petchol and Nick Goida standing next to it in the photograph."

St. Patrick's Day parade
                1966 Turning in the other direction we see the J. J. Newberry Co. (later VideoMania) and, to the extreme left, part of the sign for Pittman's Furniture Store. They had pretty crummy weather for the parade that year, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the marchers or the hardy souls who came out to see them. Parades have always been a special thing in Freeland, a way for the town to turn out and celebrate the greater Freeland community.

Main St. behind Refowich 1966 Freeland
                train depot 1966 At left, Ed was standing behind the Refowich theatre in the rain looking toward Centre street, and you can see the Western Auto store on the corner. At right there's the train depot, two homes on Centre no longer there, and the large building that had been Bereznak's saloon, boots and shoes store and hotel, which in 1966 was Pavlick's factory. On the other side of Carbon was Resuta and Machella's bar, formerly the Miner's Restaurant (as recently as 1952).

                1966 St. Ann's
                Church 1966 At left, was standing on Walnut street looking toward Centre. You see the PP&L building on the corner, and across from it the white building was the Nagels' house. Note the Pitman's Furniture delivery truck. At right, we have St. Ann's church, built in the 1920s, never finished above the basement, and replaced in 1967 with the church that's now Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

                1966 Blizzard
                1966 Freelanders and neighbors know all about blizzards. Here are 2 views from January 1966. At left, and east-west street with plow-drifts. At right, the Clover Bar and Tom Zubach's absolutely amazing car at Luzerne and Ridge streets. Tom was the publisher of the Freeland Pennysaver, with assistance from his brother John (Fuzzy).

                and Kosticks, 1966 And while we're enjoying the snow and ice, here is a shot of Kostick's bar and the North Side Pizzeria (formerly Merrick's grocery store) in 1966, corner of Centre and Luzerne streets.

                Main St. 1966 Blizzard closures 1966 Finally, at left is a view of Main street in Eckley in 1966, when it was still a real, living town. Lovely to see those trees. And at right, a list of business/industry closings due to the blizzard in the greater Hazleton area. Thank you, Ed, for saving this news clipping. It was another time!!!

Books on a shelf Newest updates to the site: Please visit the WHAT'S NEW! page for announcements and updates.

Gubi from St. Mary's
              Church Past Featured Photos: Here are links to three pages containing previously posted photos and information from the Featured Photos section of the home page: earliest postings, more recent ones, and the most recent ones. They are credited to the sources. Some of these have also been integrated into other parts of the site, while others are still waiting for that. Meanwhile, these past Featured Photos are always available via these links.

Merkt Market in
                the Birkbeck Block Note: Photo at top left of this page came from J. Zubach; identification from Gretchen Collins says that the business on the right in that photo was Merkt Confectionery, run by Charles and Lena Merkt. It was located in the Birkbeck Block on Centre and Main streets, and reputedly sold fabulous ice cream.

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Site contructed by C. Tancin, and last updated September 11, 2017.
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