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of Freeland, Pa.
John Tancin's garage, tire and auto supply businesses
On August 30, 1929, a local newspaper carried the following item:
Established Business in Freeland
At some earlier point in the late 1910s or early 1920s, my grandfather John Tancin had started a tire repair business behind his home in Upper Lehigh, where he lived at 58 Main Street. At left is a photo of him and my grandmother, Mary Berta Tancin, from this time. He had come from northeast Slovakia in 1908 and worked in the mines in Upper Lehigh before beginning this new business venture. In 1929 he moved his business to 520 Washington Street in Freeland, on property rented from Adolph Zimmerman in Freeland at Washington Street just below Main Street, behind Genie Boyle's bar, and that move is what the newspaper article quoted above is reporting. In addition to being behind (south of) Genie Boyle's, the garage was also behind (east of) Adolph Zimmerman's Centre Street store. He and the family stayed in Upper Lehigh until the late 1940s.
Here at right is an interesting relic from that time, courtesy of Bob Celentano. It was a common practice to distribute cards containing the borough's fire alarm codes, to which were added an advertisement for a local business, in this case my grandfather's tire shop. (Note that there was a code at that time for "riot alarm.")
Amazingly, this garage is captured on the black and white DVD now available from the Freeland Historical Society that shows views filmed around Freeland in the 1930s. A little more than 2 minutes into the film you can see the garage and also my grandfather and my dad, then a teenager, working on someone's car! (Both are wearing caps, in case you get a chance to see the DVD.) For me, seeing this was like a time machine and I'm so grateful to the person who shot that film all those years ago, and to the people who have preserved it and made it available now. When I figure out how to capture still shots from video I'll post a few here.
In the late 1940s John
Tancin bought a property at 301-305
Centre Street, Freeland, which some years earlier had housed a bottling
works and some other businesses run by Peter Timony. There my
(whom we called Pop) opened an auto parts, tire repair and gas station
business. Two views
front of the shop are shown here. The building included 3 apartments
and another small store next to my grandfather's, which he rented to
Pete Kundra for his Novelty Corner store (more info on that store on
pages). By the time I was a kid in the 1950s, we lived in the
apartment upstairs from Pop's store, Pop and my uncle Georgie (and my
auntie Helen before she got married) lived in the middle apartment, and
my uncle Johnnie and aunt Aggie lived in the 3rd apartment.
I end this page with a P.S. from Peter Kundra: "I recall the tire recapping business that the Tancins operated in the rear garage and the machines in the basement that cut up tires into strips and then assembled them into rubber door mats. I often wonder whether those mats were the origin of the same type of mat that is still available today."
I can add to that by saying that my mom remembers assembling door mats for Pop and being paid 10 cents a mat for that.
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