News & announcements
Saving your history
Early accounts
Nearby towns
The mines
Ethnic groups

Home -:- Site map -:- Links -:- Print resources -:- Contact
History of Freeland, Pa.
Past featured photos, page 3
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.

Featured Photos, posted May 27, 2019: Freeland silk mills, including photos from John Rock and Charlie Gallagher, and information from JP Sitko and Charlie Gallagher

Freeland had a thriving silk industry in the late 1890s and going off and on for nearly 50 years. A page will be made about that industry soon, but meanwhile here are five silk mill locations. A couple of them might be a suprise.

In city and phone directories, the Freeland Silk Mill is listed at this Birkbeck Street location in 1897, 1901, 1912. Then in 1917 and 1921 is is listed as the Luzerne Silk Throwing Company at this address. It was also shown on Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps in 1900, 1905, 1912 and 1923. In 1929 it was shown as the Luzerne Silk Throwing Company.

In his book on Freeland history, Charles Stumpf wrote: "The Freeland Silk Mill made application for charter on March 18, 1897. The mill opened on May 24 with raw silk imported from Japan and woven into various patterns. The mill employed 50 workers under the supervision of Frank Frigerio [corrected from Frigeriu]. Three floors were equipped with looms and other machinery. The plant had a capacity of producing 100 pounds of silk per day."

Later in 1906 it was reported that the deed for this silk mill was transferred to the Luzerne Silk Throwing Company. I'm still working to understand the ins and outs of this local silk industry, so more on that later.

Freeland Silk Mill Sanborn map crop, Freeland Silk Mill, 1900

In the mid-20th century this building was repurposed as the Freeland Dress Company. It burned down in 1983.

Freeland Dress Company

In city and phone directories, the Washington Silk Company is listed in 1912, 1917, 1921 and 1928 as being on Ridge Street just north of the public school that was later purchased by the Belekanich family. It was also shown on Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps in 1912, 1923 and 1929. Early maps showed the address as 951 Ridge, and the 1923 map showed that the 951 numbering had been changed to 425-429. City directories variously reported the address as 435 and 439 Ridge. As shown on the map below, the factory building occupied what is now the empty lot on the north side of the former public school, later Belekanich's bar and home. I have not seen a photo of this factory; all I have at present is a photograph of the empty lot, taken in 2017. The view is from the alley and you can see a corner of the Belekanich building at top left in the photo.

In his book on Freeland history, Charles Stumpf reported: "The Washington Silk Mill, located at 439 Ridge Street, began operation during the summer of 1911 with 50 employees, under the management of August Rupert. In October the first piece of silk woven in the mill was exhibited in the window of John Shigo’s store." A local newspaper article in mid-August 1934 reported: "The mill was badly damaged in 1926 when mine settlings took place in the old Woodside mine after the water had been pumped out to prepare for operations to be resumed. The building sagged in several places but after being strengthened by supports, operations were resumed. Later after the Washington Company suspended operations, the plant was run by the Meadow Brothers before they moved to the Danko property at Ridge and South streets."

A few weeks later a newspaper article reported that officials of the bond holders of the defunct company have made a deal and will dispose of the silk mill building "that was established on Ridge St. over 25 years ago; it has been sold to a citizen of White Haven who began yesterday to dismantle the structure."

Former location of Washington Silk Co. Sanborn map crop, former location of Washington Silk Mill, 1912

In November 2018 I received this email message from JP Sitko: Chuck, I came across your website about Freeland's history when searching for information about a building that used to be there. My grandfather Henry Sitko and greatgrandfather Condy Sitko purchased the Washington Silk Co building to build a dairy barn in White Haven in the early 1930s. I attached some stories from the 30s that I came across about them and the building that I attached. Thanks to your website I also found the exact location of the building. The barn was built with brick and large red stone window sills. If you have any photos of it or ever come across any photos of the original silk mill building I'd love to see them. If you also find any additional information about the building I'd be interested in that too. Thanks for the information on the website, JP Sitko.

JP also sent a newspaper clipping from nearly a year later in May 1, 1935 that said that the building had been sold to Henry Sitko of White Haven, and that the razing of the building was "nearing completion, and bricks, lumber and materials are being trucked away. After the building is removed, the plot of ground will be fenced in as a safety measure." So you can see that in the 1930s it took some time to carefully dismantle a building so that the parts could be re-used in another building, and then hauling the pieces to a new location, as opposed to just knocking it all down and dumping the pieces. Of course, winter also got in the way of such work.

In the early 1920s the Washington Silk Company's business was expanding. The 1928 Freeland directory lists both the Washington Silk Company at 435 Ridge and its Annex at 818 Front Street, behind the First National Bank. The Annex is also shown on the 1923 Sanborn map. That same building has also been home to several other businesses over the years, including S and S Soda, a shirt factory, and John R. Gallagher's branch office of the Hazleton Buick Company (thank you, Charlie Gallagher, for the Buick info!). I'll get these various tenants sorted out a little better and will report on that on the business pages of this website. The building is still there, I saw it when I was in Freeland in March 2019!

Former location of Washington Silk Co., Annex Sanborn map crop, former location of Washington Silk Co., Annex

The Washington Silk Company mill on Ridge Street was badly damaged in 1926 when mine settlings took place in the old Woodside mine after the water had been pumped out to prepare for operations to be resumed. The building sagged in several places but after being strengthened by supports, operations were resumed. Bringing back the work after the Washington Silk Company suspended its operations, the plant was run by the Meadow (or Meadows?) brothers before they moved to the Danko property at Ridge and South streets. I'm assuming that they moved the business because of the damage the Ridge Street building sustained as a result of mine settling.

Former location of silk Mill at Danko building

In his book on Freeland history, Charles Stumpf wrote that the Grand Opera House opened in 1896, thrived for many years, and then after being vacant for a long time the building was converted into a factory for the one of Freeland's silk companies in the mid-1940s. In the early 1980s the building was once again converted into apartments for seniors. The photo comes to us from John Rock.

Former location of silk mill and Grand Opera House Sanborn map crop, former location of silk mill / Grand Opera House at Ridge and Luzerne Streets, 1912

Charlie Gallagher shared this photo of his father and sister, photographed with a cow in what was then a field two streets away in 1941. He wrote: My Pop (Bernie Jr.) holding my sister Sheila on the back of the cow. They would have been standing near the south end of St. John's parking lot on Vine Street. (Notice the cars in the background are on Fern St, not Ridge St.) So the photographer was on Vine Street, looking east across undeveloped land with the buildings on east Ridge Street in the background.

The two buildings at right, also shown enlarged here, are the white public school (later Belekanich's bar and home, painted a deep rose), and the Grand Opera House that would later be turned into a silk mill. The photo was taken in 1941, and the silk mill transformation would happen soon after. But the reason these photos are part of this section is that this is the only photo I have at present that shows the Grand Opera House!

Gallaghers with cow Opera house and schoolhouse, Ridge street

Thank you to JP Sitko, John Rock and Charlie Gallagher for photos and information, and of course to Charlie Stumpf. If you have any information or photos to share regarding Freeland's silk mills, will you let me know? Thanks!

Featured Photos, posted March 21, 2019:
Franklin N. Becker and the Jeddo-Highland Coal Company, from Pierre-Yves Vachot with added comments from Charlie Gallagher

These photos and information about Frank Becker and the Jeddo-Highland Coal Company power plant in the 1930s were sent by his great-grandson, Pierre-Yves Vachot. The photos come from his grandmother's photograph album, which she has kept all these years along with a messenger bag of her father's, filled with blueprints. You never know where remnants of the Freeland area's past are being saved! Thank you to Pierre-Yves, his grandmother and his family.

Franklin Becker yearbook photo Franklin Nelson Becker Franklin N. Becker, inventor Jeddo-Highland Coal Co. power plant

Left to right:
Frank Becker was an All-American football player at Lehigh University.
After returning from service in WWII he was a professional engineer.
He worked for Jeddo-Highland Coal in the 1930s, also patenting several inventions during that time.
He took dozens of photos of the power plant and other aspects of Jeddo-Highland Coal.

In early January 2019 I received an email from Pierre-Yves Vachot, a French engineer. He wrote:
I am doing some researches on my great grandfather (Franklin Nelson Becker) who has lived near Jeddo when my grandmother was a kid (in the 1940s). When my grandmother was 7 or 8 years old her father passed away and she left Pennsylvania for France. She only came back once since, in the '90s and got to see her old house again. She doesn't have any address, the only thing she remembers is Jeddo. …

I am also looking for the location where my great grandfather has worked in 1933, supervising the construction of a big power plant for the Jeddo Highland Coal company. I believe that this power plant has been taken down in the '90s and I couldn't find any traces of where it used to be. The power plant had a huge chimney made of bricks, and you could read JEDDO on the side of it. It was giving electricity to the nearby mines, and It was built next to a Coal Breaker that was built in 1915 (on which you could read "5 Jeddo Highland Coal Co.", I think it had the nickname of Jeddo #5). I read that it was on the road between Freeland and Eckley.

When Pierre-Yves wrote to me, I shared his note and photos with Charlie Gallagher, and he and Pierre-Yves have had considerable correspondence since then. Charlie was able to locate Pierre-Yves' grandmother's house, which was exciting, and the two men have been sharing information and photos. Pierre-Yves' family has given permission to have a number of the photos posted here. These are interesting views of Jeddo-Highland in the 1930s, mostly showing the power plant and some other parts of the operation that Pierre-Yves' great grandfather Frank Becker worked on.

Please visit the four pages about Frank Becker and his work for Jeddo-Highland Coal to see what Pierre-Yves and his family have shared with us. Many thanks to them, and also to Charlie Gallagher. Between him and Pierre-Yves we have updated context for the photos you will see.

And, if you see something you recognize and can offer additional information, please let me know and we'll post that, too!

Influenza epidemic of 1918, from Charlie Gallagher, with information from Emily Pecora and Tony Sutherland - posted Nov. 21, 2018

Charlie Gallagher wrote: "Before October is over, you may want to commemorate the influenza of 1918." He cited Emily Pecora's thesis about Ralph Pecora's tailor business, chapter 2, pages 108-109:

The stress of war time was compounded in early October of 1918 by the outbreak of the Spanish influenza in Freeland. To control the spread of the virus, all churches, schools, and places of amusement (including Freeland’s widely popular saloons and movie theaters) were forced to close, and most public gatherings, including funerals, were forbidden. The pastor of St. Anthony’s church publicly decried the closing order as “discrimination on the part of health authorities,” pointing out that the profitable and powerful “factories, workshops, and trolley cars” of the town—all sites of public gatherings themselves—were allowed to continue to operate. Idle teachers were put to work distributing food and linens to housebound residents and four army doctors helped tend to the sick. By late October, 277 cases of the flu had been reported in the town of Freeland alone. In late November, the State Department of Health reported 42,000 influenza deaths statewide.

Think about that: in just 2 months, Pennsylvania had 42,000 influenza DEATHS. Charlie shares these two photos captioned "The nurse aides at the Freeland Borough Building, 1918 Influenza. Mary B. Gallagher second from right." We are looking at a portrait of courage here. Just think how brave these women, as well as doctors and other volunteers were, to be willing to tend to and otherwise assist their fellow citizens who were suffering from this very contagious sickness!

Health care workers in Freeland 1918 Health care workers in Freeland 1918

In addition to Charlie's photos and Emily's thesis, here is some information that came to me some years ago from Tony Sutherland, then editor of the Jednota newspaper. He had been looking through information in the Jednota library and reported that he had found "seven names of people in Freeland who died from the influenza epidemic 1918-1919. These are only the people who belonged to the FCSU [First Catholic Slovak Union] and had [FCSU] insurance. I am sure there were many more. The FCSU members were: Kristian Cajko (Shigo, age 37), Mikulas Ondusko, Orsula Kirvetajtes, Juraj Tokar, Anna Hirkala, Leonard Suchy, and John Kusnir."

Looking just at the FCSU rolls, he continued: "There were 32 people in the September 1918 FCSU death list. In October this number jumped to 168; November 441; December 179, January 1919,103; a total of 891. ... Only mass immunity saved the rest of the population." He noted that sometimes the influenza would come on suddenly, but the type where the onset was more gradual proved generally to be more deadly, adding: "Incidentally, the 1918-1919 influenza outbreak coincided with one of the worst winters of the century, at least in New York. … There was also a typhoid epidemic or outbreak around 1903 and a diphtheria outbreak [possibly in] the 1890s." [I don't know if those outbreaks also occurred in Freeland.--CT]

Regarding the influenza epidemic in the Freeland area, my brother Steve and I remember walking through the Upper Lehigh cemetery in the late 1970s or early 1980s and also in the Freeland cemeteries, seeing many tombstones dated 1918 that included many, many children and sometimes whole families.

Thanks to Charlie, Emily and Tony for these reminders of an epidemic in the Freeland area from a century ago.

St. Ann's groundbreaking for school, etc., along with a booklet showing the planned church that was never built, both from Colleen Tatar; 3 related newspaper clippings from Shawn Carr; St. Ann's "basement church" from Ed Merrick; and comments about the incomplete church building from Charlie Gallagher

St. Ann's groundbreaking, circa 1929 St. Ann's Catholic Reference Booklet, circa 1924 I'm adding something new to the featured photo that was posted on 9/21. That day we saw a large group photo (left) that Colleen Tatar had from her father and allowed me to scan some years ago. Recently I posted it on facebook and asked for comments on what it might be a photo of, as she didn't have any information about it. Consensus was that it shows the groundbreaking of St. Ann's School, rectory, and perhaps also the convent. Thanks to everyone who participated in that discussion.

Meanwhile, I had also scanned another item from Colleen, a booklet called the Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register. She also had this from her father. Dated circa 1924, it contains many local business ads and a brief biography of parish founder Rev. Michael J. Fallihee, in addition to the Catholic reference material that forms the core of the text. However, the most interesting thing about this for local history is the image on the cover and the ad on the inside back cover. Charlie Gallagher tells the story:

"I was told that was the church that was never built.
On page 12 you see that Durnin Construction was to have been the General Contractor for the Church.
They got the basement completed and that was it until the new church was built October 15, 1967.
(but the basement church had its charm and was unique).
Apparently upon completion of the school, convent and rectory, the church construction was started.
I’ve been told that concerns over the amount of debt the parish undertook resulted in a suspension of the additional construction.
Father Leo Gilroy, who brought the parish out of debt, was pastor of St. Ann’s from 1946 until he died on February 17, 1965.
He was succeeded by Father Gilleogly, who raised the money for a new church in 24 months and built it in 18 months."

He added: "It couldn’t have been a worse time to start a full parish construction project. Just before the 1929 stock market crash and the continuing depression into the mid thirties. Then right after all that, WWII. I imagine donations dried up during those years."

Shown at left is St. Ann's first church, founded in 1874 in Woodside, as a mission of the Immaculate Conception Church in Eckley. The center photo shows St. Ann's second church, which was built in the 800 block of Centre Street and served the parish for about 40 years, from the 1920s to the mid-1960s (photo from Ed Merrick). At right is the model for the planned completion of the 'basement church.'

St. Ann's in Woodside St. Ann's 'basement church' The planned St. Ann's church circa 1924

Here is the booklet that shows what the church would have looked like if it had been completed in th 1920s.

St. Ann's Catholic Reference Booklet, circa 1924

Clicking this link will open an Adobe PDF file of this booklet. If you don't have Adobe Reader on your computer you can download it for free at

PDF logo St Ann's Catholic Reference Booklet, circa 1924 - (PDF file size = 4.1 MB)

This is the groundbreaking photo from Colleen Tatar. St. Ann's Band was in attendance, along with a large group of parishioners. Perhaps someone from your family was there! The enlarged crop shows the priest holding a shovel.

St. Ann's school, etc. groundbreaking, 1929 St. Ann's school, etc. groundbreaking, 1929

St. Ann's school, etc. groundbreaking, 1929 St. Ann's school, etc. groundbreaking, 1929

These clippings come from Shawn Carr, who wrote: "Picture looks like groundbreaking for the rectory. Found these clips in Wilkes-Barre paper from 1929."

Newspaper clippings, new St. Ann's School Newspaper clippings, new St. Ann's School Newspaper clippings, new St. Ann's School

Freeland Shirt Company Annex, 1929 And in another example of how clues to additional pieces of Freeland area history show up in photographs of other things, Cal Herring noticed that the photo includes the only view I've seen of the Freeland Shirt Company Annex, which suffered a major fire two years later in 1931. According to news coverage at that time, "The building is an old Freeland landmark and was built 42 years ago [circa 1889 - CT] by Emmanuel Berger, Freeland contractor, for a religious sect known as the "Burger Church." ... It was the first factory to be operated by the Freeland Shirt Co., but was abandoned a number of years ago, when the new Dewey street mill was completed. Almost two years ago [approximately when this photo was taken - CT] it was remodeled and converted into a cutting department and storage house by the company and has been used for this purpose ever since." The building apparently continued to stand for some years, as Bob Zimmerman remembers it from his childhood in the 1940s; I don't know whether it was repaired and used again after the 1931 fire or not.

More about the Berger Church on a page about it here. A newspaper article quoted there seems to indicate that the building was still standing as recently as 1974.

Thank you, Colleen for sharing this great photo and the booklet. Thank you to Ed Merrick, Shawn Carr and Charlie Gallagher.

Jeddo Progressive Club, group photo from John Zubach

Jeddo Progressive Club event invitation
A while ago I bought this postcard that has printed along the left side: Annual Ball, Thanksgiving Eve. No year, and nothing on the back. So it's an event announcement. I don't know whether this house is just chosen as a representative image of a worker's house in Jeddo, or if there's any possibility that the club might have met there.

The only other thing in my files about this club is this very interesting group photo that I'd gotten from John Zubach some years ago, now given to the Freeland Historical Society.

Jeddo Progressive Club 1894 Jeddo Progressive Club 1894

Names on the poster, top to bottom, left to right:

A. X. McGill, B. Ferry, J. J. Marley
F. J. McHugh, D. J. McGlynn, J. J. Brislin
P. J. McNelis, P. Marley, J. E. Quigley, J. M. McHugh, A. T. McNelis
P. Timony, D. J. Marley (center), D. J. Timony
P. McMonigal, C. McCole, P. McHugh, C. M. Gallagher, J. S. Coll
P. J. Gillespie, P. D. Brislin, C. P. McGill, D. J. Boyle
J. C. Burns, J. J. Gallagher, H. B. Brislin

Written across bottom: Jeddo Progressive Club, Organized Nov. 9th 1888

Written (slanted) near bottom right: Freeland Pa. March 28th 1894

Written (slanted) near bottom left: J. J. Ward Photographer

What is this club? If you know anything about it and would be willing to share, we could post that information here.

More views of the Refowich theatre, from Ed Merrick, posted 9-3-2018

Corrections/additions received after I posted this page are marked with ***.

Refowich Theatre Ed Merrick sent this photo showing the building in its early years. Notice that there is no marquee over the entrance! In the early 1920s Candyland, an ice cream parlor managed by George Sax, was in the corner space later occupied by Lenny Steward's Florist Shop, as listed in the 1921 city directory. We see that they sold candy, ice cream and Hire's root beer (according to Wikipedia, first created in 1876). There's a Hire's poster on the side of the building, along with two others that are hard to read. There is a sign lettered on the windows above the candy shop, but I can't read it. The center upstairs windows are lettered for an what I think is the Metropolitan Life Insurance company (lettering still there in a later photo), and there is lettering on the right upstairs windows but I can't read it. George Wise apparently had a business on the ground floor on the other side of the theatre entry area, although in directories his harness business is listed at other addresses and not this one. Can anyone tell us what the sign says that is fastened to the telephone pole in front of the building? And look at how cool the entrance to the theatre was! Movie posters and photos of the stars in glass-covered displays on either side, and there's the ticket booth. Wow. And there's some patriotic bunting hanging over the entrance, so maybe this was taken around Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.

*** Ed writes that those steps to the right of the ticket booth "did not go into the theater but led upstairs to the offices and also the projection booth, into which Stanley Potoski allowed me once. The entrance to the theater was to the left of the steps and had double doors, which opened to a short hallway usually lined with posters of coming attractions and which ended at the back of the theater. The end of the hallway had a set of stanchions across which a velvet rope could be fastened to hold back a crowd waiting for the next showing, and to the right was the refreshment stand."

Here's what it says in city directories from the 1920s about this building, and it shows there there were a number of rooms upstairs that were rented out for office space:
Refowich Theatre Building (1921 city directory) and (1928 city dir.); Novelty Cloak & Suit Store, Samuel Presel & Samuel Steiner; Thomas H. Mays, Physician (1921 city directory); Rooms 6-7, James F. Gallagher, physician, and Patrick H. Dunphy, dentist; rooms 4-5, Thomas H. Mays, physician, Prudential Insurance Co., and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (John J. Gallagher, asst. supt.); Refowich Theatre and Refowich Theatre Co., Inc. (theatre managed by Clyde D. Klinger, 1921 city dir.) (1921 city directory) and (1928 city dir.) Candyland, George Sax, mgr., Centre corner Main (1921 city directory) [Note: Patrick H. Dunphy, dentist, was listed in Birkbeck Bldg. across the street in 1921 dir., but in the Refowich building in the 1928-1929 directory.]

*** And here's an interesting piece of information: Charlie Stumpf reported that in the 1890s, I. Refowich Men's Clothing and Tailor was on this same site (current building not built yet - thanks to Harold Refowich for that correction), as was Jacob's & Barasch, clothiers.

Refowich Theatre Another photo from Ed Merrick. Pinocchio in Outer Space was made in 1965. Ed was taking a lot of photographs in downtown Freeland area in 1966, so this photo might be from 1965 or 1966. On the side of the building we see a poster for the movie Lord Jim, another 1965 film. Lenny Steward's Florist Shop occupied the corner part of the building and we see a lovely display in the window - I'm not sure what was on the other side of the theatre entrance, looks like a mannequin in the window and an "N" above the windows. In previous decades there were various businesses and offices upstairs as well, but I don't know about the 1960s. I don't see any signs in the upstairs windows, although I do see some icicles. Freeland winters! What a beautiful building this was, though. The many decorative details on the exterior are so interesting, very ornate for our town. We were lucky to have this wonderful theatre for such a long time, and it's very good that the building has been repurposed as seniors' apartments rather than left to deteriorate and then torn down.

I see that in the 1920s Samuel Presel's & Samuel Steiner's Novelty Cloak and Suit Store was in the Refowich building. Maybe that was the source of the "N" above the windows on the business space to the right of the entrance in this photo from four decades later. In email with Charlie Gallagher, he suggested that maybe it could have been Lucy forte's Novelty Dress Store (531 Centre Street, next to the Refowich Theatre). It's also possible that the "N" was there for the earlier Novelty Cloak and Suit Store and then years later when Lucy Forte set up shop in that space, she selected a name for her shop that would use the "N" that was already on the windows, maybe even referencing the earlier Novelty name. ???

Refowich and Timony theatre ads Ed Merrick has these movie ads in a scrapbook! Thank goodness for people with scrapbook hobbies. Here we see ads from the Refowich and the Timony theatres for shows playing in Freeland in mid-December, 1929. Note that the top left ad says "all talking," as this was not long after sound was introduced into movies. Before that, they were all silent, with live music provided locally. Also note the "9 shopping days till Christmas" ad. The Timony was on South Street mid-block between Centre and Ridge. It would later become the Rialto Theatre, where my dad occasionally went to movies as a kid and where I did the same in the 1950s.

Refowich in 1939 or soon after Refowich in 1939 or soon after *** Ed and Harold Refowich both say that the man in the photo at right was Irving Refowich. Ed said that these two photos were taken on  February 15, 1940, adding: "I don’t know if you will be able to read it from the photo, but the windows upstairs designate a Prudential office on the left and a Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. office on the right. To the left  of the entrance downstairs is the Sugar Bowl, a soda fountain, candy, and sundries business, the name of whose owner I can’t remember. I think that might have been a hat shop to the right. The marquee reads: “To-nite $70 bonus” and the movie “Intermezzo.” The lobby cards on the left advertise a Charlie McCarthy movie and on the right the movie “Eternally Yours.” The hanging banners read “Cash BONUS every Thursday” and “Eternally Yours."

That's interesting about the Sugar Bowl, apparently the business that succeeded Candyland in that corner location.

Ed, thanks for these photos and information. More photos and information about the Ref and other theatres on the Entertainment page.

Freeland Historical Society Open House - Sept. 15, 2018 - 1:00-4:00 p.m.

FHS Girls Basketball team, 1919-1920 The Freeland Historical Society will host its first Open House on Saturday, September 15 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. The Society has been meeting monthly since its formation in 2007, and they’ve chosen their Open House date to celebrate Freeland’s incorporation as a borough on September 11, 1876. This is a free event! Stop by and see a display of some of the memorabilia that the Society has collected. There will be a small sale of duplicate yearbooks and other items. Please come and experience some of the Freeland area’s history. The Society’s headquarters is in the Seniors Building at the corner of Washington and Chestnut Streets.

This photo from the Society shows the Freeland High School Girls Basketball Team, seated on the grounds of DCM, with the old St. John's Reformed Church in the background (before the brick church was built).

Railroads that serviced the Freeland area, by Charlie Gallagher

Charlie Gallagher has contributed a group of web pages about our local railroads, linked from the Transportation page.

Four railroads served the Freeland area in the late 1800s and for much of the 20th century. You can’t tell anymore, but at one time Freeland was a railroad town.

Until the 1970’s the railroad supplied Berger Lumber on Birkbeck Street.

LVRR SW9 locomotive on Carbon Street trestle

Lehigh Valley SW9 locomotive. Photograph courtesy Greg Gunshore.

Here is LV SW9 locomotive on the trestle that crossed Carbon Street in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s. The rail line made its way from the south end of town at the Freeland Freight Station (where the MMI Gymnasium is today), then Griffith’s Lumber, and ran north along Feussner Ford east of the Park and up to Ira Berger Lumber.

D. S. & S. #16 Drifton 1902

Photo courtesy of Charlie Gallagher, previously owned by great-grandfather Patrick J. Gallagher. DSandS-16-Drifton-1902w.jpg DS&S # 16, 2-8-0. One locomotive Class 10-28E (later Lehigh Valley #690). Baldwin Locomotive Works, Burnham, Williams & Company 1893.

Daniel Coxe and the D. S. & S. miniature locomotive #3

D. S. & S. Miniature Locomotive # 3 was the locomotive that Daniel Coxe was riding when he died is at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA.

Please see Charlie's Railroads that served the Freeland area pages for much more.

Edward Gallagher's barbershops and other Gallagher-related photos from Mary Rosenkrans and Ed Bacon - posted 4-8-2018

Mary Rosenkrans and Ed Bacon are sharing some interesting photos and information on several topics that all relate to their family in some way: their grandfather Edward Gallagher’s barbershops where he and his brother Peter worked together for decades; their great-uncle Patrick’s mining career in Nevada; the Gallagher-Brogan family reunions that were held in 1935 and 1941; the Tigers Club, the Tigers baseball team, the YMCA basketball team; Andro Kasarda’s saloon; and an early MMI classroom where their great-uncle Peter was a student in 1904. There’s a lot here that they are sharing with us! We begin with their main topic: Edward and Peter Gallagher and Edward’s barbershops.

In cases where I have more information about these photos, there are links provided to other pages on the site.

Edward Gallagher and his barbershops

Edward Gallagher Barbershop Edward Gallagher had 3 barbershops in his career: first at [old address numbering] 51 S. Centre Street [later renumbered 513], then at 354 Centre Street, and finally at 713 Main Street. His brother Peter was also a barber and worked with Edward for his entire career. Their brother Mickey also worked with them for a while.

Gallagher Family

Five Gallagher brothers Mary wrote that Edward’s and Peter’s father was Peter Gallagher (1834-1887), and their mother was Catherine “Kitty” (Burns) Gallagher (1852-1906). The father “came from Ardara, County Donegal, Ireland as did many of Freeland’s Irish immigrants. He worked, of course, as a coal miner.” They had eight sons, two of whom died in childhood. Three sons would become barbers: Edward Joseph (born 1879), Peter Joseph (born 1884?), and Michael “Mickey” (born 1872). Mickey later worked as a shoemaker; Edward and Peter were barbers together for nearly 50 years until both died in 1963. Mary doesn’t know how they got into the barber business, or who trained them.

Here are five of the eight Gallagher brothers: back row, L-R Edward and Peter; front row L-R Michael, Thomas, James (Shamus). Missing from the photo were Patrick, Frank and John. Mary thinks the photo was taken between 1900 and 1910. --- More info on this family on Gallagher's Barbershop page ---

Barbershop Beginnings

When Edward Gallagher received an honorary life membership in the Sons of Erin in 1954, the newspaper article said that he had been a barber for 61 years. That would mean that he began barbering around 1897. He is listed as a barber in the 1900 U.S. Census, but where was he working? In the Freeland directories that I’ve seen, he first shows up specifically listed in 1900-1901 as a barber on Centre Street, but with no address number given. His younger brother Peter was still in school in 1900, according to the census. Did Edward have his own shop at first, or did he apprentice or partner with another barber on Centre Street? Mary has seen him listed as a barber at 51 Centre Street around this time.

Edward’s Barbershop at 51 S. Centre Street [old address numbering]

1895 map detail There were side-by-side barbershops shown on the 1895 Sanborn map at 53A and 51A, (Address note: 51 was later renumbered 513 Centre) and the proprietor of the barbershop at 51 was listed in the 1897 directory as Joseph Fenstermacher; he was also listed as a barber on Centre Street in the 1900-1901 directory. Did Edward start out working with him there? Mary Rosenkrans thinks that Edward might have purchased Fenstermacher’s barbershop, because after Edward’s mother died in 1906 and around the time that he married in 1908, Edward was living at 51 S. Centre Street and operating a barbershop there. --- More info on this first location on Gallagher's Barbershop page ---

Edward’s Barbershop at 354 Centre Street

1905 map detail 1912 map detail After working at 51 Centre Street for some years, Edward moved to a new location, in a building newly constructed sometime between 1905 and 1912. The 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance map showed an empty lot at that address, while the 1912 map showed a barbershop there.

The 1921-22 and 1928-29 Freeland directories list Edward Gallagher’s barbershop at 354 Centre, and Edward and Peter Gallagher as barbers. --- More info on this location on Gallagher's Barbershop page ---

Move to 713 Main Street

713 Main Street Mary wrote: “Sometime between 1920 and 1930, the barbershop was moved to 713 Main Street, Freeland. My grandfather who was known as ‘Eddie the Barber’ and his brother Peter ran the shop until the early 1960s. He passed away in February 1963, followed by Peter in December 1963.” She was later able to pinpoint the move to Main Street to 1930.

Ed and Pete Gallagher Here are Edward and Peter Gallagher, Sons of Erin, in the barbershop on Main Street in April 1961. I mentioned Edward Gallagher’s barbershop to Ed Merrick, as Merrick’s grocery store was across the street from 354 Centre. Ed replied: “I don’t remember the Gallagher barbershop on Centre Street, but the Gallaghers did relocate their barbershop in later years to the building west of the Remak residence at 709-711 Main Street. Ed and Pete were the owners and operators, and my father, brother, and I used their services for years. They had a tag team of sorts and often handed off in the middle of a haircut, about which [my brother] Tom and I used to laugh later.”

Charlie Gallagher (from a different Gallagher family) commented: “Well, 713 Main was later Joe Rish’s Barbershop. It is now a residence. That was next to Remak’s and was damaged during the fire. Something tells me that ABC Television or ABC Electric may have been at 713 before it became Joe Rish’s barbershop, but I’m not 100% sure.”

Here are some photos of the barbers and the three barbershops:

Earliest photos, ca. 1910-1914 – possibly at the first barbershop at 51 S. Centre (later renumbered as or near 513 Centre)

Edward Gallagher's barbershopThe barber at left is unidentified, and at right is Edward. They’re wearing professional white jackets; notice the customers reflected in the mirror.

Edward Gallagher's barbershopUnidentified man on left, Edward Gallagher in center, and his brother Mickey Gallagher on right. Mickey later left barbering and worked as a shoemaker. Notice the barbers’ white jackets, and the wall shelving for shaving mugs. Mary says that the large wall furnishing that holds the long mirror and cabinets as well as the shaving mug shelving were moved from shop to shop and were in all 3 barbershops.

Edward Gallagher's barbershop Another early view, with Mickey and Edward working on two customers, and it looks like a third barber is at work off camera at far right, reflected in the mirror – his reflection looks like the unidentified barber in the first of these 1910-1914 photos. Mary and I both think that the customer at left resembles the man standing at left (not a barber) in the previous photo.

--- More photos of the counter and bottles on Gallagher's Barbershop page ---

Around 1915 – at the second barbershop at 354 Centre Street

Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop

This is the front of Edward’s second barbershop at 354 Centre Street. We see his brother Peter Gallagher at left, an unidentified barber who worked with them at center, and Edward Gallagher at right. There’s a young child visible in the doorway. Also shown are enlarged details of the shop windows. Notice the traditional striped barber’s poles flanking the doorway.

Andro Kasarda's saloon Andro Kasarda’s saloon was just across the street, and here are Peter Gallagher (left) and the unidentified third barber (right), and that might be Andro Kasarda at center standing in the doorway. Because the two barbers in this and the previous photo look to be about the same age in both, and because there’s a 1915 poster in the saloon window, we are dating these photos around 1915. There's more about this photo on a new (in process) Saloons page.

Around 1915-1917 – at 354 Centre Street

Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop Peter Gallagher at left and the unidentified barber at right. If you recognize him from family photos, please let me know!

Edward Gallagher Barbershop Barbers and customers. The three standing barbers, left to right: Edward and Peter Gallagher and the unidentified third barber. Notice that they are no longer wearing white jackets.

Around 1920 – at 354 Centre Street

Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop

Here Peter and Edward Gallagher are older and are shown with Edward’s children (left to right): Edward, Marie, Eleanore. Enlarged details show the razor strap, decorative woodwork plus tiger painting, and chairs, sink and shaving mug shelves.

April 1961 – at the third barbershop at 713 Main Street

Ed and Pete Gallagher Forty years later, here are Edward (left) and Peter at the barbershop at 713 Main Street in April 1961. They are dressed in their Sons of Erin uniforms, and the wooden wall furnishing that contains mirror and counter is still with them after all those years.

Memories of My Grandfather, by Mary Rosenkrans
Memories of My Grandfather Edward J. Gallagher, a short writing by Mary Rosenkrans. Mary also sent this sweet reminiscence of the few years when she and her family lived with Edward and Peter.

Edward Gallagher Receives Sons of Erin Award

Sons of Erin Award 1954 March 17, 1954 - Freeland Sons of Erin Present Membership: “Edward Gallagher (extreme right) received the 1954 honorary life membership in the Freeland Sons of Erin during that organization’s banquet last night. Presenting him the membership is John Dennion, chairman for last night’s arrangements. Extreme left is James Crowley, principal speaker, and Atty. Martin O’Donnell, toastmaster (second from left).”

Sons of Erin Award 1954 Sons of Erin Award 1954 March 15, 1954 – To Receive Erin Certificate: “… The certificate will be presented by Erin president, Vincent Maloney in recognition of Gallagher’s many contributions to the Irish organization and to the community over the years.”

Patrick Gallagher, Mining Inspector

Patrick Gallagher Patrick Gallagher Patrick Gallagher

Short biography of Patrick J. Gallagher, in Nevada: A Narrative of the Conquest of a Frontier Land (vol. 3, 1935)

PDF logo Patrick J. Gallagher biographical description - (PDF file size = 2.4 MB)

Patrick Gallagher Patrick Gallagher Patrick was not shown in the photo of five Gallagher brothers earlier on this page. Now we know why! According to the brief biography shown here, Patrick struck out for the West around age 22 in summer 1898. He first worked in harvest fields and then at a cattle ranch owned by his uncle, Frank Gallagher! He then worked in several mines, attended business college, and after several more years’ mining experience he served as president of the Western Federation of Miners, then two years as a justice of the peace, four years as a notary public, president of the Round Mountain Athletic Club, and district mining recorder. He was later in real estate and insurance, did some prospecting, and was appointed deputy United States marshal for Southern Nevada. The caricature from the Reno newspaper labeled him as Deputy State Inspector of Mines.

The portrait and brief biography were sent to Mary from her cousin Joan Killian Gallagher, granddaughter of Thomas Francis Gallagher, and more photos came from Mary and her brother Ed.

Tigers Club – Tigers Baseball 1903 – Freeland Y Basketball 1931

Tigers Baseball team 1903 Tigers Baseball team photo caption

This photo of the 1903 Tigers baseball team was sent to me some years ago by Ed Bacon, who said that this photo had hung on the barbershop wall. Now Mary has sent a caption that identifies everyone in the photo, including Edward Gallagher. More info on the Baseball page.

1898 Tigers Club article 1898 Tigers Club article 1898 Tigers Club article
Here’s an article about the Tigers Athletic Club from the Freeland Tribune, December 26, 1898. This copy was sent by Mary Rosenkrans; an earlier copy came from Joan Buday.

Baseball group photo 1906
Another baseball photo – I don’t know the circumstances of this photo. The men are wearing shirts that look like they might be from several teams, and most of the players are in blackface. ??? The photo was taken the year of the Pearl Jubilee. Mary thinks her grandfather is seated on the far right.

YMCA champs 1931-32
Here is the Y.M.C.A. basketball team of 1931-1932. The basketball shows that they were N.E.PA. Champs that year. More info on the Basketball page.

Gallagher - Brogan Family Reunions in 1935 and 1941

This was a huge family reunion that brought members of these families together from several states in 1935. It got a lot of press in the local papers.

Gallagher-first-annual-reunion-1935 “Family in First Annual Reunion: Three hundred at Gathering of Gallaghers and Brogans at Evergreen Park,” from the Hazleton Plain Speaker, August 19, 1935

PDF logo Plans for the reunion, from The Plain Speaker - (PDF file size = 505 KB)

Plans for the Reunion.

Gallagher-first-annual-reunion-1935 Gallagher-first-annual-reunion-1935

PDF logo 1935 Gallagher - Brogan family reunion with some of the names provided - (PDF file size = 816 KB)

Photograph of the Gallagher-Brogan Reunion of 1935, and the same photo as a PDF with names of those who have been identified. Edward and Peter Gallagher are in this photo.

Article about 1941 Gallagher-Brogan family reunion The reunion in 1935 was so successful that another one was held in 1941. Here is Aubrey Powell’s reporting in one of the Hazleton papers’ “Freeland and North Side News.”

Kasarda Saloon

Andro Kasarda's saloon Edward Gallagher's barbershop Some years ago Ed Bacon sent me these two photos of the barbershop and the Kasarda saloon, writing: “I am the grandson of Edward J. Gallagher. He and his brother Peter were barbers first at 354 Centre St. and then 713 Main St. We lived on Main St with them until the mid-1960s. I have a number of photos that were on the Main St. shop walls.” One shows 5 men in front of Andro Kasarda’s saloon, right across the street from Edward Gallagher’s barbershop at 354 Centre Street, shown at right: Edward Gallagher is on the right, his brother Peter is on the left, and a third barber, name unknown, is in the center. Based on the poster in the saloon window (advertising the National Athletic Club, Monday evening, June 7, 1915), this photo was likely taken in 1915. So that puts the photo of the front of the barbershop also at around 1915, as two of the barbers are in both photos, looking very much the same in both. I’m assuming that the man standing in the doorway is Andro Kasarda; I don’t know who the other two men are.

There are four cropped details from this photo and more information at a new page in progress on Freeland saloons.

Peter Gallagher in his classroom at MMI

MMI classroom, 1904 MMI classroom, 1904 MMI classroom list, 1904

This is an MMI classroom, and that’s Mary’s and Ed’s great-uncle Peter in the back row, center seat. The note with the photo says it was taken in 1904, so that would have been at the newly built school below Carbon Street. The teacher is Professor Edmund. It’s hard to read the blackboards, but the left boards contain a mathematics lesson and some Greek text. The boards to the right in this photo show text headed “Lesson 47,” a map, and more text. I’m adding a closer look at the faces.

It looks like the students’ names on the list might be given in order, but if so we don’t know whether the list starts with the row nearest the blackboard or the row nearest the camera. Either way Peter is at the end of the middle group of six.

Many thanks to Mary Rosenkrans and Ed Bacon for sharing these fabulous photos and information!

Frank Ceol plowing snow with the help of Jim Boyle's horses, and views of the winter of 1914 (with thanks to Marie Marencin and Ed Socha) - posted 12-31-17

Frank Ceol plowing snow 1914 Marie Marencin told me that her father Frank Ceol was a cowboy before he moved to Freeland a little more than a century ago, and that when he was new to Freeland he worked at Jim Boyle's livery stable on Johnson Street (in front of what would later be the site of Freeland High). That was already exciting information - a cowboy! And another livery stable, one I hadn't known of. Around the same time that I spoke with Marie, Ed Socha alerted me to this newspaper clipping showing Marie's father plowing snow in 1914 with Jim Boyle's plow and horses. The newspaper clipping is used courtesy of the Standard Speaker.

Frank Ceol, cowboy Frank Ceol Frank was born in 1896, and he moved to Freeland from Oregon in 1913 (so, around age 17). When he was a child, he and his older sister Anna rode a horse to the one-room schoolhouse they attended. He only went to school through 2nd grade, but he could read and write. Marie said that in the coal mines they spelled his name "Cole." His brother Joe's wife Ruth (Horn) Ceol was one of my Girl Scout leaders in the 1950s-1960s. These two photos come from Marie Marencin; the  sepia tone images were "washed in Google images" by Charlie Gallagher to make them greyscale and visually sharper.

Jim Boyle had been at that Johnson Street location at least since 1912; he was listed in the 1912 and 1917 phone books this way: "Boyle, James W., Con & Bldr, Johnson nr Alvin." In the 1921-1922 Freeland directory he's listed: "Boyle, James W., 415 Johnson" under the heading Contractors and Builders. In the 1928-1929 directory there's this: "Boyle, James W. (Rebecca; Boyle's Garage), Lumber, Building, Roofing and Contractors Materials, General Contractor and Stripper, 415 Johnson." No mentions of a livery stable anywhere, though. Marie Marencin told me that his daughter Mary Boyle was the Home Economics teacher at Freeland High School.

Speaking of Frank Ceol plowing snow in 1914, Freeland had at least one spectacular blizzard that year and quite an intense winter, remembered on these four postcards (some previously featured here). The photo at left looking north at a pair of horses pulling a sleigh down Centre Street is shared courtesy of Carol Jones and the Freeland Historical Society. The horses are just about in front of the drug store and hotel shown in the second photo.

Blizzard 1914 Blizzard 1914 Ice storm 1914 Blizzard 1914 Close-up, blizzard 1914

The photo showing Schilcher's Drug Store and the St. Elmo Hotel came to me from John Zubach, as did the one of DCM during an ice storm. The fourth photo was seen on eBay and is looking south toward the Front and Centre intersection; the enlarged crop gives a sense of how much of a hassle it must have been getting around in the snow in 1914. The poles holding up an awning at far right in that photo mark the entrance to Amandus Oswald's general store. The photo with Schilcher's Drug Store and the St. Elmo Hotel was published in the Pennysaver in 1969 with this caption:
"Photo on Centre St. after blizzard, March 1914 - looking north. We're informed that this is the storm a young girl lost her life in when she froze while out for a buggy ride. This picture comes to us through the courtesy of A. L. Mitke, who also gave us the identities of some of the people pictured here. Left to right: Antone Leppler, unknown, Tony Leppler, small boy unknown, Willy Dougherty in sweater, prop. of the St. Elmo Hotel."

Dr. Frank Schilcher was listed in the 1882-1884, 1884-1886, 1886-1888, 1895, 1897 and 1901 directories as a physician and often also as a druggist, always at the same location on Centre between Front and Walnut streets. In 1895 he was also listed as Secretary of the Freeland Water Company.

The Borough building - a conversation by email with Charlie Gallagher

Charlie was looking at an old postcard of the Bethel Baptist church, wondering about the oddly-shaped steeple seen at the end of the block on the left. Here are the postcard images of the Bethel Baptist church (postmarked 1913) and the Borough building (postmarked 1907) that Charlie sent me, and he asked when the Borough building was built, and if it was built with the tower. I sent him some information from Charlie Stumpf's history of Freeland and an enlargement of that steeple part of the postcard with the opinion that we were looking at two steeples, but in the meantime he had also figured that out and he sent the cropped detail shown below on which he highlighted the two steeples. He wrote: The Hotel / Bar at 11 West Walnut is in front of the borough building (as the borough building is set back from Walnut). The hotel steeple is outlined in red, the borough building in yellow.

Bethel Baptist church before 1913 Borough building before 1907 Two steeples near Walnut and Centre streets Two steeples near Walnut and Centre streets

I read his note, looked at the images he sent, and remembered a photo Tigers Club 1906 Washington Hotel that Mr. Deitos senior allowed me to make a cell phone copy of several years ago. It shows the Washington Hotel, run by Al Goeppert and located on Walnut Street next to the Tigers Club, not far from the intersection of Walnut and Centre. Here at right is Mr. Deitos's photo of the hotel, along with a photo of the Tigers Club (as seen on eBay) during the 1906 Pearl Jubilee - you can see the same hotel to the left of the Club. Washington Hotel 1895 Here too at left is a detail from the 1895 Sanborn map showing the two buildings (the address numbers are from an earlier numbering system). The Washington Hotel is mentioned (sometimes along with Mr. Goeppert's name) in Freeland directories from 1886-1888, 1897, 1901-1902, and is shown on Sanborn maps as the location of a saloon in 1895, 1900, 1905; in 1912 the map specifically named the Washington Hotel there. Charlie saw his name in a list of people applying for liquor licenses in 1892. So the Washington Hotel is what the first of the two steeples in the Bethel Baptist church postcard belonged to.

Meanwhile, there was Charlie's question of when the Borough building was built, and whether it was built with the tower. I am assuming that the building was built with the tower/steeple. Charlie Stumpf gives the date as 1884. Charlie Gallagher set out to confirm it by visiting the Borough building, where he was allowed access to the 2nd floor and photographed the two plaques shown here. Charlie, thank you for sharing these photos!

Borough building plaque Borough building plaque

Nicely done, so it's 1900 for this building. I wrote back to him to thank him, expressed interest in the "public library and reading room," and I asked where he thought the Borough Council was meeting for all those years before the borough building was built? The 1873 Freehold map shows a town hall on Ridge between Front and Walnut. The 1895 map shows Freeland Hall (built 1891) where Woodie's was later, and doesn't show the Ridge street town hall. So maybe all of their Council meetings were at the Ridge Street town hall before 1891, and then they met at Freeland Hall for a few years after that? BUT Charlie Stumpf mentioned (page 7) a Borough Building being erected in 1884 that had a Council room and a jail. Maybe there was a small building (just a council room and jail) built in 1884 that was used until the current building was built? Wonder where that would have been? The current site wasn't donated by the Knights of Labor until 1899, according to Stumpf.

Here are some relevant notes from the Stumpf book:
- The meeting to decide the new name of Freehold was held at the town hall in 1876 (page 7).
- At the 2nd meeting of the Council in 1876 it was decided to build a small jail at Pine and Johnson streets, which was used until 1884 when the Borough Building was erected (page 7).
- Land for the Freeland Municipal Building was donated by the Freeland Chapter of the Knights of Labor. Construction began in August 1899. The Council first met there on December 10, 1900 (page 15).

There are still unanswered questions there, but regarding the reading room / public library, Charlie replied: From my understanding of the borough building, the reading room / library was the north side of third floor. This was one large room.
First Floor: Police Office, Borough Secretary Office, Police Holding Cell, Men's Room, Women's Room, Fire Garage.
Second Floor: Council Chamber, Council Secretary Office, Citizen's Hose Company Office, Office (later Magistrate Office), Men's Room, Women's Room, Storage Closet.
Third Floor: Engineer's Office, Storage / Records Room, Reading Room / Library.

Thank you, Charlie Gallagher, and I'm remembering Charlie Stumpf with appreciation for all of his work. If anyone knows what the 1884 date in Charlie Stumpf's book on page 7 refers to, please let me know and I'll post it here!

The Mulhearn building torn down in December 2017 - with photos from Charlie Gallagher, me, and the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society

This is to remember the old Mulhearn building that was just torn down in December 2017. Charlie had emailed me these and other photos of the demolition as it progressed over a number of days, and reported that the land and building were purchased by MMI for the purpose of expanding their parking lot.

Mulhearn building demolition 12-2017 Mulhearn building demolition 12-2017 Mulhearn building demolition 12-2017 Mulhearn building demolition 12-2017

When I was in Freeland in March 2017 I photographed some buildings, including that one. I don't know what the original purpose of the building was, but here are six photos I took then that show some interesting features of the building.

Mulhearn building 3-2017 Mulhearn building 3-2017 Mulhearn building 3-2017 Mulhearn building 3-2017 Mulhearn building 3-2017 Mulhearn building 3-2017

When I heard that it was being torn down, I checked to see what was in my files about it. Not much, but I do have these mentions of that site/building and one just to the north of it as they were listed in early city directories and on maps in the days before Mulhearn's Plumbing and Heating:

239 Centre Street (old address 805 or 806 Centre)
1890s - it was an empty lot
1910s - Hay warehouse (1912 Sanborn map)
1920s - Charles Karnatski, grocery (1928-1929 directory)

229-231 Centre Street (old address 804 Centre)
1890s - it was an empty lot
1900s - Bottling works on the north side of the train tracks (1900 and 1905 Sanborn maps)
1910s - Bottling works (1912 Sanborn map)
1920s - Mrs. Hilda Boyle, gasoline, automobile accessories and supplies (1928-1929 directory)

Here are details from the 1912 and 1923 Sanborn maps. When I posted this page on New Year's Eve 2017, I was confused about which building shown on these maps was the building that was torn down! So now I see that it was the building right next to the tracks, 229-231 Centre street. Looking at the 3rd photo from the left of my 6 photos above and comparing it to the left photo of the two from Anthracite Railroads below makes it clear that they are the same building. I apologize for any confusion encountered by those who read this page before I made this correction! So apparently the Mulhearn building was a bottling works in its early life.

1900 map detail near depot 1912 map detail near depot 1923 map detail near depot

Freeland RR tracks, looking east near Centre Freeland RR tracks, looking west near Centre Charlie Gallagher pointed me to these photos from 1912; they are part of the Joe Zogby collection of the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society (ARHS), used by permission. Both were taken by someone standing on the railroad tracks, and Charlie tells me that these photographs were made during accident investigations. The one looking east shows the railroad depot at left and across the street on Centre shows the building at 229-231 Centre, with a storefront visible. The one looking west shows the Freeland Overall Company left of the tracks with a train car parked alongside to load or unload a shipment, while to the right of the tracks in the foreground we see the building at 229-231 Centre, and the railroad depot across the street. Behind the brick building there is a small wooden addition and behind that is a Farmer's Dairy horse-drawn wagon. In 1912 this building was listed as a bottling works; perhaps the Freeland Dairy wagon was there to pick up some new milk bottles.

Freeland Chamber of Commerce annual Fashion Show, Fall 1950, from Charlie Gallagher - posted 9-11-2017

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!!!

Workers in Freeland's factories - group photos shown courtesy of the Freeland YMCA, Freeland Historical Society, Tom Landers, Joe Flanagan, Carol Jones, Joe Moore - posted April 2, 2017

Do you recognize anyone in these photos? They were taken from the 1920s to the early 1960s - you might see yourself, or family, friends, neighbors. If you can identify anyone, would you please let me know? I can post identifications here. Also, if you can provide any information about any of the photos or the factories, I'd love to hear from you. The earliest photos are shown first. Photo credits follow the 1963 factory photo near the bottom of the page.

Freeland Overall Mfg. Company

                Mfg. Co., early 1920s Charlie Gallagher noticed that the flag has 48 stars here, and guesses that this photo might have been taken sometime around 1923. In this photo we see how grand the factory building looked there on lower Ridge street, next to the railroad tracks, and we can also see a few buildings on the other Freeland Mfg. Co., early 1920sside of the tracks. The Freeland Overalls logo is painted on the front windows. A group of 24 men stand on the steps (see photo at right), and one more man is standing at the far right of the photo. Approximately 139 women sit or stand in front of the factory.  It's fascinating to see the variety of clothing and hair styles, a few hats, and how these folks posed for this photo.

Freeland Mfg. Co., 1920s Freeland Mfg. Co., 1920s

Freeland Overall Mfg. Company

                Mfg. Co. Here is another photo of workers at the Freeland Mfg. Co., makers of Freeland Overalls, possibly taken in the early 1930s. When I again consulted Charlie Gallagher regarding when the photo might have been taken, he wrote: "Some of the women are now sporting curls (that would have been late twenties, early thirties)." Regarding their wearing pants, he added, "twenties but not really accepted until 1930. You can thank Amelia Earhart, Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn. I believe the two gentlemen at the bottom are Oberrenders. The uniforms, to me, suggest marching in a parade or festival of some kind. Did Hazleton have a 40th anniversary parade as a city in 1931?"

The cropped copy below left should make it easier to see faces, and when I noticed the man behind the right window I thought we should take a look at him, too.

Freeland Mfg. Co. Freeland Mfg. Co. Freeland Mfg. Co.

Freeland Shirt Company, early 1930s

This is interesting for many reasons, one of which is that we have two different takes here! (I need to go back and scan the left end of the take 2 photo.) Actually I don't know which one was take 1 or take 2, I'm just using those names here to differentiate them. There is also a sheet of paper that has some identifications or possible identifications listed. I'm especially taken with the women looking out of the window at far left (why are they still inside?), and the guy leaning on the building at far right. A note on the back of this photo said that it was taken in the early 1930s and was the property of Wilberta Breznitski.

                Shirt Co. early 1930s Freeland
                Shirt Co. early 1930s

Freeland Shirt Co. early 1930s Freeland Shirt Co. early 1930s

Freeland Shirt Co. early 1930s

Freeland Shirt Co. early 1930s Freeland Shirt Co. early 1930s Freeland Shirt Co. early 1930s

Some of these people, like the girls seated behind the guys in the front, seem very young! This take 2 photo has a couple of boys poking their heads in at right that weren't in the other photo. Also, here there's a young woman sitting on the plank in the front with the 5 guys. In the take 1 photo she's at right center next to the man in the dark sweater. Maybe this was really the first take and they made her and the two kids at far right move. It's always tempting to think of narratives and scenarios when looking at these old photos!

Freeland Shirt Company, July 22, 1947

                Shirt Co. 1947

What a great photo - it's huge! 1947, the war is over and people are feeling optimistic.

                Shirt Co. 1947 Freeland
                Shirt Co. 1947 Freeland
                Shirt Co. 1947

Freeland Mfg. Company, November 1956

This photo was apparently made by Hines, the name written under the date at top left. Joe Moore very kindly sent me scans of the sepia photo some time ago, and I copied the black and white photo in Freeland in 2008 when Carol Jones lent it to Tom Landers for me to scan. It had belonged to Wilberta Heyes Breznitski, then Sara H. Corazza, Lou Corazza, then Carol Corazza Jones.

Freeland Mfg.
                Co. 1956

Freeland Mfg. Co.
                1956 Freeland Mfg.
                Co. 1956 Freeland Mfg.
                Co. 1956

NEW ID: Charlie Gallagher reports that two of his aunts are in this photo. Susan Kuskolis, married to Andrew "Pundy" Evanisko, is standing behind the 6th woman from the right in the front row, standing 2 rows back, dark coat and short dark hair. Gizella Kuskolis, married to Stephen Spock, is standing directly behind the woman in the front row in white toggle coat, with dark coat and dark hair.

Identifications on back of the black and white copy, as written: front row, from left: 13, Irving Abrams older son - 14, Abrams owners - 15, Simon Abrams youngest son - 16, Ilene Hollick - 17, Leola Poltrock - 18, Gertrude Poltrock Hollick --- second row, from left, 6, Wilberta H. Breznitski.

Freeland Mfg.
                Co. 1956 Freeland Mfg.
                Co. 1956 Freeland Mfg.
                Co. 1956

Freeland Shirt Company, May 1963

This is the photo with the highest likelihood of people actually seeing themselves in it! Scanned at the Y. I might not have gotten the entire thing scanned, and I don't know whether the blurriness in my scans comes from the photo or my scanning, but maybe I can post a clearer copy at some point. Meanwhile, this is what I have.

Freeland Shirt Co. 1963 Freeland Shirt Co. 1963

Freeland Shirt Co. 1963 Freeland Shirt Co. 1963 Freeland Shirt Co. 1963

NEW ID: Mark Berta tells me that his father Joe Berta, who worked at this factory as plant manager, is the third man from the left in the back row.

These six group photos were scanned between 2008 and 2014. In 2008 the late Tom Landers, then president of the Freeland Historical Society, offered to put out a call to the community to see if anyone would lend him photos or documents so that I could come and scan them, after which he would return the items to the owners. A few of these photos come to us that way. He also gave me scanning access in 2008-2009 to a group of photographs that were housed in the basement of the YMCA under his watchful eye (Joe Flanagan, manager of the Y, tells me that most have now been given to the Freeland Historical Society, while a few remain at the Y on display). Joe Moore kindly sent me scans of the 1956 photo of the Abrams factory. A couple of other photos were at the Freeland Historical Society and I was allowed to scan them there. I'm grateful to everyone who lent photos, shared photos, gave me access to photos, and to Tom Landers, Joe Flanagan, Carol Jones, Joe Moore, the YMCA and the Freeland Historical Society for making it possible to capture and save these images digitally and to share them with you through this website.

As always, additions and corrections are welcome.

- MORE PERSONS IDENTIFIED! - Lithuanian Peoples Choir and a Lithuanian wedding - new photos from Tom Yaruso, posted March 2, 2017

A day after these photos were posted, Joan Vanderlick Chisholm wrote: I think I know 4 people in the Lithuanian Choir photo ... In the same row w/the priest, on the left side, 2nd boy is Anthony (Tony) Ravutsky; next to him (1st girl in that row) is my mother, Millicent Yenalevich Vanderlick; the young lady on the priest's left is Millie (married name Ravutsky, Victor's wife); in the 2nd row from the top on the right side, 2nd man is Victor Ravutsky (married to Millie, brother of Anthony). The Ravutsky and Yenalevich families were cousins - their mothers were sisters. Since I don't have a picture of my mother really young, I compared the photo with one of her in her teens and I'm pretty sure it's her. Thanks so much for posting these pictures - I could spend hours going thru Freeland history. It's so interesting and so unbelievably connected.

Both of these photos were taken in the basement of St. Anthony's Church, where Lithuanians who left St. Casimir's Church were invited to hold their services while they decided what to do next - make a new church or join St. Anthony's parish. Apparently they were considering founding a new church in Freeland called St. Mary's Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church, as there was a listing for it in the 1928-1929 city directory, with an office located upstairs in the Seitzinger building. However, as it turned out, instead the decision was made to join St. Anthony's parish, responding to a generous invitation from Rev. Francis P. Bitetti. Some of the Lithuanian Freelanders went instead to Ss. Peter & Paul's Lithuanian Church in Hazleton, but many joined St. Anthony's.

So these two photos from Tom Yaruso are from those few years when they had left St. Casimir's but the decision on what to do next had not yet been made. The basement of St. Anthony's was a temporary "home" for these Roman Catholics.

Lithuanian Peoples Chorus 1926 Lietuviu Parapijos Koras - Tom wrote that this is a picture of the "Lithuanian Peoples Choir, taken in the basement of St. Anthony's Church 1926 just after Lithuanians broke away from St. Casimir's Polish Church, and services were held in the basement of St. Anthony's Church. Third row from top, third girl from left is my aunt Verna Martonis, and fourth girl is my aunt Mary Martonis from Highland. I hope some family members [or others] can pick out their parents or grandparents." What a wonderful photo! There are 40 men, women and children shown here, along with the priest, possibly Rev. Simon J. Struckus. I wish we could hear what this choir sang in Lithuanian!

Lithuanian Wedding, late 1920s The second photo shows members of a Lithuanian wedding, again photographed in the basement of St. Anthony's Church. Tom wrote, "My aunt Verna Martonis from Highland is second girl from right. Can anyone tell me the name of the bride and groom? I would say late 1920s." I really like the headpieces that the women are wearing. Everyone looks dignified and well-posed.  Wonder who the photographer was?

I've added higher-resolution crops of both photos for better close-up views of the faces. DO YOU RECOGNIZE ANYONE from your own family photos? If so, please let me know and I'll post the information or guesses here. Please help us all to learn more about this part of Freeland's past. Thank you to Tom Yaruso for sharing these photos here.

Lithuanian Peoples Chorus 1926 Lithuanian Wedding, late 1920s

Also, I'm adding below the photo that Tom sent to post earlier (posted here in late Decemter 2016), because perhaps some of the same people are in that photo, too.

St. Casimir's Communion class St. Casimir's Communion class 1914, from Tom Yaruso: "Nice picture of St. Casimir's Communion Class 1914, Freeland. My aunt Verna Martonis from Highland is 5th girl from left, top row. Wonder how many people will know their old family members by looking at this picture?" Tom later added: "The priest is Father Inczara. The date on the picture is August, 2 1914."

Click here to see earlier posted past featured photos and more recently posted past featured photos.

--- TOP OF PAGE ---

Site contructed by C. Tancin.
The URL for this page is: