What's on this page:
- >>> Newest site updates <<<
- 20th anniversary of this Freeland history website
- Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society (NEPGS) MOVING
TO WILKES BARRE
- Freeland's Roman Catholic churches' records have been
digitized by NEPGS
- Freeland Tribune
newspapers (1889-1903) available online at the Library of Congress
- Thesis about Ralph Pecora's Tailor Shop
- Links to past Featured Photos
>>> Newest site updates
February 23, 2020
Correction made to the Saving Your History
page; information about meat
hooks added to the Merrick and Gabuzda grocery pages; more added to the Ice Sellers page.
New pages added:
fire preparedness notes on Sanborn maps
Chamber of Commerce Annual
Fashion and Appliances
business houses of Freeland - Freeland Tribune,
Address numbering changes in
December 31, 2019
Info about the WWI Memorial Grove at FHS added to home page, and a page
made for this also. Two new photos of FFD firetrucks from 1961 added to
Municipal page. Names of Sesquicentennial
Celebration committee added.
New pages added:
Ice sellers and companies
WWI Memorial Grove at FHS
A&P fire of 1974
First house built in Freeland
November 3, 2019
Two new photos of the old Upper
Lehigh Honor Roll added, from Darlene Miller.
October 6, 2019
New page made for Patrick J.
October 5, 2019
Home page updated with two new
featured articles by Joan Killian Gallagher about recovering and
restoring her family homestead in Ireland, and a talk she gave about a
scholarship to Notre Dame that she and her brothers established in
memory of their grandfather, Thomas F. Gallather, Sr.
Numerous other additions and
updates were made:
Photo of Eddie Gabuzda working at dad's store added to Eddie Gabuzda
Two photos added to Gabuzda Brothers page:
Eddie Gabuzda working at
dad's store, and article about 60 steer received at the Gabuzda farm.
New page for Mamie Boyle, local teacher,
linked on People and Schools
Photo of MMI's interim location in the Birkbeck building added to School pictures page.
Four photos from Ed Merrick's First Communion and Confirmation added to
St. Casimir's page.
New page for Pat Re's memories of growing
up in a Highland company
house, linked on a new Highland page
(in progress); Highland page linked on Nearby towns page.
New page for Tom Yaruso's views of
Highland from yesteryear, linked on
a new Highland page (in progress).
New pages for FHS classes of 1936, 1938 and 1953
linked on Schools page.
Updates made to recent
and less recent featured
September 2, 2019
Home page updated with a new featured photo of Edward Gabuzda's big
band; a page was also created for Eddie
Gabuzda and his Orchestra. The introductory splash page
and home page were also updated for 20th anniversary of this website,
and an announcement was added for the 9/14/19 Open House of the
Freeland Historical Society.
Home page updated with new featured photos -- Mamie Boyle, local
teacher -- from Eleanor Boyle Duckett. Pat Re's reminiscences of
growing up in Highland have been moved to the most recent featured
photos page. Photo showing a group of students at St. Ann's school
in Woodside in 1912, from Eleanor Boyle Duckett, also added to the page
showing student group photos.
July 27, 2019
Silk mills page added under
Factories in the 30th-century Businesses section; three Past
Featured Photos pages updated.
July 20, 2019
Numerous small corrections and additions made:
19th- and early 20th-century businesses
(corrected link to ads from
4-21-1882 Freeland Progress)
19th-century restaurants and cafes
(corrected DePierro text)
Post offices (added postal workers
listed in 1940 census)
Basketball (info added for
Maso photo by Karl Krone, and
for 1931-1932 Frank Balon photo by Eleanor Boyle Duckett)
Football (info added for FHS 1934
by Eleanor Boyle Duckett, and
for Beth Learn 1932 or 1933 photo by Karl Krone)
Churches and places of worship
St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic
Past featured photos page 2
about mystery factory -
corrections in the DiSpirito and Ambra paragraphs)
Recreation (park behind FHS
Businesses in the 1900-1901 city
(correction to Bertie the
Businesses in the 1921-1922 city
(correction to Mellet the
Grocery stores etc. (updated
Krone's store, also Hoffman/Huffman spelling)
June 16, 2019
Added to Featured Photos, a piece by Pat Re on growing up in a Highland
May 27, 2019
On Memorial Day, a note about that holiday added to home page, along
with new featured photos of five Freeland silk mill locations.
March 27, 2019
A new page for St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church was added, under
March 26, 2019
A new page for St. Ann's Church was added, under Churches. A photo of
the Freeland Shirt Company Annex from 1929 was added to the Factories page.
March 24, 2019
New pages were added for St. Anthony's, St. John Nepumucene's, and St.
linked under Churches. A new page was
made for Big Joe Ranieri.
March 23, 2019
reorganized, and with pages for Theaters, Opera houses, and Dances and
balls. Saloons page also reorganized,
in the Businesses section. Identifications added for St. Ann's 1932
class on the Gallery of student class
photos page. Two new pages linked from the Factories page in the Businesses section.
A new Freeland Hall page was added to the
March 16, 2019
New page made listing Freeland area businesses and professionals listed in the 1917 Scranton telephone directory.
March 13, 2019
Pages about Franklin N. Becker added to Mines and People sections.
Pages added under Schools for MMI 1949 and 1950. Pages were added to
the Municipal page showing photos of fire trucks from the 1920s, 1960s
Celebrating 20 years of this website
I started this website 20 years ago, it was a simple thing with maybe a
dozen or so pages, no pictures. It was just part of my personal
website. I remember just being excited to share online the names of
people and businesses listed in some early directories (found at the
Hazleton public library on microfilm), along with a list of businesses
that my brother Steve and I had put together during a road trip as we
tried to come up with the names of every business we could remember
from the 1950s and 1960s. That was the site. Here's what it looked
A year later I upgraded the site (still no pictures, though). In the
late 1990s I had found Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of Freeland in
microfilm at Carnegie Mellon, where I work, and I was ASTOUNDED that
there were old maps of Freeland that actually showed every building,
with their addresses. Not only that, a few of them also labeled most of
the businesses by type of business (Hdwr., Sal., Confect., etc.). How
completely amazing that these existed! I remember printing them out
section by section on regular typing paper and taping them together,
then taking those to Charlie Stumpf and Charlie Reczkowski to share
with them (imagine them spread out sheet by sheet on the Corner Store's
butcher table in the back room). So exciting!!! Sometime in the early
2000s I purchased digital copies, and my paper copies are now at the
Freeland Historical Society. Anyway, here's what the September 2000
site upgrade looked like:
Later it stopped being just part of my personal website and became its
own thing, with pictures and sections and the various features it has
today. I'm so happy that this site continues to be a good way to share
photos and information with anyone who has an interest. Many people
have found references to their relatives here, and sent me images and
share with others. Thank you to everyone who has contributed photos and
information to the site (with special thanks to Ed Merrick and Charlie
Gallagher), and to everyone who visits it. If you have something you
would like to share online about Freeland area history, please consider
sharing it here. And if you have some items relating to Freeland area
history that you would like to have saved/kept, please consider giving
them to the Freeland Historial Society. Thank you!!!
Freeland's past/present Roman Catholic churches' records now
digitized by NEPGS
NEPGS HAS MOVED TO WILKES BARRE.
NEPGS headquarters located at:
Angeline Elizabeth Kirby Memorial Health Center, Annex II
57 North Franklin St.
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, Inc. (NEPGS)
in partnership with the Diocese of Scranton is digitizing parish
records in eleven Pennsylvania counties, including Luzerne.
The project, which began in May 2016, reached a milestone in
January 2017 with 100 parishes completed.
Freeland's Roman Catholic parish records are all digitized, including:
Immaculate Conception/Freeland Catholic Community, Immaculate
Conception Church - Eckley, St. Ann Church in both Woodside and
Freeland, St. Anthony Church, St. Casimir Church and St. John
for public access to the Catholic records:
- Sacramental Records relating to events 70 or more years old
shall be accessible to members and patrons of NEPGS, consistent with
NEPGS Library Policies.
- Sacramental Records relating to events less than 70 years
old shall be sequestered and shall not be available to be accessed by
members or patrons of NEPGS until such time as the record become 70
- NEPGS removes from the accessible records, all references
to adoptions which occurred after January 1, 1926, which is the
effective date when civil adoption records were sealed in the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- The church records are only available on the NEPGS in-house
network. The records are not available online.
NEPGS is an all-volunteer 501c3
nonprofit organization and is open to the public.
When you visit the society, volunteer staff can answer
questions about the use of the Digital Collections.
For those who are unable to visit in person, research services
are available at reasonable rates. Memberships are also available.
Note for visitors: Non-members are required to pay a
$15.00 day pass prior to admission. An enhanced day pass for $25 also
provides access to the NEPGS library. All members/patrons are required
to sign the NEPGS Library Policy. Cameras and flash drives are
Please check out https://nepgs.com
for the latest information.
Freeland Tribune 1889-1903
There are now about 14 years' worth of Freeland Tribune newspapers
(1889-1903) available online at the Library of Congress Chronicling
America site. This represents 3 of the 14 reels of microfilm that
were made from 35 years' worth of early Freeland newspapers owned by
MMI Preparatory School. The microfilm for all of them is available for
consultation at the Hazleton Area Public Library, and now part of it is
also accessible online. Yay! Many thanks to the Hazleton Area Public
Library, MMI Preparatory School, Penn State, and to all of those who
contributed funds and those who have been otherwise involved in making
this project a reality.
Thesis about Ralph Pecora's
All of our featured photos have been wonderful, and this
we've got something extra special. Emily Pecora has recently completed
a Masters Thesis about the tailoring business of Ralph Pecora, Sr.,
which stood on Freeland's Centre Street from the early 1900s until
Ralph's death in 1959. While the thesis will be of particular
interest to those who knew Ralph or other members of the Pecora family,
it should have a larger appeal to all Freelanders and
ex-Freelanders. It can be downloaded in full here (see below).
Emily is the great granddaughter of Ralph Pecora, Sr.
granddaughter of Amelia Pecora. She welcomes comments or corrections
and is particularly interested in any additional reminisces or
information about Ralph and his family. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tailor of Freeland: Everyday Life, Labor, and Community in a
Pennsylvania Town, by Emily Pecora
Clicking these links will open Adobe PDF files of
thesis. If you don't have Adobe Reader on your computer you can
download it for free at www.adobe.com.
illustrations, table of contents - (PDF file size = 1 MB)
Chapter 1 - (PDF file size = 3.1 MB)
Chapter 2 - (PDF file size = 5.1 MB)
Chapter 3 - (PDF file size = 4.7 MB)
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.