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History of Freeland, Pa.
Grocery stores, specialty foods, stores on wheels

[The photo at top left was taken some years ago when my brother Steve and I stopped in at the Corner Store to say hello. That's him with proprietors Charlie and Margaret Reczkowski and one of Mary Ann's dogs, Lady. Mary Ann wasn't there that day, although she was very active in running the store. The store closed in January 2011, the last remnant of the many small groceries that were in business when I was a kid in the '50s and '60s. Margaret died in 2010 and Charlie died in June 2011, and Mary Ann, Robert and Charles Jr. have now passed, too.]

Photos of Andy Hazara from John Gabuzda; photo of Spock's Grocery from Mary Ann Spock; photo of Freeland Dairy from Carol Jones; photo of Remak's Truck from Nancy Penn; photo of Spock's Truck from Ann Marie Spock; all other photos by Chuck and Steve Tancin.

Additions from Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924 come to us from Ed Merrick.   Additions from the 1940 Federal Census come to us courtesy of Ed Merrick. In some instances, it's not clear whether the individual is the owner/proprietor of the store or an employee, but we'll list them here. Some of the addresses from the 1940 Census might be home addresses rather than business addresses. He adds: The handwriting was hard to decipher in many instances, and so corrections are welcome. Many of the businesses have been in the same family for years, and so the first names may differ in earlier or later years.


[Thanks to Ed Merrick for additions and corrections.]

A & P - Front & Washington Streets (previously at old PP&L site on Centre & Walnut Streets)

Genetti's - Centre St. (Genetti's: D. Genetti's Sons Inc., modern super markets, Hazleton-Freeland-Tamaqua (1954 Minamek); "52nd year in the food business." (1953 Minamek))

ShurSave Super Market - Front & Graham Streets


[Thanks to Charlie Reczkowski, Charles Rudewick, Mike Bobby, Denise Boyer, Jack Polachak, Ed Merrick, Don Snyder, Mary Ann Rosetta Schaeffer, Leslie Robin, Mark Sheaman, Jack Opilla, Carolyn Moering, Pat Ferko Miller, Ed Kushma, Austin Kerr, Barbara Opilla Gadola, George Feussner, Eddie Barna, Jolene Lavinka Szymanski, Lisa Chaykowski Merlo, Tina Velgus, Chris Grega, George Opilla, Karl Krone for additions and corrections.]

Acme Food - Centre & South Streets

Acme Food - Centre & Main Streets

American Food Store - Centre St., between South & Main Streets

Andy Ambrosi's - 99 Washington Street, Foster Township (near MMI, in the alley off Washington St.) (Andrew Ambrosi, proprietor) groceryman, private store (age 29 in 1940 Census)

Andy Hazara Andy Hazara Andy's Foods - 615 South St., ('53 Minamek), Andy Hazara proprietor, and later Andy's Meat Market, same address, same owner ('64 Minamek, from Ed Merrick) (From Mike Bobby in 2000: My parents lived next to the butcher shop at 615 South Street between Washington and Adams. The gentleman's name was Andrew Hassara and his store was Andy's Meat Market. Andy passed away in 1992 at the age of 86). For some time after that, his daughter still carried on the tradition. See also the Gabuzda Brothers page, last section. (Photos from John Gabuzda.)

Bove's Super Market - 501 Centre St. (From Eddie Barna: Another super market in town was Bove's Super Market at 501 Centre Street. Bove's also had stores in Hazleton during the 1950's. Prior to Bove's, there was an Acme Super Market at this location during the 40's and early 50's. After Bove's, the building was empty for a period of time and then opened as a laundermat and dry cleaning business by John Yagalla.)

Branz's - 511 Fern St., Leonard Branz proprietor(age 34 in 1940 Census)

                Grocery Brueningsen's
                Grocery Brueningsen's - 800 Birkbeck St.  Bobby Maso wrote an article about this business for the Standard Speaker, published 1-11-2009. He noted that the store on Birkbeck Street was built in October of 1900 and the store was opened by August Harold Brueningsen. His two sons, Harold Sr. ("Pud") and Walter ("Yop") worked at the store almost from its beginnings. Maso said that August might have had a produce stand at the Central Hotel as far back as 1896, and that Brueningsen's was the first local grocery to have a store on wheels, serving Freeland, Eckley, Highland and Upper Lehigh. They eventually opened a second, smaller store in Upper Lehigh, which I remember from my own childhood visits there. The Upper Lehigh store closed in 1982 and the main store on Birkbeck Street closed on Sept. 20, 1986.

Butchko's - South St. (Michael Butchko, proprietor)

Joe's Meat
                Market Joe's Meat
                Market, Chaykowski's Joe's Chaykowski's Meat Market - Centre St., between Carbon & Luzerne Streets (Joe Chaykowski, proprietor; later run by Jack and Fay Cichy) The photo on the left comes from Ed Merrick, and the photo on the right comes from Lisa Chaykowski Merlo. (From Ed Merrick: This is from February 1964 and shows my Dad standing in front of Joe Chaykowski's former store, then being run by Jack and Fay Cichy. The old sign, Joe's Meat Mkt., is still up. In the background is the sign in front of Ostroff's Groceries, Pennsupreme Ice Cream. 18 inches of snow had fallen.) (From Lisa Chaykowski Merlo: My grandfather is Joseph W. Chaykowski, the original proprietor and namesake of Joe's Meat Market on Centre Street. Therefore, if you would like to include the attached image of my grandfather and father, a WWII vet (Joseph A. Chaykowski) standing directly in front of Joe's Meat Market, you have my permission. A little bit of history -- after my grandfather died, my father owned and ran the store for a small time but then gave it to my Uncle Jack Cichy and his wife, Fay to operate until it was sold to the VFW to allow the organization to build a parking lot for their adjacent building. My father was the chief draftsman for KBI in Hazleton, a graduate of MMI and was involved in many Freeland community activities including President of the Freeland Neighborhood Organization (during the 70's), Toastmasters, etc. In addition, he taught a well attended ceramics class, two nights a week (often with my mother, Helen) at the Freeland YMCA until his death in 1976.)

George Cheppa's - 1120 Walnut St.

The Corner
                Market food sack The Corner Market Corner Store - 532 Ridge St. (Charlie & Margaret Reczkowski, proprietors)  ('54 Minamek) (From Chuck Tancin: Charlie had the Corner Market there on Ridge and Main streets since 1951, before he was married. He originally ran it with his brothers, then later with his wife Margaret with help from their children, and most recently it was run single-handedly by daughter Mary Ann. Sadly, the store closed in January 2011. It was the lone surviving small grocery from a time when there were such stores in every neighborhood in town. Everyone will miss this longtime local landmark, with its good catering, dependability and friendly service. I saved a food sack from a purchase, on which Charlie had done his usual pencilled figuring to determine the amount owed, the bag also doubling as a receipt. This used to be common practice in these small groceries when I was a kid, but now is rarely seen.)

Citterio's - Woodside (Finest Quality Italian Style Meat Products) (from 1986 St. Casimir's booklet via Ed Merrick)

Drauschak's - 923 Schwabe St. (George (Juri in Slovak) Drauschak, proprietor) (in some directories, 925 Schwabe) (age 25 in 1940 Census)

Druian - 98 Washington Street, Foster Township (Louis Druian, proprietor) private business. (age 29 in 1940 Census)

Evancho's - Vine & Walnut Streets (Joseph Evancho, butcher) retail shop. (age 51 in 1940 Census) 359 Centre Street (James Gallagher, proprietor) merchant (age 69 in 1940 Census)

Faye's - Centre St., between Luzerne & Carbon Streets - see Joe Chaykowski's Meat Market, above - later run by Jack and Faye Cichy

H.W. Fritz - 718 Walnut Street, Freeland. Grocer. (Source: Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924)

Gabuzda's Gabuzda's - 899 Centre St. (Stephen A. Gabuzda, proprietor). See also the Gabuzda Brothers page.  Gabuzda Bros., corner of Centre and Chestnut streets, Freeland. Meats, groceries and provisions. (Source: Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924)

Gabuzda's Meats and Groceries - 633 Centre St. (George Gabuzda, proprietor) ('53 Minamek) See also the Gabuzda Brothers page.

Gallagher's - Centre & Luzerne Streets ; in 1940, 359 Centre Street (James Gallagher, proprietor), merchant (age 69 in 1940 Census)

Guzak - 435 South Street, Michael Guzak, retail grocery (age 59 in 1940 Census)

Haines's - 301 Washington St.

Hawk's - 437 Alvin Street (Charles E. Hawk, proprietor; listed in the 1928-1929 Freeland directory under Grocers) (From his son, Barry Hawk: My Father had a grocery store on Alvin Street.  I don't remember when he opened it, but I know he closed it around 1939, due to the depression. He had a lot of people on the books and just couldn't continue to let people charge. He opened another Grocery store in Conyngham, Pa. about 10 years later and operated it until about 1965, 364 days a year; he was closed Christmas Day.) (From Chris Grega: I was down the Public Park last night and talked with a lady who said her grandparents had a store on Birkbeck St. during the depression. Somewhere near the old livery stable. It was called Hawks.)

Herkalo's - 904 Center St. (From Billy Kuklis: They had good penny candy there, I used to stop there after school.)

Hoffman's (or Huffman's?) - 997 Walnut St. (From Don Snyder, via Ed Merrick: The proprietor was Albert Hoffman, but the store was run by his wife, Sarah, and her sister, Mary Ann) (From Jolene Lavinka Szymanski: When my grandparents lived on Walnut Street, my sister and I visited them in the summers and we played with many neighborhood kids who lived near or on Walnut Street. My grandparents were very strict about what we did. Hoffmanns or "Hoffies" was a hangout - great ice cream and "penny candy.") (From Karl Krone: Hoffman's store under businesses is misspelled. I clearly remember that it was Huffman's.)

Johnson's - 1129 Birkbeck St. (James M. Johnson, proprietor) (This store later became Spock's, probably in the 1940s.)

Kislan's - 308 Oak St. (From Billy Kuklis: Did you know there was a small grocery store located on Oak Street? It was owned and operated by Frank and Eva Kislan sometime in the early 1960's. I remember it because we used to live on Ingham Street.)

Adam Latz's - 947 Ridge St.

Lenny Lenhart's - 443 Center St. (From Jack Polachak: building was previously Hymie Kline's clothing store)

Letchak's fruit store - 721 Main St.

Letchak's grocery store - 440 Cedar St., at Cedar & South Streets

Masley's grocery store - 457 Hemlock St., at South & Hemlock Streets, entrance on South St. (Mike and Mary Masley, proprietors) (From Mary Ann Rosetta Schaeffer: My Uncle Mike Masley lived at 457 Hemlock St. & South St. and he and his wife Aunt Mary had a grocery store at their home for many years.  My Mom, Helen, remembers it as her family lived next door to them. My Mom then was a widow with a family.  They used to help my grandmother out with food. My Mother remembers the store being there before l934 as that's when she got married and lived with her Mother there, I would think in the l920's)

Site of Merrick's
                Food Market Merrick's Food Market - 355 Centre St. (Anthony Merrick, proprietor), photo at left (From Ed Merrick: Before he opened the store in 1950, my dad had a store-on-wheels and before that a store in the double home that Butch Sosnowski owned at Washington and Luzerne streets.) See the Tony Merrick page for more.

Mesko's - South & Hemlock Sts. (Steve and Mary Mesko, proprietors) (From Ed Kushma: There was a small food store - Mesko's  …  I worked there for a couple of years when I was in school during the late 50's. The store was run by Mrs. Mesko while Mr. Mesko drove a mobile grocery bus in the area.)

Neune's - Ridge St. below Luzerne St.

Billy Nitka's - South St., between Fern and Vine Streets was the most recent location before he closed the store. (From Ed Merrick: Billy Nitka's Quality Meats & Groceries, 511 Fern St. ('53 Minamek). My Uncle Billy had stores at various times all over the place, including one on the Airport Road in Hazleton.) See also the Tony Merrick page, final section, for more info and a photo of Billy Nitka.

Novotnak's Grocery - northwest corner of Fern and Main Streets? (From Eddie Barna: I believe it was John Novotnak and his wife that ran it during the 50's and early 60's.) ; earlier: 1301 South Street (George Novotnak, proprietor) retail store, home at 426 Green Street (age 36 in 1940 Census)

Ad for Oleyar's from 1921 directory Ad for Oleyar's from 1928 directory Oleyar's - 427 Centre St. (Michael Oleyar, proprietor) (1921-22 and 1928-29 city directories) The expanded offerings listed on the longer 1928 ad suggest that the store did well and expanded after the shorter 1921 ad was published in the 1921 city directory.

Oleyar's - 533 Vine Street, (Frank Oleyar, proprietor) grocer, grocery store (age 40 in 1940 Census)

Omaska's - 802 Ridge St. (Michael Omaska, proprietor)

Opilla's Fine Foods - 984 South St., later moving to 348 Park St. (Michael (Buck) Opilla, proprietor) (From Jack Opilla: My Mother Elizabeth and Father Michael (aka Bucky) operated Opilla's Fine Foods from 984 South Street and moved to 348 Park Street in 1953 ( technically  Foster Township). There was a small grocery  store and a bus my Father converted to a store on wheels. His route was Eckley  and the Jeddo's. The bus was the first to have both a refrigerator and freezer. When he retired, he sold the bus but kept the store. He continued to make small  deliveries by car to mostly his old customers in Jeddo.) (From Barbara Opilla Gadola: My uncle, Michael (Buck) Opilla, had his first grocery store that I can remember on South St between Vine and Fern St just below the St. John's Nepomucene RC Church. He then built a new home on Park St. and his grocery store was in the lower level of that house. He also had a store on wheels which was a converted passenger bus. He served many "patch" towns on his route and also made grocery deliveries in his station wagon to the elderly and shut-ins.) (From Pat Miller: Opilla....Small store on wheels. A converted bus...a big orange bus.) (From George Opilla: My Dad's store was first located on South Street and later on Park Street in Freeland. ... About Michael (Buck) Opilla: even my own mother never called him Michael.)

Site of Ostroff's
                Food Market Ostroff's Food Market - 337 Centre St., between Luzerne & Carbon Streets (Michael Ostroff, proprietor) ('51 Minamek)

Palya's Butcher Shop - 452 Centre St. (George Palya, proprietor) (From Jack Polachak: Tommy Bzdil (who married Helen Palya) had Tommy's BBQ Restaurant in the  same location prior to the flower store.)  See also the Palya's webpage.

Palya's - Centre St., between Front & Walnut Streets

Quinn's - Washington St., below Carbon St.

Ravina's - Ridge & Carbon Streets (John and Emma Ravina, proprietors) (From Eddie Barna: He was a brother to Leo, my wife's grandfather.)

Reese's - 901 Centre St. , corner of Centre and Chestnut streets  (Catharine (Kate) Reese, proprietor) (From Carolyn Moering: Catharine (Kate) Reese, widow of David Reese, eldest daughter of Julius and Mary Fox, purchased the property at 901 Centre St. - I would guess early 1920's - rented out apartments and also resided there. They opened a grocery/general mdse store in the front part of the first floor, selling bakery items from J. Fox & Sons, penny candy, etc.)

Repetz's - corner of Ridge & Walnut Streets

Michael Robin's Corner Store - 604 Vine St.

Sandora Brothers Fine Foods - 984 South St. ('53 Minamek)

Stanley C. "Butch" Sosnowski's - 355 Washington St. (From Ed Merrick: He also delivered with a horse-drawn wagon. My dad rented this double house at the corner of Washington and Luzerne from Butch after World War II and operated a store there for a few years.) - listed at 334 Washington Street in 1940 census, butcher, grocery. See the Tony Merrick page for more about the Sosnowski butchers and a photo.

John Spock and Sons,
                Groceries John Spock and Sons, Groceries - 1129 Birkbeck St. (John Spock and Sons, Groceries ('53 Minamek), John Spock Sr., proprietor) (From Denise Boyer, granddaughter of John Spock: My mom said Spock's grocery used to be Johnson's. Mom says they are from Sandy Run and my grandfather took over the store about 1941 or 1942. He used to help run Fox's grocery store in Sandy Run.) (Photo provided by Ann Marie Spock.)

(From Tina Velgus: Hello, I was reading your website about the stores in freeland, loved seeing my great grandfather's store on there! I spent my childhood growing up in the store on 1129 Birkbeck St. with my very kind, very sweet and loving aunt Mary (Mary Elizabeth Spock). She was the one who ran the store after the death of her parents and then up until she had gotten sick with cancer and passed away - in 1996 I believe. I was wondering if there was any way you could mention her in the article? She dedicated her entire life to that store and to her family. Anyone alive today who remembers the store will most likely remember her. It would be a fitting tribute to a wonderful woman and would also mean the world to me. Thank you, Tina Velgus)

Swishko's - 307 Alvin Street, Stephen Swishko, merchant, own place (age 48 in 1940 Census)

Yeskewich - 441 Ridge Street, William Yeskewich, grocer, grocery store (age 42 in 1940 Census)


[Thanks to Mike Bobby, John Gabuzda, Jack Polachak, Ed Merrick, Charlie Rudewick, Joe Zoshak, Carolyn Moering, Pat Ferko Miller, Sam Drozic, Jr., Bill Feissner, Peter Kundra, Barbara Nocchi Adomshick, Neil Fisch, Judy Domchick, Jim DiSpirito for additions and corrections.]

Andy's Meat Market - 615 South St., between Centre & Washington Streets, run for a long time by Andy Hasara, famous for his kielbasa. See also the Gabuzda Brothers page for more information about him.

Bott's - Walnut St. (butcher, sold chicken fingers, other meat products)

Capece's candy store - 451 Centre St. (Mary E. Capece, proprietor)

Carr's Bottling Works (soda) - Freeland/White Haven Highway; formerly at 818 Front St. (F. Carr, proprietor) ('52 Minamek)

Davis Feed
                Store fire B.F. Davis
                Feed Mill on 1923 map B.F. Davis
                Feed Mill on 1900 map B.F. Davis & Sons Feed Mill - Johnson and Birkbeck streets (Benjamin F. Davis, proprietor). This feed mill appears on early Sanborn maps under B. F. Davis's name, as on the detail from the 1900 map shown at near right. Note that it says that the building was heated by steam and had oil lights. (The nearby Eagle Hotel in this 1900 map detail is the site of what was later Krone's store.) By 1923 a new building had been built on the corner of Birkbeck and Johnson streets, as on map detail at far right. The photo at left, from Ed Merrick, shows the aftermath of the devastating fire at this mill. - B. F. Davis & Son, Freeland. Wholesale dealers in flour, feed, grain, hay, sugar, poultry, food, etc. (Source: Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924)

DiSpirito Bros. Flour
                and Feed Faded Cresota Flour
                sign Prize Bread
                Flour of the World DiSpirito Bros. Flour and Feed - south Washington Street at the railroad crossing. Jim DiSpirito tells me that Aniello "Neal" DiSpirito and his brother, Pasquale DiSpirito, bought the property from Armour Beef Co. Aniello/Neal married Fanny and they had 3 sons: Augustine (Gus), Vincent (Vince), and Pasquale (Packy). Packy is 92 and lives in New Jersey.

This building was torn down a few years ago. There was a faded ad for Ceresota Flour still visible on the side, and as shown in the close-up at right you could barely see the rusted remains of their slogan, "Prize Bread Flour of the World," which had been painted just as it's shown in this copy of their ad. (From Ed Merrick: Pasquale "Packy" and Angelo DiSpirito lived with their mother, Fanny, in a big white house with a large porch just south of our place at 342 Washington." [Corrected by DiSpirito grandson Neil Fisch, who writes that Fanny was Aniello's wife, and that the family lived at 326 Washington St.; also corrected by Jim DiSpirito who says that there was no Angelo in that generation, so it would have been Packy and either Vince or Gus living with Fanny at the time Ed remembers. Gus was Jim's father.] Ed continues: There was an empty lot next door, which they owned. Fanny was the scourge of our alley baseball games because she wouldn't allow us to come in her yard to retrieve baseballs that were hit there. [Now this is very funny: Jim DiSpirito wrote: What it says about Fanny, my grandmother is true, regarding the balls. After she died Packy and me found two buckets full in her basement.] ) (From Pat Ferko Miller: DiSpirito Feed and Grocery store. Washington Street  at the railroad tracks. Train used to unload flour bags etc. at the side door. I think the building still stands or a part of it may still be there. Catty corner from that facility (across the tracks) was a lumber yard. I believe that it closed in the 50s.) [building torn down after Pat wrote that.] (From Sam Drozic: It was down Washington St. by the RR tracks on the side of the street where Turri's Bar was. It was the last bldg. before the old train station. There was a gray, wooden stairway that took you to the actual store part which was on the second story. The first story, I believe, was used for loading and unloading grain and supplies by the tracks. When you walked in, you had to go towards the rear of the store and to the left side to pay at the register. It had a little of everything from hardware to candy.) - DiSpirito Bros. Freeland. Dealers in flour, feed, hay, straw, grain. (Ed Merrick, from: Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924)

Domchick's Meats Domchick's
                Meats Domchick's Meats - 350 Centre St. (George Domchick, proprietor). These photos come from Judy Domchick, who wrote: "My Grandfather was George Domchick from Freeland who married Elizabeth Wilson (of Alvin Street). He was a butcher by trade. ... My Grandfather is the one in white on the step with hands behind him. ... PapPap had his store when my Dad was a kid (he was born in 1916 so maybe mid 1920's. Don't know if he had it when Dad was born but he told me he used to run deliveries for him to people's houses."

Donut World - Centre St., between Luzerne and South Streets (From Mike Bobby: Sophie's Restaurant was occupied by a donut shop called "Donut World" in the early 1980s. My Mom briefly worked there. It is now the site of Northside Restaurant.)

Doynics' candy store - Dewey St. (Will Doynics, proprietor) (From Bill Feissner: I think this was before your time at Freeland High, but across the street in an empty lot was a small shack that had a candy store in it (now Gyp's parking lot). It was owned by Will Doynics. I believe it closed about 1958.)

Evans - 705 Front Street, Jonah Evans, butcher, employer (age 70 in 1940 Census)

J. Evans -  611 Centre Street. Fresh and smoked meats. Milton sausage a specialty. (Source: Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924)

Feist's Wholesale Confectioner - 818 Front St. (R. E. Feist, proprietor) ('51 Minamek)

Fox & Sons Bakery - 612 Centre St. (Julius Fox, proprietor) (From Carolyn Moering: As so many in Freeland, the Foxes came from Germany and were able to build their businesses after doing their turn as miners. Julius Fox bought the bakery/ice cream business of "Mr. Laubach" approx 1910 and located on 612 Centre St. "J. B. Laubach was the proprietor of the Vienna Bakery on Centre St...included a confectionery & ice cream parlor" ["Freeland", Charles Stumpf, p. 15] "The Julius A. Fox & Sons business expanded with the general prosperity of the country. A large new bakeshop was built at the rear of our property on Centre Street. It was considered to be very modern with larger ovens and bins." (Meyers, Dog, Deer & the Fox, p. 48). Ice cream was made at the 612 Centre location. J. Fox & Sons purchased another building, 435 Centre, about 1918-1920, an outlet for additional sales. "The large display room was equipped with glass cases for our bakery products and tables and chairs for yet another ice cream parlor." (Meyers, p. 48) The business dwindled in the 1930's, and the 435 Centre location closed. Partners in J. Fox & Sons: Julius A. Fox, Irving J. Fox, William G. Fox. A 1998 photo of the building where J. Fox & Sons was located shows it was then Whippet Pizza.)

Freeland Dairy
                Truck Freeland Dairy
                Truck Freeland Dairy
                Truck Freeland Dairy - Brengle St. (Louis and Albert Corazza, proprietors) (milk, delivered to homes and stores) (Free-Land Milk and Dairy Products ('51 Minamek) (Photos come from Carol Jones.) See also the Freeland Dairy webpage.

Glen Almus Dairy - Pond Creed, Rte. 940, east of Freeland. See also the Gabuzda Brothers page.

Hazle Milk and Ice Cream - 530 Centre St. (1940 city directory)

Andy Hasara's Meat Market - 615 South St., (Andy Hasara, proprietor and butcher), meats and groceries. Between Centre & Washington Streets, run for a long time by Andy Hasara, famous for his kielbasa. See also the Gabuzda Brothers page for more information about him. (age 33 in 1940 census)

Johnny's Meat Market - 350 Centre St.

Site of Krone's
                Store Krone's - 500 Johnson St. (From Ed Merrick: Grover Krone, proprietor) (From Chuck Tancin: I loved this store when I was a teenager. Mrs. Krone ran it at that time, and Gladys would usually also be there. They had great ice cream and lots of good snack foods, along with dolls and toys. Mrs. Krone was friendly and interesting to talk to. I gave her a lot of business. My dad also knew her and sometimes he would take me and my brother Steve there to get ice cream and chat with Mrs. Krone for a bit. My favorite ice cream there was peanut butter, and she also sold bags of those little bright orange waffle cracker sandwiches that were filled with some kind of cheddar cheese spread. And great cheese-covered popcorn!)

(From Karl Krone: I have been reading your website on the History of Freeland and wanted to offer a few comments about Krone's Store. Frederick and Anna Krone moved from Jim Thorpe around 1897 and purchased the property from someone named Miller. (Deed book, Luzerne County Courthouse) At that time, it was actually a hotel with an outdoor beer garden hidden by a fence. The garden was fairly elaborate. After Frederick and Anna died, the property passed through several offspring before finally ending up in the hands of Grover (One of Fred and Anna's sons) and Evelyn Coxe Krone. (Evelyn was actually Charlie Coxe's sister - Charlie of Charlie's Men's Store). Gladys who was often seen in the store with Evelyn was another descendant of the Krone family. She was not a blood relative of Evelyn. Gladys was a bit of a town mystery and the cause of much speculation. She seldom spoke. Evelyn was quite a character. She believed in Astrology and the natural order of things. The front window of the store was filled with plush stuffed animals. In addition, they sold candy, some groceries, loose cigarettes and delicious Yuengling's Ice Cream. (The makers of Yuengling Beer went into the ice cream business during prohibition continuing into the early eighties.) Other money makers in the store were special pinball machines and punchboards that discreetly awarded cash prizes. The store usually only closed weekly on Tuesday afternoon when Evelyn walked to the bank with her briefcase. There were often long lines for ice cream in the Summer. The strength of Evelyn's wrist for scooping ice cream was legendary. In closing, I just want to say keep up the good work. Frederick and Anna were my great grandparents. Prior to the last owner, the building was bright red including the concrete steps.)

Learn’s Confectionery Store - 606 Centre, Freeland. Candy, cigars, tobacco, ice cream, confectionery. (Source: Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register, circa 1924)
                Dairy Bottletop
Clem Lekitski's Meat Market - Birkbeck St.

Lesser's Dairy - 905 Pine St. (George A. Lesser, proprietory) (1940 city directory)

Mom's candy store - 323 Centre St. (Anna Della Croce, proprietor) (1948 phonebook) (CT: This was the small penny candy store just up the street from our apartment on Centre and Carbon Sts. when I was little; it was a building or two up from Pappalardo's garage. Mom was a nice old lady who had infinite patience with kids who couldn't make up their minds about how to spend their nickels. And, even better, in the back corner by the radiator she had a stack of used comic books that you could buy -- I seem to remember buying 2 for a nickel, if that's possible. So that helped feed my reading habit, from Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash to Donald Duck, Ritchie Rich, Little Audrey, Archie, etc. -- I gave her a lot of business, if not a lot of money.) (AND I was so excited to recently see Anna Della Croce listed at this address in the 1948 phonebook, because I've been looking for "Mom's" name for a long time.)

Nicky Nocchi's hot dog store - Centre St., between Luzerne & South Streets (From Barbara Nocchi Adomshick: His first business venture began in 1939 in a building which was owned at the time by Marchetti's on the east side of Centre Street. It was here that five cent hot dogs, penny cigarettes, ice cream and onc-cent candy were the main fare. His second move was in the building formerly known as Nassan's. Because of his expanding business and his desire to have a larger store, he purchased his final location in 1951 at the corner of Centre and South Streets.)

Nocchi's Variety Store (candy, sundries, and later a pharmacy) - Centre & South Streets (From Barbara Nocchi Adomshick: A soda fountain, jewelry, cosmetics, children's clothing and cards were added as a few more offerings of the store. A Lucky Bucks Club was born in the mid-1950s. For each purchase, one was able to play a lucky bucks number and had a chance to win money. Everyone in the family at one point or another had the opportunity to work in the store.) (Please also see a special page on Nocchi's Variety Store.)

Novelty Corner - 305 Centre St. (Pete Kundra, proprietor) (From Ed Merrick: Pete sold mainly magazines and just a few food staples, such as bread. He was a teacher at Foster Township High School, and the store was his way of moonlighting.) (From Charlie Rudewick: My uncle, Pete Kundra, used to have a candy store, one or two buildings away from your family store. He moved to New Jersey sometime in the 60's but it was definitely there during your time frame of the 50's - 70's.) (From Peter Kundra: Actually the name of the store was "Novelty Corner". I still have a paper sign with its name in my barn. The origin of the store, as I remember from my Dad, was when John Tancin told my Dad that when he bought some property he was going to provide some space to him for a business. The day finally came when John bought the property on Centre Street and in fact asked my Dad to rent a store. Novelty Corner was a small shop that sold a variety of items: cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, candy, ice cream, soda, sporting goods like balls, bats, gloves, magazines, bread, and a sundry of other stuff. It was open on nights only during the week and during the day on Saturdays. Both my Mom and Dad worked in the store and I spend much time there at nights, and spent time watching your relatives make recapped tires, and door mats. They discontinued the shop when my Father took a teaching position with the Pennsbury Schools in Fallsington, PA. He also coached basketball in the disrtict and retired in 1983. My Father was a science teacher at Foster Twp and also served as the basketball coach for a few years, until about 1954. He was also head of the baseball league in Freeland. Baseball was a big thing in those days and the teams were comprised of guys out of high school and working in jobs in the area. As a basketball coach, some of the young guys he coached, as I recall, were Ron Rossi (now Sheriff in Lehigh Co.), Carl Dargi, the Falatko brothers, Antolckik, and many others. My father kept a scrap book of various sports events in Freeland.)

Oslav's - 331 Ridge Street (Andrew Oslav, proprietor, butcher), meat market (age 55 in 1940 Census)

Palsky's Meat Market - 723 Front St. (Anthony Palsky, proprietor)

Palya's Butcher Shop - George Palya - 452 Centre St. (later given to his daughter, Helen Palya Bzdil; site of Bzdil's BBQ and later Bzdil's Florist Shop). See the George Palya page for more information and a great photo.

Pennsylvania Liquor Store - 249 Centre St. (before its later location on Centre St. above Main St.)

Pingar's Dairy & Bottling Plant - 178 Washington Street (Michael Pingar, dairyman), private dairy. (age 42 in 1940 Census)

Rocky Parris Candies - School & Walnut Streets, later moved to Ridge St.

Rodzewich's - 326 Centre St. (William Rodzewich, proprietor), grocery (1940 city directory)

Peter Rodzewich - grocery, 207 Adams Street (1940 Census) (CT: I'm guessing he lived on Adams St. and worked in William Rodzewich's store at 326 Centre St., unless he also had a grocery store on Adams St.?)

Sharp's Bakery, early 20th
                century Sharp's Bakery - 719 Front St., and another location on 940 across from the Foster Twp schools, where Citterio's is now (Ed Sharp, proprietor) (From Joe Zoshak: they had a luncheonette and retail bakery outlet; also, they had an outlet store on Front St., between Centre & Washington Streets) (From Pat Ferko Miller: Sharps original bakery was on Front Street behind the store prior to relocation in Foster Twp. In the 50s and 60s they used to hand out a cookie and a nickle to every "Halloweener" that sang a song . That was quite generous.)

Silvasi's Meat Market - 409 Centre St. (Emri Silvasi, proprietor); see also the end of the Gabuzda Brothers page for information and a photo.

Viola's (bakery? confectionary?) - Centre St., between South & Luzerne Streets

Ye Olde Bake Shop - Centre & Main Streets  (From Mike Bobby: My uncle briefly ran a bake shop formerly occupied by Bertha's Gift Shop, at the corner of Main and Centre across from the Refowich, called "Ye Olde Bake Shop." It was there for about one year, in 1981.)


In addition to their general customers, some of these businesses also catered to elderly and/or infirm people who couldn't walk to the stores; some had moved into town from nearby villages, no garden, no canning anymore ... This list has been expanded with entries from the 1940 Federal Census by Ed Merrick (thanks, Ed!). Some of the people named owned the businesses, others worked for business owners, but all would have been familiar faces in their time as they brought food to the patch towns and to those who couldn't easily go to the stores on their own.

[Thanks to Ed Merrick, Ann Spock, Charlie Rudewick, Jack Opilla, Leslie Trau, Pat Ferko Miller, Marianne Marencin, Ed Kushma, Barbara Opilla Gadola, Tom Detweiler, Patricia Bzdil Paul for additions and corrections.]

Francis Boyle - 554 South Street, truck driver, milk route. (age 38 in 1940 Census)

Joseph Butchko -  457 South Street, truck driver, dairy. (age 21 in 1940 Census)

George Cheppa - grocery

Colangelo - grocery truck (From Hazleton) 

Feeney Donato (rag collector) (From Charlie Rudewick: I used to wait for the Rag Man to come and connect our burlap bags to his scale and then let me know if I had enough money for a nickel popcorn and 15 cent admission to matinee at the "Ref" (Refowich), the "Rathole" (Rialto) or the "Greeks" (Saint Mary's).)

Cal Drasher - egg delivery (From Patricia Bzdil Paul: "BTW, we had an "egg-man" that delivered eggs each week - Cal Drasher was his name, I believe.")

Joseph Evans - 558 South Street, driver, milk route (age 27 in 1940 Census)

Freeland Dairy - Brengle Street (Lou Corazza, proprietor)

Edward Gallagher - trucker, green truck (age 29 in 1940 Census)

Joseph Johnson - 512 Walnut Street, iceman, employer (age 45 in 1940 Census)

Stephen B. Kobelka - milk truck, salesman, dairy products.  (age 28 in 1940 Census) See also the Gabuzda Brothers page, in the section on the Glen Almus Dairy.

Jackie Kochie - North Side

Adam Latz - grocery truck

Sheldon C. Learn - 607 Walnut Street, trucker, baker (age 42 in 1940 Census)

Joe Macko - bakery truck (Stroehman's???)

Mattavi Bros. beer distributors

Joseph "Germy" Mattis - 407 Park Street, Woodside, Freeland, salesman agent, bakery (age 30 in 1940 Census)

Tony Merrick - store on wheels (From Ed Merrick: We would alternate days between Highland and Jeddo. I can still smell the odor of the coal-oil stove my Dad had on the truck in an attempt to warm its interior on cold days ....)
Mesko's - South & Hemlock Sts. (Steve and Mary Mesko, proprietors) (From Ed Kushma: There was a small food store - Mesko's  …  I worked there for a couple of years when I was in school during the late 50's. The store was run by Mrs. Mesko while Mr. Mesko drove a mobile grocery bus in the area.) See also the Tony Merrick page.

Steve Mesko - (this name comes from George Opilla)

Charles H. Moerschbacher - (From Leslie Trau: My great-great grandfather (Charles H Moerschbacher) is listed in the Freeland Business Directory 1884-1886. My dad tells me that Charles H. Moerschbacher had his own business and he used to sell pies and beer. His son Charles E would drive around town in his little horse drawn carriage and deliver the goods for his father.)

Ofstroff - grocery truck

Opilla - 984 South St., later moving to 348 Park St. (From Jack Opilla: My Mother Elizabeth and Father Michael (aka Bucky) operated Opilla's Fine Foods from 984 South Street and moved to 348  Park Street in 1953 ( technically Foster Township). There was a small grocery store and a bus my Father converted to a store on wheels. His route was Eckley  and the Jeddo's. The bus was the first to have both a refrigerator and freezer. When he retired, he  sold the bus but kept the store. He continued to make small deliveries by car to mostly his old customers in Jeddo.) (From Barbara Opilla Gadola: My uncle, Michael (Buck) Opilla, had his first grocery store that I can remember on South St between Vine and Fern St just below the St. John's Nepomucene RC Church. He then built a new home on Park St. and his grocery store was in the lower level of that house. He also had a store on wheels which was a converted passenger bus. He served many "patch" towns on his route and also made grocery deliveries in his station wagon to the elderly and shut-ins.) (From Pat Miller: Opilla....Small store on wheels. A converted bus...a big orange bus.)

[Popcorn man] (also sold candy apples)

Price's Dairy - (From George Opilla: The Hazleton Dairy Truck/wagon that was pulled by horses was owned by Price's Dairy in Hazleton. They ysed the horses mainly in Hazleton.)

Remak's Truck Remak - store on wheels - 709 Main St. (John Remak, proprietor) (From Ed Merrick: "John Remak (my uncle), was the proprietor. My grandfather, Mike Remak, started this business. Early on, he also distributed beer from a horse-drawn wagon. My grandfather also had two stores-on-wheels, which were driven by my dad, Tony Merrick, and my uncles, Mickey and George … My Dad worked for his father-in-law, Michael Remak, on this truck until he went to work for Emro Silvasi). See also the Mike Remak page, as well as the Gabuzda Brothers page that includes information on Emri Silvasi and a photo of him.

Anthony Sacco - 624 Ridge Street, truck driver, ice (age 21 in 1940 Census)

Sharp - bakery truck

Stanley C. "Butch" Sosnowski - 355 Washington St. (From Ed Merrick: He also delivered with a horse-drawn wagon.) See also the Tony Merrick page for more about Jacob and Stanley Sosnowski and their butcher business.

Spock's Truck John Spock - store on wheels - 1129 Birkbeck St. (From Ann Spock) (From Tom Detweiler: Especially loved his freshly baked goods. I can still smell the various aromas that assailed one as you stepped into his truck.. I believe that he (and his family) did bake the goods since the breads and rolls were still warm. He sold many of the goods that he had in his store from his truck. It was a great help for my grandparents and probably others in Freeland to have him and his rolling store in action. I believe his whole family was involved with the store. He was a fairly large man, extremely jovial.) (From George Opilla: his first name was John; he was my uncle.)

Mr. Softie - soft ice cream

John Stofka - 716 South Street, salesman, retail ice (age 30 in 1940 Census)

Tancin's Bake Truck Tancin - bakery truck, photo at left - (Lefty Tancin, Upper Lehigh)

Aloysius Urenovich - 76 Main Street, Highland, distributor, bakery (age 25 in 1940 Census)

Andrew Uricheck - 602 Ridge Street, milk delivery, dairy (age 25 in 1940 Census)

Gordon Weaver - 349 Ridge Street, driver, supply company (age 46 in 1940 Census)

Edward Yori - 622 Ridge Street, delivery man, ice (age 33 in 1940 Census)

Peter J. Yori - 704 Walnut Street, trucker, soda company (age 47 in 1940 Census)

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