Merkt confectionery in the Birkbeck Block

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History of Freeland, Pa.
What's featured on this home page:
  • Featured photo: Anthony's grocery store, previously Fritz's grocery store
  • Book by Melanie Akren-Dickson: You Dream Every Night That I am Home: Letters from a young Civil War soldier to his wife in Eckley
Recent pages:

Anthony's grocery store, mid-1950s Some months ago I heard from Charlie Rudewick. He wrote:

I recently found this photo of Anthony's Store (from around mid-1950s) located at 718 Walnut St. They sold candy and some pet stuff. I bought some tropical fish and a hamster from them.

When it was "Anthony's" it was owned by Willam Job Anthony and his Wife, V. Zitella Anthony. At one point, either before or after Anthony's ownership, it was Fritz's Store.

… Anthony's lived at 722 (we lived at 712 and they were on the same side of the street as us). Fritz was Zitella's maiden name and her brother and sister-in-law lived next door to them (720 Walnut). The Fritz's had a son, Mervin, who is/was my age and I think they ran the store for a while. The Fritz's moved away in the mid '50s and then the Anthony's son William moved in the Fritz house, next to Mom & Dad.

Thank you to Charlie for this. It's great to see the photo, with those big Freeland snowdrifts. I checked several directories and phonebooks for Anthony and Fritz listings relating to this address. Herbert W. Fritz had a grocery store at 718 Walnut at least since 1921. It looks like he and wife Bessie had a daughter, Zitella V., listed as a student in 1928. By 1940, Bessie Fritz was a widow at 718 and Elbert H. Fritz (with Ransom B.) ran the grocery store, but lived on Front Street. Meanwhile, William J. Anthony was at 722 Walnut, married to Zitella V. Fritz and working as a shovel operator. I didn't find the listing that showed when William Anthony and Zitella took over the Fritz grocery store, but Charlie's photo from the mid-1950s shows that it was the Anthony store by that time. And as Charlie said, the Anthonys' son William S. moved in next door to his parents, listed at 720 in 1966.

1921-1922 directory:
no Anthony, William
Fritz, Herbert W., grocer 718 Walnut, home ditto

1928-1929 directory:
no Anthony, William
Fritz, Herbert W. (Bessie) grocer 718 Walnut, home ditto
Fritz, Zitella V., student, r 718 Walnut

1937 phonebook:
Fritz, Herbert W. (Bessie) 718
Anthony, William J. 722 Walnut

1940 directory:
Anthony, William J. (Zitella), shovel opr, h 722 Walnut
Fritz, Bessie, widow Herbert W., h 718 Walnut
Fritz, Elbert H. (Ransom B) grocer 718 Walnut, home 552 Front

1941 phonebook:
William J. Anthony 722 Walnut
Elbert H. Fritz grocer 718 Walnut

1948 phonebook:
William J. Anthony 722 Walnut
Elbert H. Fritz grocer 718 Walnut

1949 phonebook:
William J. Anthony 722 Walnut
Elbert H. Fritz grocer 718 Walnut

1957 phonebook:
William J. Anthony 722 Walnut

1966 phonebook:
Anthony, William J. 722 Walnut
Anthony, William S. 720 Walnut

Thanks to Charlie for sharing the photo, memories and information about this grocery store.

You Dream Every Night, book cover RECENT BOOK on an Eckley Civil War soldier, by Melanie Akren-Dickson: You Dream Every Night That I am Home - Letters from a young Civil War soldier to his wife in Eckley ...
In 1861 John Williamson, a 22-year-old mule driver at the Eckley mine, enlisted with Company K of the Pennsylvania 81st Infantry to fight in the Civil War. He and his wife Hester were expecting their first baby. This book is based on his letters to her. Using these letters shared by a family member the author retraces his journey from Eckley to training camp, then to Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA and the Virginia Peninsula. The book includes transcriptions of the letters, then-and-now photos, maps and other images, and first-hand accounts about places he passed through. We read of this soldier’s life in the Civil War as he shared it with his wife in frequent letters to her. We also see how she was given the news of his death, and what happened with her and those around him afterward.
Now available in local bookshops and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Melanie Akren-Dickson is also the author of Coal Country Connections (previous edition titled This, Their Friendship’s Monument), a book about the signers of her great-great-great-aunt Mary Boyd of Buck Mountain’s autograph album. More about that book on the Buck Mountain page.

Pages in progress on Freeland factories and industries:

With Charles Stumpf’s Freeland book and research assistance from Ed Merrick, I am remaking the previous Factories page. I hope that the new page(s) can be posted soon, with information, photos, and some personal notes from contributors. In the meantime, this interim page has three updated sections of lists of the factories and industries that I currently know of: listed by name, by location, and as they appeared in directories and on maps. The new page coming soon will also note several worker strikes that happened. So, more is coming before long. Meanwhile, please take a look at Freeland factories and industries. If you can add to the lists, please let me know.

Request for information on George T. Kushner:

If you have any information or photos relating to George T. Kushner, Jr. to share with his niece Laura Kushner, please let me know. See the Military page for what she wrote about him.

About this website: Highlighting the Businesses section

De Pierro Brothers' Restaurant Genetti's, Feissner's, Fairchild's between the banks Genetti's, 1966

These three photos all show parts of the same block on Centre street, from the Front and Centre intersection, west side of the block and looking southwest. The photo at left shows, left to right: A. A. Bachman's, Joseph Neuberger's department store in Freeland Hall, De Pierro's restaurant, circa early 1890s, photo from John Zubach.

The center postcard shows the whole block, including (right to left): First National Bank, Fairchild's Luncheonette (sold to Elwood Whitehead in 1950 to become Woodie's), Feissner's Hardware, Genetti's, Citizen's Bank ... at far left you can see the intersection of Main and Centre and Dan Gallagher's lunchroom sign painted on the side of what was later Bertha's and is now Adam's antique store.

The right photo was taken by Ed Merrick in 1966 and again shows from right: First National Bank, Woodie's, Feissner's Hardware, Genetti's, Citizen's Bank ...

The number of businesses that have operated in Freeland is amazing. The Cottage Hotel might be the oldest remaining Freeland business, but please let me know of other contenders! In the new Businesses section you can find a huge array of many kinds of businesses. Additions and corrections are always welcome. Please visit and enjoy!


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

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

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Site contructed by C. Tancin, and last updated November 14, 2023.
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