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History of Freeland, Pa.
Around town in 1966

Views from 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).

PP&L 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.

Blizzard 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).

Merrick's 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.

Eckley 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!!!

Thank you, Ed.

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