John Tancin garage, Centre and Carbon Streets, ca. late 1940s

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History of Freeland, Pa.
Transportation in the automotive age

What's on this page:
  • 20th- and 21st-century automobile-related businesses (with pics and reader comments)
  • Automobile-related businesses listed in directories 1917-1940
On related pages:

Automobiles in the U.S. date to the 1880s, and they were becoming more common in the late 1890s, but it wasn't until Henry Ford introduced the Model T and William Durant founded General Motors in 1908 that they really began to take hold here. BEFORE THAT there was a lot of reliance on horses and mules for hauling and hard work (horsepower) as well as for business deliveries and personal travel. The mules were mostly used in the mines. Horses were used everywhere. And, of course, back then people also walked a lot more. Freeland was full of all kinds of businesses and if you were in good enough condition to walk, you could walk to anywhere in town and pretty much find whatever you needed.

20th- and 21st-century auto-related businesses

Automobile sales and repair
Garages, gas stations
Auto supplies

[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.]

Al's Texaco - Ridge St., below Carbon St.

American Auto - 624 Centre St.

Atlantic Service Station - Centre and South Sts. - James E. Lutz - Atlantic Ultra Wash gives protective washing for nylons, woolens and all fine fabrics, available here (from Ed Merrick, 1946 ad) - See also Stoffa's, below; Ed Merrick is helping me to put together a list of people who have run this Atlantic Service Station, so that will be posted here at some point

Balas's (new tires) - Freeland/White Haven highway

Paul Biggan Sales & Service, State Inspection and General Repairs - East South St. (from 1986 St. Casimir's booklet via Ed Merrick)

Buchman Service Station, 1941 ad Bookie's Service Station - Centre and South Sts. - Earl Buchman - Atlantic gas and oil, and Atlantic Toms River lubrication; Lee of Conshohocken tires; Excide batteries (from Ed Merrick, 1941 ad; accompanying article says Earl Buchman of UL has taken over the Art Holland Service Station, after working there as an attendant for several years)

Hugh Boyle's - Washington St. (between Main and Front Streets)

James W. Boyle garage and sales, 1926 ad James W. Boyle Garage - 415 Johnson St. - Studebaker motor cars, storage, repairs, supplies (from Joe Moore, 1928 receipt) (1922 ad)

Henry Branz - 919 Main St., mechanic, garage (age 41 in 1940 Census)

Andrew Breznitsky - 437 Hemlock St., proprietor, garage (age 42 in 1940 Census)

C. Brogan - 609 Centre St. - Auto accessories and Tydol gas, "at our new store quarters on the main business thoroughfare" (1924 ad)

Brogan                 Garage Peter Brogan - 614 Washington St. gas station, proprietor, home 1155 Schwabe St. (age 30 in 1940 Census) (photo at right cropped from larger photo by Ed Merrick, with Lindsay's hardware store at Front and Washington in background)

Butala Service Station, 1952 ad Butala Atlantic Service Station - Centre and South Sts. (Eugene G. Butala and John C. Butala) (1952 ad from Ed Merrick)

Lester Calello, Used Cars & Trucks - Main Street, Drifton (from 1986 St. Casimir's booklet via Ed Merrick)

John Carter - 516 Washington St., proprietor and mechanic, auto garage (age 38 in 1940 Census)

Da Grossa, later Poppalardo garage Da Grossa Garage -315 Centre St., later Poppalardo's (from Ed Merrick, 1939 ad)

George Danko - South St. (from Billy Kuklis, 1932 FPD Ball program) (from Ed Merrick, 1919 ad)

John M. Danko - 1221 South St. - Danko Ford "Ford, the universal car" (1922 ad)

John M. Danko - 827 Ridge St., auto mechanic, garage (age 44 in 1940 Census)

Danko's Ford Danko's Garage - South St. at Hemlock (Peter Danko, proprietor) - Chevrolet Sales Service, Peter Danko, Freeland (from Billy Kuklis, 1932 FPD Ball program) - I have seen a 1921 receipt with this header: Danko Chevrolet - Supplies, Accessories, Repairs, Storage; have seen a 1927 receipt with header Danko's Garage - Authorized Dealer - Lincoln, Ford, Fordson - Cars, Trucks, Tractors - I'm assuming that this photo at right from 2010 shows the Danko Garage building, still there

Pat's Texaco receipt, 1984 Pat Delregno's Auto Shop - 1015 Luzerne St. (previously Pat's Texaco - 224 Ridge St., from 1986 St. Casimir's booklet via Ed Merrick)

Ed's Auto & Truck Repairs - Highland Road (Ed Petrick, proprietor) (from 1986 St. Casimir's booklet via Ed Merrick)

Fairway Motors - Freeland-White Haven Highway (Al Corazza) - In a December 3, 1963 article:  Corazza bought the property and adjacent property from former owner Peter Funk and Patricia Funk. Corazza took over operation of the business in 1960, leasing the property. Fairway Motors employs 15 people; the purchase included the main building with complete shop and show rooms (7,000 sq. ft.), one and a half acres, and another acre across the road, used for used car sales. Corazza is president of the FDIC (Freeland Industrial Development Corp.) and a former partner at the Free-Land Dairy. (from Ed Merrick, 1963 article)

Feussner's                 Ford Feussner's Ford Firley's Garage, 1946 ad Feussner's Ford - South St., near the Public Park (Roy Feussner, proprietor) (From George Feussner: My father George and uncles Roy and Jake started the business in the mid 1940's.)

Firley's Garage - 709 Main St. (from Ed Merrick, 1946 ad)

Fisher Bros. Garage, 1922 ad Fisher Bros. Garage, 1923 ad Fisher Brothers - 525 Main St. (Harry and Clyde Fisher) - garage, car sales (1925 newspaper notice) - Also, a new addition to the garage allowed them to store cars for the winter for a fee (1924 ad) (1923 and 1922 ads at right, Ed Merrick) - Note that this is one of those instances where a livery stable business transitioned to an automobile-related business, following progress.

Freeland Highway Motors - E. South St. (1953 ad)

Freeland Tire & Battery Co. - 726 Centre St. - Automobile accessories, gas and oil, 8 hour battery charging service (1924 and 1925 ads)

Funk                 Chevrolet-Oldsmobile Funk Chevrolet-Oldsmobile - 200 E. South St. (Peter F. Funk, proprietor) (1948 and 1957 phonebooks) (this business note and photo at right from Charlie Gallagher, who adds that this later became Fairway; more info from him to be added here soon)

Funk's Garage - 415 Johnson (1941 phonebook)

John R. Gallagher Buick, 1922 ad John Gallagher Buick ad, 1926John Gallagher's Buick Motor Cars John R. Gallagher Buick Motor Cars - 816-818 Front St., behind the First National Bank (John R. Gallagher) - In 1926, he was at 235 East Broad St. in West Hazleton with an office in Freeland (Charlie Stumpf, 1926 ad) - His 1963 obituary says that he owned the Hazleton Buick Company; "had established a Buick dealership in Freeland in 1915, transferred it to West Hazleton in 1924, and had continued to operate it in the borough until the time of his death." He was born in Freeland but lived in Hazleton from 1924. (from Charlie Gallagher, 1963 obituary) - Further note from Charlie Gallagher: "I think he started in Freeland then began selling in Hazleton in the 20's and that was the primary location. The Freeland location was only run as a satellite office. After the war, Kopski became the Freeland Buick franchise and Gallagher was no longer in Freeland. He was only at the Broad Street location after WWII.  After his death it became Steckert Brothers Buick and then Stephen R. Butcher Buick."

Gould Battery and Electric Co., 1928 ad Gould Battery and Electric Co. - Main St., below Washington (an official State headlight focusing station) (from Ed Merrick, 1928 ad)

Wilbur Gower - 315 Adams St., mechanic, automobile garage (age 32 in 1940 Census)

Griffith Garage, 1922 ad Griffith Garage, 1987 photo Griffith Garage - Carbon St. (James Griffith) - Chevrolet (from Ed Merrick, 1922 ad); also, sold some used cars (1922 ad) - 1987 photo by Ed Merrick

August C. Gross Garage - 818 Front St., previous site of John R. Gallagher Buick - 24-hour service on auto tags (from Ed Merrick, 1939 ad)

H. J. Chemical Company - Centre St., near MMI (From Tom Yaruso: I worked for "Pappy" Halko , last name may be mispelled, he was our science teacher at Foster Township high school; I worked for him 2 to 3 nights a week at the H.J. CHEMICAL COMPANY, it was in his big shed in his yard on Center Street  going north,  a few houses before M.M.I., I have in front of me a can of his ALL-PLUS, THE SCIENTIFIC SURE SOLDER FOR LEAKES IN RADIATORS AND CRACKED BLOCKS. His other product was RUBBER BUFF for patching tires; its been almost 50 years and I can remember filling 1 qt. cans of rubber buff by hand pumping out of 55 gal. drums. I am sure some of the oldtimers will remember him.)

Halko Gas Station, 1931 ad Halko Gas Station, 1930 ad Halko Gas Station - East Carbon St. (Halko & Son)

Heller's Garage

Heller's Exxon
- Centre & Hazle Streets (John Heller, proprietor, Towing, Hauling, Body Repairs, General Repairs, and Painting, as listed in 1986 St. Casimir's booklet via Ed Merrick) (From J. Heller: My grandfather Jack Heller owns a garage on Hazle Street, formerly owned by my great grandfather Mesko) (From Mike Bobby in 2000: Heller's Exxon was one of the gas stations at Center and Hazle Streets near the Foster Twp. School. Across from it was a Sunoco and further down the road was a Mobil station which is currently the site of an Orloski's outlet.)

Herbener's Garage Herbener's Gas Station and Home Heating - 201 Johnson St. (Julius Herbener, proprietor) (1940 city directory) (From Pat Ferko Miller: Herbener's Gas Station (Flying A Gasoline) and Home Heating Business (both coal and then added oil for delivery) was on Johnson Street behind Berger's Lumber Yard.)

Kernevich's Amoco Station - South Ridge St. (from Ed Merrick, 1946 ad)

Kline Garage - 509 Johnson St.

John Klinger's Saddler Shop, 1923 ad John Klinger's Saddler Shop - 739 Front St. - In 1923, "Specialists in repairing automobile tops, cushions and side curtains"; harness and leather goods for the teamster and horse fancier; also shoe repair (for people, not horses - here you see someone on the shifting ground from use of horses to automobiles, finding ways to adapt and market his skills to different audiences - CT) (from Charlie Stumpf, 1923 ad) - Dress and working gloves, sheepskin coats, automobile tires and accessories (1924 ad)

Kobrick's                 Garage Kobrick's Garage - 104 Center, Center & Hazle Streets (Peter Kobrick, proprietor) (1940 city directory) (From Pat Ferko Miller: Previously Heller's Garage.) Kobrick Service CenterKobrick's ad at right comes from Ed Merrick. Also, Marigrace Heyer writes: "Pete Kobrick was married to the former Mary Evancho, and they had no children." (this is a correction to information previously posted here about a possible connection to Heller of Heller's garage - thank you, Marigrace!)

Kopski's ad Kopski Automotive - 450 Ridge St. (Joe Kopski, proprietor) (ad at left from Ed Merrick) (From Steve Yaskewich: Joe Kopski sold Buick, Gravely, and Ariens. His personal specialty, at least in the 1960s and forward was small engines. My father worked there as a body man, and I spent many hours there as a boy, hanging out. Various company representatives would come to the shop, and one of the Gravely representatives showed me how to make a particular type of paper airplane and we spent time flying it outside. I still remember how to make those paper airplanes.)
Kopski's gave S&H Green Stamps, double stamps on Wednesdays (1956 ad)

The Little Foreign Car Shop - Freeland-Drums Road (Mike Oleyar) (from Joe Moore, 1968 ad) - Mike died in 2019. From his obituary: "He was a charismatic entrepreneur who, along with his former wife, Marie, owned and operated the Little Foreigh Car Shop in Freeland where they sold MGB, Jaguar, Subaru and Harley-Davidson." Mike also raced cars actively all over the U.S. and Canada, and inspired a group of racing and foreign car enthusiasts in the region. (from Joe Moore, 2019 obituary)

Jim Lutz, Atlantic Gas - Centre and South Sts.

Masley's Wreckers / Masley's Junkyard - Butler Terrace Road, across from St. Michael's Cemetery (Pete Masley, proprietor) - Salvage business founded in the late 1940s (from Charlie Stumpf, 1998 obituary)
 (From Mary Ann Rosetta Schaeffer: My cousin, Pete Masley use to own and operate a junk yard, started about l949-l950, which was across from the St. Michael's cemetary, I believe. He had it when I was a little girl, until he got sick some years ago and had to sell it to his nephew Thomas Masley about l986-l988, and later he sold it to a person from Blakesly, Pa. around l998-l999)

Maury's Gas Station
- Centre St., between Front & Walnut Streets

Medash's (mechanics, car repair)

Charles Merkt - 706 Centre St. - U.S. Tires: plain tread, Usco tread, chain tread, nobby tread, Royal Cord; grey and red tubes (from Ed Merrick, 1921 ad)

Ray Morgan's gas station Morgan's Gas Station - west South St. (Ray Morgan, proprietor) - Photo from Tom Morgan and Bill Morgan. See the Ray Morgan page for information about the gas station and Ray's gunsmithing.

Nosal's Auto and Welding Service, 1947 ad Nosal's Auto and Welding Service - 1005 Walnut St. (from Ed Merrick, 1947 ad)

O'Donnell's (mechanics) - Carbon St.

Joseph C. O'Donnell Garage, 1926 ad Joseph C. O'Donnell - 727 Front St. - Firestone and Oldfield tires (from Ed Merrick, 1926 ad) -  Oldsmobile six's and eights - Kelvinators and General Electric radios and automobile accessories, Front St. (from Billy Kuklis, 1932 FPD Ball program) - Automobile repairing, auto accessories, Tydol gas (1924 ad)

Oleyar's Little Foreign Car Shop - South St., on the mountain road

Orloski's gas station - Ridge St. & Rte. 940

Perkosky's (used tires) - Fern & South Streets

Toots Pollack's - South & Centre Streets (From Mike Bobby in 2000: I remember it as an ARCO station. There was a small car wash behind this station. A vacant lot is all that remains today. Near this site was a recent mine subsidance.)

Poltrock's Garage - Bus service for parties, anywhere within a radius of 50 miles from Freeland (from Ed Merrick, 1926 and 1927 ads) - Batteries charged, prompt service; Fisk tires (1925 ads)

Popovich Garage, 1948 ad George Popick's Automotive - across the highway from Balas's (From Robert Poddo: I believe he carried the Sinclair brand name and later changed over to Texaco. He was located across the highway from Balas' (Freeland/White Haven Highway)  and had been at that location for some time.)

Popovich's Garage - 721 Pine St. - Auto repairs, body and fender; Auto glass; welding and blacksmith (from Ed Merrick, 1948 ad)

Da Grossa, later Poppalardo garage Poppalardo's - 315Centre St., between Carbon & Luzerne Streets (previously Da Grossa garage)

Amentlers' Ridge Service Station, 1937 ad Ridge Service Station - (Jack and Louis Amentler) - Sinclair gasoline and oil; accessories; tires; cars washed and greased; brakes adjusted (from Ed Merrick, 1937 ad)

Rohrbach Auto Repair Service, 1925 ad Rohrbach Garage, 1922 ad Rohrbach Garage - Washington St. (Henry Rohrbach) - importance of the scraping in of the bearings in your car's engine (from Ed Merrick, 1922 and 1925 ads)

Marshall Romig - 1025 Birkbeck St., [Zemany and Romig garage], garage manager, own place (age 42 in 1940 Census)

Schott Overland and Willys-Knight Autos - Carbon St., salesroom and garage (Michael Schott, distributor) (1924 ad)

Shelack & Jack, Auto service station, corner Fern and South Sts. (from Billy Kuklis, 1932 FPD Ball program)

Shiner's Garage - East South Street (Andrew Shiner, proprietor) (from 1986 St. Casimir's booklet via Ed Merrick)

Stanley Garage, 1927 ad Stanley Garage, 1931 ad Stanley Garage - Dewey and Johnson (relocated from 315 Centre St.) (1927 and 1931 ads from Ed Merrick)

Stoffa's Garage, 1953 ad Stoffa's Garage - Centre and South Sts. (Tom Stoffa, owner) - moved from 608 Cedar St. (this new site formerly the Atlantic Gas Station, previously operated by John Butula, Jr. of McAdoo but closed Dec. 1952-Feb. 1953) (from Ed Merrick, 1953 ad and article)

Tancin's Recapping - Centre & Carbon Streets (John Tancin, proprietor) (From Chuck Tancin: This was my grandfather's garage (see photo at top left of this page), still standing but now in serious disrepair. He and several of his sons worked at recapping, vulcanizing, repairing tires, and had a gas station selling Atlantic and later Texaco gas, I think. This was his 3rd location, previously being at 520 Washington St. behind Genie Boyle's and before that behind his house on Main St. in Upper Lehigh.) (Please see also a special page on Tancin's Auto Supply and Garage.)

John Tancin's Auto Supplies Tancin's Auto Supply (John Tancin, proprietor) - 303 Centre St. (From Chuck Tancin: This was the other part of my grandfather's business relating to cars. He sold new tires and various auto supplies in this store that had windows fronting on Centre St. I remember rollerskating in the big front room of his store as a young kid, loving how soft and smooth the old and well-worn wooden floor felt under my wheels.) (From Peter Kundra: I recall the tire recapping business that the Tancins operated in the rear garage and the machines in the basement that cut up tires into strips and then assembled them into rubber door mats. I often wonder whether those mats were the origin of the same type of mat that is still available today.) (Please see also a special page on Tancin's Auto Supply and Garage.)

Tancin's Tires - Carbon St., west of Fern St. (Steve Tancin, proprietor) (From Chuck Tancin: After working for his father for several years, my dad decided to start his own tire business. He bought property 3 blocks away and built a garage in 1955, repairing and selling used tires. In 1960 he was doing well enough that we built a new house next to garage.)

Western Auto Wilson's                 Pontiac Western Auto - Centre & Main Streets (Steve Kistulentz, proprietor) (Photo comes from John Zubach.)

Wilson Garage - 639 Centre St., rear of Stirling's Music Store - Repairing of generators, starters, batteries, vacuum cleaners, and electric auto systems; agents for the USL batteries; general automobile repairing; autos to hire for all purposes (1924 ad)

Wilson garage, 2010 photo Wilson's Pontiac - 415 Johnson St. (James H. Wilson, proprietor) "Wheel Alignment, Wheel Balancing, Brake Specialists, Goodwill Used Cars, Carburetor & Hydromatic Specialists"

Yoch Hudson Essex Repairs, 1926 bill Frank C. Yoch - 905 Pine St. - Hudson Super Six and Essex Motor Cars, general repairing (1926 bill)

Zemany's Auto Electric Service Former Zemany garage Zemany and Romig Auto Repair / Zemany's Auto Electric Service - 632 Main St. (Roy Zemany and Marshall Romig) (from Ed Merrick, 1927 ad)
(Ed Merrick writes: When I was looking at the church page, I checked out the Slovak Lutheran and brought up the photo of the historical marker. On it was the name of Michael Zemany. I then checked out your garage listings and realized you didn't have Roy Zemany's auto repair garage, which Roy Zemany, Michael Zemany's son, ran on Main Street just east of the Cottage Hotel on Washington. Roy's sons, John and Martin, worked for him.)- Photo courtesy of John Rock

Zip Simko's Sunoco - Washington St., near Main St. (From Mike Bobby: Bagged Coal could be purchased from Simko's as recently as the early 1970s.)

Alex Zmiejko's Mobile station - Ridge St. & Rte. 940 (later Orloski's)

Andrew Zurko - 130 Main St., school bus, proprietor (age 39 in 1940 Census)

Automobile-related businesses listed in directories 1917-1940

1917 telephone directory
In general listings:
Boyle, James W., Studebaker dealer - 415 Johnson St., garage

1921-1922 city directory
In business listings:
Danko, George S., Hotel & Garage, 827 South
Freeland Garage, 417 Johnson
Merkt's Garage, rear 706-10 Centre

1928-1929 city directory
In business listings:
Beisel, A. & Son, automobile repairing and service station, 416 Washington
Beleykanich, A. Michl, automobile accessories and supplies, 360 Center
Boyle, Hilda, Mrs., automobile accessories and supplies, 231 Center
Boyle's Garage, automobiles; automobile repairing and service station; automobile accessories and supplies; automobile garage, 405 Johnson
Boyle's Garage, automobiles, 405 Johnson
Buckley, Daniel S., justice of the peace, also automobile licenses, 824 Main
Danko Chevrolet Co., automobiles; automobile repairing and service station; automobile accessories and supplies; garage; 1221 South
Danko, John M., automobiles; automobile repairing and service station; automobile trucks and tractors; automobile head light focusing station; automobile accessories and supplies; garage; 905 South at Ridge
Fisher, Harry, automobile repairing and service station, 525 Washington
Freeland Service Station, gasoline and oil service station, 453 Center
Freeland Stewart Co., automobile dealer – commercial cars and trucks; 609 Center
Freeland Tire & Battery Co., automobile accessories and supplies, 610 Washington
Gould Battery & Electric Co., automobile repairing and service station, 632 Main
Griffith, Jas E., automobile dealer, 548 Carbon
Maury's Tire & Battery Co., battery service station, 726 Center
Nash Motor Cars, automobiles, 315-317 Center
O'Donnell, Frank, automobile dealer, 444 Center
Poltrok, Herman F., automobile repairing and service station, 118 Oak
Rohrbach, Henry G., automobile repairing and service station, rear 625 Center
Schott, Michael, automobiles, automobile garage, rear 249 Center
Stanley Garage, automobiles; automobile wrecking and towing; automobile repairing and service station; automobiles for hire; automobile accessories and supplies, 315-317 Center
Stine’s Bus Service, automobile tires and tubes, 418 Johnson

1940 city directory
In business listings:
American Auto Stores, automobile supplies, 626 Centre
Brogan, Peter A., gasoline and oils, 614 Washington
Casper, Andrew, gasoline and oils, 727 Front
Danko, Jno M., automobile repair, 1221 South
Ferdinand, Frank J., automobile repair, 315 Centre
Funk's Garage, automobile repair, 415 Johnson
Funk's Garage, automobiles, 415 Johnson
Griffith, J. E. & J. H., automobile repair, 544 Carbon
Griffith, J. E. & J. H., automobile supplies, 544 Carbon
Griffith, J. E. & J. H., gasoline and oils, 544 Carbon
Hazleton Buick Co., automobiles, 233 Centre
Herbener, Julius, gasoline and oils, 201 Johnson
Hess Bros., gasoline and oils, 220 Fern
Holland, Arthur, gasoline and oils, 455 Centre
Kislan, Jno A., gasoline and oils, 103 Centre
Kobrick, Peter, gasoline and oils, 104 Centre
Kopski, Jos., automobile repair, 444 Centre
Magarosky, J. G., automobile repair, 235 Centre
Maury, Harry D., tires, 726 Centre
Maury, Harry, automobile repair, rear 726 Front
McHugh, Chas. J., gasoline and oils, 527 Washington
Morgan, Raymond W., gasoline and oils, South corner Kalmia
Popick, Geo., automobile repair, 601 Fern
Potochney, Geo., automobile repair, 416 Washington
Prokovich, Jno. J., gasoline and oils, 420 Carbon
Quinn, Jos. W., gasoline and oils, 450 Ridge
Ravina, Jos. Jr., gasoline and oils, 224 Ridge
Schott, Michl., gasoline and oils, 100 Ridge
Stefanik, Jno., gasoline and oils, South corner Fern
Tancin, Jno., gasoline and oils, 520 Washington
Taub Motor Co., automobiles, 761 W. Broad, Hazleton, Pa.
Wilson, Jas. H., automobile repair, 732 Pine
Zemany & Romig, automobile repair, 632 Main

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