Jeddo Casino set up for Merchandise Mart, 1940

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History of Freeland, Pa.
Jeddo Casino

What's on this page:
  • Jeddo Casino
  • Summary of article about John Markle
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This page comes from research done by Ed Merrick. I’m summarizing the articles here, and posting a few of them. Ed wrote in an email: This Jeddo Casino research is knocking my socks off. What a place that was. There are hundreds of events listed in articles on The place had a bowling alley and a bowling team. In addition to the many dances there, to which buses ran usually from Seitzinger's, there were commencements, high school class events, reunions, Boy and Girl Scout meetings, teas, card parties, wedding receptions, lectures, plays, movies, and religious services. The place even was used as an emergency hospital during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Attached are the more informative and substantive articles.

October 16, 1918
Jeddo Casino Emergency Hospital
“The G. B. Markle management at Jeddo has decided to turn the Casino into an emergency hospital, and procure the services of a doctor and nurses. The Markle employees from Harleigh to Pond Creek will receive treatment at the Casino.”

Jeddo commencement at Jeddo Casino, 1922 Jeddo commencement at Jeddo Casino, 1922 June 3, 1922
Commencement at Jeddo Casino – Closing Exercises of Borough Schools Will Be Held June 6th – Have Fine Program
The Jeddo borough schools will hold their annual commencement exercises at the Jeddo Casino. The class colors are purple and gold; the class flower is the yellow rose; the class motto is “Sail On!” A class of ten – 5 boys and 5 girls – will be graduated: Dorothy M. Drasher, Elizabeth Smith, Effie I. Wagner, Harold Johnson, Harold Smith, Dolores Marley, Ruth L. Trevorrow, Robert C. A. Beisel, Harold Schuchart, Melvin L. Woodring.

August 25, 1925
To Give Two Plays At Jeddo Tonight – Little Theatre Group Will Appear at the Jeddo Casino – Hope to Start Another Group
“The ‘Little Theatre Group’ of the Hazleton Drama Club will go to Jeddo this evening, where they will present two plays at the Jeddo Casino. Manager A. B. Jessup of the Jeddo-Highland Coal Co. has granted the use of the Casino for these presentations. The local group also have plans to present other plays on the North Side during the fall season and it is hoped that eventually a North Side group can be organized.”

 Jeddo bowlers start tournament, 1927 Jeddo bowlers start tournament, 1927 February 7, 1927
Jeddo Bowlers Start Tournament
A committee was formed to arrange a tournament, with eight 5 player teams of men and boys evenly balanced with experts and beginners. Prizes would be given for high individual scores, team averages and high scores. Some men entered who had not bowled for 15 years and were making a comeback, and many younger boys were also interested. The tournament lasted 7 weeks.

Christmas dance at Jeddo Casino, 1931 ad December 22, 1931
Christmas Dance at Jeddo Casino Tonight
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Merchandise Mart held at Jeddo Casino, 1940 May 25, 1940
Scene of Merchandise Mart in Jeddo Casino
“Over 2,500 Freeland and North Side residents attended the two-day Merchandise Mart held Thursday at the Jeddo Casino, to see the latest and newest features in food products, household goods, refrigerators, furniture, clothing, radios and related lines. The show was produced by L. C. Van Orstend, who said it was an attempt to show to fuller and better advantage the varied and extensive line of merchandise sold at the Jeddo store.”

May 11, 1950
Jeddo Casino To Feel Business Urge
“The Jeddo Supply Company that operates stores in towns of the Jeddo-Highland Coal Company, is ready to announce the taking over the Jeddo Casino as an auxiliary to the store in Jeddo borough. The building will be remodeled and equipped to handle several lines of merchandise of the firm, that requires more space for display.

Passing of Jeddo Casino as a social center will bring back many fond memories to North Side and to Hazleton residents. It was the scene of many of the gay parties that marked the social life of the community before the advent of the automobile, the radio, talkie-movies or television and its programs were conducted on a very high plane. …”

December 22, 1955
Looking Back - John Markle Urged Old Board Of Trade To Provide Workers (under the byline of Bill Bachman)
[This article, summarized here, is about John Markle, head of the G. B. Markle Coal Company, and about his attitude labor housing - it also mentions his creation of the Jeddo Casino, in bold below.]

John Markle required that all of his employees who held positions of responsibility had to live on the property of his coal company. This led to 80% of the residents of Jeddo Borough comprising officers, managers, foremen and their familes. He too left his Hazleton home and relocated to Jeddo Borough in 1894, living there until 1927. In 1907 he gave a talk to the Hazleton Board of Trade in which he suggested that they assess the city’s existing labor and the housing available to them. They should form a real estate corporation to build houses for those owning lots, and also to buy land and build houses suitable for workers, to be offered for rent or sale by installment payment. The object was not only to provide housing, but to provide housing within the community where the place of employment was situated. He continued, “Why do I suggest that the miner and workers around the mines should live in your midst? Because it is an act of humanity to enable that class of labor to enter your community and own their own homes, becoming good citizens, educating their children at the public schools of which you cannot help but be proud. These children will later become a part of the citizenship of this community, becoming, too, after advancing in their education to an extent permitted either by their parents or the law, the very class of labor the manufacturers are looking for, and forming the strongest possible inducement for certain classes of manufacturers to locate in your midst.”

In early 1912, an employee showed John Markle a sketch of an idea for a social center for Jeddo. Markle improved and expanded on the idea and the Jeddo Casino was built that year. It had clubrooms, a reading room, a billiards room, a dance floor and a restaurant. The dance floor was unexpectedly popular to the point where there was a lot of outside demand for it, especially from Freeland and Hazleton.

The article goes on to talk about how Markle treated the children at Christmas and also at the end of each school year, and then describes the fire at the Japan Schoolhouse, “which had replaced the old structure where Mr. Markle had his famous debate with John Mitchell. While the flames were demolishing their schoolhouse, the pupils formed an impromptu procession of victory and marched about the hill that looks across the valley toward Stockton Mountain, against whose side nestled the Ebervale School – where less favored children struggled with their lessons. The Japan Schoolhouse burned to the ground, and the lament of the teachers was drowned out by the tactless cheering of the pupils. These children were much like the children of today.”

Another fire occurred on January 15, 1915, at the top of No. 5 breaker, soon becoming serious fire that consumed the entire breaker. Markle was away at the time, and on his return he said, “Too bad it burned. But we can’t do anything about it now. What we can do is to go ahead and build a new one that won’t burn.” The replacement was made of steel and concrete.

Finally in this long article Bachman recounted some of Markle’s accomplishments from the beginning of his management of the company in 1880 to his sale of its successor, the Jeddo Highland Coal Company, in 1926. Throughout that time he never stopped paying dividends and never charged stockholders, with all of the investments paying 8% interest. He increased the capital stock of the company and the yearly output of the mines, also replacing nearly all of the buildings on his property with modern and improved structures. He also opened four new collieries, secured both the Harleigh and Ebervale properties and had the Jeddo Tunnel constructed.

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