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of Freeland, Pa.
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John Yannes' original building at Front and Washington was apparently a wooden structure that housed his bottling business and perhaps a saloon. It burned down along with a number of other buildings in a big fire in 1886. After that he had a new, larger, 3-story brick building erected on the same property in 1887-1888, for an opera house, hotel and saloon, with a bottling business in the back.
Yannes ran his businesses there until sometime in early 1901, when he moved his saloon and bottling works two blocks south to “the old Berner property” at the southwest corner of Washington and South streets. His building had been acquired by William Krell, and had its grand opening as Krell’s Hall on May 11, 1901. [This information comes from contemporaneous newspapers and corrects some information published elsewhere.]
In a newspaper account of the preparations for the Tigers Athletic Club's 12th annual ball on New Year's Eve, 1901 there is a description of the interior: "All is now in readiness for the twelfth annual ball of the Tigers Athletic Club, which takes place this evening at Krell's Hall. The appearance of the spacious ball-room has undergone a complete transformation since Saturday evening, when the fair closed. The hall is beautifully decorated with binding, evergreens and colors, and the electricians are at work today rewiring the building for the additional arc and incandescent lights which always give the balls of the club a brilliant appearance. As in former years, the entire building, excepting the proprietor's private apartments and saloon, has been leased for two nights, and the dressing and check rooms will be found as usual on the third floor. The entrance to the building will be at the western door." This picture of Krell's Hall thanks to the Freeland History Society, Joe Flanagan and Tom Landers.
Here are a few examples of the varied social events held at Krell's Hall:
1901 - Young Men's C. T. A. B. Corps annual ball
1901 - Tigers Athletic Club fair
1901 - Tigers Athletic Club, twelfth annual ball
1902 - A. O. K. of M. C., Loyal Castle, No. 65 Military Ball
1902 - Ancient Order of Hibernians (A.O.H.) Divisions 6 and 19, banquet and dance
1902 - St. Ann's parish, married women, banquet for 1,065 people and dance
1902 - Balaklava Social Club Grand Ball
1902 - Freeland High School Commencement Exercises
1904 - Knights of Columbus symposium, musical entertainment, banquet and dance
1904 - Pittston Eagles vs. Freeland Crescents basketball game; MMI and Drifton teams played exhibition game first
1906 - Freeland High School vs. Mahanoy City High School basketball game
1906 - Young American Social Club, tenth annual Grand Masquerade Ball
1907 - Tigers Athletic Club, annual ball 1907 - Merry Circle, May Promenade (Thanks to John "Zeke" Zurko for the invitation)
1919 - Weatherly vs. Freeland Keystone Team basketball game
1922 - Freeland All-Stars vs. Hazleton High School championship basketball game
Meetings were also held at Krell's Hall. For example, in 1908 the Olympia Club refurbished their club rooms there.
As early as 1904 there were basketball games held there, and in 1907 a roller rink was installed. I have been told that around 1915 Krell's Hall was leased to St. Ann's Church for the use of the Young Men's T.A.B. Society and was operated as a source of revenue for the parish. This may have been when it was known as the Freeland Auditorium. Moving pictures were now being shown there, and basketball games were played. In 1938 the building was renovated for an A&P supermarket, which operated until destroyed by fire in 1974. Clippings from Ed Merrick.
Thank you to Ed Merrick for research and the basketball and roller rink clippings, to John "Zeke" Zurko for the image advertising the 'Merry Circle' May Promenade 1907 event, and to the Freeland History Society, Joe Flanagan and Tom Landers for the postcard photo of Krell's Hall.