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History of Freeland, Pa.
News & announcements

What's on this page:

  • Freeland's Roman Catholic churches' records have been digitized!!!
  • >>> Newest site updates <<<
  • Freeland Tribune newspapers (1889-1903) available online at the Library of Congress
  • Thesis about Ralph Pecora's Tailor Shop
  • Links to past Featured Photos

Freeland's past/present Roman Catholic churches' records have been digitized by NEPGS!

Well, here is exciting news!

The Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, Inc. (NEPGS) in partnership with the Diocese of Scranton is digitizing parish records in eleven Pennsylvania counties, including Luzerne.

The project, which began in May 2016, reached a milestone in January 2017 with 100 parishes completed.

Freeland's Roman Catholic parish records are all digitized, including: Immaculate Conception/Freeland Catholic Community, Immaculate Conception Church - Eckley, St. Ann Church in both Woodside and Freeland, St. Anthony Church, St. Casimir Church and St. John Nepomucene Church.

It's important to know that NEPGS has a strict privacy policy for public access to the Catholic records:

  • Sacramental Records relating to events 70 or more years old shall be accessible to members and patrons of NEPGS, consistent with NEPGS Library Policies.
  • Sacramental Records relating to events less than 70 years old shall be sequestered and shall not be available to be accessed by members or patrons of NEPGS until such time as the record become 70 years old.
  • NEPGS removes from the accessible records, all references to adoptions which occurred after January 1, 1926, which is the effective date when civil adoption records were sealed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • The church records are only available on the NEPGS in-house network. The records are not available online.

Located at the caretakerís house inside the historic Hanover Green cemetery in Luzerne County, NEPGS is an all-volunteer 501c3 nonprofit organization and is open to the public.

Address: 689 Main Road, Hanover Township, PA 18706.
Hours of Operation: Every Thursday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., 2nd Saturday of the month, noon - 4 p.m.

When you visit the society, volunteer staff can answer questions about the use of the Digital Collections.

For those who are unable to visit in-person, research services are available at reasonable rates.

Note for visitors: Non-members are required to pay a $10.00 day-use fee prior to admission. All members/patrons are required to sign the NEPGS Library Policy. Cameras and flash drives are prohibited.

Membership: Member benefits include a discount on research services. An Individual membership is $30/year.

Please check out for the latest information.

>>> Newest site updates <<<

May 20, 2018
Please visit the expanded Sports section. Many photos plus information have been added to the Baseball, Basketball and Football pages, and two new pages have been added to the Sports section for Cheerleaders and Majorettes, and Other Sports.

April 14, 2018
A Hazle Mines group photo added to the Mines page, as well as a newspaper photo of a pair of miners' union cards; a postcard of Jeddo Pink Ash and 3 photos from Swamptown added to the Jeddo page; photo of the Jeddo Stars added to the Baseball page; a link to the Freeland Fire Department's website was added to the Municipal page; a collage of local business letterheads added to the Businesses page; and photos or information were added to these 20th-century businesses pages: Food stores (additions or corrections to the list of businesses that came to the customer, and also stores owned by Opilla, Hawk, Spock); Bars and hangouts (Dots', Clover Bar); Construction etc. (Herbener); Garages (Kobrick); Miscellaneous businesses (Citizens Bank); and Clothing (Gladstein).

April 8, 2018

New featured photo section about barber Edward Gallagher and his family and barbershops; new photos added to Baseball, Basketball and Tigers Club pages; also 1904 MMI classroom photo added to School Group Pictures page; photo of Jeddo WWII Honor Roll added to Military page; photo of the Sarna family added to the Remak and Gabuzda pages; information and an article about St. Mary's Band added to Celebrations page; also there are new pages for Edward Gallagher's Barbershop and for Saloons.

December 31, 2017
Three featured photo segments on the home page: Frank Ceol plowing snow with the help of horses, and views of the winter of 1914; The Borough building and the Washington Hotel; The Mulhearn building torn down in December 2017.

September 11, 2017
Photos of the 1950 annual fall fashion show and appliance show were posted on the home page, as well as a group of views around town from 1966. Corrected information about the church building that was later owned by the Beth Shalom Congregation was posted. Joe Berta was identified in the 1963 photo of factory workers, currently posted on the most recent past featured photos page. Fairchild's pool was added to the Recreation page. Centennial comforter was added to the Buildings page. The Nocchi's page was updated. Pages were made for the FHS classes of 1932 and 1948, and the MMI class of 1924. A class photo was added to Silvio Mason's page, and a photo of the 1932 St. Ann's senior class was added to the page of student group photos. A correction was made to the caption for the photo of Michael Potochney and St. Mary's Band. A photo and information were added to the St. Ann's Cemetery page. Two photos of the MMI board from 1902 and 1903 and another postcard of FHS were added to the school pictures page. Three photos from Mr. Deitos were added to the Pearl Jubilee page. Memories of the "Hill School" were added to the Schools page. Updates were made to the Sports, Basketball and Football pages, and a new page for the Y was begun. The missing part of an article by George Dreisbach about the North Basin was added to the Upper Lehigh page. A short history of the 109th Field Artillery, Third Penna. Field Artillery, 1879-1917 was added to the Military page.

Religious pin Pat Ferko Miller shares this item that had belonged to her mother. Pat wrote: "I am not sure what it is but I think it was a "mourning pin" of some sort. It may have been an aunt of my mother's or her mother. If anyone can give me more info I would grateful to have this mystery pin identifed that I have seen since I was a young girl." I suggested that Zenski Spolek might be a women's guild or organization; Svaty (holy or saint) Alzbeta Matky (mother) could be St. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, or a different St. Elizabeth; Sv. Jana is St. John; zalozeni might mean founded or founder, but I'm not sure. This may have been from St John Nepomucene Church. If anyone can share any information about this pin, would you please email me? Thank you.

June 4, 2017
Silvio Mason's 1931-1939 scrapbook was posted on the home page and added to the People section. A new photo of John Remak at his bar was added to the page on restaurants, bars, etc. A 1967 article on the North Basin by George Dreisbach was added to the Upper Lehigh page.

April 2, 2017 updates:
More additions made to the various 20th century Businesses section, especially garages and some images added to the garages, grocery stores pages.

April 1, 2017 updates:
Six group photos of workers from Freeland Manufacturing Co. and Freeland Shirt Co. were added as Featured Photos on the home page. The Site Map (link at top of every page) has been updated to make it easier to get an overview of what's here. And, Ed Merrick has contributed many updates of names and busineses from the 1940 Federal Census for the 20th-century Businesses section.

February 27 and March 2, 2017 updates:
Added corrections to Ed Merrick's A portrait of Freeland in 1940; they're listed at the top of the page. Ed has now also added a few paragraphs at the end to provide a conclusion to the piece. Check it out!

February 26, 2017 update:
Added link from Charlie Gallagher to mining maps at Penn State to the Maps page.
Added A portrait of Freeland in 1940 from Ed Merrick, linked from the People page.

February 23, 2017 update:
Joan Vanderlick Chisholm has added some identifications of some of the people in the Lithuanian Peoples Choir photo on the home page.

February 19, 2017 updates:
Added to the home page, two photos from Tom Yaruso: Lithuanian Peoples Choir 1926 and a Lithuanian wedding, late 1920s, both photographed in the basement of St. Anthony's Church. The featured photos from last month have been added to the more recent of the two pages of previous featured photos.

February 5, 2017 updates:

Added to the Military page: MMI Memorial dedication 1947 (on that page) and Upper Lehigh Honor Roll.
Added to the gallery of Freeland area school images: many new images!
Added to the gallery of student class photos: many new images!
Photos of the Upper Lehigh school and one of the coal strippings were added to the Upper Lehigh page.
A link to a good source for Pennsylvania maps was added to the Maps page.
A number of new links to online resources were added to the Links page.

Previous (relatively recent) updates:
Updated information added to the home page about a number of the photos that were posted at the end of December. See the list at top of that page to see which have had more information added, as well as a photo of the Upper Lehigh school. (These home page posts will later be transferred to the Past Featured Photos section, links near bottom of home page.)

Updated information added to the page about Lou Corazza and the Freeland Dairy; also, updates to the Churches page and the lists of churches done alphabetically, by denomination and by ethnic group.

Web pages for the Gabuzda, Palya, Merrick and Remak grocery and other businesses (finally!)

Freeland High School class of 1941 memorabilia, linked from the Schools section

Photos from the time of Rev. Basil Macknik, first pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul's Eastern Greek Catholic Church

St. Ann School Guild cookbook, 1960s, linked from the Church, People and Ethnic groups sections

A new Military page, linked from the People section of the site - photos of the old Freeland Vicinity Honor Roll memorial and Sts. Peter & Paul's Eastern Greek Catholic Church WWII memorial added

Additions to the Mines page: a 1910 Miner's Certificate, and reminiscences from Diane Unangst

A new page for Kuklis' Cafe, linked from the Business section

A PDF of a booklet about the American Legion Bugle Corps, published in 1930 and contributed by Charlie Gallagher, now posted on the Military page.

Mines page updates of a 1910 miner's certificate and another brief set of memories about living with coal and ashes

Gubi from St. Mary's
                  Church Don't forget to see older and more recent past featured photos.


Freeland Tribune 1889-1903 now online.

There are now about 14 years' worth of Freeland Tribune newspapers (1889-1903) available online at the Library of Congress Chronicling America site. This represents 3 of the 14 reels of microfilm that were made from 35 years' worth of early Freeland newspapers owned by MMI Preparatory School. The microfilm for all of them is available for consultation at the Hazleton Area Public Library, and now part of it is also accessible online. Yay! Many thanks to the Hazleton Area Public Library, MMI Preparatory School, Penn State, and to all of those who contributed funds and those who have been otherwise involved in making this project a reality.

Thesis about Ralph Pecora's Tailor Shop

All of our featured photos have been wonderful, and this month we've got something extra special. Emily Pecora has recently completed a Masters Thesis about the tailoring business of Ralph Pecora, Sr., which stood on Freeland's Centre Street from the early 1900s until Ralph's death in 1959.  While the thesis will be of particular interest to those who knew Ralph or other members of the Pecora family, it should have a larger appeal to all Freelanders and ex-Freelanders.  It can be downloaded in full here (see below).

Emily is the great granddaughter of Ralph Pecora, Sr. and the granddaughter of Amelia Pecora. She welcomes comments or corrections and is particularly interested in any additional reminisces or information about Ralph and his family. She can be contacted at

The Tailor of Freeland: Everyday Life, Labor, and Community in a Pennsylvania Town, by Emily Pecora

Clicking these links will open Adobe PDF files of Emily's thesis. If you don't have Adobe Reader on your computer you can download it for free at

PDF logo Preface, illustrations, table of contents - (PDF file size = 1 MB)

PDF logo Chapter 1 - (PDF file size = 3.1 MB)

PDF logo Chapter 2 - (PDF file size = 5.1 MB)

PDF logo Chapter 3 - (PDF file size = 4.7 MB)

Gubi from St. Mary's
                Church 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.

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