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History of Freeland, Pa.
Saving your history

Oswald letter, 1887

Call for memories!

Freeland - the highest borough in Luzerne County - celebrated its 130th anniversary as a borough on September 11, 2006. The history of Freeland is important to the people who lived it, those who remember its stories, and those who are just learning about it for the first time. Since these pages have been on the Web, many people with Freeland connections have written to me,
sharing information about their memories of Freeland, asking where they might find information about their families, and offering copies of photos and other information to share with others.

Our Baba, 1920s MAKE THE CONNECTION FOR YOURSELF - As time goes by, it becomes more urgent for all of us to collect information from older family, friends and neighbors so that their memories are not lost. I regret not having asked more questions of my grandparents when they were alive, and I've tried not to repeat that mistake with my parents and their generation, who are now getting to be up in years!

Freeland basketball team, 1917-1918 I'd like to encourage all of you who visit this site to take some time to talk or correspond with older relatives, to gather information from them, and to learn about their life experiences. It will help you to understand more about your family and where they came from, how they lived, and some of the events and circumstances that led to where you are today. Ask not only about their own lives, but about what they know or remember about their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents. Write down what you learn so that you can share it with others in your family. Capture these memories for the future while you still can.

Freeland overalls ad, 1924 SAVING INFORMATION AND ARTIFACTS - Years pass, things change, and lots of pieces of our lives' passing are lost. That's only normal, but it's great when we can save some things from past times to remind us of what life was like in earlier times than our own, or in different points in our own lives. Pictures, documents, advertisements, newspapers, even such things as product labels or containers can sometimes provide evocative reminders of families, businesses, organizations, events. Sometimes this stuff looks like junk, and yet there might be a few items in those attic boxes that could actually be valuable remnants of Freeland's past. Freeland doesn't have a local history museum at present, but there might be enough interest to have one someday. Meanwhile, if you think you have interesting Freeland memorabilia, don't throw it away! Once it's gone, it's gone -- maybe someone else saved another item like it, but then again, maybe not. The Freeland Historical Society selectively collects and saves Freeland memorabilia. Digital images and information can also be shared here on this website.

Centre and Front Streets, looking southeast

HISTORY OF FREELAND BOOKLETS - Local historian Charles Stumpf published a booklet on the history of Freeland in the mid-1990s, and it's still available locally for about $10, a bargain considering the wealth of information it contains. Charlie has given me his files so that I could work on a follow-up booklet or series of booklets. I've been adding more material to the files from other sources, pulling together as much information about Freeland as I can. It's been exciting to be able to learn from Charlie Stumpf, Charlie Reczkowski and others as I work on this project. These web pages will make available some of the information I've been collecting, while more of it will go into the booklets that I'm working on.

Kalendar Bratstvo, 1912

SHARING INFORMATION - It was my research on my own family history that led me into this Freeland history project. Much of the material on these webpages comes from early maps, city directories, newspapers and other sources, but increasingly I'm adding information and photos contributed by readers of these pages. I'm grateful to all the folks who have contacted me by e-mail -- often from other parts of the country -- to let me know about their families, family businesses or other Freeland connections. I would very much welcome additional information. If you have more information about something you see on this website, or about something that might be a good addition to it, I'd be grateful to know about it.

Freeland cancel, 1887 Printed sources such as old phone books, directories and yearbooks, memorial booklets from churches and events, photographs, and other such resources are important records. If you have anything like that and would consider allowing me to borrow it long enough to take notes or copy it -- or if you would consider copying it for me and letting me reimburse you -- please contact me, and thanks. Also, additions and corrections to these pages are always welcome; please send e-mail, and I hope you enjoy these webpages.

Credits: Thank you to Tom Lavinka for the great photograph of the Freeland basketball team of 1917-1918. He has also sent another one, which I'll use when I put together a Sports page, hopefully sometime soon. Thank you to Tony Sutherland for the cover image of the 1912 Kalendar Bratstvo which, although not a Freeland publication, contains information on several Freeland churches.

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