Thursday, June 22, 2017

Early Times Capsule

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Although there was no 24/7 news coverage and no social media outlets for people to offer their personal commentary, the 1912 presidential election offered some cutting edge technology for its day.

The race featured a rare four-way race between Republican incumbent William Howard Taft, Democrat Woodrow Wilson, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt and Socialist Eugene Debs.

Weighing over 300 pounds, Taft was our heaviest president. On entering the White House as our 27th president he even had to have a special bathtub installed.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

By jim zbick

In depressed times, sports can be a good tonic for lifting the spirits of a community.

A good example is in Detroit where the baseball Tigers have been able to lift the morale of a city devastated by the collapse of the auto industry. Though on a smaller scale, coal region communities a century ago held that same kind of affection for their hometown sports teams.

In the fall of 1912, Tamaqua found itself riding a crest of economic optimism, thanks in large part to the coal industry.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

By jim zbick

Tourism is the second leading industry in Pennsylvania, which is the fourth most visited state in the nation.

Groups and officials have long used the natural beauty of our surroundings to promote the area. In an editorial titled "Autumn Foliage" a century ago, a Tamaqua Courier wrote about the stunning autumn colors which he called "the rainbow symphony of the hills."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Within a month during the fall of 1912, Lansford residents were shocked by the deaths of two noteworthy persons in town.

In September, Spenser Herbert, who the Tamaqua Courier described as a fine pianist and "one of the best read men" in the Panther Valley area, died in his home of "chronic Bright's" which was an an older classification for the different forms of kidney disease.

Saturday, October 6, 2012



By 1912, there were 58,540 registered automobiles in Pennsylvania which means the number of drivers for those vehicles could have easily fit inside Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia ... with 10,000 empty seats to spare.

Still, the number of vehicle registrations was escalating with each passing month a century ago and with that increase in motorized travel came a greater chance for wrecks. the first week of October was an especially bad one for accidents throughout the region.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Drunks, both home-grown and as well as imports, kept local police busy during the late summer of 1912.

Even after Mauch Chunk Police Chief John Sandel asked for county detective Daniel Thomas' help in taming the problem, it remained a nasty situation. The drunkenness got so out of hand in Mauch Chunk that the issue was addressed at a council meeting in early August.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

By jim zbick

A century ago, the typewriter was changing the way we communicated as dramatically as personal computers and iPhones have revolutionized today's communication.

The way in which the typewriter was making inroads in replacing penmanship alarmed some purists. One Tamaqua Courier writer was concerned about how the typewriter was impacting schools as well as the business world.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

There was a buzz of excitement in Mauch Chunk when the Sparks World Famous circus arrived in town on Sept. 6, 1912.

A noon parade, which one Mauch Chunk Daily Times reporter said "was a good advertisement for the afternoon performance," featured three bands and a calliope, as well as a herd of elephants and camels, plenty of clowns and "some of the prettiest and most refined looking lady riders ever seen here."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

By jim zbick

A century ago, a large tent was erected in Tamaqua's YMCA Park for Chautauqua, part of a nationwide adult education movement which became popular and spread throughout rural America in the late 1800s and early 20th century. The festivals featured speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day.

Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt reportedly said that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America." The assemblies lasted until the mid-1920s.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crime flourishes during desperate economic times.

A century ago, the crimes mirrored what we're seeing in our society today.

In one front page during late July of 1912, the Mauch Chunk Daily Times reported on a number of home burglaries as well as a corporate theft.