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Early Times Capsule

Saturday, August 18, 2012

By JIM ZBICK

jzbick@tnonline.com

When the Mauch Chunk Daily Times announced that Theodore Roosevelt would be passing through town on Aug. 21, 1912, the news created quite a stir in the county seat.

Roosevelt, who was a third-party candidate for president, was headed for Wilkes-Barre where he was to attend a Jubilee Mass and service for Rev. J. J. Curran. Traveling over the Lehigh Valley Railroad, Roosevelt was expected to make a stop at the East Mauch Chunk station "for at least five minutes."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The deaths of two religious leaders – one who directly impacted residents of this region and the other who had a global influence – rocked the Christian community during the summer of 1912.

Tamaqua residents were shocked to learn of the death of Rev. Francis Brady, a beloved priest who served St. Jerome's church in Tamaqua for nearly two decades after having previous assignments in Shenandoah and Beaver Meadow.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

@$: During the summer of 1912, a writer for the Tamaqua Courier reflected on the "old fashioned" sabbath when church congregations had three services a day.

"Nothing short of colic could provide an alibi for the child of God-fearing parents," he stated. "Such a thing as a summer vacation was unheard of."

On hot days, he reminisced how "every pew was fortified with palm leaf fans, nearly a yard wide." He said the fans kept small children entranced.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

By JIM ZBICK

jzbick@tnonline.com

Automobile travel was changing the American landscape a century ago.

The sights and sounds of puttering gas engine vehicles became so popular that motorists formed their own auto clubs, traveling from town to town much like the motorcycle clubs of today. In the summer of 1912, The Schuylkill County Motor Club, comprised of about 15 automobiles and 50 members, was typical of the new wave of outdoor traveler.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

During the early decades of the 20th century, the automobile era created a new landscape across America. The motorcar would usher in a whole new industry of roadside businesses including restaurants, motels and tourist cabins, drive-in restaurants and drive-in theaters.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A century ago, Edward Howland Green, an American businessman and the only son of the penny-pinching Hetty Green, would have been a good candidate for "The Bachelor" reality television show, had it been around at the time.

In an opinion in September of 1911, a writer for the Tamaqua Courier said that Edward or "Ned" as he was known, had received a total of 6,242 marriage proposals, which the writer said was a world's record at the time.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

@$: Maennerchor, which literally translated means "men's chorus" in English, is the name given to German social clubs, primarily in the northeastern United States, and in Pennsylvania particularly.

The earliest forms of these clubs where "singing societies" that perpetuated traditional choral music, both German and German American culture, providing Gemuetlichkeit (good fun and fellowship) for new immigrants. In the early 20th century, both Tamaqua and Mauch Chunk featured Mannerchor clubs.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

When it came to deciding on a vacation destination a century ago, Mauch Chunk was an easy choice for thousands of tourists.

And when you added a holiday like Independence Day to that choice, the selection became a no-brainer for vacationers. Whether it was to bask in the old world charm of the town, or riding the Switchback Railroad or trolley to Flagstaff to soak up the breathtaking views, tourists flocked to the town.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Marriage festivities will always be a time for the tricky young folks to play their pranks," one local newspaperman said a century ago. "But it is a time when they display pretty clearly whether they were brought up in a real home or in a beer garden."

Those harsh words were in an opinion published in the Tamaqua Courier, in which the writer criticized two wedding customs of the day – throwing rice at newlyweds and the "shivaree," a kind of hazing ritual that targeted newlyweds on their wedding night.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's harder yet to realize that just a century ago, many schools had not even made a transition from slate boards to pencils and paper! Tamaqua public schools, which had a reputation as being among the more progressive schools in the region, finally made that move in its classrooms in may of 1912.

Much of the credit belonged to superintendent William Derr, the visionary school official who in 1910 boasted that the percentage of boys who entered college from Tamaqua "has been larger than any town of its size in the state."