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Early Times Capsule

Saturday, March 19, 2011

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

Railroad detectives and local law enforcement officials had their hands full with some very volatile cases in the first quarter of 1911.

A railroad incident in mid-February claimed the life of a popular engineer on the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroad. The wreck was blamed on a "switch fiend" who spiked the track, causing the train's engine to plunge down an embankment near Lofty.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

At the beginning of 1911, the Philadelphia Athletics were basking in the limelight of the sporting world. It was coming off an outstanding season in which the team compiled a 102-48 record and then thrashed the Chicago Cubs in the 1910 World Series.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

Bad economic times can bring out the worst in people and that was proved early in 1911. One Williamsport newspaper even went so far as to blame the coal regions for the city's influx of hoboes.

"While Williamsport is not particularly ridden with tramps and hoboes, it is a peculiar fact that the city seems to be a sort of dumping ground for the coal regions," the newspaper complained. "We get Weary Willies and Hopeless Hanks and all the other members of guild hoboes produced by all the coal towns in Pennsylvania."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

There's no better way to pump up a local economy than with a new business and the early months of 1911 saw quite a bit of activity in the region. In February, Tamaqua residents welcomed the news that F.W. Woolworth would be opening a storeroom on West Broad Street.

At the time, the chain had about 300 stores scattered around the country, the most recent one for Schuylkill County located in Shenandoah. Other regional stores were in Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem and Wilkes-Barre.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

During a 10-day period in February 1911, three big news stories, all involving firearms, stunned area residents. Two of the local incidents occurred in neighboring communities within three days of each other.

The first, a story of a tragic romance that went terribly wrong, ironically occurred just two days after Valentine's Day in Brockton.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

It seems that whenever this nation suffers a catastrophic event, conspiracy rumors and theories are sure to follow. In just the last century, we've had the Pearl Harbor attacks, the Kennedy assassination and the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

A century ago, Civil War soldiers were still answering their roll calls at meetings for local veterans' organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic. The grizzled veterans circled occasions such as Memorial Day and the death of Abraham Lincoln on their calendars.

In 1911, the St. John's Primitive Church in Seek held a special service to honor the Great Emancipator.

"The church was artistically decorated with the national colors, cut flowers and potted plants," said a reporter for the Tamaqua Courier.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Through the early part of the 20th century, legitimate doctors were trying to shake off the negative image which had been built up by the many frauds who had infiltrated the medical profession. One writer called the charlatans "inveterate prescribers feeding medicines of which they knew little into bodies of which they knew less."

In early 1911, the Tamaqua Courier reported on the arrest of a "cure-all doctor" named Henry Junius Schireson, who had operated a "medical institute" in Shenandoah along with Max Fierstein of Scranton.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thanks to the Ford Motor Company's Model T which was introduced in 1908, the automobile was beginning to impact American society in a big way by 1911.

Not only was the Model T simple to drive and easy to repair, but Henry Ford's hope to make the car affordable to the average wage earner was also becoming a reality.

Ford was a big believer in mass marketing strategy. His Detroit public relations department made sure that every newspaper in the nation was supplied with stories and advertisements about the newest advancements in the auto industry.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On Nov. 9, 1910, Clinton Weaver of Summit Hill, a 16-year-old laborer at the No. 6 mine, had gone to the top of the shaft to fix some displaced rigging when his clothing got caught in the machinery.

After being freed from the whirling machine, the badly-injured teenager was rushed to the Panther Valley hospital where, within the hour, he died. Death was due to multiple injuries, including fractures to both arms and legs, burns of the chest and abdomen caused by the friction from the spinning machine, as well as numerous cuts and bruises.