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Features

Friday, January 27, 2012
COURTESY LARRY NEFF COLLECTION River Run Inn on Route 309 in South Tamaqua served as a tavern and cafe, and was site of the Tamaqua area's most brutal murder, still unsolved.

Mary Trudich had no enemies.

An innkeeper, she was the perfect hostess.

In fact, people around South Tamaqua say her heart was as big as the mountain behind her warm roadside cafe.

If you were hungry, she fed you. If you were in a jam and needed a few dollars, she'd reach into her apron pocket to help you out.

"She'd give you the shirt off her back," says nephew John 'Sonny' Trudich, Jr., of the Owl Creek section of Tamaqua.

Mary never had children. But in many ways, the gracious 56-year-old widow was seen as a motherly type.

Friday, January 20, 2012
Lansford Historical Society President Bill Harleman, right, welcomes Jim and Robin Telepchak to the East Bertsch Street museum.

Local historians are making sure that the rich history of Lansford, the heart of the Panther Valley, is never lost.

For visitors, it's easy to see that the volunteers approach their mission with passion. And it's a passion reinforced on a deep, emotional level after the passing of cherished volunteer Stephen Brunda, a Lansford native.

Brunda, of Nesquehoning, passed away last October at age 74. He is remembered as a devoted civic volunteer in many different arenas, and the society was one of his foremost loves.

Friday, January 13, 2012
The Victoria Theatre commanded a dominating presence when it opened on West Broad Street in Tamaqua in 1914.

The Tamaqua Victoria Motion Picture Theatre began as a showcase for Vaudeville, located at the site of the former Beard's Hotel on West Broad Street, a site now hosting the Tamaqua Salvation Army.

The place advertised a seating capacity of 1,200 persons and was ornate and spectacular by any standard.

Friday, January 13, 2012
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  Forty years ago, Pete Patterson transported the massive Tamaqua Victoria Theatre organ to center city Allentown. The ducts visible overhead are not heating pipes, but actually part of the organ's blower system.

A special part of Tamaqua's past has been found in center city Allentown and there is talk about bringing it home where it belongs.

Everyone thought it had been destroyed. But they were mistaken.

Friday, December 30, 2011
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS As a "daughter" of the house, Samantha Krabutler demonstrates what it was like making cookies in the 1890s. "Mama says if you don't fill a wash basket full, you didn't bake enough." She explained that almost all the ingredients come from the farm from the eggs, milk, butter and honey. The grain they raise, her father takes to the mill to have it ground into flour. A visiting tinsmith makes the cookie cutters, like those hanging behind her, even a silhouette of "Grandmother." They made cutouts of fish and hung them on a string to represent the Trinity and hung them on the tree and in the windows. They'd keep a basket of cookies for the Belsnickle, the mythical southern Germany version of Santa Claus.

Many have Christmas traditions handed down to them from generation to generation. Baking cookies, trimming a Christmas tree and caroling are just a few.

When families gather, they often tell and retell their stories of past Christmases.

What if you could relive Christmas days of yore? What would it have been like to have a Christmas tree with no electric lights or to bake cookies in the oven of a wood stove or to work on making homemade Christmas presents by candlelight?

Friday, December 23, 2011

I peer out the window,

And gaze at movement far away.

Grown-ups rushing past me

All throughout the day.

The land is full of wonder

And discoveries rare and true.

So much of it is puzzling,

To a child only two.

Teasing voices make me smile,

Despite potential danger.

Which helping hand shall I learn trust

When all the world's a stranger?

They say it's almost Christmas,

Whatever that might mean.

For a toddler it's much harder

To imagine sights unseen.

I'll try to learn, I'll try to grow

Friday, December 16, 2011
IF POSSIBLE PLEASE USE THIS

Betsy Burnhauser, secretary of the Palmerton Area Historical Society, introduced the speaker for the Christmas banquet held Dec. 12 at the Blue Ridge Country Club.

According to Burnhauser, Jack Gunsser is one person who draws a lot of people to the January show-and-tell meeting of the Society. He will entertain and educate you, said Burnhauser.

Gunsser asked everyone to get up and stretch before he began his talk about Christmas traditions.

Saturday, December 10, 2011
Tom McBride will be at a signing for his new book, Civil War Draft Resistance and the Molly Maguires on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 2 - 4 p.m. at the Treasure Shop, 44 Broadway in Jim Thorpe.

Were Civil War draft protestors hung as Molly Maguires?

Tom McBride explores this question in his new book, Civil War Draft Resistance and the Molly Maguires.

McBride will hold an inaugural book signing today from 2- 4 p.m. at the Treasure Shop, 44 Broadway in Jim Thorpe.

Friday, December 9, 2011
Ian Walck is termed a train fanatic by his mother and grandmother who brought him to the open house.

"Forty-three cars."

A visitor to the Carbon Model Railroad Society open house stood and counted the cars on one of the many trains that run through scenic areas and villages, past industries and farms.

President Garry Mack said the Society is not a train club but a modeling club with a special interest in building an interesting display. Members who do not have a platform to run their trains at home can bring them to the clubhouse and run them there.

Saturday, December 3, 2011
Living behind the Great Firewall

It seems cheap sneakers, iPads and iPhones, and a Christmas wish list of consumer goods won't be China's only exports arriving on America's shores. Censorship and government meddling in a free and open Internet might be turning up, too.