Saturday, June 24, 2017

Friday Feature

Friday, June 20, 2014
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS The Merwinsburg Hotel is along Merwinsburg Road in Chestnuthill Township.

Brush was growing up and reclaiming the land around the Merwinsburg Hotel.

Water ran in at several places and rotted the wood.

But then Chestnuthill Township recognized the historic value of the hotel and bought it.

It is a treasure rediscovered.

A swale was dug around the building to stop most of the water. The Chestnuthill Township Historical Society helped with clearing the grounds. Everyone was anxious to get inside and see what was left. But first the mold had to be abated.

Saturday, June 14, 2014
(ACME) COURTESY TAMAQUA HISTORICAL SOCIETY Bullet holes and broken glass in the Amber Lantern's side door attest to the violence on Flag Day 1938.

The first clues were the bodies themselves.

Police reports noted all three victims were of Italian descent and exceptionally well dressed.

Deputy Coroner Mary Jones released the bodies to Tamaqua undertaker E. Franklin Griffiths and autopsies were performed by Dr. A.B. Fleming.

The story became clearer.

Pugliese apparently was shot four times as he ran, twice in the neck, once in the right shoulder and once on left side of his mouth, which knocked out and broke off a number of teeth.

Saturday, June 14, 2014
The Amber Lantern was a hotel, bar and house of ill repute located on old Route 29, now Lincoln Drive, Hometown.

The death count, four.

The violence, unprecedented.

The murderers and motive, unknown.

The Amber Lantern Massacre is an unsolved case loaded with information but devoid of answers. It remains a true-life, soap-opera mystery that unfolded long before the days of television.

It was a day of mob warfare, bullets, gun smoke, blood and screams.

The tragedy shocked the picturesque mountaintop community three miles north of Tamaqua and made headlines across the country.

Friday, May 23, 2014
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Model horse judge Nina Henne, listens as shower Taylor Hayes, 10, of Nescopeck explains the position of her horse showing in the movie performance class at the Plastic Pony Parade in the Poconos Model Horse event.

"And in this ring, showing in the novice halter class is Emily Andruczyk with her horse ..."

No, it's not the World Championship Horse Show in Kentucky. It is the Plastic Pony Parade in Brodheadsville. And there was a lot of make-believe cantering, trotting and high-stepping showing going on.

A few weeks ago, 23 model horse collectors gathered at Chestnuthill Township Park for a model horse show. It was the dream-child of a 15-year-old model horse collector, LeeAnn Bachman of Kunkletown.

Bachman has been collecting horse models ever since she can remember,

Friday, May 16, 2014
This undated photos shows J.G. Scott painting in his office at Coaldale State General Hospital, where he served as superintendent from 1939 to 1956. COURTESY ROBERT STAUFFER

Nobody painted pictures of rosy-cheeked, cherub children quite like John G. Scott.

The Tamaqua commercial artist's talent was so well received during America's Golden Age of Illustration (1880s-1920s) that the Cream of Wheat Corporation selected four of his renderings for their advertising.

At the time, it was a very big deal.

The Cream of Wheat company was a pioneer in using warm, four-color illustrations to promote their product.

They carefully selected the nation's top illustrators to propel their wholesome image.

Friday, May 9, 2014
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Auctioneer Dean R. Arner draws bids for a 1947 Studebaker pickup during Saturday's sale of the largest private collection of cars in Schuylkill County.

One by one, memory-filled pieces of automotive history rolled out of a large Taggartsville garage and through the streets of Tamaqua.

For years, the former Tamaqua Auction building housed a large portion of the private car collection of Richard Konkus.

Konkus, co-owner of Konkus Produce, was well known. He was one of the original vendors at the Hometown Farmers Market, selling homegrown corn since 1950. The business continues there every Wednesday.

But if produce was his livelihood, cars were his passion.

Friday, May 2, 2014
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Eric Hoffman, assistant chief at West End Fire Company, talks about the Buffalo truck which was the first one purchased by West End.

Dong, dong, dong rang the fire engine bell.

Later a siren was added to West End Fire Company's Buffalo firetruck. But in the early years it was a bell that warned people it was coming.

The West End was a community in serious need of a fire company. The closest and still operating was the Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder in Saylorsburg. A company was formed Oct. 14, 1931, and the first truck was purchased the following year. The company was meeting in Altemose Hall over the Altemose Store on Route 209.

Friday, April 25, 2014
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS/LISA HILES  Hope of Christ Presbyterian Church was completed on March 22, 1896.

A team of tough, dedicated Panther Valley coal miners did the unthinkable in 1931.

The hearty, confident workers planted dynamite inside a tall and stately house of God and lit the fuse.

But they weren't bent on destruction. Instead, they used skills honed from the dark recesses of the earth to artfully carve out a basement beneath a church. Their sweat, ingenuity and faith created much-needed space beneath the priceless 1896 brick cathedral at the corner of White and Market streets.

Friday, April 18, 2014
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/DONALD R. SERFASS This illustration depicts what the 1928 Lansford wake observance may have looked like when rosary beads placed in the deceased's hands slowly began to bloom.

Two eyewitnesses have emerged to describe details of one of the most spectacular stories to come out of the town of Lansford, an event that captured world attention in the Roaring Twenties.

One witness, Mary (Paslawsky) Dirnberger, was a 10-year-old child who hiked with family members from Coaldale in order to view the Miracle of the Rosary. The miracle was a phenomenon in which beads burst into small flowers during a family wake observance and for days afterward.

"They started to bloom and they were white lilies," said Dirnberger. "The whole thing was blooming."

Friday, April 11, 2014
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS John Paul "Bussy" Jones, New Ringgold, began digging farm dumps and outhouses in 1980 and never stopped, amassing a collection of rare old bottles.

In some ways, it's a typical old bottle. But it's also the rarest of the rare.

Unearthed 20 years ago, it was previously not known to exist.

And nobody has come up with another.

When a bottle collector finds an example in a league of its own, well ... it's enough to become uncorked with happiness.

That's the case with vintage bottle aficionado John Paul "Bussy" Jones, who believes he owns the rarest bottle in all of Pennsylvania. Fittingly, he keeps it locked away in a safe.