Sunday, December 28, 2014
     

Friday Feature

Friday, January 10, 2014
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS The ABC Tamaqua High Rise soars 175 feet, higher than any other building in Schuylkill County.

Four decades ago, a landmark monolith rose skyward in the center of Tamaqua.

It went up slowly, a steel skeleton built beam by beam. In almost a strange way, construction noise seemed to be drowned out by the drama and scope of the project, a spectacle of huge proportions.

Since that time, it has dominated Tamaqua's skyline, commanding a prestigious role as visual anchor to the downtown and boasting impressive statistics and rugged, modern looks.

Friday, January 3, 2014
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Emmanuel United Church of Christ, Bowmanstown, 509 Hamilton St., founded in 1903, is served by Pastor Dennis Schappell. The sanctuary was decorated in a blue and white theme this year, along with traditional poinsettias.

Palmerton, and its surrounding area, is rich in history and architecture. Prime examples are the churches that serve the people of the community.

Thanks to several of those churches and the Christian Action Council of Palmerton Area Churches and the Palmerton Area Historical Society, people could visit these churches when they opened their doors for a self-guided tour of 13 churches, all dressed in their Christmas finest.

Churches included:

Friday, December 27, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS The late Ken Smulligan, left, and Joe Clausius, work on a new entrance to the Tamaqua Historical Society Museum on March 31, 1999.

Their first festival attracted 250 people.

Today, the group's two largest annual events can draw a combined 16,000 to the downtown.

The Tamaqua Historical Society, one of the area's most ambitious and successful volunteer groups, is marking 40 years of service.

It was 1973 when a small group of history enthusiasts banded together. From the start, members shared an interest in what Tamaqua was and what it could become. Members had lofty goals, lots of ambition, plenty of ideas, but very little backing or community presence.

Friday, December 20, 2013
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION 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. The man pictured here is not Kusko. It is unknown if photos exist of the actual miracle of the rosary.

Thousands stormed into the small town of Lansford.

The eyes of the world looked to Carbon County in awe.

Extra police were summoned to handle traffic.

Dumbfounded witnesses stared in disbelief.

"It's a miracle!" they cried.

Crowds observed a spectacle that never had happened before in the history of the world and has not happened since.

It began on July 12, 1928, and lasted for three spellbinding days.

People everywhere were left speechless over the miracle of the rosary.

Here's what happened.

Friday, December 13, 2013
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS David Dion, a talented artisan, loves working with his hands in his Saylorsburg workshop. These frames are a sample of the rustic natural look he loves to create.

While the elves are busy in Santa's workshop making toys at the North Pole, David Dion is busy in his Saylorsburg workshop.

Dion can make toys, but he creates for people of all ages by carving signs and making custom furniture.

He sings while he works and music is as much a part of the ambience of the wood shop as his beloved tools.

A sign that hangs in his wood shop reads, "Don't Touch My Tools-Beware-Don't Even Think About It!"

Friday, December 6, 2013
Tim Stahl readies a birdhouse for placement in the display window at M&S Hardware, Tamaqua. The creation will be chanced off to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

The handiwork of Timothy D. Stahl is a cut above.

Stahl knows how to combine wood scraps, thrown-away items and yard sale "junque" to create birdhouse masterpieces for the home or backyard.

But they're not for sale.

Instead, Stahl's unusual creations are chanced off by a local charity. Each year, resulting ticket sales raise hundreds of dollars for the Carbon-Tamaqua Unit of the American Cancer Society.

Friday, November 29, 2013
SOUTH WARD FIRE CO ARCHIVES Members of the 1935 marching unit prepare for a six-county fireman's convention at SWFC's mountaintop home. They wore red, white and blue uniforms in honor of the centennial of the town's incorporation.

At the heart of every community is a group of firefighters.

They serve and protect and give of themselves selflessly.

At this time of Thanksgiving, we express appreciation to first responders and give heartfelt thanks to fearless men and women, those brave-hearted volunteers who take a pledge to protect our lives and property.

At one such firehouse, that pledge is marking a special anniversary.

Exactly 100 years ago, high atop a hill in a local neighborhood, an idea of benevolence took hold among 20 men.

Friday, November 22, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Diane Kenesky Derr, Tamaqua, cherishes a collection of 1960s-era magazines and periodicals on the Kennedy family, the assassination and what some call the era of Camelot.

Those baby boomers who remember say it was a special moment in time.

Presidential nominee John F. Kennedy campaigned in Schuylkill County.

In Tamaqua, he was a Democrat visiting a Republican-controlled town.

But political differences didn't deter enthusiastic Tamaquans from turning out to greet the future commander-in-chief. On Oct. 28, 1960, he slowly proceeded along two major highways that bisect the community. He was en route to Hazleton after having offered remarks in Pottsville.

Friday, November 15, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS "I was scared at first."

Ashley D'Amico sensed something was wrong.

"It was painful to slouch over or to stretch my back."

At the time, she was only in grade school.

Finally, in sixth grade, she discovered the reason for her discomfort when a nurse in the Lehighton Area School District diagnosed Ashley with curvature of the spine.

Two years later, Ashley, the daughter of Mike D'Amico and Paula Warner, Lehighton, traveled to Philadelphia where she underwent a serious surgical procedure - posterior spine fusion for scoliosis.

Friday, November 1, 2013
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Jim Hillestad began collecting toy soldiers at the age of 10. This display case in his Toy Soldier Museum in Cresco, houses the first 600 pieces he collected by the time he graduated from high school.

Because he was such a good boy when his mother took him for his eye doctor appointment in Manhattan, young Jim Hillestad was allowed to select any toy he wanted at F.A.O. Schwarz, on Fifth Ave., New York City.

A troop of miniature Britains Ltd. Arabs of the Desert on horses held his heart hostage and they went home with him. A great love affair began which has spanned almost 70 years.

"This was before the heyday of television. Nothing interested me on the radio. I had much rather play with my toy soldiers."