Mauch Chunk memorabilia
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Nancy Albeck of Jim Thorpe holds stereo viewer and accompanying photos of the Switchback Railroad which are part of the Mauch Chunk collection of her late father, Bill Huber. The vast collection will be solde during an auction beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Mahoning Valley Fire Company.
The late Bill Huber was not one of the residents who voted for the towns of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk to merge and change their names to Jim Thorpe at an election held May 18, 1954.
"He loved Mauch Chunk," said his widow, Dorothy Huber.
His daughter, Nancy Albeck, remarked, "He didn't want (the name) changed. He was so sad when they changed the school to Jim Thorpe."
Huber, who died on June 6, 2011 at age 82, acquired a vast collection of Mauch Chunk memorabilia. He had also collected railroad items and historical items from surrounding communities.
On Saturday, his collection will be sold at an auction to be held at the Mahoning Valley Fire Company beginning at 10 a.m. The auction is being conducted by Ron Rhoads Auctioneer of Douglassville, Berks County, a long-time friend of the Huber family.
Among the scores of items to be sold at the auction:
• A window from the Leisenring Museum with a glass pane in which Annie Leisenring scratched, with a diamond, "Annie Leisenring, May 1, 1868."
• Three windows with stained glass from the old Lehigh Valley Train Station in Mauch Chunk.
• A stereo viewer with pictures of the Switchback Railway.
• Glass paperweights depicting Mauch Chunk, the Switchback Railway, kids at school, and local churches.
• A Hibernia hat case which states: "J. Edward Waaser, Packer 23, Mauch Chunk."
• A complete parade uniform, with two hats, from the Mauch Chunk Fire Company.
• Various collector dishes.
• A beer tray.
• The original sign that hung on the Hooven Building.
• A large roll map, possibly from a school building, of Carbon County.
There are 428 postcards in Huber's collection. "He loved post cards," said Dorothy, especially those about the Switchback.
Besides the Mauch Chunk collectibles, there are items from surrounding towns including Summit Hill, Lehighton, Nesquehoning, Weissport, Coaldale, Lake Harmony, Beaver Meadows, and Tamaqua.
Dorothy said her husband attained his collection by going almost daily to auctions. Also, he often did home construction work so people would ask him to take items to the local dump "and he would bring the stuff home."
Huber, who lived in Mauch Chunk and Jim Thorpe all his life, was self employed, the owner of Huber's Plumbing, Heating & Fuel Oil, and Huber's Building Construction.
He and his wife married in 1950 and have two daughters, Nancy of Jim Thorpe and Elaine Leaser of Mahoning Township.
Dorothy said it's difficult getting rid of the collection, but it was Bill's personal hobby and not one with which she got involved. Her hobby had been collecting dolls. She had owned an operated an antique doll store in Jim Thorpe for many years.
She said Mauch Chunk was one of her husband's favorite conversation pieces. "He knew the whole history," she said. "He could tell dates of almost anything that happened."
Nancy recalls helping her father take the windows out the old Lehigh Valley Train Station. He kept the windows because the building was sold.
"Bill would never sell his stuff," said Dorothy. "He kept everything."
She pointed out how well he took care of his valuable collection, noting that the glassware isn't even chipped.
The collection has an old wooden desk with Mauch Chunk inscribed on the side, probably a teacher's desk from a school; a Big Ben alarm clock with the identification mark of local jeweler P. H. Haggerty, a gold-plated creamer with a colored picture of Broadway, Hyberina souvenir cups and saucers, and an assortment of bottles with local identifying markings.
Numerous old political posters are part of the auction, including one for Stephen (No Fingers) Pascoe, a Democrat. Dorothy said Pascoe was a war veteran who didn't have any fingers. He ran for political office because he was unemployed.
Other posters are for Nathan Drumheller, Homer Kern,Edwin Zieser for coroner. "I had one for an Ed Lewis," she said, noting that she gave it to District Judge Edward Lewis of Jim Thorpe.