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'Mahanoy Area Revisited'

  • "Mahanoy Area Revisited" encompasses 1913 to 1963.
    "Mahanoy Area Revisited" encompasses 1913 to 1963.
Published April 30. 2013 05:05PM

A 128-page-visit to the history of Mahanoy City, 12 miles northwest of Tamaqua, will be available in two weeks.

The work, "Mahanoy Area Revisited," is authored by the Mahanoy Area Historical Society and made available by Arcadia Publishing as part of its Images of America series.

The book showcases more than 200 vintage images from 1913 to 1963, including many of Lakeside and Lakewood parks in Barnesville.

The pictures depict culture, faith, music, schools, beauty and strength of the unique coal region town and its people.

"If you live in Mahanoy City, there is no need to leave," was one of the expressions, as everything needed could be found in the town where houses are built only 12.5-feet wide. The move to economize living space was done to make available the all important coal veins beneath the ground.

Among the included highlights are musician Michael Slowitzky Edwards who composed "Once in a While," recorded by the Dorseys. Other photos and captions mention innovators and famous citizens, such as the inventor of cable television, John Wasonavich.

For railfans, the book includes images of old depots and the historic Mahanoy Tunnel.

One chapter is devoted to music and pays tribute to the glory days of the Mahanoy Area Golden Bear Marching Band under the direction of William Mitchell, which performed for the Philadelphia Eagles at Franklin Field in 1960.

A chapter on sports history honors the 1921-22 Mahanoy City High School state basketball champs, along with baseball, football and track and field notables.

Another chapter, "Over There," salutes the war effort, American Red Cross, and individual heroes such as Sgt. Harold Messerschmidt of Grier City, killed in action in France in 1944 and awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery.

Other towns with photo mentions are the patches of New Boston, Delano, St. Nicholas and Tunnel.

The softcover book portrays the vitality of a bustling coal region town and outstanding achievements in music, arts, military, sports, commerce and education.

In many ways, the book reminds readers of their own hometowns, with a glimpse at places such as Woolworth's, Newberry's, Timm's Drugstore, George's Confectionery and all of the familiar destinations that made life in small-town America a memorable, enriching experience.

The book will be available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at, or by calling (888) 313-2665.

The book is the second done by the volunteer historical society. In 2004, the group published "Images of America: Mahanoy Area."

Members of the historical society will host a book signing on May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Elks Hall, 135-137 E. Center St., Mahanoy City. That event also will serve as kick-off for Mahanoy City's Sesquicentennial.

It will be open to the public and feature ethnic desserts to highlight the rich ethnicity of Mahanoy City and surrounding patches.

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