History program held at Slatington library
On Nov. 2, the Slatington Public Library welcomed retired local businessman and Slatington historian Christy Haydt for a special program.
Haydt displayed various historical artifacts and pictures of Slatington from the previous two centuries.
The talk he gave was a fascinating glimpse of the founders of the borough. Slatington’s formative years were dominated by agriculture, lumber and gristmills. In the mid-19th century, the discovery of slate in the area ushered in a long period of growth, wealth and prosperity.
The railroad offered reliable transportation for goods and people. Large hotels were built like the Arlington and the Bittner House. Children were educated at the Roosevelt, Lincoln and Slatington high school buildings. Shopping was easy in the many stores.
Haines department store later became the Ben Franklin five-and-ten. That building also housed a slate exchange, dentist’s office and barbershop in the basement. In the late 20th century, it became the home to the Slatington Public Library.
The Acme, A&P, Jones Shoe Store, Sweet Shop, Handwerk’s Restaurant, Candy Land, Marty’s Sporting Goods, Overdorfs Clothing, Kuntz’s Confections and Tobacco, Art’s Bar, Boyer’s Hardware and a car dealership were some of Slatington’s merchants.
The Slate Quarries, Keystone Lamp, Paint Mill, Stanwood Mills, American Nickeloid, Orkin Steel, Paris Neckwear and various “dress mills” were the local employers.
Haydt mentioned many names of local residents who contributed to the success of Slatington.
He acknowledged that the town has undergone a period of adjustment in the 21st century. Many of the merchants and manufacturing jobs have been lost, but the future may lie in tourism. Slatington is now a trail town, and the community needs to take advantage of the opportunities that arise from this designation.
Visit the library’s website at http://www.slatelibrary.com for a link to the video of Haydt’s presentation.