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Punxsutawney’s Jerad Meterko Passionate Reader to Published Author

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On the cover: Punxsutawney’s Jerad Meterko has penned two novels, A Night’s Passage and A Morning’s Arrival – books that will likely find their way to the bookshelves of more than a few readers. (Hometown staff photo)

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By Jim Lauffer of Hometown magazine ears ago, the late, and much-missed, Charles Schulz published a twelvepanel comic that featured the inimitable Snoopy. In the first panel, the precocious pooch sits at his typewriter atop his doghouse. He types a single word, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It.â&#x20AC;? He paces and scratches his chin before typing a second word. More pacing â&#x20AC;&#x201C; paws behind back â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and chin-scratching follow. His muse inspires the typing of two more words. Again, Snoopy arises and paces before sitting at his typewriter and finishing a sentence: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was a dark and stormy night.â&#x20AC;? In the final panel, after his modest success, Snoopy, with his paws suspended above the typewriterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s keys, concludes that â&#x20AC;&#x153;Good writing is hard work!â&#x20AC;? Given the musing and pacing that accompanied Snoopyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s five-word effort, perhaps he ought to turn to Punxsutawneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jerad Meterko for a bit of inspiration and a dash of writing advice. Jerad, who is a junior at Clarion University, is the author and publisher of two works of fiction â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A Nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passage and A Morningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Arrival. The novels are the first two volumes of his Wielders of Power series and were published before Jerad turned twenty-one â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A Nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passage in December 2016 and A Morningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Arrival a year later, to the day, in December 2017. Jerad finds good writing challenging, though not, perhaps, the hard work that Schulzâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s typewriting dog does. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The best way I can describe it is that it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come easily, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not excruciating,â&#x20AC;? he explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The thought process is not super easy, but I build experiences and situations and move on from there.â&#x20AC;? Jeradâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s background is likely responsible

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for his writing acumen. A widely accepted maxim posits that good writers are good readers. As he writes and builds characters and situations for his novels, Jerad draws from a deep well of reading â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a passionate page-turning that began early in his life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The very first book I ever read myself was the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein,â&#x20AC;? he recalls. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Looking back on that story now, it actually has very deep meanings and undertones, although it was a childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book. It was a really touching story that made you think.â&#x20AC;? Silversteinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thought-provoking book awakened a passion in Jerad. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I loved reading since the moment I could read,â&#x20AC;? he says simply. Jerad attended kindergarten through fifth grade at Mary A. Wilson Elementary School, where his favorite classes were art and gym. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I got to be cre- The printed version of the initial draft of Jerad Meterkoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first novel, ative and make things in A Nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passage, published in December 2016, was 300 pages art,â&#x20AC;? he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and I got to long. (submitted photo) have fun, run around, and play gym games, just like any other kid.â&#x20AC;? mersed himself, though, in his words, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I In his free time â&#x20AC;&#x201C; away from the classwouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just blow through the books eiroom and playground â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Jerad read and ther.â&#x20AC;? Jerad regards his youthful passion for read, then read some more. He especially reading as the seedbed for future undertakloved reading â&#x20AC;&#x153;just about any type of ficings. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That â&#x20AC;&#x201C; my love for reading at a tion story.â&#x20AC;? And, as fast as he possibly young age â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is what I credit my creativity could, he read the stories in which he im-

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A view of the east side of North Findley Street in a postcard, circa 1910, shows a contrast between older frame buildings (near the railroad tracks) and new brick buildings and Jefferson Theatre constructed after the fire of 1903. Also in the view is the Jefferson Street High School built in 1907. (postcard from card collection of Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc.)

Bits and Pieces of North Findley Street in Punxsutawney’s History

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By S. Thomas Curry of Hometown magazine t the end of the nineteenth century, Punxsutawney had productively evolved from a small town with an agricultural economy to a booming industrial and business center in Jefferson County and the region. During the early 1900s, a building boom in the downtown and the nearby residential neighborhood left a heritage of commercial buildings and houses to reflect a “city look.” The Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railroad (BR&P) was built through to Punxsutawney in 1883, running north and south. Three years later the Pennsylvania & Northwestern (PNW) was developed from the east to Punxsutawney through what became the East End section of town. In 1898-99, the BR&P railroad company extended its line from Punxsutawney to Pittsburgh, with promises of a brighter future for Punxsutawney in commerce and travel

convenience to new markets. In addition, the Punxsutawney Street Passenger Railway Company was organized in 1892 and ran a line from a point in East End near the PNW depot to Clayville and had its trolley depot near the BR&P passenger station at a crossing on North Findley Street. In 1902, the trolley company was reorganized and renamed The Jefferson Traction Company. Beginning in 1899, with a trolley line built to Adrian mines, the company expanded its passenger service to other neighboring towns and villages. The arrival of the two railroads pulled development of the town away from the central commerce area that for years, since 1821, had been focused around the public park. With the placement of the railroad’s passenger stations, freight depots, and repair buildings, commerce was evolving to be near these spots to support the railroad travelers and employees.

From that development, North Findley Street became a second “main street,” connecting the visiting travelers and businessmen to many support conveniences, including overnight lodging. A March 1903 story in the Punxsutawney News, headlined “A Cosmopolitan Neighborhood,” described the various kinds of business conducted on North Findley Street, running north from Mahoning Street to the railroad and trolley passenger stations. In the article, editor Horace G. Miller stated that “we doubt if there is any town the size of Punxsutawney anywhere in Western Pennsylvania that can show a greater variety of business or a greater representation of nationalities in such a limited space of street than is shown in North Findley. ... On Saturday nights especially this street is crowded with pedestrians.” The list of nationalities included “Americans, English, German, Irish, Greeks, Hebrews, Italians, Chinese, Dutch, Welsh, Slavonians, Negroes.” Editor Miller added, “and the residents are now looking for an Indian to come along and open up a museum.” In June 1887, Thomas Bennis opened up a hotel on North Findley Street with an advertisement to appeal to customers “just a few steps from the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh railroad station. Large sample room for commercial travelers, and bar stocked with choice breads and liquors.” A few months later, Bennis opened a restaurant and banquet room in connection with his Bennis Hotel. Around the Bennis Hotel, other services were added to cater to railroad and trolley travelers, such support buildings as a laundry, an icehouse, and a henhouse.

Other businesses were added to the shopping district. In January 1891, the weekly Punxsutawney Spirit announced, “The probabilities are that a new opera house will be erected in this place sometime during the coming summer. Thomas E. Bennis has that object in view, and we are informed a Pittsburgh architect has already been employed to draft plans for the structure. It will be of brick, occupying the lot adjacent to the Hotel Bennis on Findley street and will have all the modern convenience of a first-class theater.” (That opera house was never built.) A review of a business directory in 1897 revealed that two bakeries, a restaurant, clothier, confectioner, drugstore, grocer, barber, tanner, and cobbler were established businesses in woodframe buildings in the section running south from the Bennis Hotel to Farmers Alley (now Torrence Street). In addition, there were four frame dwelling houses and apartments above the business places on the second floor, or in the rear of the buildings. Many of those were the residences of the business owners. North Findley Street was emerging as an important business section leading visitors to Mahoning Street, the community’s main street and center of commerce and business. East of Findley Street, the downtown was rebuilt following the devastating fire of October 1886 with substantial three- and fourstory buildings of stone and brick. Like many business districts in towns and cities, cycles of boom and bust affect the physical appearance of a community and the spirit of its residents. In September 1903, a fire started on the - Continued on page 12

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Jerad Meterko

Jerad Meterko (left center) enjoys a Christmas 2017 photo opportunity with his older brother, Andrew; his mom, Kelli; and his dad, Todd. (submitted photo)

Jerad as he describes his relationship with the work. “I just found myself immersed into the narrative and perspective from London’s writing style. His imagery and descriptions were very crisp, letting you paint an amazing mental image of each moment in the story.” Jerad also enjoys reading science fiction and magic/fantasy novels; however, he harbors a special affection for nature books and animal stories. Other favorite works in-

Continued from page 2 and love for writing now,” he says. His passion for reading was fanned at Mary A. Wilson. “We were encouraged to take Accelerated Reader (AR) tests on the novels we would check out of the library,” Jerad explains. “They were basic comprehension tests made for just about every book in the library.” Students who passed the tests received modest, though public, recognition. “I can remember getting gold stars on our book charts for each test we passed,” he says. “I had several pages of charts stapled together on my board.” The Accelerated Read tests prompted Jerad to set a goal in first grade – to read 100 books and pass the AR quiz for each one! Although his zeal never wavered during the school year, Jerad nearly ran out of time in his quest to meet his goal. “I was nearing 100 books read and tested on using the AR quizzes,” he explains. “The library was closing for the year, and I was one An author and a computer science major, Jerad Meterko is as book shy of reaching my comfortable with pencil and paper as he is with keyboard and screen. (Hometown staff photo) triple-digit goal.” “When my teacher saw I alclude Where the Red Fern Grows (“I remost had 100 books tested, she talked to the member reading that in fourth grade,” he librarians and got me permission to check says), Old Yeller, and the Shiloh series – out one more novel,” Jerad continues. Shiloh, Shiloh Season, Saving Shiloh, and “Then I had to speed-read that book and A Shiloh Christmas. take the AR test on it, hitting 100 AR tests Jerad finds irony in his transition from passed for the school year.” A goal met and avid reader to published author. “One of my a passionate, lifelong reader (and writer) favorite parts of this ‘story’ is that I was born! never really interested in writing,” he ad“My love for reading continued to grow mits. “If you would have told the younger throughout the years,” Jerad adds, “and I me that I would have two fiction books was easily reading high-school level matepublished before my twenty-first birthday, rial before I was out of the fifth grade.” I would have laughed and denied it.” After graduating from elementary school “I wouldn’t have guessed I would have and moving to the upper grades, Jerad’s torever written a book in my lifetime, let alone rid reading pace abated somewhat. “I contwo at this point in my life,” he continues. tinued to read throughout my time in “The interest and love for it really took me Punxsy middle school and high school,” he over once it hit, though.” says, “but I definitely was not reading 100 Jerad’s self-assessment offers credence to books a year.” the idea that good writers are good readers In middle school, Jerad met a friend-forand to Willa Cather’s assertion that “Most life – Jack London’s White Fang, which beof the basic material a writer works with is came his favorite novel, one that he has acquired before the age of fifteen.” It also reread four or five times. (London’s adds to an age-old question: Can creative novella, The Call of the Wild is also one of writing be taught in the classroom? In Jerad’s favorite stories.) “White Fang was a Jerad’s case, his deep reading seems to story describing a wolf’s life, from the time he was a pup, until the time he was rescued - Continued on page 6 and settled down with his savior,” says


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Jerad Meterko Continued from page 4

have played a more important role in his development as a writer than did any classroom experiences. “I was never really interested in English courses I had,” says Jerad. “I always thought my grammar was very poor, and I did not do well on tests dealing with the specifics of the English language.” “Any writing courses I had were mostly essay based,” he adds, “so I was never really exposed to creative writing until later.” So how and when did Jerad make the leap from reader to writer? “During my senior year at Punxsutawney Area High School, I was stuck in study hall with nothing to do,” he explains. “We were being told to do ‘homework’ even though it was the first week of the year, and we had no work to complete.” “I had a notebook, a pencil, and a lot of free time. So I just started writing,” he adds. “I had no idea why I started, but I guess the sheer boredom inspired me to start doing something.” No Snoopy-like angst in this writer’s beginning! Like many writers before him, Jerad began his writing by describing fragments of a dream that he’d had a few nights earlier. “It started out with my waking up in a cabin in the middle of the woods, having no idea where I was or how I’d gotten there,” he says. “Upon leaving the cabin and searching for help, I was attacked by some creature in the forest, and I woke up from there.” An auspicious, and gripping, beginning – to say the least! Jerad’s putting pencil to paper did not go

unnoticed. He had completed only a few pages when a friend noticed him filling lined pages with words. His friend and friends were presumably as bored in study hall as Jerad had been. “With nothing for them to work on either, they asked what I was doing,” Jerad recalls, also remembering that he was “kind of embarrassed” at their question and somewhat unsure about what to tell them. “‘I’m writing,’ I said to them, just as surprised as they were,” says Jerad. “Then they asked if they could read it” – a request that Jerad granted. Later in the day, he met them, and before he could ask about the writing, his friends brought it up. “They said it was really good, but it ended too short,” says Jerad, “and they wanted to know if I was going to write more.” Jerad didn’t realize it at the time, but his friends had given him the first positive reviews of his nascent writing career; however, he was a high school senior, and life Proud author Jerad Meterko with his first novel, A Night’s crowded out his writing – for a Passage, written during the study halls of his senior year while. “At the time, it was just at Punxsutawney Area High School. Jerad is a member of something to pass the study hall the school’s Class of 2015. (submitted photo) period,” he recalls. “Once the happened to the characters.” classes and work started to pile up, the His concern for his characters and his inscraps of writing were forgotten.” His writ- volvement in the lives he was creating moing was temporarily set aside, but was not tivated Jerad to see where his story might completely abandoned. lead and drew him more and more into the “Eventually, the work subsided, and I writing. “I had read so many stories, expestarted to wonder where I could take the lit- rienced so many plot twists and exciting tle story,” says Jerad. “I started writing moments in hundreds of books, but I had more, and more, and before I knew it, I was never been able to create my own version sucked into a story where I controlled what of them,” says Jerad. “That was what really

6 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211

hooked me into writing – it and continuing the story. I got to make whatever characters I wanted, make them behave exactly how I saw things play out, and make the environment form just as I saw it in my mind.” His lack of previous experience and a formal plan for the writing did not deter Jerad. “I had almost no creative writing experience; I had no plan for how the story would end, but I knew I didn’t want to stop writing it,” he remembers. “I continued writing, pages a day in every study hall I could, until the end of the year. I finally ended the story.” Curiously, although he may not have had an end in mind when he returned to his story, Jerad was guided by something else. “I had the title picked from the very beginning: A Night’s Passage,” he points out. “The story was heavily invested in the idea of the Passage of time and the day and night cycle. The Passage part was half the passing of the night: half the definition of Passage: literally meaning the Night’s Story (roughly).” In returning to his story, Jerad transitioned from pencil and paper to laptop and Microsoft Word. After completing A Night’s Passage, he printed a copy of his manuscript – 300 pages that eventually made their way into a three-ring binder. Having finished his novel, Jerad knew what he needed to do. “Once it was done, I needed to know what people thought of it,” he says. “A few of my closest friends and even one of my high school teachers got a chance to read my first draft.” “Several hours later after my Cross Country practice and my work shift, I texted my friend and asked what they thought of it so far and where they were in the story,” Jerad continues. “They hadn’t stopped reading it - Continued on page 10


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Punxsutawney Hometown â&#x20AC;&#x201C; May 2018 - Issue #211 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 9


Jerad Meterko

Jerad. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All the while I researched publishing options. I eventually decided to selfpublish with an Amazon company, and now Continued from page 6 the rest is history.â&#x20AC;? An old saying reminds all that a book since they got home, and they were over shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be judged by its cover; nonethehalfway through before the night was less, a bookâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cover is an important comover.â&#x20AC;? ponent of a published book â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one that can â&#x20AC;&#x153;By the end of the week, each person who attract a potential reader (and buyer). For was reading my book had finished, and help in designing the covers for A Nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s their feedback was incredible,â&#x20AC;? Jerad conPassage and A Morningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Arrival, Jerad cludes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I thought they were biased and turned his cousin Alan Rugh, who does adthey only said that to make me feel better, vertising media, websites, and graphic design. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I contacted him while I set the rest of the publishing process in motion,â&#x20AC;? Jerad says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He agreed to help me on my cover(s), and he created both images from just my descriptions.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;They turned out better than I ever could have imagined, and my books wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be the way they are now without him,â&#x20AC;? Jerad continues. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because he Working from Jeradâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s descriptions, Alan Rugh, his cousin, designed the was family, we could covers for the first two volumes of Jeradâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wielders of Power series â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A easily converse back Nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passage and A Morningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Arrival. (submitted photos) and forth on the project, allowing for fine-tuning the details to but they all seemed to agree: it was a be enhanced and emphasized.â&#x20AC;? thrilling, captivating story that drew them Working with his cousin enabled Jerad to in and made them wanting more.â&#x20AC;? More maintain control not only of the text on the positive reviews and music to a writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pages of his books, but also of the covers ears! that surrounded that text. The inevitable question of publishing A Finishing A Nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passage and holding Nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passage arose. The digital age ofthe published novel in his hands were exfers publishing options that writers once hilarating experiences for Jerad. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Finishing did not have â&#x20AC;&#x201C; options that lessen the power it was incredible. I had no idea what I had of editors and publishers to determine actually accomplished, and I never exwhich books get published and empower pected to actually write my own fiction writers to decide for themselves whether to novel,â&#x20AC;? he marvels. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I kept it secret from publish their works. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A year or so had most of my friends and family until it was passed, and I was editing my story, refinfinally complete, and no one could believe ing it into a more finished novel,â&#x20AC;? says

I wrote it all in high school during study hall.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Once I had it published and in print, I revealed that I was an author to the rest of my friends and family,â&#x20AC;? Jerad adds. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was an interesting time to say the least, but everyone was extremely proud and supportive of my accomplishment.â&#x20AC;? Jeradâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supportive family includes his mom and dad, Kelli and Todd Meterko, and his older brother Andrew. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We live close to where the old Mary A Wilson building used to be,â&#x20AC;? adds Jerad, who is a member of the Punxsutawney Area High Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Class of 2015. At Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Jerad majors in computer science and plans to graduate from college in the spring of 2019. He has participated in two internships â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the first in networking and the second in programming. He completed A Morningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Arrival, the second book of the Wielders of Power series, during the period of his second internship. Jerad appreciates his life as a college student. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I enjoy the diversity and freedom that college offers,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I felt like high school has students set on a single path with a narrow scope of classes being offered. With a college education, you have the opportunity to pursue your interests and passions without someone influencing your decisions as heavily.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Living on your own, you have more free time, and I utilized that free time to continue my hobby of writing,â&#x20AC;? Jerad continues. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can really become your own person and find yourself at college. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great place to mature and realize the different responsibilities in life.â&#x20AC;? A full-time college student and a part-time author who has published two novels, Jerad regards his writing as a hobby â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one that involves not only putting words on a page, but also promoting those words through a Wielders of Power website (https://wieldersofpower.com), a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wieldersofpower), and a Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/wieldersofpower). Jerad seeks to balance, and thus enjoy, the various aspects

of his life, including his writing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love working on the Wielders of Power series any chance I get, the stories, my social media promotion, my website, etc.,â&#x20AC;? he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it like a job or chore. I work on it when I want to work on it, and I think that this tactic helps me keep my interest in it.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sometimes Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll take weeks or a month off from writing,â&#x20AC;? he adds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but the longer I put it off, the more it makes me want to get back to it.â&#x20AC;? Jerad believes that the volumes of the Wielders of Power series offer a bit of everything for readers of every age and ilk â&#x20AC;&#x201C; adventure, action, survival, and mystery â&#x20AC;&#x201C; though he adds that â&#x20AC;&#x153;the series as a whole is centered toward the young adult audience, ages 13 and up.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was never intended for an older audience,â&#x20AC;? he adds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but it seems that anyone from any age or background enjoys my storytelling.â&#x20AC;? And does Jerad have any future storytelling endeavors in mind? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I plan to continue writing the series until I feel Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve written about it to death. I have plans to start a third book for the series soon, and at least a fourth story in the near future,â&#x20AC;? he answers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have a lot of material, characters, and a world to play with in my series, and I intend to write as much as I can about it.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been asked if I would ever write another series,â&#x20AC;? he continues. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I probably will, but I have such a strong attachment to the world and people Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve created in this series, I feel like it would be hard to start fresh again.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;But one day,â&#x20AC;? Jerad concludes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will write something new.â&#x20AC;? If you would like to contact Jerad, please do so via his Wielders of Power website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. If you would like to purchase A Nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passage and A Morningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Arrival, you may do so on Amazon.com. The books are available in both paperback and Kindle editions. â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘

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INVESTING & RETIREMENT | Look to PNC Investments for the insights and guidance to help you create the retirement you want. To learn more, visit your local branch or pnc.com/retirement

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Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211 – 11


Bits and Pieces Continued from page 3

east side of North Findley Street in an apartment on the second floor of a building near the Bennis Hotel. As a result eighteen business buildings were damaged or destroyed and twenty families left homeless when property went up in smoke from the hotel to Farmers Alley. Buildings on the west side of the street were not affected. [Note: The former U.S. Post Office building, built in 1914, and the BPOE Elks Lodge building, built in 1924, are on the west side of the street.] It was largely due to the fact that a va-

Two views of North Findley Street looking north toward the railroad tracks enable a comparison of the changes that have occurred after a hundred years. At the right is the new, twostory ATA Transit Center that opened in June 2013. The Mambuca building, built in 1904, (the Cookie’s Caboose building), is seen in each photo. It was recently demolished. (1915 blackand-white photo from Hometown file; color photo by S. Thomas Curry)

cant lot separated the Bennis Hotel from where the fire started that it was not destroyed. But others such as the Drummond Cycle Co., Gerson’s Clothing Store, the Annarino and Mambuca grocery stores, Lattimer Bottlers, and Dr. S. S. Hamilton’s building were consumed by flames. Despite dealing with low water pressure that prevented streams of water from reaching the second stories, the newly organized Punxsutawney Fire Co., within two hours, had the flames under control with nearly three thousand people witnessing the action. (September 16, 1903, Punxsutawney Spirit) The rebuilding of that east side of North Findley Street resulted in three threestory brick buildings being built with

12 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211

distinct Victorian adornments to become the familiar architectural street landscape that is in the memories of many of the older residents of the Punxsutawney area. In April 1905, Daniel Clark, lumberman and trolley company organizer, purchased the Gerson grocery property, and a new “opera house” was built on the lot to replace the Mahoning Street Opera House that opened in 1889 on Mahoning Street east of the East End bridge. The new performance hall on North Findley Street was later named the Jefferson Theatre. The Jefferson Theatre, with its long history over many generations, was demolished in 1999. Only a remnant of its

facade, a massive arch of Hummelstown brown stone, was retained as a physical reminder of its place in Punxsutawney history. The archway was later hidden by a projecting and brightly lit marquee for the theater that hung over the walk fronting the entrance. The actual theater space was to the rear of the buildings fronting North Findley Street. The arch entrance, with the freestanding ticket booth, led theater guests up a sloping ramp to a wide lobby and into the ornately decorated stage and seating, with a balcony. Another building was built adjacent to the entrance of the “modern opera house.” On property of the Drummond - Continued on page 26


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(front row, from left) Colton Adamson, Reese Brown, Sheldon Young; (middle row) Micah Kriebel, Branson Scarantine, Ethan Lainey, Jackson Fezell; (back row) Kameron Falgout, Caleb Kinney and Graham Lott.

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Punxsutawney Hometown â&#x20AC;&#x201C; May 2018 - Issue #211 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 15

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PAHS Girls' Track

(front row, from left) Katelyn Griebel, Gabby Franklin, Paige Beatty, Alyse Whitman, Kaitlin Doverspike, Midori Bridges, Alexa Stang, Hannah Galando, Baylee Ritchey, Hayley Dilts; (middle row) Abby Gemmell, Cassidy Reed, Kristin Lowmaster, Shawnelle Miller, Sophia Lambiotte, Isabel Hackenberry, Riley Franklin, Kaitlyn Lowmaster, Mady Matthews; (back row) Kate Horner, Makena Nesbitt, Katelynn Osborn, Taegan Ludwig, Sammy Dyson, Leah Miller, Ashaunti Damore, Olivia Roberts, Mackenzie Martin, Elyse White and Madison Brooks. Missing from the photo are Brookelyn Hutton and Angel Gardner.

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PAHS Boys' Track

(front row, from left) Stipe Nicholson, Devon Clark, Jacob Ebel, Eamon Jamieson, Andrew Wehrle, Antonio Stello, Aiden McLaughlin, Emmet Jamieson, Andrew Ritchey, Bayden Lyle; (middle row) Owen Bartlebaugh, Derek Ishman, Ethan Presloid, Matthew Wehrle, Stone Smith, Zack May, Ethan May, Zach DeLarme, Isaiah Bish, Alex Gianvito, Cameron Yankasky; (back row) William Humble, Matthew Greenblatt, Jake Pearce, Evan States, Jonathan Kapusta, Ty Knarr, Alex Martin, Ben Presloid, Jacob Bellerillo, Kevin Ingros and Brandon Ishman. Missing from the photo are Caleb Bender and Dan Greenawalt.

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Junior High Girls' Track

(front row, from left) Emily Sweeney, Abbey Stello, Libby Gianvito, Bailee Stello, Isabella Lester, Emma Galando, Laura Rittenhouse, Nikita Shumaker, Jordann Hicks, Olivia Bish; (second row) Ashlyn Catarouche, Hannah Adams, Tyesha Lowmaster, Katelyn Stephens, Aesha Hasan, Fatima Hasan, Amara Buffington, Maisie Eberhart, Ella Newcome, Hanna McSurdy; (third row) Jayden Getch, Kierstin Riley, Morgan Riggie, Chloe Presloid, Hannay Fetterman, Rachel Houser, Hannah McCombs, Chloe Aul, Nevaeh Parente, Rebekah Miller; (back row) Maeve Hanley, Jordan Cook and Hannah Pearce. Missing from the photo are Miranda Beane and Camielle Dinger.

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(front row, from left) Zack Baird, Michael Clemmer, Evan Groce, Andrew Barnoff, Jaden Schidlmeier, Cooper Ritchey, Grant Miller, (middle row) Gage Strawcutter, Logan Smelko, Alex Momyer, Kyle Nesbitt, Eric Surkala, Zachary Schiel, Joshua Osborn, Angel Gonzalez; (back row) Daniel Billick, Bryce Horne, Ian Young, Coach Jason Grusky, Wesley Pearce, Isaac Greenblatt and Ryen Heigley. Missing from the photo are Dahsun Bidwell and Tyler Elliott.

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16 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211

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O

Ten-Week War of 1898 Remembered in Many Ways

By Marty Armstrong cific. Cubans had been struggling to gain for Hometown magazine independence from Spain and many Americans supported their ambitions, rene hundred and twenty years ago, calling America’s own war of independthe United States was engaged in ence with England. Others, though, what John Hay, then the U.S. feared that the gains of an imambassador to the United Kingproving economy following a dom, is said to have described panic and subsequent deas “a splendid little war.” pression beginning in That war, which began 1893 would be reversed. April 21, 1898, ended on However, the never-toAugust 18 of that same be-fully-explained exyear, and was followed plosion that caused by the Treaty of Paris, the U.S.S. Maine to was short in calendar sink in the harbor of days, but long on Havana, Cuba, consequences. quickly led to war Hardly “splendid” with the rallying cry: though; no war could “Remember the truly be described as Maine!” Future Pressplendid even if some ident Theodore of the consequences “Teddy” Roosevelt” could be deemed beneand his regiment of ficial. Rough Riders were The conflict is generlauded for exploits at San ally referred to as the Juan Hill. In the Pacific, Spanish-American War for Commodore George Dewey is the two nations at odds with remembered for his words: “You each other. It was fought in both the Pacific and the The military service of Dr. J. L. Robin- may fire when you are Americas as Spain had son, a veteran of the Spanish-Ameri- ready, Gridley” during colonies and interests in can War, was commemorated in the the battle of Manila both hemispheres. name of VFW Robinson-Morrison Post Bay. John J. Pershing, 2076. (image courtesy of the Punx- later General and ComAmericans were of two sutawney Area Historical & Genealogmander of American minds regarding the de- ical Society, Inc.) Expeditionary Forces sirability of war with during World War I, disSpain, which controlled tinguished himself in both theaters of opCuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean eration and with his calm demeanor was and the Philippines and Guam in the Pa-

PUNXSUTAWNEY AREA MUSEUM

said to be “cool as a bowl of cracked ice.” Overwhelmed by American forces, Spain capitulated, ceding possessions in both the Pacific and the Caribbean to the United States. That Punxsutawney area soldiers served during the short war is documented in Punxs u t a w n e y Centennial 18491949: 100 Years of Progress. The article states that on July 15, 1898, Company 5 of the Sixteenth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, consisting of three officers and 106 men, was recruited from Punxsutawney. More than 100 are pictured in the ac- This photo assemblage of Company L, Sixteenth Regiment, Pennsylvania c o m p a n y i n g Volunteer Infantry, is from the Punxsutawney Centennial 1849-1949: One photograph. The Hundred Years Of Progress. (image courtesy of the Punxsutawney Area officers were Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc.) Capt. John D. Bruce Tweed died of typhoid fever. The Croasman, 1st Lt. I H. Boyle, and 2nd men’s time in service was short. They Lt. Patrick J. McMahon. Currently, the were finally deployed to Puerto Rico in Punxsutawney Area Historical & Ge- September, presumably as part of a nealogical Society, Inc., has a similar peace-keeping force as hostilities had framed assemblage of Spanish-American ceased in August, and returned home in War soldiers’ photographs on loan from December to ice and snow after leaving the Mahoning Valley Post 2076 of the the singing birds and blooming flowers VFW. There are ninety-eight soldiers of the Caribbean. pictured; several individual photographs Over time, many veterans’ organizaare identified by name. While waiting in tions have been formed in the U.S. Early Virginia to set sail for Puerto Rico, - Continued on page 22

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ome improvement projects ramp up when the weather warms up, as homeowners channel the rejuvenating feelings of spring and tackle their home to-do lists. Large-scale renovations can greatly affect a home, but smaller projects can yield impressive results and be completed over the course of a single weekend. If time is of the essence, these weekend or one-day projects may satisfy homeowners’ desires to fix up their homes. • Create an accent wall. Painting a focal wall in a home can create a serious impact. The bonus is it will not take as long or require as many materials as painting an entire room. Accent walls frequently feature a bold color, so decide on placement and tackle this project in less than a day. • Install stair runners. Dress up hardwood stairs with decorative carpet runners. Runners come in elongated pieces of carpeting or individual pieces that can be placed on each step. If carpeting doesn’t fit with the home’s design, painting individual stair treads also can create visual appeal. • Dress up the entryway. An entryway is a guest’s first impression of a home. Many entryways can use a minor overhaul, both inside and outside. Paint the front door a different color so it pops from the curb. Install a new mailbox or decorative house numbers. A new

welcome mat can change the look as well. Inside, consider laying a new floor. Resilient vinyl tiles come in many different patterns and can mimic the look of wood, travertine or marble. Installing a floor can take a day or two. • Install a new faucet. Instantly improve a kitchen or a bathroom with new fixtures. New faucets can provide aesthetic appeal and lowflow faucets can help conserve water. • Create a gallery on the staircase. Gather and arrange framed photos, artwork or wall accents so that they ascend the wall of a staircase. This creates a designer touch and can dress up an often barren area of wall space. • Install a fresh light fixture. Improve drab spaces with a little illumination. Better Homes & Gardens suggests replacing an existing fixture with something new and vibrant. If hanging a new fixture is not within one’s skill set, free-standing table or floor lamps also can cast a new glow on a space. • Add molding. Molding can add instant aesthetic appeal to a room. Molding is appropriate near the floor, at the top of walls where they meet the ceiling, or even mid-wall as a chair rail. Some homeowners like to create framed molding on walls in formal living spaces. • Update kitchen or bathroom hardware. Re- Continued on next page

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18 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211

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ulch is available in various forms. Like other land and garden products, mulch can go a long way toward helping plants thrive. Mulch comprises just about any material that is spread over the surface of soil. Its purpose is primarily to help soil retain moisture. In addition, mulch can staunch weed growth, keep soil cool, improve the aesthetics of garden beds, and even improve soil nutrient composition. When the right mulch is chosen, it can reduce the amount of time homeowners spend watering and weeding their gardens and insulate plants from dramatic changes in weather. Gardeners may not realize that mulch also can prevent garden soil from becoming overly compacted, according to HGTV. This can mean beneficial earthworms can move easily through the soil, creating channels for water and depositing their nutrient-rich waste products. Gardeners can choose organic or inorganic mulch. Organic mulches are derived from natural materials that will decompose over time, lending organic matter as well as various nutrients to the soil. Organic mulches also may contain beneficial microorganisms that can fight against plant diseases. Inorganic mulches may be made of stones, landscape fabrics and plastic. Both types will need to be amended or replaced as they degrade. Those who want the most environmentally-friendly mulching materials can choose all-natural mulches instead of synthetic alternatives. To work effectively, mulch should be applied in a two- to three-inch layer of material, state the experts at Old World Garden Farms. This is the ideal amount to retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth without choking plants. Also, mulch that is too thick may make it impossible for water to penetrate, or it may prevent the soil from airing out, causing con-

tinuously wet conditions that lead to root and stem rot. The University of Connecticut Home & Garden Education Center says mulch should not be placed directly against plant crowns or tree bases, as this can promote the development of disease. It may also serve as a habitat for bark- and stem-eating rodents. The center also suggests watering newly installed bark or wood mulches to prevent fungi from colonizing in dry mulch and causing problems like a water-repellent surface on the mulch. Home landscapers considering mulch types may find that compost, manure and grass clippings (from nonpesticide-treated lawns) can be inexpensive and versatile in garden beds. The home advice site The Spruce notes that newspaper may also be effective. Many newspapers have switched over to organic dyes, especially for their black and white sections. Newspapers are an inexpensive way to suppress weeds and act like organic mulch in beds. They can be covered with other organic mulch, like shredded bark, for more visual appeal. Mulch can be a versatile asset when doing gardening projects around home landscapes. And the benefits are more than just aesthetic. •••

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Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211 – 19


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20 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211

Millennials Want to Say ‘I Do’ to High Tech Wedding Registries O

nce upon a time, wedding registries were created so newlyweds would have all the basic essentials to establish their first home. But as technology has evolved, so too has the registry. Gone are the days where registries only include dishware and candlesticks. Couples can now incorporate modern must-haves, like connected lightbulbs, voice assistants and smart showers. Leading faucet manufacturer, Moen, commissioned a survey conducted online by Harris Poll in March 2018, which investigated what smart products would top the list when it comes to millennial (ages 18-34 at time of survey) wedding registries and how this tech-savvy generation may be reinventing the process of registering.

The Gift of Technology It may have once been a no-no to ask for anything except traditional household goods. But young nearly-weds are modernizing registries by embracing the gift of technology: • More than two in five millennials (42 percent) would want to include smart home products on their registry if they were registering today, with digital voice assistants (66 percent), such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, topping their lists of desired smart products. • Would-be grooms in particular seem to love tech – nearly half (48 percent) of male millennials who would want smart home products on their wedding registry would add smart lightbulbs/light switches, smart thermostats (42 percent) and a digital shower (32 percent). “Tech is trending when it comes to wedding wish lists,” says Andrea Maher, senior marketing communications specialist, Moen. “Our survey found that just as many millennial would-be brides would put smart home products on their registries (43 percent) as glassware (44 percent), with products like a robot vacuum cleaner (65 percent) and a hands-free faucet (39 percent) being some of the most wanted items among those who would want smart home products on their

wedding registry.” “After all, with the great gear available today, why would you limit yourself to towels and serving trays?” adds Maher.

Registry Reboot Across the country, young couples aren’t just bending nuptial gift list rules, they’re rewriting them. With emerging technology, it’s not just the presents that are being modernized, the registries themselves are too. Moen’s survey found that of millennials who have ever had a registry, over two in five (43 percent) registered at online-only retailers, such as Amazon or Jet.com, while 23 percent used a honeymoon registry, which allows couples to request donations to use toward honeymoon experiences, and 18 percent used a universal registry, where newlyweds-to-be can seamlessly link gifts from multiple retailers. Of millennials who have ever had a registry, only one in five (21 percent) registered at a brick and mortar store without an online option. “Recent CDC research found that young people are getting married later and living with partners before tying the knot, meaning they may already have glassware, blenders and toasters,” says Maher. “As a result, gifts like a hands-free faucet for the kitchen or money toward honeymoon excursions are what couples really want and need.” Online tools like Zola and Honeyfund have made creating a modernized registry easy and can help ease the minds of traditionally-minded guests, as they’re able to see exactly where their money is going. “From high-tech wedding presents to donations for snorkeling excursions, millennials are bucking many age-old gifting customs,” says Maher. “Though traditionalists may find these new registry customs strange, couples shouldn’t be afraid to craft a list full of things they’ll be excited about receiving – even if they are a little unconventional by your grandmother’s standards.” (StatePoint) •••


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Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211 – 21


Ten-Week War

Continued from page 17 on, such organizations were specific to the war fought, such as the Grand Army of the Republic posts formed by Civil War veterans. Individual posts often chose as identifying names, names of soldiers killed during the conflict as in the case of the Punxsutawney GAR Post 237 named in honor of Captain E.H. Little from Punxsutawney, who lost his life at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. Posts of veterans from a specific war have endpoints when the final survivor passes on. Following the Spanish-American War, several such veterans’ organizations were formed. In Punxsutawney, a Spanish-American War post was named for Herman D. Hughes, son of Alexander G. and Mary Bell Hughes of Union Street, who died in Puerto Rico of typhoid fever at the age of eighteen. These posts, too, were destined to come to an end unless combined with successor organizations such as the VFW and the American Legion, both of which accept as members veterans from multiple conflict periods. In past issues of Hometown, several groups have been profiled, groups that formed following WWI and were named in honor of soldiers who gave their lives in WWI. These include the Punxsutawney American Legion Post 62, named for John Jacob Fisher (Issue No. 200, the Rossiter American Legion Post 582, named for Norman C. Seger and Homer W. Baun (Issue No. 203), and the first Punxsutawney VFW Post named for Stanley Problys and Eugene J. Brennan (Issue No. 206). That post was formed in 1928 but was succeeded by a second post formed in 1935, the Robinson-Morrison VFW Post 2076. The Punxsutawney Centennial describes this event but does not go into detail regarding the choice of names. Harry J. Morrison does appear elsewhere in the Centennial as a casualty of WWI. Robinson does not. A

CASH

newspaper clipping, however, reveals that Dr. J. L. Robinson was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and was selected, no doubt in part, to memorialize soldiers from that war. Born in 1881, Joseph L. “Joe” Robinson, the son of Taylor and Laura Robinson of Smicksburg, came to Punxsutawney with his parents while a small child, later working with his father as a young man in the furniture and undertaking business before serving as a corporal in Company L of the Pennsylvania Volunteers during the SpanishAmerican War. Following the war, Robinson attended Philadelphia Dental College. Practicing as a dentist in Erie, Ridgway, Illinois, and elsewhere, he eventually made his home and established his practice in Punxsutawney. He married Miss Genevieve “Jean” Boothe of New Philadelphia in 1912 and died suddenly in 1922 at the age of forty-one. Dr. Robinson was well regarded as a dentist and was prominent in many civic organizations. Burial was at Circle Hill Cemetery with an estimated two hundred Masons in attendance. Harry J. Morrison was, according to his obituary, the first Jefferson County soldier to die overseas during WWI. Morrison, son of William J. and Minerva Jordan Morrison of Beyer Avenue, enlisted May 8, 1917, and went overseas with Company A of the First Engineers. He became ill with pneumonia and died in hospital November 22, 1917, at the age of twenty-seven. The orderly who cared for him wrote to Mrs. Morrison. In 1921, his body was buried with military honors at Oliveburg. Post 2076 has in recent years merged with the Big Run VFW post and continues under the name of the Mahoning Valley Post, broadening its recognition and remembrance of those who served. Marty Armstrong is a member of the Collections Committee of the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc. ••• 24 HOUR ROAD SERVICE & TOWING

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(“From Our Past,” researched by S. Thomas Curry, features items of interest from past editions of Punxsutawney and area newspapers.)

April 15, 1903 — The street railway now carries twelve mails a day between Lindsey and Punxs’y – six each way – and one way on Sunday, and six mails between Walston and Punxs’y – three each way. (Punxsutawney Spirit)

April 20, 1892 — Allen Work, the photographer, has some very handsome paintings on exhibition at the Globe Store. They represent hunting scenes, and are quite true to life. Mr. Work exhibits considerable skill in this line of art. If he keeps industriously at work we would not be surprised if he would some day be enumerated amongst the great painters of America. (Punxsutawney Spirit)

April 25, 1907 — One hundred and seventy-five pupils and teachers have already enrolled their names for the excursion to Washington, D.C., which will leave Punxsutawney Monday morning, May 6, for the National capital. The train will go over the Pennsylvania Railroad lines and the party will be in charge of Prof. A.M. Hammers, supervisory principal of the Punxsutawney public schools. There is little doubt but that the proposed trip will be the event in the lives of most of the excursionists. (Punxsutawney Spirit) April 29, 1869 — MISS NAN A.Y. HOOVER will open May 1st, in the room

April 29, 1896 — Miss Mary Wilson gave the little folks, members of her school, their annual excursion party over the street railway one day last week. And how the children did appreciate the ride! There were two cars full of them and they sang merry songs all along the route, attracting attention as the cars passed by. Miss Wilson will commence her summer school on Monday, May 11. (Punxsutawney News) [Note: The trolley in Punxsutawney began operation in August 1892 over a twomile line between Elk Street in East End to a point at Grace Way in Clayville.] May 17 1899 — The wooden trestle-work which connects the steel bridges spanning the Mahoning creek, the B. R. & P. railroad and Main st. Clayville, is being replaced by a solid embankment. The work of filling between the two bridges first named is completed. The dirt is being taken from the hillside above the P. & N. W. railroad. (Punxsutawney News) [Note: The P&NW railroad is now the Mahoning Shadow Rails to Trails route along the Mahoning Creek.] •••

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22 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211

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Area Miners Named Carnegie Heros

Canada. Since 1904, the Fund has awarded By the Coal Memorial Committee nearly 10,000 medals and about $40 million in for Hometown magazine accompanying grants, including scholarships he January 25, 1904, disaster at the Aland continuing assistance. Pennsylvanians legheny Coal Company’s Harwick have received 848 Carnegie Medals, and, of Coal Mine near Cheswick, Pennsylvathese, seven have been awarded to heroes in nia, prompted Andrew Carnegie to establish a the Punxsutawney area. Two of these medal commission to recognize acts of heroism by recipients were coal miners. citizens. The Harwick Mine explosion took the The first resident and miner of the Punxlives of 179 miners and two additional men sutawney area to be awarded a posthumous Carnegie Medal was David Pittsley, employed at the Rossiter mine of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corporation. Pittsley was involved in the first fatal accident in the history of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corporation’s mines at Rossiter. The accident occurred at 8:45 p.m. on May This silver Carnegie Hero Fund Medal is similar to the one presented 6, 1907. A crew of seven to Mrs. Blanch Pittsley in honor of the heroism exhibited by her husminers was about a mile band, David Pittsley, in the May 6, 1907, rock fall in the Rossiter Mine of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Company. The silver medal re- and a half from the entrance ceived by Mrs. Pittsley was one of 617 silver medals awarded. (pho- and was working on widentos courtesy of Ronald E. Fischer) and the Carnegie Hero Fund ing a heading, so crew Commission) members could lay an additional track. Michael Maloney and David Pittsley, two experienced miners, were on the crew. The coal had been removed, and Michael Maloney was beginning to remove a prop when the rock surface overhead began to “creep.” As the prop was released a large, flat rock fell pinning Maloney to the floor. David The original bronze Carnegie Medal awarded by the Carnegie Hero Pittsley rushed to give aid. Fund Commission. The first medals awarded were made of gold, sil- Just as Pittsley reached ver, or bronze. Gold was discontinued in 1923 and silver in 1981. Maloney another huge rock fell, instantly killing the two miners. The other miners rushed to the scene and attempted to recover the mangled remains of the two unfortunate men. Maloney was forty years old and left a widow and six children. Pittsley was twenty-eight and was survived by two children and his widow, who was expecting their third child. The Carnegie Medal awarded today is cast in bronze and includes Maloney was buried in the the reference for the quote on the obverse of the medal. Catholic Cemetery in the West End. The body of who went into the mine in an attempt to resPittsley was placed in charge of the Rossiter cue the miners. Lodge of Odd Fellows Lodge and was interred Within three months of the disaster, Carnegie in Circle Hill Cemetery. had established the Carnegie Hero Fund ComDavid Pittsley, the son of Ephriam and Marmission and set aside $5 million under the care garet Pittsley, was a second-generation miner. of the commission for the purpose of recogThe Pittsleys had lived in Tioga County before nizing “civilization’s heroes” and to provide ficoming to Jefferson County in the mid-1880s. nancial assistance for those disabled and the He found work at the newly opened Eleanora dependents of those killed helping others. In Mine of the Rochester and Pittsburg Coal and establishing the award Carnegie wrote: “I do Iron Company. In 1889, David Pittsley marnot expect to stimulate or create heroism by ried Blanch Shaw. David had entered the this fund, knowing well that heroic action is mines at an early age and became one of the impulsive; but I do believe that, if the hero is first miners at the Rossiter mine when it injured in his bold attempt to serve or save his opened. His younger brother, Frank Pittsley, fellows, he and those dependent upon him also became a miner and was a mule driver at should not suffer pecuniarily.” the Eleanora Mine. The Commission has continued to honor After David’s death, Mrs. Blanche Pittsley Carnegie’s wishes by awarding the Carnegie and her children made their home with her parHero Medal throughout the United States and - Continued on next page

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Area Minors Named Continued from previous page

ents, Samuel and Mary Shaw, at Rossiter, where her father was employed as a trackman in the mines. John Sullivan, president of Sub-District No. 5, of District No. 2, United Mine Workers of America, Punxsutawney, and Patrick Gilday, of Clearfield, president of District No. 2, were instrumental in providing testimony about David Pittsleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heroism before the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in May 1908. They confirmed that Pittsleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brave action typified many brave acts by miners in perilous situations. When the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced its awards in October 1908, David Pittsley was among those being honored for heroism. He was recognized for the valor he demonstrated by attempting to rescue Mr. Mahoney. David Pittsley was the first miner to be recognized with a Carnegie Hero Medal. The Commission presented the Carnegie Medal to Mrs. David Pittsley. It was described as a beautiful medal in the shape of a solid silver disk about three inches in diameter. In the center of the obverse side was a tablet on which was engraved, â&#x20AC;&#x153;David Pittsley, who died attempting to save Michael Maloney in a cave-in in a mine, Rossiter, Pa., May 6, 1907.â&#x20AC;? Encircling the tablet was the inscription, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.â&#x20AC;? On the reverse side was a relief bust of Andrew Carnegie, founder of the commission and patron of the hero fund. The medal was of solid silver and had an intrinsic value of $1,000. It was set in a handsome leather box case with the inscription of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Carnegie Medalâ&#x20AC;? on the front in gold letters. In addition to receiving the Medal, Mrs. David Pittsley received a financial award of $25 per month with an additional $5 for each of the children, making a total of $40 per month. This financial assistance enabled Mrs. Pittsley to provide for her children. In 1920, Pittsleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s daughter Mary, 20, was in nurses training, his son Saul, 18, was working in the mines, and daughter Gertrude, 12, was attending school. Eighteen months after David Pittsleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s death, tragedy again struck the family of Ephriam Pittsley. In December 1908, his son Frank Pittsley, a motorman in the Eleanor Shaft Mine, was involved in an accident which resulted in his left leg being broken above the knee. Pittsley was making a routine trip into the slope at the mine and did not see a car load of track rails, which had drifted onto the track, at the foot of the slope. In the collision, Frank Pittsley was thrown under some of the rails and one fell across his leg crushing the large bone between the knee and hip and severing an artery. He was taken to the home of his father Ephriam Pittsley, who was living on the company farm about a mile from the shaft. A physician gave him temporary relief. The following morning he was taken to the Adrian Hospital where he died due to the loss of blood and accompanying shock. Frank was twenty-five years old and left behind a wife and young daughter. The second Punxsutawney area miner to receive the Carnegie Medal was John S. Kramer, whose award was also posthumous. On June 1, 1966, Kramer was working the evening shift at Dora No. 2 Mine of the Doverspike Brothers Coal Company. Seven miners were working a thirty-inch seam of coal in a room 175 feet long and 25 feet wide when, at about 8:10 p.m., the cutting machine broke through into an abandoned section of the mine releasing an accumulation of black damp, a mine gas inca-

pable of supporting life. Kramer immediately stopped the machine and shouted repeatedly for everyone to get out. Upon taking a count, Kramer noticed two members of the crew, Robert White and Ronald J. Moore, were missing and returned to the room to find them. Two others C. Hilton Neiswonger and Samuel Fred Gaul followed him. They were all overcome by the black damp and died before the rescue crew could arrive. For his effort to save the men on the crew, John S. Kramer was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1966. John S. Kramer, a resident of Punxsutawney R.D. #3, was born in 1931 near Stanley in Brady Township, Clearfield County. He was the son of Merrill and Alice Frantz Kramer. He served in the United States Army. He married to Doris Logan and they had four children, Barbara, Peggy, Patricia and John. Samuel Fred Gall was born August 7, 1925, son of Harmon and Bessie Galentine Gaul. He married Elizabeth Simbeck, and they had eight children, Norbert, Samuel, Jr., James, Thomas, Patricia, Lois, Geraldine, and Mary Theresa. C. Hilton Neiswonger, a resident of May port R.D. #1, was born April 15, 1938, son of Clarence H. and Gladys Pearl Orr Neiswonger. He was married to June Marie Craig, and they had two children, Tony Lee and Tracy Lynne. He had served in the United States Army. Robert M. White, a resident of Punxsutawney R.D. #3, was born in Philadelphia August 23, 1917, the son of Robert and Bertha Ficks White. He was married to Eva Naugle in 1935. He was survived by four children Robert M., Jr., James T., Daniel E., and Patricia L. Ronald J. Moore was a resident of Reynoldsville R.D. #3, the son of Ruth Moore. He was a veteran of World War II. In addition to David Pittsley and John S. Kramer, the following Punxsutawney area individuals have received Carnegie Medals: 1910, Patrick F. Williamson, and Edward W. Noll, two brewery workers, were posthumously awarded Carnegie Medals for going to the aid of fellow workers. Both Williamson and Noll lost their lives 1917, Ira M. Kephart, an engineer on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railroad rescued Myrtle S. Zelley from drowning in Mahoning Creek. 1946, Michael Albanito saved J. Earl Woodford, age 7, from drowning in Elk Run flood waters. He carried the child to shore. Albanito, suffered a heart attack after the rescue and was confined to bed for 40 days. 1974, Alan R. Rowland, age 19, rescued Isaac R. Smail, age 94, from the third floor of a burning building. Smail was hospitalized for burns; however, he recovered. These men, and many other unrecognized men and women, left behind a legacy of heroic sacrifice â&#x20AC;&#x201C; sacrifice on behalf of others, a selfsacrifice worthy of emulation. This story was prepared by the Coal Memorial Committee of the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc. Information used in the preparation of this article is available at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society, the U.S. Census online, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission (www.carnegiehero.org), and the Library of Congress. Comments on this story may be directed to PAHGS, P.O. Box 286, Punxsutawney, PA 15767. Forms for purchasing a Coal Memorial tile to honor any person who worked in any aspect of the coal industry, including railroads, may be found online at www.punxsyhistory.org or may be picked up at the Lattimer House, 400 West Mahoning Street, Punxsutawney. Forms may also be requested by e-mailing: punxsyhistory@outlook.com, or by calling (814) 938-2555. â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘


Hometown Community Happenings

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OR • FULL C OL

FULL COLOR!

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All ads run in

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By the staff of Hometown magazine rom the staff of Hometown magazine and the Community Calendar at Punxsutawney.com, here is a list of events coming up in our area: n May 1: First Tuesday Community Meal, 5 p.m., at Punxsy Presbyterian Church. Free & open to the public. n May 3: National Day of Prayer. n May 4: Salvation Army Golf Tournament fundraiser at Punxsy Country Club. Golfers can register at tournament. Lunch 11:30 a.m., start at 1 p.m. Call 9385530 for information. n May 4 & 5: Free clothing at Grange Church of God’s Helping Hands program. Friday, noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon. n May 5: Hunter-Trapper Education Class, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at American Legion Hall, Reynoldsville. Sponsored by the PA Game Commission. See the PGC website for study materials. n May 5: “Something About the Sun,” 10 a.m. to noon, at Punxsy Weather Discovery Center. $7 per person. Registration appreciated, walk-ins welcome. n May 5: Boy Scout Energy Merit Badge program, 1 to 3 p.m., at Weather Discovery Center. $7 per person. Pre-register by May 1 at 938-1000 or e-mail info@weatherdiscovery.org. n May 5 & 6: Hazen Flea Market open. n May 6: Chicken BBQ fundraiser, 11 a.m., at Punxsy Shop ’n Save. Benefits SPLASH & the George C. Brown Community Pool. n May 7: “Blingo” tickets go on sale at the Punxsy Weather Discovery Center. “Blingo” will be on Sept. 15 at the Punxsy Eagles. This is a bingo fundraiser for the WDC featuring designer purses, jewelry & cash prizes. For information & tickets, call 938-1000. n May 5: PAHS Prom. Pre-prom promenade, 6:30-7:45 p.m., at Barclay Square. n May 6: Masonic Miles for Heroes 5K or 10K Run/Walk. Registration at 8 a.m., race at 9:30 a.m.; at Mahoning Shadow Trail at the Little League fields. Can register online at http://smileymiles.com or contact John W. Jenks Masonic Lodge. n May 9: “A Vision for Punxsutawney” Workshop meeting, 5:307:30 p.m., at Gobbler’s Knob. Call Marlene Lellock at 938-1000 or Katie Donald at 618-5591 for information.

PLACEMATS ENUS &M red in Many Local Featu

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n May 9: Spring Choir Concert, 7 p.m., at PAHS auditorium. n May 11: Community Dinner, 5 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, Punxsy. Free & open to the public. n May 13: Mother’s Day. Remember your mother with something special from one of Hometown’s advertisers. n May 16: Spring Band Concert, 7 p.m., at PAHS auditorium. n May 19: Dash 4 Diabetes, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Punxsy Little League fields. 5K race, 1-mile walk, 1-mile obstacle course. Pre-register at www.runsignup.com n May 21: Coping with Loss Support Group, 7 p.m., at First Church of God. n May 24, 25 & 26: Annual Porch Sale, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Punxsy Area Historical & Genealogical Society museum. n May 26: Hogtoberfest Craft Beer Festival, 1 to 5 p.m., at Gobbler’s Knob. For information & tickets, visit www.groundhog.org. n May 28: Memorial Day. Parade on Mahoning Street at 10:30 a.m., services at Barclay Square following the parade. n May 30: Weeding Wednesday, 6 to 7 p.m., downtown Punxsy. Help the Garden Club beautiful Punxsy. n Applications for the Punxsy Rotary Club’s community garden beds will be accepted through June 1. Contact the Rotary Club at punxsutawneycommunitygarden@gmail.com for application & cost information. n Applications are available for summer camp weeks at The Salvation Army’s Camp Allegheny. Call 938-5530 for information. n The First English Lutheran Church is holding worship services at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays. n The First United Methodist Church holds a prayer service at 7 p.m. Thursdays. n The Punxsutawney Memorial Library offers several programs, including computer classes, Teen Club, ’Tween Group, Book Club for adults, and activities for children. n The Salvation Army has a rummage sale every Friday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. n The Punxsutawney Area Community Center offers indoor cycling, batting cage, Fifty & Fit, SilverSneakers, AM men’s basketball, Pilates/yoga, and gymnastics. Call 938-1008 for more information. •••

Call Mary at 938-0312 at Tracey 938-9084 or Tony at 618-5362 to Schedule Your Ad in Area Restaurants! Your Business Ad Can Run On Our Full-Color Restaurant Placemats & Menus

Mother’s Day

GIVEAWAY

MOTHER’S DAY IS MAY 13 Register Mom to win one of these great gifts from participating merchants on pages 8 & 9

Contest rules: 1. No purchase necessary. Clip and complete coupon on this page and mail to: Father’s Day Giveaway, Punxsutawney Hometown magazine, 129 Aspen Road, Punxsutawney, PA 15767. 2. All entries must be received by Monday, May 8, 2018. 3. One entry will be selected for each participating business through a random drawing from all entries to be held in our Hometown office on Tuesday, May 9, 2018. Participants can only win once per contest. 4. By participating in the contest, all entries are subject to contest rules. 5. One entry per envelope please. No purchase necessary to 6. Winners will be announced on our Facebook page after May 8 enter the contest. Must be 18 years or older to enter. & in June Hometown magazine.

All you have to do to register to win is clip, or photocopy, and complete the coupon and mail to:

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Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211 – 25


In this 1978 photo, a marquee hides the stone archway of the Jefferson Theatre. The Mambuca building (Cookie’s Caboose) is seen to the left of the stone archway and the marquee. (photo copied from the 1978 Punxsutawney Area High School yearbook)

Bits and Pieces

26 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211

fice on East Mahoning Street near the Pantall Hotel, reported weekly about the Continued from page 12 recovery and rebuilding on North Findley Street from the destructive fire. In Cycle Co., Punxsutawney area residents June 1904, it reported: “The Mambuca were introduced to vaudeville acts and building on Findley Street is nearing nickelodeon movies at the Dreamland completion and the room on the north Theater. An evening of amusement, side will be occupied by the proprietor songs, and movies – all for a nickel! for his grocery and green goods store The center building of the three, with this week. The building is one of the best its striking architectural features of stone two story structures in the town and is arched doorway and balconies with finished throughout with the most subwrought iron railing, was the location of the Majestic Theatre, an upgraded nick- stantial material.” After many years, and with abandoned upper stories, low maintenance, and dilapidated appearances, the three major buildings were demolished by the borough to make way for a new ATA Transit Center. Referred to as an “intermodal transp o r t a t i o n facility,” the new, modern, twostory brick building was officially Construction of the new ATA Transit Center on North Findley Street required opened in June the demolition of three three-story brick buildings built after the fire of 1903. The stone arch entryway of the Jefferson Theatre (demolished in 1999) was 2013. The exteprotected and preserved as a historic remnant. (photo by S. Thomas Curry) rior features of the facility repeat many of the Victorian features of the elodeon entertainment with a live pianist providing “mood music” with the fea- buildings it replaced. The former Mambuca building from tured silent movies. 1904, the last building remaining from One of the properties destroyed in 1903 was the grocery business of Louis Mam- the reconstruction of a thriving and active business section, was recently debuca; his loss was estimated at $7,000. Two weeks after the fire Mambuca an- molished, in January 2018. The building is remembered as “Cookie’s Caboose” nounced in the Punxsutawney Spirit, by area residents who have gradually “Since being burned out by the fire ... I witnessed the demolishing of a business have purchased the fruit and tobacco store formerly owned by Selema Geor- block from over a hundred years ago. The preserved and protected stone arch gia at No. 108 North Findley street from the former Jefferson Theater rewhere I am now prepared to accommomains as the only remnant from the past date all of my former customers.” It was in that area, a distinctive monument only a temporary location. commemorating and surviving change. Mr. Mambuca and his wife, Theresa, ••• were born in Italy, came to America in the 1850s, and settled in the Punxsutawney area in the 1880s. He located Punxsutawney Hometown first in Walston, later at Rossiter, and magazine is delivered to 100% then to Clayville before coming to North of Punxsy and area homes! Findley Street with his wholesale and retail fruit and grocery business. The Punxsutawney Spirit, with its of-


Family Members Reopen Funeral Home T

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ily will give the same care and dedication to the families of the community. Dickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family meant the world to him, and one of his dreams was to have one or both of his daughters take over the business. John G. Kelly is the new director/supervisor of the Richard L. Fait Funeral Home. John has worked with different funeral homes in the area and looks forward to helping the Fait family continue their business in Punxsutawney. They want everyone to know that they are here for you in your time of need â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x153;We serve as we would be served because we care.â&#x20AC;? They can be contacted at (814) 938-8200 or faitfuneralhome@comcast.net. â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘

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comes equipped with a three-axis acceleration sensor tracking your step count, a countdown timer that allows for up to 20 timer combinations, as well as 200-lap memory. With the download of the dedicated G-SHOCK Connected app to a smartphone, the watch can even track movement and support daily fitness. Employing a new algorithm, the app displays a graph breaking down daily steps taken in each of five metabolic equivalent (MET) levels, from data based on your step count and walking pace. It also displays the exact location and time where the wearer â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s calories were burned, while measuring MET levels, making it useful for interval training. Give it a Purpose Find your motivation and dedicate your workouts to this purpose. One great way to do this is to sign up for a competitive athletic event that requires training. Whether thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an obstacle course, a triathlon or a 5k foot race, having such an event on your calendar will provide the daily motivation you need. Check out free training plans that can offer you guidelines for the best way to prepare for each type of event. Need further incentive? Use the event to raise money for a cause that matters to you. From new friends to new gear, you can make getting active this spring easier with the right motivational elements. (StatePoint) â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘

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28 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2018 - Issue #211

Profile for Punxsutawney Hometown Magazine

#211 MAY 2018  

Jerad Meterko’s “Novel” Hobby! Bits & Pieces of North Findley Street History Coal Miners Awarded Carnegie Medals Area Soldiers Fight in Span...

#211 MAY 2018  

Jerad Meterko’s “Novel” Hobby! Bits & Pieces of North Findley Street History Coal Miners Awarded Carnegie Medals Area Soldiers Fight in Span...

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