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Punxsutawney, a Grand Old Name On the cover: Happy Groundhog Day! inner Circle/Groundhog Knob photo by: Courtney Katherine Photography

‘Punxsutawney Hometown’ magazine


By S. Thomas Curry of Hometown magazine

sn’t Punxsutawney a grand old name?” Through its name, and the Groundhog, Punxsutawney has gained fame world-wide.

© Copyright 2011 — All Rights Reserved.

Schedule Your Advertising In Our March Edition! We reach 100% of the local and area homes! - Concentrated Circulation 8,000+ copies of Punxsutawney Hometown magazine are direct-mailed to homes in Punxsutawney and surrounding towns and areas, giving our advertisers nearly 100% coverage . . . we deliver to every home! (As always — our circulation is verified — mailing and printing statements available.)

We are the only Punxsutawney-owned media! Punx’y Proud — Boosting our Hometown! Publishers William C. Anderson Mary L. Roberts Advertising Mary L. Roberts Tracey Young Contributing Writers S. Thomas Curry Marty Armstrong Marsha Lavelle Jade Emhoff Bill Anderson Justin Eger Art Director Melissa Salsgiver Graphic Artists Melissa Salsgiver Carol Smouse Nicole McGee Emily Altomare All material submitted becomes the property of Punxsutawney Hometown magazine.

How to Get In Contact With Us: Mary Roberts ................................(814) 938-0312 Bill Anderson ................................(814) 472-4110 Tracey Young ................................(814) 938-9084 Our Office......................................(814) 938-9141 Our Fax..........................................(814) 938-9507 Our email address: Our business mailing address: P.O. Box 197, Punxsutawney, PA 15767 With our office located in: Railroad Building, Suite 100 North Penn St., Punxsutawney, PA 15767 Yearly Subscriptions: $36 — First Class Mail

Whether it is the story of the town’s name in the language of the Native Americans or the legend of the prognosticating groundhog from Gobbler’s Knob, the peculiar name “Punxsutawney” is known worldwide.

The groundhog legend celebrated each Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney on February 2, and proclaimed to the world for over 100 years, has been recognized as a major accomplishment and a wealth of advertising for the small town situated near the corner of Jefferson, Clearfield and Indiana counties in Western Pennsylvania, and distant from major cities. But the peculiarity of its name, “of Indian origin,” has existed for many hundred years more. The Native-Americans traveled and rested at this spot and identified it by their word “Ponksutenink,” “the town of the ponkis” for the tiny sandflies found in great numbers in this section of Pennsylvania in the valley of the Mahoning Creek. And when the name of “Punxsutawney” is mentioned, a common reply is, “Oh, I’ve heard of Punxsutawney.” That opens the door to many conversations about its origin and history. There could also be a bit of ridicule from jokesters and those in disbe-

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lief for its spelling, or the tales about the prognosticating woodchuck and its shadow. In January of 1871, the editor of the weekly Punxsutawney Plaindealer attempted to correct a statement he read in the Harrisburg State Journal. The city writer in our state capital commented, “The reason we never have any items concerning Punxsutawney in that section is our inability to spell that jaw-splitting name without referring to the ‘Legislative Hand-Book.’” The local editor responded with, “As regards to the name, although an Indian name, we think a prettier one could not be found. We like it because it is odd.” For many years, long before the use of the Zip Code by the U. S. Postal Service, local Punxsutawney residents could usually expect proper delivery of their mail by either the special notation of “Groundhog Town” or as many would have said, “A capital ‘P’ followed by any jumble of letters ending with a ‘y’ will bring mail from anywhere in the world to Punxsutawney.” There is only one Punxsutawney in the world and it is in Pennsylvania. As one resident pointed out, in a comment in 1944, “If you put Pittsburgh on an envelope, it’s liable to carry it to anyone of 24 places in the U. S.” (February 24, 1944, Punxsutawney

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2 – Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124


[1] (Cohen, S. et al. Psychological stress and susceptibility to the common cold. N. Engl. J Med 1991 Aug 29; 325 (9); 606-612). [2] Vitamin D! (Aloia JF, Li-Ng M. Re: epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Oct;135(7):1095-6; author reply 1097-8.)


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Dr. Kevin P. Merrow with Danielle Merrow old weather is here, and with it comes the dreaded “cold and flu” seasonright? Not necessarily, says Dr. James Chestnut, author of “D-Sufficiency: Your Best D-FENCE Against Seasonal Colds and Flus”[1]. In fact, the seasons have little to do with one’s susceptibility to the cold and flu viruses. But if we can’t blame our achy bones, fever and chills on winter cold, what is responsible? Turns out, our odds of getting sick are based not on the environment, but rather our body’s ability to shake off the viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Examples of factors that help our bodies to keep sickness at bay are: reducing stress through exercise, choosing fruits and vegetables to balance out the temptation to overindulge on sweets, and also focusing on improving posture through a chiropractic adjustment. There is, however, one environmental element lacking during the winter months that can make contracting a virus more likely: Vitamin D. Our bodies use the sunlight to help us produce Vitamin D, which is obviously not as prevalent in wintertime. Fortunately, Vitamin D supplements are available and necessary to maintain a healthy immune system, while also helping to fight off a host of other unwelcome conditions[2]. Following these few easy pointers in addition to seeing your favorite local chiropractor will help you stay on your feet and out of bed during the colder months. ( x.cfm/2010/10/4/DSufficiency-Your-BestDFENCE-Against-Seasonal-Colds-andFlus)

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4 – Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124

a Grand Old Name Continued from page 2 Spirit) And so it is with almost any community you can mention, except Punxsutawney. Since 1870, there are many notes in the local newspapers that point out the frustration of many people to spell out the name for the little village, and, more so, for those associated with the growing, and more prominent coal and commerce center the town had become in the late 19th century and early 20th century. There would be many vain efforts: Punksietonie and Pounxatouny (1870), Pumpsutawnix (1892), PenixSutowneuy (1903), Preutsictawney (1944), Puvatavniee (1960), and more and more. In the early days of the development of coal in this area, there was a story about a group of Italians who had been signed by a labor agent for work in the mines of a nearby mining town. The leader of the group needed to buy a block of tickets at the railroad station for the group’s destination. The ticket agent asked where they were going. As the moment was related: “P-pp,” stuttered the Italian. He tried it again. “P-p-p, Po, Poo, Poo.’ That was as far as he could get. So he reached into a pocket of his coat and produced a slip of paper. On it was typed “Punxsutawney, Penna.” In the first decade of the 20th century, when hundreds of prominent men from industry, businesses, government and news media were attending the annual summer Groundhog Hunt and Feast in town, Punxsutawney was beginning its time of widespread notoriety for its attention and celebration of Groundhog lore. The 1940s found the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club waging a battle with Quarryville, Pennsylvania for the national spotlight about Groundhog Day in the printed media. The question most often asked was why Quarryville, in Lancaster County in eastern Pennsylvania, got so much attention. For one reason it was recognized that Quarryville was nearer to Philadelphia and other east coast newspapers. But in a lighthearted explanation, the local promoters would accept that most newspaper editors couldn’t spell “Punxsutawney.” The late Ralph Roberts, in a conversation with the writer several years ago, recalled his meeting with a man who was called upon to spell the town’s name in his youth. On a business trip to Pittsburgh, a businessman described to Ralph a spelling bee event while he was in high school. By some twist of fate the gent, who thought himself one of the poorest spellers, was left standing with eight bright students. The good students dropped out one by one from their poor efforts, but Mr. Roberts’ acquaintance spelled through the syllables of the word correctly. The businessman said he gained for himself a “star” reputation for his correct spelling. Through the years, evidence has shown that many people found it difficult to spell the town’s name. And for those who couldn’t spell it, or chose to avoid spelling the word of four syllables, and 12 letters, or chose for convenience to reduce it all to something shorter, adopted the contraction of “Punx’y” to appear in printed form, if not also spoken in conversation. In 1885, W. O. Smith became the new editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit, the local newspaper that had formerly been the Mahoning Valley Spirit until 1876 when the name had been changed to bear the town’s name. Mr. Smith had come to Punx-

Since the 1880s, people who found it difficult to spell or pronounce “Punxsutawney” had begun to use a proper contraction of the name, “Punx’y.”

sutawney in 1884 to start the Punxsutawney Tribune and became the Spirit editor after Davis Goheen purchased the newspaper in 1885. Assuming the editorial management as an independent voice, “fearless and outspoken at all times,” he promptly spoke his style of “Punxsutawney” pride. Within a month he wrote, “We would respectfully inform those editors who habitually steal from this paper without giving credit, that the journal is known and designated as the PUNXSUTAWNEY SPIRIT. Those who haven’t time to write the word “Punxsutawney” may abbreviate it “Punx’y.” (October 14, 1885, Punxsutawney Spirit) Through the years, “Write it “Punx’y!” was the position held by the newspaper. Over time, “Punxs’y” was being substituted by some people and used as frequently as “Punx’y.” In 1939, P. L. Smith, as editor of the Spirit, initiated his own campaign for the use of the earlier established abbrevia-

Often the use of “Punxsy” (without the apostrophe) is being used in signage and writing, unintentionally creating a new word, and not a contraction, to replace the name “Punxsutawney.”

tion set by his father W. O. Smith in 1885. “The proper abbreviation, or rather contraction, is “P-u-n-x-’-y.” It is not Punxs’y, but Punx’y.” In his journalistic manner he explained “the “s” is superfluous.” However, that would not keep the cheerleaders in the local high school from calling out to the sports fans to scream “P-U-N ... X-S-Y!” PUNXSY, PUNXSY! All without the apostrophe, and seemingly creating a new word to replace the historical and curious PUNXSUTAWNEY. And many others who prepare signage and posters under the constraints of limited space to spell out the 12 magical letters of the name will choose an abbreviation. In 1888 was this account: “John W. Barr, while in Pittsburgh last week, learned a new song which is said to be very pretty when sung with a full chorus. It is entitled - Continued on page 10

A Movie Star Brings Fame to Punx’y The Story of Colleen Townsend

served a jeep passing his post. Painted on the jeep was “Spirit of Punxsutawney. It was learned and announced that Captain hat the town of Punxsutawney has Scott Geesey, soldier husband of a local been given prominent attention far woman, had operated the jeep and had beyond its regional influence and named it. sentiment as a “hometown” to many A Broadway musical in 1943 was another is an astonishing accomplishment in proexample of a fascinamotion. Or perhaps tion with the town its the warm and named Punxfriendly nature of its sutawney. Set in people who have Sardi’s, a New York often welcomed visiCity theatre-district tors from around the restaurant, the musiworld each Groundcal revue “Bright hog Day. And sent Lights” had a song in the folk back home it titled, “Don’t Forwith unforgettable get the Girl from memories. Punxsutawney.” During the years of With regards to World War II and the P u n x s u t a w n e y ’s Korean War in the name and fame, 1940s and ‘50s, many something more asexamples of the tounding was to haprecognition of Punxpen a few years after sutawney as a mystiWorld War II. In cal and charming 1949, when World place in the U. S. A. War II was real histook place. tory in the minds of At the beginning of The young Hollywood star Colleen Townsend many Americans, World War II, the would make a celebrated appearance in Punx- Hollywood’s 20th daily news from the sutawney for the premiere of the movie “When Century-Fox prolocal newspaper drew Willie Comes Marching Home.” The World War II duced a movie about story for the movie was set in a town called attention to a Broad- “Punxatawney” in West Virginia. a young World War II way play, “Candle in soldier from a small the Wind.” It was a war play based in a town called “Punxatawney.” Enlisting as German concentration camp. Having the first from his town, he is later welopened in New York City in 1941, starring comed back to his hometown as a hero beHelen Hayes, it came to Pittsburgh in 1942. cause of an incident from his service in In one scene, when one of the characters Europe. was bemoaning the lack of food in France, Therefore, in early January 1950 some she wishes she were “back in Cahoes (N.Y) Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce or Punxsutawney.” Other than the magic members and others, who were leaders of of Helen Hayes as the star, Punxsutawney organizations and newspaper representaresidents who were in the audience admittives, had a private, sneak preview of the ted that the surprise mention of Punxmovie at the Alpine theatre on Pine Street. sutawney was the highlight of the The local viewers recognized that the mootherwise mediocre show. tion picture, with its war hero played by In September 1942, a local soldier staDan Dailey, was a light, entertaining comtioned in North Africa wrote home to his edy, and an enjoyable family movie. The parents and included a note that he had ob- Continued on next page


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6 – Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124

Continued from previous page Chamber sent a telegram to the film company with their congratulations. Included was a surprising challenge. That the local leaders were invited to see the early preview, the movie’s misspelling of “Punxatawney” was forgiven (somewhat). That this story’s “Punxatawney” was placed in West Virginia was more offensive. “There is only one Punxsutawney in the world and it is right here in the heart of Pennsylvania,” the Chamber would write. “Why did your studios take our one and only Punxsutawney, where the whole world awaits the prophecies of the Groundhog each February 2nd, and transfer it into the hills of West Virginia... No! No! Punxsutawney is in Pennsylvania and it is spelled P-U-N-XS-U-T-A-W-N-E-Y!” That lighthearted taste of local indignation included the suggestion that, since the story was centered on a young man from Punxsutawney, a state premiere showing of the movie should take place in our Punxsutawney. And a suggestion “Perhaps the lovely movie star Colleen Townsend could be the town’s guest for the premiere.” By telegram, too, 20th Century-Fox instantly replied. First, the news that the individual who located the misspelled “Punxsatawney” in West Virginia was no longer employed with the company. And then the most exciting news to read, “There’s only one real “Punxsutawney” - yours - and we think it’s the ideal setting for the Pennsylvania premiere. It is a pleasure, too, to accept your kind invitation in behalf of Colleen Townsend, spelled T-O-W-N-S-E-N-D....” A few days before her visit on Saturday, February 4, there was concern by local planners that Miss Townsend would cancel her visit. Her contract with 20th CenturyFox would end at the end of February. Also, she announced that a career as a film star was not her future. She was quitting her lucrative movie future, with its spotlight and

tinsel, to follow “a path God has chosen for me,” maybe missionary work, Christian education or “getting married and having a great big Christian family.” That declaration only added more appeal to the hearts of Punxsutawney people who waited patiently for her visit and appearances at local events. Sixty years later, some older Punxsutawney residents will hold cherished memories and happily remember the activity and celebration around the visit of the 20-year old starlet from the movie, “When Willie Comes Marching Home.” A week after the January 13 announcement of the movie’s premiere in Punxsutawney there developed a feud with the mayor of Wheeling, West Virginia. With the movie set in a town called “Punxatawney, West Virginia” the mayor of that city wired off a telegram to 20th CenturyFox to announce that he would change the name of his city to “Punxsutawney, West Virginia” on that premiere day of February 4. That action was followed by a response from the local Chamber of Commerce. A telegram was sent to the governor of West Virginia with the notice “that Punxsutawney does not intend to stand idly by while West Virginia renames one of its towns Punxsutawney.” To be sure, no one locally would allow that state any fame to be gained from the one and only Punxsutawney. Then came a news story in a Pittsburgh newspaper that Colleen Townsend would be in that city on Saturday, February 3 for a personal appearance in connection with the movie. The movie company quickly denied that report. Stories relating to the feud about “Punxatawney, West Virginia” and “Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania” were circulated to print media for days prior to the Groundhog Day prognostication in Punxsutawney on Thursday, February 2. Voluminous pages of news went worldwide giving Punxsutawney publicity on a big scale. The story of the movie premiere - Continued on page 19

The Early Story of Mass Transit in the Punxsutawney Area R

By PRIDE for Hometown magazine

ailroad transportation systems were fairly well developed across the United States long before they were built in the Punxsutawney area. According to McKnight’s History of Jefferson County, agitation for a railroad in Jefferson County began as early as 1853, when stock was first sold by the Allegheny Valley Railroad Company. This eventually resulted in the building of the Low

from the mines. The Punxsutawney Street Passenger Railway Company, a local inter-urban transportation system, was chartered on February 1, 1892. The charter was for a 1.6 mile line between Punxsutawney and Clayville boroughs. The first route began

The Baltimore, Rochester and Pittsburgh railroad station in Punxsutawney was a place where residents began their trips to Piitsburgh or destinations across the country. (Photo courtesy of Shirley J. Sharp)

near the Pennsylvania and Northwest Railway station (near where the U.S. Post Office is located today) and traveled to the

intersection of Main Street and North Main Street in Clayville (Near where the Comet - Continued on next page

The Jefferson Traction Company tracks and overhead line, West Main Street in Big Run. The line was extended to the Knights of Pythias Hall where passengers could connect by walking about a block to the United Traction Street Railway’s line. (Photo courtesy of Shirley J. Sharp)

Grade Division, beginning in 1872. The railroad crossed the middle of the county with stations at Summerville, Brookville, Reynoldsville and Falls Creek. By 1854, advocates were attempting to secure a railroad for the Punxsutawney Area. The Second Geological Survey, published in 1874, revealed the coal resources in Jefferson County and provided the incentive for investors to build railroads in order to access the coal. Several railway companies were consolidated in an effort to bring the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway Company to Punxsutawney in 1883. The lines were primarily freight lines, however almost as soon as they became operational the need for passenger service was obvious. The first passenger car on the line was a caboose attached to the freight trains carrying coal. Within a few months, regular passenger service was instituted. This opened the world to residents and made it possible for people from all over the world to come to Punxsutawney. Trains made it possible for people from the Punxsutawney area to leave on the morning train, conduct business or shop in Pittsburgh or Buffalo, have lunch and be home the same night. It also made it possible for people from Punxsutawney to travel all across the country. Business men traveled to New York and Philadelphia to buy goods. Other residents found they could get on a train in Punxsutawney and be in Miami in two days or Los Angeles in less than a week. In the local area, miners would hitch rides on the coal trains to and Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 7


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A Jefferson Traction Company trolley on Main Street in Reynoldsville made round trips to Punxsutawney and Sykesville, stopping at places in between. Photo courtesy of Shirley J. Sharp

Mass Transit

from Reynoldsville to build the line connecting Reynoldsville, Soldier, Sykesville, Rathmel, Wishaw and Eleanora. Continued from previous page With the opening in December 1902 of the Reynoldsville line, the company was Market is today). It had one side line that reorganized to form the Jefferson Traction ran from Mahoning Street north on Findley Company. The company provided reguStreet to the Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittslar ninety minute service, leaving Punxburgh Railway Station. The line, with sutawney, stopping at Adrian, Anita, three cars and 8432 feet of track, opened Eleanora and Wishaw before arriving in for business on August 17, 1892 and durReynoldsville. This service was reversed ing the first year of operation carried for those leaving from Reynoldsville. The 222,497 paying passengers. The success company also established a second recreof this line lead the company to look at the ational facility, Wishaw Park, with a heated economic advantages of connecting the pavilion for winmining communiter dancing. The ties which were company’s parks developing in the eventually inarea. cluded Jefferson In 1899, a new near Harmony, company was orHighland, near ganized, the JefFlorence and ferson Street Alahoe, near Big Passenger RailRun. These were way Company, popular passenwhich began surger destinations veying for an exfor families and tension to Anita. especially for This line left young people Punxsutawney on who enjoyed the the north side of Miss Cora L. Smith stands in front of the Sykesville Street the B.R. & P. Car Station, located where the United Traction Street Rail- dances and other tracts across from way Line and the Jefferson Traction Company Line met recreational acthe Findley Street in Sykesville. (Photo courtesy of Dr. George A. Sabaricha) tivities. The company also offered Trolley line. Five special charter trips to dinner in Punxcars were added and the number of passutawey or Reynoldsville. The new comsengers doubled. In 1901, a new company, pany carried more than a million the Jefferson Street Railway Company, passengers in 1903. was chartered to build an extension to the This extension of trolleys also provided booming mine town of Eleanora. This was access to transportation for rural township completed in May 1902, and about the residents. For the first time people in Hensame time the west end of the line was exderson, McCalmont and Winslow, Towntended from Clayville to Walston. On July 14, 1902, the Jefferson Street Passenger - Continued on page 22 Railway Company received a franchise

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Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 9

Punxsutawney Phil plush for 2011 debuts with a partner C

ontinuing a tradition that began in 2003, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club and Punxsutawney Phil’s Official Souvenirs unveiled a new plush Punxsutawney Phil toy in time for Groundhog Day. But this year, Phil isn’t alone. For the first time ever, Punx-

sutawney Phyllis is at his side. “We felt that the role of Phyllis, Phil’s wife, in the tradition of Groundhog Day has been overlooked. It seemed like the right time to honor her support of Phil,” said Mike Johnston, who coordinated the development of the two plush groundhogs on be-

half of the Inner Circle of the Groundhog Club. According to legend, Punxsutawney Phil gets a special drink every summer to extend his life another seven years. However, the elixir will not work on any groundhog other

Meet us at

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y a D S e N D e W . .m a   0 3:0 FeB . 2, 2011! Sponsored by the Members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle

John Griffiths Ben Hughes Jeff Grube Bob roberts

ron Ploucha Keith Shields Bill Deeley Bill roberts

Dave Gigliotti aJ Dereume Jeff lundy Mike Johnston

tom uberti ed Jekielek Bob Chambers Butch Philliber

than Phil. Therefore, Phil has had several mates—all named Phyllis—who have been by his side during his 125 year reign. This year’s plush Punxsutawney Phyllis marks the first time the Groundhog Club has called attention to her. The two plush toys, Phil sporting a black vest, and Phyllis a red dress and bow on her head, will be sold separately at Punxsutawney Phil’s Souvenir Shop and online at The cost for each plush groundhog is $8. While this year’s supply of Punxsutawney Phils is greater than last year’s, the quantity is still limited, and the number of Punxsutawney Phyllis groundhogs is even less. “Phil is well known, but Phyllis isn’t,” says George Powers, manager of Punxsutawney Phil’s Souvenirs. “We thought that Phyllis might sell better locally, where the concept of Phil having a ‘wife’ has been talked about for years, but we were unsure how popular Phyllis would be to folks outside of town. That’s why we kept the quantity lower.” The Groundhog Club and Souvenir Shop have been selling plush Punxsutawney Phils since 2003 when the first Ty Beanie Baby, Punxsutawney Phil was released. Ty stopped producing the Phil Beanie Baby after Groundhog Day 2009. Last year, the Groundhog Club continued the tradition with a very small run of its own Punxsutawney Phil plush toy. Proceeds from the sale of the Punxsutawney Phil and Phyllis plush groundhogs benefit the Groundhog Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Groundhog Festival Committee. •••

a Grand Old Name

Continued from page 4 “Punx’y takes the House.” (May 30, 1888, Punxsutawney News) In May 1890, when the Pittsburgh Dispatch sent out a group to explore the country roads in Western Pennsylvania the men reported back with “We took dinner at ‘Punx’y.’ This name does not appear on the map of Pennsylvania, but there is a ‘Punx’y’ with a boom back of it. Punxsutawney, as it is sometimes called by strangers and mapmakers, is one of the most progressive towns between the Juniata River and the Ohio. Railroad centers are always prosperous towns...” Upon the opening of the iron furnace by the Punxsutawney Iron Company in September 1897 a news story reported the official christening of the blast furnace as “The Punx’y Iron Furnace.” And the locomotive that was used within the yard of the complex was also named “The Punx’y.” The story went on to say “... and its products will carry the name of Punxsutawney to the uttermost ends of the earth.” (Note: The Punx’y Iron Furnace was located where now is The Punx’y Plaza.) News accounts relating the popular use of “Punx’y” are numerous in the pages of the newspapers. In 1898, when bicycles were a craze and a popular means of transportation for individuals, an employee of the Punxsutawney Cyclery Company constructed a new “wheel” in the repair shop. His 1898 model was introduced as “the Punx,” and advertised as “the first bicycle ever built in town.” (March 2, 1898, Spirit) Other examples are: • “Dr. J. B. Bethuyne is now the owner of ‘Punx’y,’ the race horse for which $2,000 was paid as a two-year-old...” (1902). - Continued on page 13

10 – Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124

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working in his dad’s tire shop and also helped y a unanimous vote, Rep. Sam his father by answering constituent calls and Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana/Armletters. After graduating from high school, strong) was elected Speaker of the he earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising Pennsylvania House of Representafrom Penn State University in 1978. Followtives on January 4. The vote by the full leging graduation, Smith worked in the conislative body was taken during the opening struction industry, and later in sales, prior to ceremony of the 195th Legislative Session of making a decision to run for the House. the House, where 200 duly elected members “I look forward to took the oath of ofthe opportunity to fice. preside over the Smith is the 137th House floor,” Smith member to serve in said. “While I am this capacity and the honored and humsecond speaker in the bled by today’s show history of the House of support, I continue to serve Jefferson to believe my most County. Speaker important responsiJohn S. Rhey was bilities are ensuring elected speaker in the residents of the 1852 and was one of 66th District are well three representatives represented and to serve Armstrong, guiding the House of Clarion and JefferRepresentatives in a son counties. He was manner that is both a native of Ebensfair and respectful of burg who moved to all members and the Armstrong County people they repreto practice law. “I am honored that Speaker Sam Smith and Senator Joe Scarnati, the sent.” my peers have cho- President Pro Tempore of the Senate, during the Joint As House speaker, sen me for this posi- Session of the House and Senate that took place on Smith is charged with literally “speaktion,” Smith said. “I the House floor. ing” on the people’s behalf in the House of have a deep respect for this office, which is Representatives. He will preside over House the oldest elected position in America. Over sessions, maintain order on the House floor, the next two years, I will do my best to preand protect the parliamentary rights of memserve the dignity of the office and work to rebers during voting sessions. The speaker also store the trust of the people of Pennsylvania appoints committee chairmen, assigns bills in their government.” to committees, and signs all passed bills and Smith is currently serving his 13th House joint resolutions. term. He has represented the 66th Legislative Smith commented that serving for the past District since 1986 when he replaced his fa10 years in various House leadership posither, L. Eugene “Snuffy” Smith, who had tions has been both rewarding and challengserved since 1963. The elder Smith preing and is one of the best ways to prepare for sented his son with the speaker’s gavel durthe position of House speaker. Smith has ing today’s ceremony. Sam’s wife, Donna, been a member of House leadership since and children, Alex and Zach, stood by his 2000 when he was elected Majority Whip. side as he took the oath of office from PennSince then he has served as both the majorsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas ity and minority leader of the House. Saylor. ••• Born in Punxsutawney, Smith grew up

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Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 11

A.J. Dereume Becomes Fourth Generation Member of Punx’y Groundhog Club

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and organization. In 1986, A.J.’s father, August John Dereume II, who went by Jack, was elected as a member of the Inner Circle, not because of his dad and grandfather holding past membership, but because of his involvement and dedication to our community. He was a member until his

or as long as A.J.(August John III) Dereume can remember, Groundhog Day has been a significant and memorable part of his life, and now as the newest member of the Inner Circle, this special event will become even more exciting and meaningful. However, the Dereume name in the Inner Circle didn’t begin with A.J. Generation after generation, the Dereume men of Punxsutawney have proven to possess the necessary qualities for membership in the Inner Circle. A.J. is the only third generation family member to be part of the circle, and he is the fourth generation Groundhog Club member. His great grandfather, A.J. plowing snow at the Knob in preparation for Groundhog Day 2011. Raymond Dereume, was a member of the Groundhog Club in the death in 1999. It was Jack who introduced early 1900’s before the idea of an Inner and involved A.J. in the Groundhog Day Circle was ever festivities. created. Ray“My dad always kept me and my brothmond’s son and ers [Ben and Jeff] involved in what he did A.J.’s grandfaand that included Groundhog Day,” A.J. ther, August said. “I can remember when I was 12 John Dereume, years old shucking corn for the annual who was a Groundhog picnic, which my dad was in member of the charge of.” club from the An even earlier memory A.J. reminisced 1950s to his about was going to Gobbler’s Knob with death in the his dad and brothers to see his grandfather 80s, was one of up on the stage with Phil. the founders of “There were only a couple hundred peoA.J.’s father, Jack Dereume the Inner Cirple there” A.J. said. “It was nothing like it in his inner circle tuxedo is cle. According is now.” ready for Groundhog Day. to A.J., the club Living in Punxsutawney all his life, A.J. developed the Inner Circle to gain more grew up around the hype of Groundhog involvement and structure. As the club Day and can only remember missing one grew larger, it needed a strong group of year at the Knob. He has been able to witmembers to take on more responsibility - Continued on next page

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A.J. Dereume

A.J. said as he talked about being at an Altoona Curve baseball game this summer with Phil where he, Phil, and some of the other members were invited to throw out the first pitch. “The players were more star struck than we were,” he said. “They were going crazy over Phil and thought he was the best thing ever.” As they were receiving all this fame and excitement, Dave Gigliotti, also a member of the Inner Circle said to A.J., “You know when we put this groundhog down, we are back to nobody.” About the whole experience of taking on this new role, A.J. commented, “It’s a lot of work, but in the end it’s so much fun.” “I personally think he is an excellent choice; he is a perfect fit,” Deeley said. •••

a Grand Old Name Continued from page 10 • “’Punx’y,’ the camp dog, which is wellknown to all visitors to the Punxsutawney Camp on the mountains of Clearfield County, is dead. The fox terrier was bitten by a rattlesnake.” (1906) • In 1922 it was reported to readers that “Punx’y,” a cub bear from near Punxsutawney, was being moved from its place with the game commission in State College. After three years as an attraction on the campus of Penn State, then called Pennsylvania State College, its new home was to be the Zoological Garden of Scranton. All that said, then, how should writers and speakers properly refer to those good people who live in the town spelled “Punx-

sutawney” or called “Punx’y?” The most commonly used word found in print was “Punxsutawneyites,” or “Punxyites.” Less frequently was the use of “Punxsutawnians.” Nothing “official” was promoted. Who can deny the popularity of Punxsutawney? Probably the most widely known town of its size in the country and well-known around the world, too. We take pride when we hear the name. Whether we like it for its oddity of spelling, its origin in our Native-American history, or its fame from association with Groundhog Day, Punxsutawneyites regularly have their spot in the limelight. When the “curtain” opens each Groundhog Day for the world to see us, let it be the glow from people’s hearts that shines. •••

Continued from previous page ness the progression and advancement of this event over the years. “I saw it go from grassroots to a big party to what it is now, which is a great family event. Even when my dad was a member, it wasn’t like it is today. He had to be at the Knob by six and by nine o’ clock he was back to work.” Now because the Groundhog Club owns Gobbler’s Knob, there is much more responsibility involved. For his first Groundhog Day as an Inner Circle member, A.J. will be in charge of the Phil Mobile, having the Knob prepared, which will include plowing snow and directing people in and out, and media relations. A.J. credits the media and television for the great flourishment Groundhog Day has endured over his lifetime. He remembers how, after the movie came out, the event really mushroomed as well as after Phil and the Inner Circle, including his father, were invited to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Because of all of the fun and comradeship A.J. witnessed between the Inner Circle members through going to events with his father, he hoped one day he could be a part of that if he remained in Punxsutawney. Although he never expected it to be so soon, in April 2010, A.J. was chosen to follow in his father and grandfathers’ footsteps; however, Dereume says they make it a point to tell him that this is not a legacy club. “It’s just the way it worked out,” he said while telling the story of how he was notified. A.J. received a phone call one evening from President Bill Deeley asking, “What size top hat do you want?” “I was very confused because I thought he was at Joe’s Drive-In ordering top hats (ice cream), but I knew Joe’s was closed at that time of night. Then Bill said they just elected me as the newest member of the Inner Circle.” “I am very, very honored to be asked to join,” he said. A.J. is excited and enthusiastic about taking on this role, and Deeley is also very optimistic about bringing A.J. on board. “We’re all getting older, and it’s time to bring a little youth to the group,” Deeley said. “A.J. will bring in a lot of new ideas, and we all need some new energy.” This will be A.J.’s first Groundhog Day as a member, but he has already had the opportunity to experience a snapshot of Phil’s fame. “The further you get from Punx’y, the cooler Groundhog Day is for people.”

Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 13

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(Editor’s Note: ‘From Our Past,’ researched by S. Thomas Curry, features items of interest from past editions of Punxsutawney and area newspapers.) january 12, 1898 — Edison’s projectoscope with forty views of lifelike action and the most complete and costly machinery on the road will be at the opera house, Saturday, Jan. 15. Some of the beautiful scenes that will be shown during this engagement are, The American Liner St. Paul, leaving her pier, the baby parade, the bucking bronco, Billy Edward’s’ boxing bout, and others, too numerous to mention. This is the only chance of seeing the projectoscope this season. Prices are only 25, 35 and 50 cents. (Punxsutawney Spirit) [Note: The projectoscope was Thomas Edison’s “film projector,” invented in 1896.] january 13, 1886 — We take pleasure in saying a word for Prof. Wesley A. Williams, the blind musician, whose wonderful gift at imitating almost any kind of a musical instrument, from a cornet band down to the smallest instrument is marvelous indeed and draws large houses. Mr. Williams expects to give an entertainment in Walston Mines in a few days. (Valley News) january 13, 1870 — The county school meeting was held in Punxsutawney in the Union School House on December 27, 28 and 29, 1869 with morning and evening sessions. The discussions were: best methods of orthography; best methods of securing cooperation of parents; what are the prominent causes of failure in teaching; should text books be prepared in the form of questions and answers?

Resolution: That we believe that the change of the term of school from four to seven months would be beneficial. (Punxsutawney Plaindealer) [Note: Orthography is the study of correct spelling.] january 17, 1911 — The new arc lights are being much talked of. They are somewhere in the vicinity of about 1100 times better than the old ones. In a short time the electric company will erect at its own expense a huge pole in the center of the public square which will carry three of the arcs. (Punxsutawney Spirit) january 31, 1894 — A penny-in-the-slot candy and chewing gum machine has been put in front of Beyers’ Drug store and it has been quite a curiosity to both young and old people. It is a unique plan for getting what is wanted in that line and it takes no clerk to make small sales. (Punxsutawney News) ••• AuTO • HOME • BuSiNESS • LiFE

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boulder protrudes through a slate floor to form the inviting hearth inside Fallingwater’s living room. Before the residence was built, the landowner, Edgar Kaufmann, Sr., and his family frequently sat on the large stone for hours, enjoying picnics and listening to the flowing water at Bear Run. The location held a special spot in their hearts. So, when the Kaufmanns decided to have a weekend and summer getaway constructed at the rural Fayette County site, they wanted to keep the rock in place. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who, in his own words, believed “the hearth is the psychological center of the home,” eagerly embraced the idea. The plain boulder, which, when contrasted against the glossy floor, resembles a rock in a stream, is one of many ways nature intermingles with Wright’s craftsmanship at Fallingwater. The creek, with its small waterfall providing an ever-present quiet melody, runs beneath the house itself. Cantilevered terraces and other vertical lines achieve a harmonious interaction with nearby stone formations. Low ceilings create the feeling of being inside a cave and invite people to journey out of the dwelling and into nature. Buddhist images, light ochre concrete, Cherokee red steel, and soft sunlight shining through glass windows cultivate a sense of peace and balance. “I don’t think that there’s any other place where a building is joined to its surroundings so naturally. … It captures a primal desire to be one,” said Vice President / Director of Fallingwater Lynda Waggoner. Fallingwater served as the Kaufmanns’ retreat from 1938-63. Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. then entrusted the house to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which still runs it as a museum. In 2008, Smithsonian magazine named Fallingwater one of the 28 Places to See Before You Die, including it alongside such attractions as the Pyramids of Giza, Taj Mahal, Aurora Borealis, Antarctica, and Machu Picchu. Wright’s design is widely considered one of the greatest achievements ever in organic architecture. “Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground,” said Wright, who died in 1959. It was through organic designs that Wright felt architecture could connect to God and nature. “God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature, and it has often been said by philosophers, that nature is the will of God. And I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see,” he said. While Wright expressed his artistic soul through architecture, other individuals, who were born in Pennsylvania or spent part of their lives in the state, became fa-

mous in the fields of literature (Conrad Richter, Gertrude Stein, Dean Koontz), art (Mary Cassatt, Andrew Wyeth, Man Ray), music (Perry Como, Bill Haley, Frankie Avalon), and cinema / television (Charles Bronson, Bill Cosby, Jayne Mansfield). Most of them, including actor Jimmy

Stewart, embraced their connection to the commonwealth. Stewart, born in Indiana County to a prosperous and religious family, became an Oscar winner and beloved film personality, best known for his roles in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Rear Window” and “Vertigo.” Ten of his films have been included in the United States National Film Registry. He distinguished himself as a combat pilot during World War II. Throughout his successful acting and military careers, Stewart always looked back fondly at his upbringing in Indiana. “He spoke very clearly and strongly about the values instilled in him through his parents and his church. … It’s something that obviously stayed with him,” said The Jimmy

Stewart Museum Executive Director Tim Harley. Unlike Stewart, pop artist Andy Warhol recoiled from his upbringing in Pennsylvania. He grew up in a poor working-class family when his hometown, Pittsburgh, was a filthy and socially-stratified steel mill city during the 1930s and 1940s. “He loathed it. … He left and said he was born nowhere,” said The Andy Warhol Museum Director Thomas Sokolowski. After leaving, Warhol first became a successful commercial artist and then a bohemian icon of the 1960s counterculture. He created mass-produced colorful depictions of Campbell’s soup cans, actress Marilyn Monroe, and other easily recognizable and accessible images from American society. His piece called “Eight - Continued on page 20

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Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 15

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16 – Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124

Instances in Punx’y area History:

The U.S. Constitution scended from the 16th century Anabaptists who promoted a free church and freedom of religion sometimes associated with separation of church and state. Authorities ree’ve removed the lights, sponded with executions and banishment, packed the ornaments away, resorting also to torture and other types of folded the skirt and found a physical abuse, prompting the mass exodus home for the specially-made by the Amish from Switzerland and Gertree topper. We’ve moved on from the Seamany about 1710 to Pennsylvania, where son of Giving to preparations for our William Penn had created a haven of relitown’s famous holiday—Groundhog Day. gious tolerance. The Amish have sometimes come into conflict with larger society, particularly in their resistance to compulsory education requirements which they believed to be a threat to their separate way of life. In 1972, the Supreme Court of the U.S. agreed that their first amendment right to the free exercise of their religion is protected and that [a] state’s concern for compulsory public education must yield to that In 1937 the U.S. Post Office released a commemorative postage consideration. Amish schoolstamp celebrating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. teacher John W. Miller, SmicksConstitution. The engraving on this issue is after an 1856 painting burg, PA wrote in 1990: “We by Junius Brutus Stearns of Washington and shows delegates just appreciate very much havsigning the Constitution at the 1787 Convention. ing the privilege of having our one-room schools.” Yet, we still have the gifts to enjoy, now and into the future. With the reading of por1sT aMendMenT: tions of the U.S. Constitution by members freedOM Of exPressiOn. of Congress, we are reminded that AmeriMiss Mildred Harlan was the librarian at cans have, as gifts from God, basic inalienthe Punxsutawney Memorial Library durable rights which are embodied in the ing the period of American history known Constitution. These Constitutional rights as the McCarthy Era. Following World War belong to all U.S. citizens and while we II, it was a time when the civil rights of citoften speak of them in the abstract, we also izens were challenged at all levels within know that they apply to very specifically to the country. It was Miss Harlan’s position, our daily lives. They are not just national with the support of the Punxsutawney Meideals but applicable to events from the morial Library Board, which made a strong Punxsutawney region’s past. statement about the freedom of the public Just as members of Congress selected porto informational materials that would be tions of the Constitution to read, selected available through public libraries. Recently instances from local history demonstrate recognized by IUP researchers as a “paour Constitutional rights. triot,” Miss Harlan stood her ground and protected the citizen’s right to freedom of 1sT aMendMenT: expression. freedOM Of reLiGiOn. We are here, many of us, because our an2nd aMendMenT: cestors found it wiser and safer to practice riGhT TO Bear arMs. their faith in America than overseas. An Following the laws brought by Swedish example we have before us locally is that settlers who established homes in what of our Amish neighbors. Their ancestors, would later become “Penn’s Woods,” the too, fled persecution in Europe. The Amish church is a protestant religious group de- Continued on next page By Marty Armstrong of Hometown magazine



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U.S. Constitution

them somewhere near the old schoolhouse then on the farm.”

Continued from previous page Big Run Free Militia was incorporated under Pennsylvania law in 1975. Those laws governing free militias were included in William Penn’s laws for the new colony and have remained unchanged since 1767. “Free” militias were organized by local citizens who supplied their own weapons and ammunition, had no specific uniforms, included members of all ages and voted on whether or not they could answer a call to duty, depending on availability of members and, even, if the crops needed to be harvested. The “governor’s” militia, organized by Ben Franklin, answered to the call of the governor and became the present day National Guard.

19Th aMendMenT: vOTinG riGhTs fOr WOMen. The reform movement aimed at extending the right of women to vote and run for office without any restrictions or qualifications has generally been successful after political campaigns to obtain these rights were waged. American women finally won their 80-year campaign for the vote in 1920, when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. Punxsutawney women were among those registering to vote, as shown by the following accounts. August: ”There are 2200 male voters in Punxsutawney and nearly that number of women are now eligible…The commissioners have advised that where the woman who wishes to register cannot ap-

4Th, 5Th, 6Th, 7Th & 8Th aMendMenTs: PrOTecTiOn & due PrOcess under The LaW. Punxsutawney native Charles J. Margiotti was a renowned criminal defense attorney in the Pittsburgh area, often donating services to defend immigrant workers. In 1935 he was appointed Pennsylvania Attorney General by Gov. Earle and became the first Italian American to become a state Attorney General, serving under both Republican and Democratic adminstrations. During his career, he strove to ensure the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th amendment rights of the citizenery to protection and due process under the law. He achieved a national reputation, having appeared in the courts of thirty eight counties and eight states where many of his cases involved new questions of law and his arguments made legal history. His earliest clients were poor miners and farmers unable to pay a fee.

pear in person a father, son, or brother may register her…A tax payment of 38 cents is all that is required.” October: “In the six wards of Punxsutawney 1003 women qualified themselves to vote by registering and paying the fixed occupation tax of 38 cents.” Information about these pieces of history is derived from “Wikipedia” and “Memories of the One-Room School” (Amish), IUP (Mildred Harlan), The Big Run Free Militia (Militia), “The New American” (Charles J. Margiotti), “Punxsutawney Centennial: 1849-1949” (Underground Railroad), “Punxsutawney Spirit” (Voter Registration) and the “United States Constitution.” In keeping these memories fresh, we continue to enjoy our gifts.

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13Th aMendMenT: aBOLiTiOn Of sLavery. During the years before the Civil War a slave underground through Punxsutawney was operated by Isaac P. Carmalt, a Quaker, whose farm was where the Punxsutawney Country Club is now located. The system to aid runaway slaves in the U.S. had its name from the remark made by a slave catcher on being unable to find his quarry: “There must be an underground railroad somewhere!” The following are excerpts from a letter written by Mr. Carmalt’s daughter, Mrs. Lowry, telling of her experiences. “The last slave that came to our house was after the insurrection at Harper’s Ferry. He was very nervous… and quite suspicious…[stating that] he would rather have his brains blown out than [be informed on]. “I remember well one Sabbath when I was coming home from church; a friend was coming part way with me. We noticed a colored man [whom] I supposed was going to our house… I thought it was all over for him because Mr. Minish and the pro-slavery family were connected [but] Mr. Minish handed me a slip of paper with the name “Carmalt” on it and remarked that I was one of the Carmalt girls…I then hurried home… [and] slipped him in the back way…he succeeded in reaching Canada, but when he returned later for his wife, he was captured and taken back to slavery… “One morning I went to the door and saw four large colored men hurrying to the barn… We had them eat as fast as they could. When they were through eating, father hurried them to the woods and hid Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 17

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18 – Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124

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Colleen Townsend Continued from page 6 in town, the surprise announcement by Miss Townsend that she was quitting Hollywood money for a new career in Christian service, and the West Virginia feud made the world take notice about Punxsutawney. In the midst of it all, local organizers continued planning for Miss Townsend’s visit by providing daily announcements of events and special honors for her. West Mahoning would be named “Townsend Boulevard” for her weekend visit. She would be presented a “Key to the City.” The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club would name her “Miss Weather Prophet of 1950” and present her with a plaster statue of Punxsutawney’s groundhog that had become a popular souvenir item during Punxsutawney’s Centennial celebration in 1949. The young Colleen would leave her Los Angeles home in sunny California on Groundhog Day for a flight to Pittsburgh where she would do two radio broadcasts and a press reception. With 20th CenturyFox and Warner Brothers representatives, she would be driven to Punxsutawney the morning of February 4. She was met on Route 119 at the PA Route 210 intersection by a group of members of the State Police and Battery B of the Pennsylvania National Guard for a motorized escort into town in a jeep. Waiting her was a parade through town in a new Cadillac and a whirlwind of activity and appearances. There was the large group of newsmen, print photographers and movie cameras at the press conference at the Hotel Punxsutawney; the luncheons and dinners at the Country Club, the appearances at the Alpine and Jefferson Theatres where the “When Willie Comes Marching Home” movie was to be given simultaneously, its first showing, and the ceremonies to present her the town’s special honors. With the premiere of the movie behind her, Sunday February 5 would be her most important day of the 2-day visit. It would be the invitation by Rev. Humke of Punxsutawney’s First Presbyterian Church that would provide her two appearances before Punxsutawney people at the church on Union Street and South Findley Street, a 9:30 a.m. service followed by the regular 11 a.m. service. In those moments, she gave more details about her decision to walk away from a life as a movie starlit and begin a new career. She began to appear in movies in 1944, signed a contract with 20th Century-Fox in

1947, and was carefully being groomed and packaged to be a “star” as the subject of a cover story for LIFE magazine in 1948. At the same time she was also active in church work and became convicted to transform people’s lives (especially young people) “through Christ.” And it was not a sudden decision, she admitted. Some news people, who were in Punxsutawney for the weekend, were asking an interesting question. Considering that Colleen Townsend wasn’t going to renew her contract with 20th Century-Fox, why was the movie-world making so much to do about her appearance in the little town of Punxsutawney and in the Presbyterian Church. Wasn’t she going to be “past history” to the Hollywood crowd? Days later, an obvious answer was offered by the editor of Punxsutawney Spirit: “At this moment Hollywood is suffering from an over blight of illicit romances ... and what better antidote than a clean, sweet youngster of the Colleen Townsend type prepared to leave the glamour and glitter of movie stardom for more serious things.” (Anyone remember Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini then?) After her Punxsutawney visit Miss Townsend returned to Hollywood and met and married Louis Evans. She and her husband left Hollywood to become students at a California seminary. The couple returned to Hollywood with the Rev. Evans as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church there. When she became associated with Billy Graham she was billed as Colleen Evans when she appeared in films for Graham’s evangelistic association. She has authored many books. Rev. Dr. Evans died in October 2008. Colleen Townsend Evans, the former actress, a pastor’s wife and author, celebrated her 82nd birthday in December 2010. The movie cameras rolled and the camera lights flashed to cover the action and tell her story around the world. It was a busy weekend. Among those of the news corps assigned to interview Miss Townsend was the Associated Press writer Elaine Kahn of Pittsburgh. Miss Kahn would later become Mrs. Sam Light. With her husband as president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club and her writing skills, the two would become a publicity team to promote Punxsutawney and Groundhog Day in imaginative ways. The Groundhog Day of 1950 and the weekend with Colleen Townsend was a big moment in Punxsutawney history. The media war for Punxsutawney’s authenticity as “Groundhog Town” was beginning and would eventually be won. •••

punxsutawney area community center • Movies weekly at the Jackson Theater • community Fitness center • Gymnastics, Fitness classes, cycling, Dance, aerobics • Facility rentals for Meetings or parties 220 n. Jefferson St. • 938-1008

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Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 19

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20 – Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124

A Look at Pennsylvania Continued from page 15 Elvises” sold for over $100 million in 2009. And, although he disliked the Pittsburgh of his youth, Warhol gained a valuable work ethic when growing up in the city. Even the name he gave his New York City studio – The Factory – reflected his workhard approach toward making art. “What he saw was the importance of hard work. … If you consider yourself a professional, you have to know your trade,” said Sokolowski. Meanwhile, in the opposite southern corner of the state from Pittsburgh, a vibrant music scene has thrived in Philadelphia for decades. From 1957-64, “American Bandstand,” a well-known musical variety show hosted by Dick Clark, broadcast nationally from the city before it ran for two more decades out of Los Angeles. Chubby Checker, Fabian, Stan Getz, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Patti LaBelle, Pink, and Joan Jett all have ties to the Philadelphia region. Folk singer Jim Croce was born into Philly’s culture of musical diversity in 1943. “Dick Clark’s ‘American Bandstand,’ just blocks away from Jim’s Upper Darby home, introduced Jim Croce to Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and many songs by Leiber and Stoller, who were strong influences on Jim’s music,” said Croce’s widow, Ingrid Croce. Their son, A.J. Croce, added, “My father grew up in a city that was culturally diverse. It was a center for music of all genres and provided a backdrop that would influence his music and songwriting for his whole life.” As a child, Jim played accordion at a local church and listened to a wide range of performers, including Jimmy Rogers, Fats Waller, Mel Tormé, Bessie Smith, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. Croce released studio albums from 1966 until an airplane crash took his life in 1973. He recorded bittersweet ballads such as “Time in a Bottle” and “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels),” along with rollicking character songs like “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim.” Ingrid felt Jim’s “knowledge of American history and song, along with his sharp intellect and humor” and an “ability to tell a story in a song” helped shape his music filled with alter-ego characters and working-class experiences. “My father had a gift for making heroes out of everyday people. His ability to connect with humor and sincere emotion is a rare gift,” said A.J. Jim Croce, like many famous musicians, often played Martin guitars. C.F. Martin & Co. even made two limited edition guitars in his honor. Originally founded by German immigrant Christian Frederick Martin, Sr. in New York City, the business moved to Nazareth in 1839. The Martin family has manufactured over one million guitars in the small Northampton County borough since then. The instruments are known for their rich tones and detailed craftsmanship. “There is nothing more that a tree wants to be than a Martin guitar,” said Martin & Co. Director of Artist & Public Relations, Limited Editions, Exhibitions & Archives Dick Boak. [This article is the seventh installment in a seven-part “Hometown” series called “A Look at Pennsylvania.”] •••


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Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 21

Mass Transit

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LOW MILEAGE - LOW PRICES 22 – Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124

Continued from page 8 ship had efficient and reliable transportation making it possible for them to attend high school or work in Sykesville, Reynoldsville or Punxsutawney. The trolley created an opportunities for the development of the Baseball Trolley League, which produced great mining community teams and opportunity for good players to move up to the majors. And the line generated additional revenue by contracting to carrying the U.S. Mail to communities between Punxsutawney and Reynoldsville. Sykesville was the 1904 destination for the Jefferson Traction Company. This line would leave Reynoldsville and travel through Prescottville, Soldier to Sykesville. The line would enable passengers to connect with the United Traction Street Railway line to DuBois. The company also opened a line from Eleanora to Big Run. The main customers on these lines were the miners, who, with access to transportation, no longer had to live in the community where they worked. With the opening of these two branches, the Jefferson Traction Company now operated thirty one miles of track, twenty-one on their private right of way. And new business was generated. Over 2,300,000 passengers paid for rides on the trolleys. Making the connection from Punxsutawney to Big Run and completing the trolley circuit was the next goal. In order to build this portion of the line, a separate company, the Mahoning Valley Street Railway was organized in 1906. It set about obtaining the necessary right-of-ways to build from Punxsutawney to Sykesville. It was found that the United Traction Street Railway Company claimed right-of way to lands south of Sykesville. After negotiations, the United Traction Company received the approval to build their line from Sykesville to Big Run. Mahoning Valley was built from Punxsutawney to the southern end of Big Run and began providing thirteen round trips daily over the six mile line. The connection of these two lines was delayed three years. When it finally was resolved, the two companies laid tracks to within a few feet of each other, near the Big Run Knights of Pythias Hall. The two tracks were never fully connected; requiring passengers to walk about a block to make connections. At the height of the coal boom, forty trolleys left Punxsutawney every day except Sunday on the Reynoldsville, Big Run and Walston routes and another fifteen left Reynoldsville for Sykesville. The trolleys carried a variety of goods, in addition to their passengers, and would make deliveries to customers along the line. At Reynoldsville, they would sometimes serve as hearses, carrying caskets up Bradford Street to the Reynoldsville Cemetery. Jefferson Traction hauled 2,534,893 passengers in 1913. The first warning that the company was becoming obsolete came with the Panic in 1907 which almost crushed the local coal industry. Without jobs, the people moved to other areas and states where they could find jobs. The population of the area began a rapid decline. The availability and affordability of the automobile was the second warning. The company’s passengers declined from a high of 2,534,893 in 1913 to 2,141,699 in 1916, and by 1926 the number of riders was well below one

million. The promotion of the “Good Roads” effort in the 1920’s provided the incentive to build State Route 119, the Buffalo to Pittsburgh Highway, and brought about the removal of the trolley tracks in Big Run and Sykesville. Although the Jefferson Traction Company responded by offering bus service, this also was made obsolete by the automobile. Service on the Jefferson Traction Company lines was abandoned on Saturday, September 30, 1927. Coal brought an efficient and effective inter-urban transportation system which served the area well during its time. Today, the automobile still rules as the transportation of choice. The Area Transportation Authority provides transportation for those who do not have access to their own automobile. And with the building of the new ATA facility, Punxsutawney should once again be a hub for an interurban transportation system. (Editor’s Note: The resources used in the preparation of this article are available the Punxsutawney Memorial Library and the Punxsutawney Area Historical and Genealogical Society. This article has been prepared by PRIDE – Punxsutawney Revitalization: Investing, Developing, Enhancing. PRIDE is a nonprofit organization which brings together residents, business people, community leaders and civic organizations, to improve the business districts in Punxsutawney. PRIDE is working to develop a Coal Memorial and Welcome Center for the Punxsutawney Area. Comments on this article may be directed to PRIDE, P.O. Box 298, Punxsutawney, PA 15767) •••

Steelers Football Contest Winner The winner of last month’s Hometown magazine Steelers football contest was Kay Atcheson of Punx’y. Kay correctly predicted that the Steelers would beat the Browns and guessed 51 points would be scored in the game. The Steelers won, 41-9, and Kay will redeem her $25 gift certificate at County Market, one of the contest’s sponsors. You, too, can be a winner. Just complete the coupon appearing in this month’s Super Bowl football contest and return it to Hometown magazine.

Serving the Community. PUNXSUTAWNEY MEDICAL ASSOCIATES Joseph J. Kernich, M.D. Jay E. Elder, M.D. Lisa Witherite-Rieg, D.O. Dawn Cekovsky, PA-C Evan Kennedy, PA-C Medical Arts Building, Punx’y


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Punxsutawney Hometown – February 2011 - Issue #124 – 23

The best relationships fortify us to face the future, no matter what it may bring, and grow stronger season after season. For over a century we’ve provided solutions to individuals like you... one customer at a time.

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Groundhog Day 2011  
Groundhog Day 2011  

Inside this issue: • Punxsutawney, a Grand Old Name • A Movie Star Comes to Punx'y • Tales of Early Trolleys • Sam Smith Elected Speaker of...