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One Mind and Spirit

The Story of the Presbyterian and First Baptist Churches On the cover: Autumn Splendor ‘Punxsutawney Hometown’ magazine © Copyright 2010 — All Rights Reserved.


By S. Thomas Curry of Hometown magazine

his summer, two historic churches in Punxsutawney worshipped together. By sharing and supporting each other in ministry, this event was new and unique to many of the members who partici-

nity of faith in the town occurred twice in the history of Punxsutawney, when early members joined together to share their houses of worship in the 1830s and 1880s. The people who settled the town in the early 1800s entered this area of Western Pennsylvania when it was described as an unbroken wilderness for miles around. Five denomina-

Township and Covode, five miles from town. In 1840, the Regular Baptist Church of Punxsutawney was organized. Some of their earlier meetings were held in the homes of the pioneer members. The Baptist believers did not build their first permanent church on North Jefferson Street until sometime between 1858 and 1860. Until then, the Cumberland Pres-

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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 Bill Anderson Art Director Melissa Salsgiver Graphic Artists Melissa Salsgiver Carol Smouse Nicole McGee Emily Altomare All material submitted becomes the property of Punxsutawney Hometown magazine.

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Following a historic practice in the town’s founding years, Punxsutawney’s First Presbyterian and First Baptist cooperated in a shared worship experience during the summer of 2010. (Hometown photos by S. Thomas Curry.)

pated. The two congregations, the Presbyterian Church of Punxsutawney and the First Baptist Church, located a block apart on East Union Street, joined their different backgrounds and heritage in a unity of spirit for worship. Every Sunday through July and August, the members put aside their denomination to share the common theme of their Christian faith. The special arrangement was initiated by the need of the Presbyterian people to begin a pastoral search upon the retirement of their longtime pastor Rev. Kenneth Holmes. Beginning June 30 and ending Sept. 5, the services alternated between the two houses of worship. Rev. Mary Lewis of First Baptist Church shared her services as a regular pastor. On two occasions, the ordnance of Communion was observed in the tradition of each denomination’s practice. Musicians, Sunday school teachers and ushers of each church contributed to the effort to put aside differences and build upon a common doctrine of faith. Though it was a new experience for this year, the denominations acting as one in a commu-


tions - the Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Baptists and the German Lutheran and Reformed - were represented by the settlers who migrated to the area. After many Scot-Irish people immigrated to the area, the Presbyterians became the most populated of the early churches to be established, followed by the Methodists. It is widely known in local history that the area generally known as downtown Punxsutawney was first settled by Rev. David Barclay, a Presbyterian minister, who laid out the plot of eight squares for the town. In 1826 that pioneer group of Christian believers built their first meeting house of hand-hewed logs on the Public Square, (which was renamed Barclay Square in 1928.) After some time in the primitive conditions of the early building, a little red brick church was built in the park in 1833. In 1836 some members of the congregation met in the office of Dr. John W. Jenks and decided to withdraw from the Regular Presbyterian branch to join the Cumberland branch. Some of the “Old School” Presbyterian families did not agree with the action and joined regular Presbyterian churches in nearby Perry

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byterian people shared their church (or meeting house) with the Baptist group for prayer meetings and Sunday worship. Following that time, the Regular Presbyterian Church in Punxsutawney was inactive until the 1880s, when an influx of new residents occurred because of the arrival of the B. R. P. Railroad and the opening of mines in Adrian. Many of those people were Presbyterians who began to look for a Presbyterian church. That led to the organization of a new regular Presbyterian congregation in 1884. Before that group could afford to build a new church building, they held afternoon worship services in the Baptist Church on North Jefferson Street (where the Hi-Rise is located now). Their first communion was held at the site on Nov. 9, 1884. For five years the newly formed Presbyterian congregation held services through the cooperation of the Baptist congregation. Their church finally was built on East Mahoning Street near the bridge and dedicated on Sept. 2, 1888. On the 10th anniversary of the renewed First

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One Mind and Spirit

In the early 1900s, after constructing its present building on East Union Street behind the park, the First Baptist Church vacated its Continued from previous page building on North Jefferson Street. The new church building was a short distance from where the early congregation began worship in the park, in a shared building offered by the pioneer Presbyterians. The first people arriving in this area overcame many hardships while establishing their early churches. Travtoday In the 1850s early congregations of Cumberland Presbyterians (left) and Baptists eling (right) in Punxsutawney shared a small brick church built in the park by the Presby- among our vilterian members. In the 1860s, each group built their individual churches (above c lages and towns 1900) on Mahoning Street and North Jefferson Street. (1900 Punxsutawney Spirit and over our Special Industrial Edition photos) country roads, it Presbyterian Church, one of the members is obvious that there is a broad diversity of rewrote about its history, “I would like to add a ligious denominations throughout the area. few words showing our gratitude to the BapDisregarding their differences, the churches tist Church and its congregation. At a time benefited by what was a common core value, when we needed a place to meet, they kindly to love one another and to love their neighbors opened their doors to us, and by their presence in the community. at our meeting, helped and encouraged us, and we should ever have a kindly feeling towards them.” Shortly after, the handsome stone edifice of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church was built in 1904 on the corner of East Union Street and South Findley Street. The national branch the 1880s, a new Presbyterian congregation was organized in Punxsutawney and of the Cumber- In a church built near the East End bridge. Until the church was completed the members land Presbyte- worshiped in the Baptist Church on N. Jefferson Street. (Hometown file photo) rians dissolved in 1906 and the local congregation changed During the summer, working and worshipits name to Central Presbyterian Church. ping together was displayed when many difWhen a new East End Bridge was built in the ferent churches joined to celebrate their unity early 1900s, it took up the property of the of a common mission. The Church in the Park Presbyterian Church. In February 1922, the experience was shared by many faithful congregation vacated its building and united church members where once before the Preswith the Central Presbyterian members on byterians and Baptists shared a crude little Union Street and became known as the Preschurch in the park for worship. byterian Church of Punxsutawney. ••• Providing: • Assistance in Daily Living • Short & Long Term Care • 24 Hour Care • Activities • Physician On Call • Special Diets • Safety Bells in Each Room • Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy Available • Independent Apartments Available

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4 – Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120

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market. In Jefferson County, the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway continued to operate their railroads as their primary companies. They created “independent” coal mining operating com-

n 1890, the coal industry in Punxsutawney, which began in 1881 with the investment of New York Financiers, underwent major reorganization and restructuring. This was a result of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison on July 2 of that year. Before 1890, monopolies, combines and cartels were the way businesses operated. In 1879, an attorney for the Standard Oil Company of Ohio designed a new type of operating op- The once location of the Rinn House on West Mahoning Street is now tion. The design was trust a vacant lot. panies with “independent presidents” in system in which one business could entrust which the Iselin family was the majority its property to a second business, which stock holder. Berwind-White Coal Comwould then use pany operated their mines while the comthe property to pany owner, E. J. Berwind, was the largest benefit the first individual stockholder of the Interborough business. This Rapid Transit Company of New York, was a method to which operated railroads throughout the circumvent the Ohio laws - Continued on page 6 which prohibited one corporation from owning stock in another corporation. Under this system, a corpoSamuel A. Rinn ration could control every phase of an industry. Adrian Iselin was among those who found this business method useful when he reorganized the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company and the Rochester and Pittsburgh Railroad Company into the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway on Oct. 16, 1885. Iselin, at that time, through several corporations and companies in which he and a select board of directors operated, controlled the coal industry in the Punxsutawney area. They owned and operated the mines, the railroads, and the docks on Lake Erie at Buffalo where the coal was sold. This effectively enabled Iselin to control the cost of labor, the amount of production, the fee for transportation, the place of sale and the cost to the consumer without competition. The operation was similar at the BerwindWhite Company which controlled their mines in Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, and through seats on the board of directors and stock holdings controlled the railroads, which supported their mining interests, and their steamship bunkers in New York and Philadelphia thereby effectively controlling the price of coal at Atlantic ports serving the West Indies, South American and Europe. The Sherman Act of 1890 changed the way these companies operated. In the decade following the passage of this act, companies were required to reorganize to permit other companies to compete in the

Community Happenings


rom the Chamber of Commerce and the Community Calendar at, here is a list of events and happenings coming up in our area. n Annual Auction - The Clearfield-Jefferson Chapter of the American Red Cross will be holding its Annual Auction at the Pantall Hotel in Punx’y on Friday, September 24, 2010. There will be a preview of items and a buffet starting at 5 p.m. with the Live Auction beginning at 7 p.m. Auction will be conducted by Auctioneer Bob Britton. Many wonderful items (hand-made, prints, sports, furniture, etc.) will be available. All proceeds benefit the Clearfield-Jefferson American Red Cross. Please call the office at 814849-2712 or 814-765-5516 for more information or stop by the offices for tickets. n Punxsutawney Appreciation Day Saturday, September 25, at the SSCD auditorium. Vendors, food, and fun. New this year is a “Punx’y’s Got Talent” event, a talent show, beginning at 1 p.m. n The IUP Baseball Showcase Camp being held Saturday, September 25 is for current high school players who will graduate in 2011, 2012, and 2013. This is a chance for players to showcase their ability in front of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Baseball coaching staff. In addition to an evaluation, players will be instructed on individual baseball skills in a station format camp. Each year this camp has filled in advance, so early registration is encouraged. We accept 30 participants in each session. Early registration prior to September 25, 2010 is $60. Walk-up registration is $70. The rain date will be Sunday, October 10, 2010. For registration materials and more information, (724) 357-7830, or n A Legislative Breakfast with guest state Representative Sam Smith will be held on Friday, October 1 from 7:30-9 a.m. at the Punxsutawney Country Club. The cost to attend is $15 payable at the door. The public is invited. n Pizza & Prevention will be held on October 2 this year all day long at Fox’s Pizza Den in Punxsutawney. A new feature will be “Touch the Truck’ so that residents can see the life-saving equipment used by the Punxsutawney Fire Department (PFD). Once again, Big Daddy pizzas will be $9.11 with 100% of the money going to the PFD. Smoke detectors will be available for those in need. n Stained Glass Show - Saturday, October 2 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Lattimer House of the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society at 400 West Mahoning Street. Come see beautiful examples of the stained glass work! Sponsored by Corbin’s Stained Glass and Gilson Stained Glass and More. n The 4th annual Celtic Festival and British Car Show at Thistle & Pine is schedule for October 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will include entertain-

ment such as Bagpipers and Fiddlers, Harpist, Celtic Spirit Highland Dancers, and the free Gaelic Classes for those of you who wish to speak a few wee phrases of Gaelic.The bonnie lads in kilts will be competing in the “Best Legs in a Kilt” contest. An Irish Band from the Philly area “Whiskey Folk” will play their foot tappin’ tunes. The kids can play the passport game and receive a wee prize. Photos by Curly Bear productions are available. The Frugal Corner from Big Run will help with the kilts if you wish to dress the part. In addition, there will be the British Car Show for all the car enthusiasts. If you have a British Car or British Motorcycle, come enter the show and have a chance at a trophy. The first 50 will receive a free dash plaque. The

British Car Show is sponsored by the St. Andrew’s Society of Pittsburgh which is a nonprofit organization. The Marion Center Band Boosters are selling homemade foods to raise money for their organization. Admittance to the festival is only $1.00 – 12 and under free! For more information call 724-397-2442 or go on the website for directions and details. n Mahoning Shadow Shuffle Half Marathon-10K-5K will be held on Saturday, October 9 starting at the Punxsutawney Little League Field off Route 119. Registration is at 8 a.m. with the race beginning at 9 a.m. Race applications available at or at the Chamber of Commerce office. Sponsored by Punxsutawney Rails to Trails Association.

n The Punxsutawney Community Center will hold its second annual fundraising event on Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Pantall Hotel rooftop. Tickets are $20 and include hors d’oeuvres and a chance in the raffle. The raffle will comprise of a variety of prizes including appliances, guns and cash. Tickets can be purchased

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at Adrian which produced five hundred tons daily; organizated the Summit Coal Company of Dayton, Armstrong County, the first coal development in all that region with an output of fifteen hundred tons daily; and became the president of the Bowersville Coal Company in Gaskill township, Jefferson County, which produced five hundred tons daily. He was the largest independent coal operator in the county, with a daily production of three thousand tons. Rinn shared his leadership abilities with the community. He was instrumental in organizing the Punxsutawney Board of Trade (now known as the Chamber of Commerce). He also was president of the Hospital Association and vice president of the Punxsutawney Fair Association. He became involved in banking and served as the president of the Punxsutawney National Bank and as president of the Central

Continued from page 4 northeast, and served as a director of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, which had tracks to the BerwindWhite coal mines. In this manner, these comp a n i e s continued to control the operation of the mines they owned and were able to Harvey G. Bowers continue developing mines as their railroads advanced to new territories. In order to meet the requirements of the law and to show they were not restricting competition, they offered their railway services to local coal mine operators. This was the door of opportunity for Punxsutawney’s coal land owners and entrepreneurs who had been honing their business skills. These men set about building their businesses, creating jobs for people in the area, and building houses on and The H. G. Bowers House on West Mahoning Street is currently used as near Millionaires Row. an apartment building. Some of the men who

The W. A. Bowers House on East Mahoning Street was used as a Sanatarium and is now an apartment building.

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6 – Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120

Samuel A. Rinn: Rinn, a first generation American, whose German born parents raised him on a farm in Perry Township and educated him in the local common school, was among this group. Rinn began his career as a laborer with the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company. His work ethic and willingness to learn impressed his supervisors and they willingly promoted him. Within five years, he had advanced to superintendent, a position he held for ten years. During this time, he oversaw the opening of the mine at Eleanora and later was in charge of the mines at Adrian and Walston. In 1892, he entered into a partnership with his brotherin-law, T. M. Kurtz, an attorney in Punxsutawney, under the firm name of Kurtz and Rinn. They operated private coal properties, and when their business grew to such an extent that it needed his full time attention, he left the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company to manage it. In 1898, Rinn acquired coal mines

Bankers’ Association, which served the counties of Jefferson, Clearfield and Indiana with a membership of fifty-two banks. He helped organize the Punxsutawney Wholesale and Retail Hardware Company and was a director of the Indiana Street Railway Company. He was a member of the Central Presbyterian Congregation, where he served as trustee. He and his brother-in-law, T. M. Kurtz, built magnificent homes on Millionaires Row.

The Bowers Brothers: Harvey G. and William A. Bowers were born in Gaskill Township. They came from pioneer stock who engaged in lumbering and farming. When the opportunity arose to ship coal over the railways, the Bowers Brothers were ready. They organized the Banks Coal Company in Sidney, Indiana County, and the Bowersville Coal Company which were situWilliam A. Bowers ated on the Bellwood Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Hamilton Coal Company and the Burtner Coal Company on the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Bowers’ main- Continued on page 15

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Former Punx’y resident, cyclist owes life to pet’s heroic actions

and Sherry braced for an imminent attack. They had quickly cornered him and he saw no escape. As Sherry kept his eyes on his assaulters, he was completely unprepared for or cycling enthusiasts, there’s nothing what happened next. quite like the challenge of testing oneLeaping from the retaining wall of a nearby self against the great outdoors, or the yard came a very small Yorkshire terrier. sense of peace and solitude gained as Sherry looked on, stunned, as the brave litthe miles pass beneath the tires. tle creature flung itself at the two much For Barry Sherry, who originally hails larger Rottweilers. The animals immediately from Punxsutawney, cycling is a true pasturned on the Yorkie. “In a flash I knew I sion. The Virginia resident has logged countwas going to watch this less miles across the dog being torn to pieces world on his bike and - to save my flesh,” has collected numerous Sherry said. He heard a experiences from his loud and agonizing life on the road. While yelp, but as quickly as traveling through Nickthe Yorkie had jumped town, Cambria County into the fray, she got on his way to a family away. reunion near Punx’y, A man appeared from he had an experience the yard to grab the he’ll never forget - and Yorkie and, now faced thanks to the heroic acwith three targets rather tions of Biscuit, a Yorkthan one, the confused shire terrier, he’s still Rottweilers left. Sherry around to remember. was shaken from the Sherry has biked solo confrontation and after from Pittsburgh to exchanging a few words Washington, D.C. on with the kind stranger, the Great Allegheny he returned to his jourPassage / C&O Canal ney. Each of the many Towpath, has climbed barks he heard that day the 14,000 feet Mount Gabby Pizur with her Yorkie, Biscuit sparked his fear of the Evans in Colorado and route he’d follow. Alhas raced twice in the though Sherry had encountered dogs while Mount Washington (NH) Auto Road Bicycle cycling before, none of those infrequent enHillclimb, as well as participated in a numcounters compared to the fear he felt that ber of century rides. In the last two years, he morning. Even an encounter with a bear on has raised $10,000 for LIVESTRONG. a bike trail had not incited the same feelings Most recently, Sherry journeyed to France of danger, he added. where he participated on a bike tour through The experience stuck with Sherry and he the Pyrenees with Trek Travel and watched soon realized that he felt compelled to thank five stages of the Tour de France. In addithe tiny dog that acted so bravely. The foltion, cycling is the only time that the nine lowing weekend, he hoped in the car and month cancer survivor feels completed retraveled the 50 miles from his parents’ home covered. to Nicktown. On the way, he stopped for a And so, it was second nature for Sherry to couple bags of dog treats. With his offering opt to bike the 80 miles from his parents’ in hand, he stood on the porch of the house, Somerset home to their family reunion near hoping to thank his furry angel. Punxsutawney. When he set out on Saturday, The woman who answered the door immeAugust 7, he felt well prepared and excited diately knew who Sherry was and began to for his trip. “Everything was going great thank him for saving her dog. Not without until I reached Nicktown,” he explained. some embarrassment, Sherry explained That’s where things got scary. what had really happened - the Yorkie was Sherry turned onto Moss Creek Road and the real hero. The three year old terrier, crossed over Route 210. At Marstellar, he named Biscuit, belongs to Gabby Pizur, a approached the intersection of Farrell Road sophomore at Northern Cambria High and spotted two large Rottweilers up ahead. School. The dogs also spotted Sherry. “I immedi“It’s amazing what animals will do,” ately dismounted and put my bike between Sherry said. “That dog Biscuit saved my me and the dogs,” Sherry recalled. Because life... I’m completely convinced that that he was at the base of a significant incline, he dog had no other business being there other did not think he could outpedal the animals. than seeing a human in danger.” Without “I kept them in sight and stood still, hoping Biscuit’s brave intervention, there’s no doubt they would pass. They did not,” he said. that serious harm would have befallen Instead, the large dogs came at him at a run. Sherry at the teeth and claws of his attackers. “I knew I had little chance against one dog. “Biscuit is the hero of the day. She saved me I had zero chance against two,” Sherry refrom being seriously mauled, if not saved called. Although he was able to use his my life,” he noted. $2,000 carbon fiber bike to hold off the first ••• animal, the second dog went around the bike


By Ashley Watt for Hometown magazine

Community Happenings Continued from page 5 from fundraising committee members and board members and will also be available at various local businesses. All proceeds benefit the continued efforts to fund the programs and operation of our community center. n Aging Services, Inc. & VNA SEASONAL FLU CLINIC will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, October 14 at the Mahoning Hills Social Center, 19298 Rt. 119 Highway North, Punx’y/ This year one flu sot includes the seasonal flu vaccine & H1N1.The cost of the injection is covered by most insurance plans. Please bring your insurance cards with you. Reduced cost for private pay is $20. The VNA flu immunization program is supported by the Indiana County United Way. For more information, contact Aging Services, Inc. (724) 349-4500 or 1-800-442-8016. is maintained by the Chamber of Commerce for the community. Any area business or organization is invited to become a member of the Chamber of Commerce for as little as $65 for the year. For more information, visit or call 9387700. •••

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Punxsutawney honors a brave soldier by finishing something he left behind Punxsutawney community. Scott’s parents, Bob and Shirl Smith of Punxsutawney, recently decided to honor their son by completing a e loved classic project that Scott had started cars and Superbefore he was shipped over man. That’s what to Iraq. friends and family “Scott always had a car in members say about fallen some state of repair, but hero, SFC Scott Smith, of never seemed to get them finPunxsutawney, who died ished,” Shirl explained. in Iraq. He bought a 1988 luxury Sorely missed by many, sport Monte Carlo while stathose who knew him tioned in New Jersey in 2002. cherish the memories, According to Shirl, he had and now, his legacy lives big plans for the car. The milon through the SFC Scott Smith Memorial Scholar- The head rests in the newly refur- itary soon moved Scott to ship Fund, which re- bished Monte Carlo have an em- Fort Belvoir where he didn’t cently was given a big broidered symbol that is a have a place to store it. So, he boost thanks to the gener- combination of Scott’s EOD unit em- took the car home and left it blem and the Superman ‘S’. at his parents’ house in Januous members of the ary 2006. “That was his eBay car,” Bob said, “ He got all this stuff on eBay.” “The car was jam packed full of items that Scott bought to fix up the car. The trunk and the interior was just full of all kinds of stuff. We kept the car in the corner of the shed,” Shirl said, “We kept the car under a blanket.” But Scott never returned home to finish his Monte Carlo project. He was killed July 2006. It wasn’t until fall of 2007 that Bob and Shirl called Rich Lorelli, of Anita. They asked Lorelli, a state trooper, an auto body expert, and a friend of Scott’s, if he could finish the project that Scott had started. When Lorelli first saw the car, it was in real bad shape. “It had body damage everywhere,” Lorelli reShirl Smith and Rich Lorelli, shown here with the newly completed 1988 Monte Carlo, a classic car that Scott Smith started working on before called, “It was slate gray,


By Marsha Lavelle of Hometown magazine

he was sent to Iraq.

- Continued on page 12

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Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120 – 11

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it was a mess. Scott had put a big radical motor in the Monte Carlo – he and some of his military friends had done it in their spare time.” “Scott wanted a ‘sleeper,’ Lorelli said, “He wanted something that would blow the doors off of anything else out there – it wasn’t something for show. He had even painted the engine black.”

Demolition (EOD) insignia, which was Scott’s military company, and a big, red ‘S’ that stands for Superman, of whom Scott was so fond. “He loved Superman,” Lorelli remembered from their days at Jeff Tech. “He was a big fan and always wore a Superman logo tee shirt.” In all, Lorelli worked on the Monte Carlo for two years as a sideline. The novice as well as the classic car enthusiast will turn their heads in admiration of this beautiful car.

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The classic 1988 Monte Carlo, only better than the original. Scott would definitely approve, according to his father.

When Bob delivered Scott’s Monte Carlo to Lorelli’s house in July 2008, that was when the real work began. The first thing Lorelli did was tried to locate the same model year. He needed a “parts car.” It happened that a neighbor of Bob and Shirl’s, Randy Grape, also had a 1988 Monte Carlo, but it was the Super Sport version. Grape donated the entire car for the refurbishing project. Lorelli and Scott’s parents were overwhelmed with Grape’s generosity. Lorelli began changing out parts from one vehicle to the other. He took the paint off down to steel with stripper. He used the whole front clip, two front fenders and bumper covers from the donated car. Also, the rear spoiler and rear bumper were replaced. Lorelli explained that Scott’s car was a luxury model but the finished version is a converted Super Sport. Scott’s original car had a bench seat and an automatic gearshift on the column. Now, the Monte Carlo has bucket seats, a new transmission and an automatic stick on the floor, all installed by Lorelli. The donated car was not in great shape either, according to Lorelli. “This car was also a mess,” he said, “There were dings everywhere.” But one would never know this by looking at the finished product. It is shiny and smooth as glass. Lorelli’s wife, Traci, hints that her husband is somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to auto body work. “He does a lot of stuff twice,” she said, adding that he would often work long hours and late into the evening to get a job done. Lorelli also put in a new headliner and worked all winter in his basement recovering the car seats. Other plastic parts from Grape’s car were used but they had to be painted from its original color, maroon, to black, the color of the new Super Sport interior. One of the unique features of the car is the embroidery on the headrests. The colorful emblem on a black background was designed, embroidered and donated by Jason Watt, of Punxsutawney. The symbol is a combination of the Explosive Ordinance

The exterior paint is perfectly black with metallic silver trim on the door and halfroof as well as the hood. Thin red pin stripes around the doors, hand painted by Lorelli, give it a one-of-a-kind quality. The small block Chevy V-8, 383 engine that Scott built is now painted orange with added chrome valve covers. Cragar wheels are the originals that Scott liked, according to Shirl and Lorelli. The newly refurbished vehicle is truly worthy of being a show car. Bob said, “When we originally asked Lorelli to do this, he said it would be an honor to do Scott’s car. I think he did an awesome job! He did a wonderful job – that’s all I can say. It looks better than a new one. Scott would love this car.” The paint scheme of the finished Monte Carlo was an idea that Bob had early on. He told Lorelli that he wanted it black with silver on the hood and pin stripes around the doors. But he conceded that Lorelli was the expert. “I told him this is what I’d like, but you do what you think is best,” Bob said, “Then he checked it on the computer and he liked it too.” “He saved us a lot of money, and then he wouldn’t take any money for the work – just for the paint job. It was all for Scott, it was a labor of love.” “I don’t know how much we will actually show the car,” Shirl said, “But we do plan to use it for PR for the SFC Scott Smith Memorial Scholarship.” Shirl refers to the annual SFC Scott Smith Memorial Ride, which takes place each year to honor Scott and raise money for his namesake scholarship. According to Shirl, 90 to 100 motorcycles attend the memorial ride each year, gathering near Barclay Square and heading out of town for the annual trek. This year, Scott’s Monte Carlo was on display for folks to see for the first time. For more information about this event, go to Proceeds from the ride go to SFC Scott Smith Memorial Scholarship for local high school students and/or young military men/women in EOD units. •••

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14 – Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120

Guild’s Fall Farce Focuses Upon Frisky Seniors

ometimes, colors often play a key role in memorable stage shows. A classic drama is titled "The Corn is Green." Several generations have enjoyed "White Christmas." Modern audiences have responded to the powerful story of "The Color Purple." "Sex Please We're Sixty," by Michael Parker and Susan Parker, emphasizes three colors: Rose (as in the Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast where the two-act farce unfolds); Gray (as in the case of silver-tongued Bud the Stud) and Blue (as in little blue pills that cause an epidemic of laughter for the audience). PTAG brings its 35th anniversary season to a close with a wild and frantic comedy that should keep theater-goers in stitches from beginning to end. Show dates are a bit different from the usual schedule. "Sex Please, We're Sixty" opens at 7:30 on Saturday, Oct. 16 followed by a 2:00 matinee on Sunday, Oct. 17. The three remaining performances are slated for 7:30 October 21, 22, and 23. The cast blends a quartet of veterans with two women who are returning to the stage after long absences. All six roles in the show are pivotal characterizations. Bob Starzenski plays Bud; Tracey Young is Mrs. Stancliffe; Pat Starzenski, Dee Veitz, and Sandy Gearhart are the three women looking for romance; and Doug Fye is Henry, the chemist. Tracey, Pat, Doug, and Bob are familiar talents, having appeared in a variety of Guild shows over the years. Dee follows her recent return in "House for Sale," while Sandy Gearheart brings her stage experience full circle. She appeared in "The Egg and I," the very first community stage play to be presented during the Groundhog Festival in the

(Editor’s Note: ‘From Our Past,’ researched by S. Thomas Curry, features items of interest from past editions of Punxsutawney and area newspapers.) September 30, 1869 -- BAND WAGON. - We are pleased to note the happy issue of the project by the Band of this place in the matter of refitting and refurnishing a band wagon. The artist, O. H. Brady, deserves no small commendation for having executed the best job of ornamental painting, both in design and execution, to be found in this or adjoining counties. The band chariot is magnificent. (Punxsutawney Plaindealer) October 4, 1905 -- Edward W. Robinson, of this place, came from Reynoldsville in his automobile last Saturday in fifty minutes. Fourteen miles in

60s. That show eventually "hatched" into PTAG. Director Bob Starzenski and the cast are already hard at work on rehearsals. Matt Dinsmore is well underway with the building and remodeling of essential stage scenery. The rollicking play revolves around a series of events that unfold over two days at Mrs. Stancliffe's Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast in New England. The inn's guests, almost all of whom are older ladies who return each year, may have more than relaxation on their minds. "Bud the Stud" Davis, the elderly, silvertongued Casanova who lives next door, claims that the ladies come to spend time with him in romantic liaisons. The prim and proper owner of the cottage refuses to believe his stories, even though Bud seems to be good for business. In addition to three women who arrive simultaneously for a stay at the inn, the plot involves Henry Mitchell, a retired chemist, who is trying to perfect "Venusia," a pill to increase the libido of menopausal women. During the course of the play, merry mayhem erupts when Bud's own little blue pills are switched with the Venusia tablets. The mix-up results in strange changes that will incite laugh-out loud reactions from the audience. Needless to say, the show has mature themes and situations. The director commented that, in spite of its racy title, however, the play is similar to classic Carol Burnett skits. Others have likened "Sex Please We're Sixty" to the kind of humor that made TV's "Golden Girls" one of the most popular series of its day. Come on out and cheer for the rose, gray, and blue! ••• fifty minutes would not be remarkable time for an auto, but when the character of the roads between Punx’y and Reynoldsville is considered, it must be admitted that this was running some. (Punxsutawney Spirit) October 14, 1869 -- JUST THE THING. - We understand that D. C. Gillespie, Esq., intends opening a Hardware and Provision Store in this place sometime during the winter. In doing so Mr. G. will fill a vacuum which has existed in this community for years, and we predict for him a remuneration in his line of business which will fully satisfy him for starting up. (Punxsutawney Plaindealer) October 28, 1885 -- Since the skating rink craze has drooped and died the girls are devoting their best energies to the healthful exercise of “chawin’ wax.” Chewing gum societies are springing up like mushrooms in fashionable circles and flirtations are carried on with various colored waxes, by certain evolutions of the lips and tongue. (Punxsutawney Spirit) October 30, 1889 -- J. G. & T. E. Bennis have purchased the property of Mr. Cohn, on Findley St. now occupied by the merrygo-round building. The gentlemen expect to erect a substantial building on the lot. (Punxsutawney News) [Note: This building is on North Findley Street with the word BENNIS at the top, and is now occupied by Punx'y Hotel.] •••

Millionaires Continued from page 6 tained their lumbering interests when they expanded into coal. They maintained their office in Punxsutawney. H. G. Bowers was also active in the development of the local banking industry participating in the organizaiton of the Punxsutawney National Bank, the & Farmers’ Miners’ Trust Company and the Plumville Jacob L. Fisher National Bank. He served the community as a school director and as an officer. Harvey G. Bowers purchased a home for his family on Millionaires Row, at 402 W. Mahoning St. and William A. Bowers constructed a magnificent residence on East Mahoning Street. Both homes reflect the affluence the access to markets for coal brought to these brothers.

Jacob L. Fisher: A native born Pennsylvanian of immigrant German parents, Fisher spent his early years in the hotels operated by his father, Benjamin K. Fisher. His father purchased the Jennings House in Punxsutawney in 1878, which he remodeled and renamed the St. Elmo. This hotel, located on the site where the Pantall Hotel is today, was destroyed by fire in 1879. B. K. Fisher, using the stable building to house

guests temporarily, rebuilt and reopened the Fisher was one of the originators of the St. Elmo in 1880 and enjoyed the business Punxsutawney Land Development Comof speculators who migrated to the area pany. He was also the driving force behind with the beginning of the coal boom. bringing electricity to the area, and he J. L. Fisher, whose brother, John M. served as a director of the Punxsutawney Fisher, became a doctor, first studied pharNational Bank. He built a magnificent macy. However, this was not to be his life’s house on Millionaires Row. work. In 1886, his father B. K. Fisher, purThese men and many more like them were chased the American Hotel in Brookville. able to compete in the coal boom because J. L. Fisher, who in 1885 married Caroline Wilson, daughter of John B. and Caroline Winslow Wilson, pioneers of the Punxsutawney Area, spent the early years of his marriage in Brookville where he studied law with George A. Jenks. In 1888, he returned to Punxsutawney where he opened the first “Broker’s Telegraph Office” at the Washington Hotel. A wire had been strung to connect at Brookville, making it The J. L. Fisher House on West Mahoning Street was used as Headpossible to obtain the quarters for the John Jacob Fisher Chapter of the American Legion and later as the Punxsutawney Memorial Library. This house once stood at latest stock reports from 217 West Mahoning St. where the Gigliotti Chiropractic Center is today. New York without having to wait for the daily papers. This was a boon to those speculatof the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust ing on the coal trade. J. L. Fisher was quick Act which enabled business competition. to realize that money could be made in the Who will honor these men of coal in the purchase and sale of coal land, and that atPunxsutawney Area Coal Memorial and tornies would be at the center of these Welcome Center? transactions. He also was a partner in sev(Editor’s Note: The resources used in the eral coal mines including one at the bottom preparation of this article are available the of Perry Street and Berwind-White ComPunxsutawney Memorial Library and the pany’s No. 8 mine near Valier, which he Punxsutawney Area Historical and Geleased in partnership with Abraham Light. nealogical Society. The picture of the Rinn

House is from the PAHGS Collection, the others from the collection of S. J. Sharp. The pictures of Rinn and Bowers are from McKnight’s 1917 History of Jefferson County; the picture of Fisher is from the PAHGS files. 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, or you may 814-938-2493 and leave a message. A PRIDE volunteer will return you call.) •••

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holding candies prized by younger patrons. A long wood bench reminds us that, once upon a time, the store was the place to be here’s a landmark located in Oliveeach evening where neighbors gathered to burg at the intersection of the talk, roast chestnuts and keep up with news Colonel Drake Highway (Route 36) and events. The houseplants, which are and Spring Lucille’s special Road with a history hobby, fill a central extending through section of the store. three centuries. It’s a She says that she has history of family and more at her home neighbors, business next door. Lucille enterprise and parelates how when a trons, hard work and neighbor passed friendships. Folks away, most assumed visit the who her large collection Thomas P. Burkett of houseplants would General Store or not survive without have their mail her. To Lucille, these processed there have remarks were chalalready heard the bitlenge. She rescued tersweet news. Store the plants and made proprietor and forsure they lived on. mer U.S. Postal So how did Lucille Service officer-inBurkett acquire this charge, Lucille Burplace and position? kett, will be retiring The story behind in just a few days. Burkett’s store began The last day for in 1916 when postal service is Thomas P. and Cora Sept. 29 and the store S. (Raybuck) Burkett will close its doors Wedding Photograph – Thomas and Cora Burkett made a personal and Sept. 30. business decision to – June 24, 1914 To celebrate this become proprietors well-deserved step back from the rigorous of the Oliveburg store. They married in schedule of six-day-a-week store and post 1914 and both were in their mid-20s. Luoffice hours, the C. Thomas Burkett family cille hadn’t arrived on the scene yet. has planned an open house from 1 to 5 Twila, the oldest of the couple’s four chilp.m. on Sept. 30 to celebrate the family’s dren, was born in 1916. They lived for a legacy and their aunt’s retirement. It will time on the outskirts of town and did not be a good time to visit with Lucille and build the attractive stone house beside the surround oneself with what can only be destore until 1921. Lucille recalls being told scribed as a time capsule. After all, the big that her mother cooked for the men workpot-bellied stove which functioned to heat ing on the construction, and that older sisthe store until just recently stands proudly ter Elsie, then just a baby, was toted around between the glass-topped counters filled in a wood store box. The store building with the many necessities country stores was single-storied. Thomas eventually have provided their customers throughout constructed a second story to be used for our rural communities. room rentals and later for storage. More than a convenience store, shelves In Kate M. Scott’s 1988 “History of Jefwith merchandise extend from one end of ferson County, Pennsylvania” and in the store to another and from floor to ceilWilliam James McKnight’s 1917 “Jeffering. There are scales to measure accurate son County, Pennsylvania: Her Pioneers weights and a rail along one counter to and People,” the authors note that John B. protect the special wood and glass case Fink established the first store in Olive-

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- Continued on page 18


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Oliveburg Continued from page 16

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burg. That the location was the same is borne out by the map of Oliver Township shown in J. A. Caldwell’s 1878 “Atlas of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania.” A threeacre property at the intersection of the Punxsutawney-Brookville Road and the road leading up toward the Olive Presbyterian church is clearly shown as belongBurkett mill (demolished 2008), store and home ing to J. B. Fink. Some older residents of the area recall a Fink store in Punxerty is gone. Some of the machinery was sutawney whose proprietor was also John lovingly restored by Bill and Billy Shields Fink (middle initial H). Clippings from the and one piece by the P.P.M.A. Other surname files at the Punxsutawney Area pieces are in the care of the Historical SoHistorical & Genealogical Society attest ciety with hopeful plans to include it in that these men were not the same, though rural displays. a a connection has not been established beAbout the time of the Burkett’s early intween them, yet. Rather, there is a convolvement with the post office, mail delivnection between country store and rural ery underwent major changes. In the post office. McKnight and Scott both list 1920s, children attending the nearby onepostmaster appointments of post offices in room country school would stop into the the county. store and pick up their family’s mail on the McKnight’s list is the longer, ending in 1916. Both state that a post office existed in Oliveburg as early as 1862 with four persons serving as postmaster (Eli Miller, Rachel Bell, William H. Redding and Henry M. Means) prior to 1875 when John B. Fink was appointed. Following Fink, four more persons served as postmasters from Burkett Children – Elsie, Lucille (infant) Twila and Wilmer – c. 1921 1889 through at least 1916 (Andrew G. Evans, William J. way home from school. Before long, the Morrison, E. Jean Johnston and William D. postal service began to make rural home Morris) when the Burketts became indelivery possible. By about 1930 or so, volved. McKnight also reports that the many outlying families had their own postage rate in 1915 was 2 cents for a mailboxes with deliveries by contract carfirst-class, one-ounce letter. riers. Jim, and later, Hazel Mauk, delivCora Burkett operated the store and reered the mail regularly, Jim in the early tired in 1960 as Oliveburg postmistress. years picking up air-dropped mail sacks Thomas, as did many, found additional from flyovers of Punxsutawney. Folks ways to help support his family, including nearer to the store kept their in-store boxes. traveling to Chambersburg to bring back Currently, the U.S. Postal Service has a peaches to sell locally. Prior to the store website which includes a page for “Find acquisition, Lucille said that he worked in the Postmaster.” Lucille’s older sister, a glass factory in Punxsutawney. In his Elsie, is the first name shown on this site later years he worked with his son, Wilmer, for Oliveburg, though dates are not given. in the lumber business, taking sawmills to A file clipping, however, shows 1962 to logging camps at such places as Troutville 1996 for her tenure. By growing up in the and Knoxdale. store and working with their parents, the It was during the period between, howgirls learned the business and the postal ever, from 1925 to 1942, that Thomas procedures. Transfer of the job from one seized upon opportunity and established a family member to another was typical of mill in the large building behind the store, how the outlying post office/stores got the purchasing Sprout, Waldron and Company job done. milling machinery from the Lindsey FlourWhen Elsie’s health declined, Lucille was ing Mill in Punxsutawney’s West End. Acable to care for her and to carry on in the cording to Shirley Sharp’s report, The store, a career with Bell Telephone preparRolling Mill, c. 1880-1890, for the Past to ing her well for dealing with the public. It Present Machinery Association, G. A. was seeing all the friendly faces of cusGillespie built the Lindsey Mill on the tomers and neighbors that “Cele” says she same general property previously occupied will miss the most. Friends and neighbors by Jacob Hoover’s milling operations in will miss the store and post office convenClayville. The milling equipment, a grand ience but will remember the Burkett collection of Sprout Waldron machinery, legacy. The zip code continues as part of was available because the Starr Broom Oliveburg residents’ 911 identification. Factory had purchased the Lindsey Mill. Marty Armstrong, President Burkett’s Mill produced buckwheat flour Punxsutawney Area Historical mixes and livestock feed, which he sold to and Genealogical Society local farmers, and provided flour to town bakeries. That part of the landmark prop•••

Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120 – 19


West End

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20 – Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120

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ith his life slipping away, James Buchanan proclaims, “Posterity will do me justice. I have always felt, and still feel, that I discharged every duty imposed on me conscientiously. I have no regret for any public act of my life; and history will vindicate my memory from every unjust aspersion,” in the final act of Reading-born John Updike's play “Buchanan Dying.” Time has not provided him vindication or justice, though. Buchanan is widely considered one of the United States' worst presidents for his poor handling of sectional, political and constitutional tensions between the North and South in the years immediately before the Civil War. states, “Presiding over a rapidly dividing Nation, Buchanan grasped inadequately the political realities of the time.” After serving from 1857-1861, an exhausted Buchanan told his successor, Abraham Lincoln, “If you are as happy, my dear sir, on entering this house as I am in leaving it and returning home, you are the happiest man in this country." Although history has judged Buchanan's single term a failure, he holds a distinct place in the American story as the only president

ever born in Pennsylvania. And he did compose an impressive body of political work before ascending to the nation's highest office, serving as Secretary of State, Minister to Russia, Minister to Great Britain, United States Representative, and United States Senator.

He is one of the most famous Pennsylvanians ever. Along with Buchanan, other individuals with ties to the commonwealth have made major contributions in politics, medicine, athletics, business and various fields. - Continued on next page


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Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120 – 21

Famous Citizens Continued from previous page Frontiersman Daniel Boone (Exeter Township), auto executive Lee Iacocca (Allentown), football team owner Art “The Chief” Rooney (Coulterville), chocolate manufacturer Milton S. Hershey (Derry Church), anthropologist Margaret Mead (Philadelphia), comedian W.C. Fields (Darby), baseball player Honus Wagner (Chartiers), muckraker journalist Ida Tarbell (Amity), financier Andrew Mellon (Pittsburgh), actress and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly (Philadelphia), golfer Arnold Palmer (Latrobe) and psychologist B.F. Skinner (Susquehanna) were born in the state and later became giants in their chosen fields. At least seven native Pennsylvanians, including Uniontown's George C. Marshall, have received a Nobel Peace Prize. Marshall, a five-star general, spent time as Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense. He is best remembered for designing the Marshall Plan, which returned Europe to stability not long after the destruction of World War II ceased and prevented an even larger spreading of the Iron Curtain across the continent. The bold and encompassing program sent a combined $13 billion to 17 Allied and former Axis nations, along with the Free Territory of Trieste, between 1948 and 1951. Marshall's post-war work earned him the 1953 Nobel Prize in Peace. “I think [the award] meant a lot to him,” said President of the George C. Marshall Foundation Brian Shaw. “In his acceptance speech for the peace prize, he noted the irony of a soldier winning a peace prize. But, as a soldier, no one understood the cost of war as much as a soldier.” Decades before Marshall came to military and political prominence, another Pennsylvanian, William Boyce, founded one of the nation's most influential youth organizations – the Boy Scouts of America. Boyce, born in then-rural Allegheny County in 1858, acquired a love of the outdoors as a child, but also learned he did not want to make a hard living from the land. He ventured west and became a wealthy newspaperman. “I think [his upbringing] contributed positively to who he was, but it was a determining factor in what he did not want to do,” said Boy Scouts of America public relations manager Renee Fairrer. Boyce learned about an English scouting organization during one of his numerous trips abroad. Impressed by the group, he established the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. Boyce, who did not handle the BSA's day-to-day operations, contributed $1,000 per month to the organization on the condition that it remain

open to boys of all races and creeds. He viewed scouting as a way for youngsters to develop courage, resourcefulness, patriotism and other traits – by being active outdoors – that could help them become productive and good men. “That which he strongly believed in he was willing to put his heart into,” said Fairrer. Scouting's main principles, as spelled out in the group's current oath, have remained unchanged for a century: “On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” “I would say not only would he be pleased but I also think he would be impressed. … We've stayed true to the program,” said Fairrer. While Boyce and Marshall came from Pennsylvania, many other influential individuals were born elsewhere and then spent part of their lives within the commonwealth, including Penn State University football head coach Joe Paterno, author Pearl S. Buck and jazz musician John Coltrane. New York City-born Dr. Jonas Salk discovered a cure for polio when working at the University of Pittsburgh. Polio terrified the nation and the world in the mid-1900s. It often led to paralysis and death. The viral disease afflicted individuals indiscriminately from poor children to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Over 57,000 cases were reported nationwide in 1952. Salk's inactivated vaccine was publicly declared safe and effective on April 12, 1955. A relieved citizenry celebrated the medical breakthrough. “The feeling of exhilaration at our accomplishment was something that occurs once in a lifetime,” said current University of Pittsburgh Medicine Distinguished Service Professor Dr. Julius S. Youngner, the only surviving member of Salk's research team. Salk received the Congressional Gold Medal. New York City wanted to throw him a ticker tape parade, which he declined. Pitt received a lot of positive international attention thanks to Salk's medical triumph. Even today, the school is still widely recognized, especially in medical circles, for its role in eradicating the deadly disease. “I think it's both a source of pride for people who work here now and I think it was a source of pride for the people of western Pennsylvania in 1955. … It's also an inspiration to the medical scientists we have on the staff here now. They all have their own Dr. Salk dreams,” said Vice Chancellor for Research Conduct and Compliance for the University of Pittsburgh and Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacy Dr. Randy Juhl. • • •

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Admission $5.00 per person ages 6 and up. Directions: Rt. 119 to Big Run, 1/2 mile N.  on Caroline St. (Follow Detour Signs) 22 – Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120





thru October, 2010



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* Contest Rules 1. Complete the coupon on opposite page. 2. Guess the winning team and the total number of points you think will be scored in the Steelers/Ravens game and enter the guess in the space provided on the coupon. 3. Enter one of the participating advertisers on these pages in the space provided to redeem your coupon should you be the contest winner. 4. Clip and forward the coupon to: Steelers Football Contest, Punxsutawney Hometown, P.O. Box 197, Punxsutawney, PA 15767 5. All entries must be received at the Punxsutawney Hometown office by Wednesday, September 30.

New Faces Same Great Food More to Come

6. Only one entry per person. If you do not wish to clip your magazine, you may photocopy entry blank. 7. In the event two or more contestants correctly pick the winning team and total number of points, one winner will be randomly selected and awarded the winning prize. In event two or more contestants tie for closest to the total score, one winner will be randomly selected to win the $25 certificate. There will be only one $25 winner each month in the contest. 8. Punxsutawney Hometown retains the right to make any final decisions regarding the contest, and by submitting an entry, contestants agree to abide by the rules of the contest.

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Winning last month’s contest was Jessica Snyder of Punxsutawney. Jessica will redeem her prize at Neko’s Restaurant in Punxsutawney. You, too, can be a winner. Just clip (or photocopy) the coupon that appears in this issue’s Steelers Football Contest, predict the winning team and guess the total points in the game. It’s fun and it is easy!

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Punxsutawney Hometown – October 2010 – Issue #120 – 23

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October 2010 #120  

Inside this issue... • Dog Saves Former Punx'y Resident • Punx'y's Fallen Hero Remembered • Oliveburg Store, Post Office to Close •...