Memories of a baseball hero

Letter No. 150 | September 29, 1999

News of Detroit Tiger Stadium, originally built in 1912, getting the wrecking ball after the 1999 season, brought back memories of attending Tiger Stadium during the summer of 1951. I worked in Detroit then to earn tuition money for college, and stayed with an uncle and aunt. As a youngster, I wished for the summer to swiftly pass for I was homesick to return to Nanty Glo. On several Sundays I attended the ballpark to see the Detroit Tigers, my favorite team. Tiger Stadium was located in a seedy part of Detroit (what part of downtown Detroit isn't seedy), and I envisioned easily getting mugged if one ever attended a night game. A daytime visit to a game was exciting enough. Once inside the stadium, however, there was an excellent view of the players and the playing field, and one could really enjoy the game.

The sports news discusses old Detroit Tiger players like Al Kaline, Jim Bunning, Cecil Fielder, etc., but no mention is made of my boyhood hero, a pitcher named Hal Newhouser. I guess the time goes too far back. I kept a scrapbook of his exploits (a 29-9 win-loss record in 1944, 25-9 in 1945, 26-9 in 1946). He was elected Most Valuable Player in the American League for those first two years. (Ironically he was not elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame until 1992. He was labeled as a "wartime player" and was deferred from war service because of a heart problem.)

Hal Newhouser led the Tigers to victory in a seven-game series over the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series (the last time the Cubs were ever in the World Series). Several years ago my boyhood hero attended a baseball autograph signing session near my home in Alexandria, Virginia. I decided to attend and carried along my scrapbook of drawings and pictures of him. He viewed my scrapbook and was impressed enough to give me a free 8x10 autographed picture of himself during his playing days and declared "he was a fan of mine" for my scrapbook effort. He died in late 1998 at the age of 77. The story is related that he signed with the Tigers for a $500 bonus. A Cleveland Indians representative arrived just 10 minutes later at his parent's house offering $15,000 and a new car worth $4,000. The moral must be you win some, you lose some.

Best Regards,
Frank Charney

Buelah memories

Letter No. 149 | September 22, 1999        

My wife and I often used to go to Ebensburg on the back road past Buelah. Before the monument was placed there, we walked up to the cemetery. She says she remembers one gravestone that had the year 1702 on it, but she did not know if that was the date of birth or not. Many of the markers were badly worn and many could not be seen because of the overgrowth of grass, weeds and vines.

Just above the path to the cemetery was a nice spring where we often stopped to get a drink, but after the Cottage was built the water was contaminated.

There was a house near the monument and the sad part was that surrounding the monument and the house were many junked cars.

george dilling

Historical facts about Buelah

Letter No. 148 | September 21, 1999        

I was browsing through some of my old book collection and found an interesting page on Cambria County.

The book was authored by Lois Mulkearn & Edward V. Pugh. The title is "A Traveler's Guide to Historic Western Pennsylvania," 1953, University of Pittsburgh Press.

The article is as follows:

BEULAH (1 mile W. on "Beulah Road" [Pa. 45] from its jct. with U.S. 22, E. of Mundy's Corners), a Welsh colony founded in 1797 by the Rev. Morgan John Rhys (Reese), was designed to be the county seat. In May, 1797, his advertisement "about the Cambrian settlement" revealed that some families were already settled there. The advertisement was as follows:

Every purchaser of 400 acres is entitled to one acre, or four lots 58 X 125 in the town. Professional men and mechanics by building a house with a stone or brick chimney, and becoming residents before October 1, 1797 shall have the same privilege. Five hundred lots are for sale at $10.00 per lot payable in cash or valuable books.

The books were to "form a public library in the town." The town was laid out on the gridiron pattern (similar to Philadelphia) the following spring, and 395 acres were

given and sold for the sole benefit of the first settlers for public buildings, schools, a library, the encouragement of agriculture and manufacture and 200 acres in the settlement for the dissemination of religious knowledge.

By the end of the year there were approximately 300 inhabitants, two hotels, a store, a mill, a school, a church, and a circulating library of 600 volumes. The first post office and one of the earliest polling places in the county were located here. Nothing remains of the town except the old cemetery which is about one mile north of Beulah Road. The monument, erected by the Cambria County Historical Society, marks the site of the town.

Feel free to add to the "Forum" if deemed interesting.

Lou Hahl

Webmaster's Note: Many thanks, Lou. Deemed very interesting; I'll move it to its own Forum page after its introductory run here. —Jon

Another Blacklick Valley literary light

Letter No. 147 | September 19, 1999        

Hi Jon,

This is Denise Weber again. I want to acquaint readers in the Blacklick Valley with the name of Jack Burgan, a published novelist and newpaper editor who was killed in a plane crash in California in the late 1940s. Jack was born in Vintondale and was in my mother's (Agnes Huth Dusza) class in school. His family moved away when Jack was either a sophomore or junior in high school. He graduated from Ferndale, received an A.B. from Pitt in 1934, and served in the Navy in WWII. At the time of his death, he was the managing editor of the Ventura County Star-Free Press. Two of his books deal with coal mining, unionization and Vintondale. They are Martin Butterfield and The Long Discovery. His two other novels deal with WWII: Even My Own Brother and Two Percent Fear.

I was able to get all four of these books at a reasonable price through the used book sites on the Internet.

Looking for information on Red Mill

Letter No. 146 | September 16, 1999        

I am looking but not finding information on the sand querry at Red Mill It was started in 1920 and bonds were sold to raise money. I am presently rebuilding a building, I think the office, and would like to know what it looked like.

Joe Gordon

More on a notable memory

Letter No. 145 | September 13, 1999        

I would have sent this directly to George (Dilling), but I couldn't locate his email address. I, too, am amazed at his wonderful memory. During the Christmas season I was one of the extra mail carriers for the post office, and I had George's route. The route went from the post office out to the railroad tracks at the bottom of Pergirm Hill, returned to town, then continued throughout town above the Wagner school all the way out to White Street. That was the turnaround point where I then worked my way back to town and the route ended at the Moose.

I am wondering if George's reference to the "Mexican swimming hole" in the sulphur creek is what we knew in the late 1940's as Mexico Crossing? This was where the "Trout Stream," in George's reference, entered the sulphur stream. Both of those waterways were involved in my graduate thesis in 1966/67. Topo maps for the area list the sulphur stream as the South Branch of the Blacklick and the "Trout" stream as Stewart Run. It is also interesting that the names of "Bath Tub," and "Belly Button," which George referred to as being on the South Branch of the Blacklick, were retained when the the stream became polluted. The same names were utilized for the swimming holes on Stewart Run when I was swimming there in the 1940's and 50's.

Bob Cunningham

Amazed at Mr. Dilling's memories

Letter No. 144 | September 13, 1999        

Wow! I cannot help but be amazed at Mr. Dilling's memories and enjoy his reminiscing for us. I can remember that St. Mary's School had two libraries in the late '40s or early '50s, but I cannot remember any of the other locations he spoke of in his letter.

One was for the use of the school and was on the top floor straight back from the steps. I don't think anyone used it much. The one which was more of a public library was in the basement and you entered it into a vestibule area off of Roberts St. It was a small room immediately to the left and was equipped with several hundred volumes and about the size of a nice walk in closet.

As for the basement of St. Mary's, I can remember the stage, wild Scout meetings, and the first dance that I ever went to. I remember dancing with a female classmate for the first time in my life and thought that this wasn't a bad idea after all. I wonder what those rooms are used for now? Anyone know?

Paul Ceria

Looking for information on Bill Hartack

Letter No. 143 | September 8, 1999        

Having known Bill Hartack back in 1959, while living and training at Eastern Airlines training center, I have been interested in his activities. Would like to know how to obtain information re: his career, etc. Thank you very much, My E-mail address is Name is S. M. Adams, 509 Glendale Drive, Richmond, VA 23229

A plug for the Cambria County Fair

Letter No. 142 | September 4, 1999        

I always enjoy returning to Cambria County during the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5-11) to attend the Cambria County Fair. It's reported to be one of the largest county fairs in Pennsylvania. Most evenings at the fair, one begins to enjoy the cooler, refreshing air of beginning Fall weather, especially after enduring the summer heat. Also it's a time when I regale in listening to the songs of featured country artists. You can come early, bring your lawn chair and sit close to the performers. Featuring these artists rejuvenated the Fair several years ago after attendance appeared to be spiraling downward. Of course, the $6 admission fee entitling a fairgoer to see the country stars and participate in all exhibits and rides has very little influence on me. For the benefit of viewers planning to attend the fair, the performers are Sherri Austin (Sunday, Sept. 5), Mark Wills (Sept. 6-Labor Day), and David Lee Murphy (Saturday, Sept. 11). All shows are at 4 and 8 pm. If you browse through Country Weekly at your grocery checkout counter, you'll see that all three country stars are recognized and have top billing.

If country music is not to everyone's taste, there is the livestock area to tour. One farm family is featuring cows, one each of the following breed: a Brown Swiss; a Milking Shorthorn; a Guernsey; a Holstein; an Ayrshire (a new one to me), and a Jersey. These cows could prepare one for a good trivia question on a show like "Do You Want to Be a Millionaire" recently hosted by Regis Philburn.

Best Regards
Frank Charney

A happy birthday wish via home page

Letter No. 141 | September 3, 1999        

I just found out about your web site. I used to be a resident of Nanty Glo. Will you please put in Happy Belated Wishes for Helen Kankula? Her birthday is today, September 2; she is 84 today. Your web site is very nice. My sister, Helen Dugan, was telling me about it.

Thank you very much,

betty jane [kankula] oaks

Looking for info on Buelah

Letter No. 140 | September 2, 1999        

The old town of Beulah may be gone, but definitely has not been forgotten. One of my fondest memories of home is Dad driving us down Beulah Road in the Fall. The cascading trees, the beautiful colors, the serene quiet of the woods, the blanket of leaves on the road ahead. When I became older my father told me the story of the old town of Beulah. How at one time it was to be the county seat, a community was begun, and then it was decided to move the seat to Ebensburg. He and many others my father's age tell of finding foundations throughout the woods surrounding Beulah Road in days gone by. Then there is the urban legend of the White Lady of Beulah.

Am curious if anyone out there knows where to find information on Beulah. So far my search has turned up empty. Would greatly appreciate any leads.

Thanks in advance,
Karen Howell

Nanty Glo's Library locations

Letter No. 139 | August 29, 1999        

The Nanty Glo Library began with the Bookmobile coming from Johnstown. Some of the citizens decided to start a Library in Nanty Glo. I don't know who all was involved, but I do know that Mrs Julius Porias helped with it and that St. Mary's school was also involved..

The first Library was set up in the basement of St. Mary's school. Later it was moved across the street to the Book building. From there it went to the Keating residence in the part that had been Dr. Miller's dental office. The building was small and had a steep flight of steps to the front door.

From there it moved across the street where Mitchell's (restaurant) had been. The next move was to lower Lloyd St. in the former Elmer Little Lumber Co. and later Lambing Lumber.

The Library stayed there until after Wolf Furniture moved and the Library was able to puchase the building, the first one that the they have owned.

George Dilling

Webmaster's Note: I don't remember any libary in Nanty Glo while I was still there, or even the bookmobile visiting. I left the Journal as editor in 1964 and remember seeing the library in the Little's Lumber Yard location on a visit afterward. So this would make the beginning of the public library around 1965 or later? —Jon

Southern Cambria street car days

Letter No. 138 | August 28, 1999        

Around 1925, the Southern Cambria Street Car came in to Nanty Glo at least twice a day. There was a small station back of Levinson's store.

The Johnstown Newspapers came into town on the street car. The morning paper, The Johnstown Democrat, arrived at 6:40 a.m. We paperboys met the street car and carried the papers across the trestle to Dick McCullough's barber shop. It was located at First and Chestnut Streets in what is now the Post Office parking lot. The Tribune came in between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Later, these two papers merged into The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.

The railroad company also had a streetcar going to Ebensburg. The switch for the two tracks was located somewhere around Vinco or Echo. There was also a small station at Woodland Park.

In those days, Woodland was a recreational area with picnic tables and, if I remember correctly, a large dance hall. People would come from Nanty Glo, Ebensburg, Johnstown, and surrounding areas to the park.

Woodland Park is the same Park area as in those days. However, today it is more a place for peple with campers and trailers.

George Dilling

At the gas pump at Twin Rocks company store

Letter No. 137 | August 20, 1999        

I had this wonderful photo of my mother, Gussie (Davis) Taylor. She grew up on 4th Street in Twin Rocks. Have you ever considered doing a mystery photo? This was taken when she worked at the company store in Twin Rocks. I thought that the gas pumps might be remembered by your readers. I cherish these old photos. Feel free to use it on the page, it might spark some memories. I'll check with my mother and get more information on the exact year, etc.

Thanks again, Cindy Divido

Class of '79 reunion Sept. 4

Letter No. 136 | August 15, 1999        


SAT SEPT. 4 6:30 PM


Charles Kramer

Swimming holes in Blacklick Creek,
before it was sulphur-polluted

Letter No. 135 | August 10, 1999        

It was my privilege to be able to swim in Blacklick Creek before Revloc mine was opened and sulphur entered into the creek from that mine.

Above where Heisley Mine sulphur water entered the creek were three or four swimming holes. There was Belly Button, and Butternut. These two may have been the same hole. Next was Mexican (this is where I always went swimming) and Nine Footer, near the old Chemical Works.

After these places were turned into sulpher water we dammed the water in the trout stream that flowed along the streetcar tracks. We always called it trout stream, but I am wondering if this is not the same place that was later called Bath Tub?

George Dilling

Ball field once had a grandstand

Letter No. 134 | August 9, 1999        


I can remember when the Nanty Glo ball field had a grandstand. It was located at the far end of the field next to the sulphur creek. I was too young to go to the games but I do remember playing around the grandstand. Behind it there was some type of wooden construction like a spillway that the water flowed over, and then fell down like a miniture falls. The water there was rather swift.

My brother was swept off there one day. I was not there at the time but one of his friends said he was about to jump in to rescue him when he was able to grab a tree limb and pull himself to safety. My brother was afraid of the water after that.

I did attend some of the games when Nanty Glo was in the Industrial League. By this time home plate was in the corner next to the gate. Three of the pitchers I remember were Don Zimmerman from Twin Rocks (Manager of the American Store), Freddy Regis, and Joe Peters.

One of the highlights was the day when "Rip" Collins, who played for St. Louis and was a member of the Gas House Gang, came back to his home town, played in one of the games and hit a home run over the right field fence into the creek.

Holidays were a special time in Nanty Glo. Along the road to the field was a bandstand where the local band would play during the day and I believe sometimes on Sundays.

There were shade trees on either side of the roadway. In the late 'twenties or early 'thirties there was a playground with swings, seesaws and slides.

George Dilling

Birthday love to a lost mother

Letter No. 133 | August 2, 1999        

This is a birthday remembrance for Rose Marie Doubt who died in a car accident in 1983.

My dearest Mom,

The sun rose and the sun set time and time again after you left. So many times you try to reason why things happen in our lives that cause us pain. There are also times that the reason for your pain is to shape you into the person that you are meant to be. I do believe Mom that your passing made me grow to the person that I am today, and that if I had not felt the loss that I had maybe I would not be as grateful for all that I have today.

Some how I managed to grow up and start a life of my own. If you could just see how I was able to get on with my life and start a new one I think you would be proud. As a teenager you always wonder why your parents push you and give you responsibility when you really don't want it. If it was not for your pushing Mom and for teaching me how to cope on my own I don't know what I would have done when you were called home. Thank you for all that you made me and as your birthday comes and goes for another year those who knew and loved you think of you fondly and will continue to do so for many more to come. I love you.


Seeking ancestral ties in Nanty Glo

Letter No. 132 | July 31, 1999        

Hi, my name is Donna. You will probably have numerous individuals accessing your webpages as I have been working on my genealogy and have been contacting everyone I can find with a last name of Kortze. My Grandfather's name was Walter Kortze. He had five brothers and two stepsisters. His father's name was Simon Kortze. Children were/are in order of the oldest:

Frank (still alive at 86)

Simon Kortze married Jenny. Simon died in 1918 from the flu epidemic. Jenny remarried to Albert Glen and had two daughters: Ann and Mary.

Simon had 2 brothers: Peter and Willie. I have found many family members on Peter's side, but none on Willie's. When the parents of Simon, Peter, and Willie came to America via Ellis Island they were originally called Kvaraciejus. The name was changed to Kortze. I do not know if all the family came to Nanty Glo or just the one son, Simon.

When I told family to show the surviving son of Simon (Frank) your web site, he said it brought back many memories. He was able to show the church and his home from the old pictures. (Thank you for having those old photos available-they mean a lot). He was full of emotion.

My goal it to locate family on Willie's side. I have been unsuccessful so far. Also I can only go back to Simon's father's name of Kvaraciejus, but with no details. Can you help in any way?

Thank you,

Webmaster's note: I hope this helps. It might help if you have any other spellings or versions of the name (my name, Kennedy, for example, is found in about half a dozen different spellings and versions, including Canady). Also it might help to cite the nationality of the family name. —JK

Does anyone recall the Pergrims?

Letter No. 131 | July 30, 1999        

My name is Charlotte Pergrim, and as you can probably guess, I am looking for more information on the Pergrim name and the namesake of Pergrim Hill. I am very interested in any type of information you might have on the name in the Nanty Glo area, and of any such persons you may know of with the same name.

I am a member of the Nanty Glo home page and would appreciate any information or memories from any other members. This seems to be a pretty tight community with very strong ties, both near and far. I appreciate anything you have. My grandparents were James Celestine and Jessie (Hildebrand) Pergrim. I have information which leads me to believe that Pergrim Hill was named after my great-grandfather.

Very truly yours,
Charlotte Pergrim

Plans for Blacklick Township
sesquicentennial shaping up

Letter No. 130 | July 26, 1999        

Webmaster's note: I asked Caroline Swalligan of Twin Rocks to send specifics on next year's Blacklick Township sesquecentennial celebration for the Home Page. I plan to work the information here into a separate page for the event, but wanted to get it to the Internet community in this form without delay

Hi Jon:

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. Trying to get ready for my niece's wedding, you know how it is with us here in the Valley, all those cookies and goodies to make. Also, several people from Twin Rocks passed away this last week and that keeps neighbors busy.

Our cookbook project was a major project. Thanks goes to our Cookbook Committee headed by Rae Ann Lanzendorfer and assisted by Nancy Bracken DiBiase. It is a beautiful cookbook with approximately 500 receipes; many from our grandmothers and mothers. Lots of ethnic recipes that are dying out since a lot of people aren't cooking much anymore. We are going into our second printing and are currently taking orders. The cost of the Cookbook is $9.00 plus $3.00 shipping. Now that our first printing has sold out, it seems that more interest is being generated and we would like to get a good idea of the interest out there before we place our order in September for delivery in October. They make terrific wedding (shower) gifts, birthday presents, Christmas gifts, you name it - it will suit the occasion. Thank you for anything you can do to promote this for us. All recipes were submitted from residents, past and present, of the Blacklick Township Area which comprises Twin Rocks, Belsano, Cardiff, Ragleyville, Ivesson, Bethel, Red Mill, White Mill, Nettleton.

Our celebration is slated for July 29 and 30, 2000. We are in the process of tying down a lot of loose ends and getting this all to come together. Most of the graduating classes from Blacklick High School ae going to be contacted. We are trying to get the word out to as many people as we can. I am a resident of Twin Rocks and have been for the last 25 years. I was born and raised in Twin Rocks, went to Big Bend Elementary school and a portion of one year at Blacklick High School. My dad died when I was in the eighth grade and my Mom, brother and myself moved to Chicago where I graduated from high school, Northwestern University, and continued to lived there until my mom got sick in 1973. I've been home ever since and love it.

I'm proud to be a product of the Blacklick Township population and even though it's like living in a fish bowl sometimes, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

We are planning a parade (like old times) to open our celebration. Frank Brosius, a minister, senior District Justice and former resident of the Township will be our opening speaker. Churches are planning to serve breakfasts, dinners, provide baby sitting services for little ones and have their churches open for visits, renewals, etc.

Bethel Church is planning to participate. It was founded in 1830, still stands today and will open its doors for people to view and see their artifacts and history. Music will be provided both days at different sites. Craft and Food Booths will be numerous. Historic memorabilia will be on display. Oldtimers, and youngtimers, baseball games are being planned. Home made peroghies are being sold, frozen and freshly cooked. A stamp is being prepared for the opening day celebration. George Warholic and Peg (Lanzendorfer) Hancherick are involved with that. Also, George is preparing a historical booklet which we hope to distribute to everyone that day. If anyone has any questions or would like more information on the enormous undertaking for our Sesquicentennial, please feel free to contact me and I'll be sure to get the info out.

We are also taking orders for T-Shirts with our Sesquicentennial Logo. More on that at a later date. We don't plan on selling those until May or June, so people can wear them at that time, but we are taking as many orders as we can. As soon as we get the costs of making these, I'll get the price to you. June Skebeck is the chairman in charge of our Art, Crafts, T-Shirts, etc.

Just a note—we are selling the cook books, T-shirts, etc., in order to make money to fund this celebration. This is not a money maker. We just need to cover the costs of what we are trying to do. If there is any money left over it will be distributed to the churches, organizations, and for future celebrations. No one is making any money on this. The Township can't make money, and we just want to cover the costs and have everyone have a very memorable time. There are many things that we have to pay for: port-a-johns, tents, music, electricity, prizes, booklets, commerative tokens for everyone joining us those days, publicity, etc. We are also soliciting donations to support any of the anticipated happenings. Our commerative booklet will list all of the names who have contributed in any way. 'Nuf said for now.

Thank you so much for taking the time to help us. We have been meeting since April, 1998, in order to prepare this celebration. By the end of September, I'll be able to give you a better agenda and details, as that's the date we've set to finalize a lot of anticipated commitments for the Sesquicentennial.

My e-mail is I do check my mail everyday as I have nieces and nephews who work in Pittsburgh, DuBois, State College and Providence Forge, VA, and we like to keep in touch frequently.

Take care and God Bless.

Summer '99 recreation news

Letter No. 129 | July 23, 1999        

In response to a reply concerning the Nanty Glo Pool and the recreation of Nanty Glo's youth: The pool will be closed for the remainder of the 1999 summer. As for trips to White Mill or Adams Crossing, that has been replaced by trips to the Ebensburg Pool or a visit to Yellow Creek State Park. Also, it is amazing how many people in the Blacklick Valley area have their own pools! Friends get together to swim at each other's houses.

With the upcoming plans for a Flood Control Project, use of the Nanty Glo ball field will be in question after next year. This project plans to take away about 25 yards of the field area located nearest to Blacklick Creek. The Nanty Glo youth League (Little League), Legion and Pony League baseball, and the high school football team may be looking for new homes after next year.

Michael McDermott

Webmaster's note: Thanks very much for the update, Michael. The Ebensburg pool was there when I was a teenager, too, but I visited it only once, maybe twice at most. Adams' Crossing (which did have swimmers last time I was home) and White Mill were the places to go, especially if you had to walk or hitch rides. Now Yellow Creek State Park (which wasn't there in my youth)—no one would ever hitchhike there! And no, kids, I'm not encouraging hitchhiking, unless you're visiting Ireland. (It's like going back to 1955, you see.) —Jon

WoW! A home page for Nanty Glo!

Letter No. 128 | July 14, 1999        

In researching my "family tree" with a search engine, I included Nanty-Glo by name. I was just hoping to find info; imagine my surprise when I found your site!

My dad was born there (Robert D. Trexler, 1943) and has his best memories from the Glo and nearby areas. For my brother and I, Nanty Glo, Vintondale, Rexis, and Johnstown (and many others) were places that existed like Oz and Never-Never Land, truly magical!

Once my father brought me (he was military) to the area. I remember the awesome beauty and rich history he shared with me. He "went home," but I had done better than that, I MADE IT TO OZ! That my fantasy world was real was affirmed not with a pinch, but with ice cream! Dad had always told us the story of how Belsano got it's name (the doubtful bride version) and of how he and his brother (Bill) would gather old pop-bottles to return for the deposit. With their "booty" secured they would walk to Belsano and buy the best custard not made by God's own hand. Even if it wasn't as good as he remembered, it was enriched for me by the story he told. Even sour, it would still be a delicacy today.

I showed him the site, and am going to mention the Forum. The memories shared will no doubt wet his hand (this is how the water gets there...he is NOT teary-eyed)!

Oh yeah...if anyone can share info about the Trexler-Hagens-Bennett-White Families of the area, PLEASE, PLEASE CONTACT ME at

Thank you again for this site!

Pam (Trexler) White

Looking for family ties: McQuays and Vigas

Letter No. 127 | July 14, 1999        

My family is from Vintondale and Nanty Glo and I have some of my best memories as a child there. I now live near Pittsburgh and miss visiting back there. Even though I was not born or raised there (my parents were) I still consider it my home. I'm starting my family tree and any information on the Viga's or McQuay's would be helpful.

Thanks and corrects for Vintondale page

Letter No. 126 | July 10, 1999        

Webmaster's note: The following was received in February and "lost" in a deluge of email. My apologies to the writer and you all for the oversight. And to anyone else who may have felt ignored, please be assured the ignorance is unintentional. And keep trying!—jon

Thanks so much for the V'dale web page. This is Denise Dusza Weber, author of Delano's Domain, vol. l, which is now sold out. A couple of answers and corrects on your Vintondale page. Balog Street is called Chickaree Hill. On your slide show of the Vintondale Homecoming last September, you included a slide of Twin Rocks—Dugan's Hotel was on the left hand side. The Hungarian Church still has services about once a month. The minister comes from the Hungarian Reformed Society's old folks home in Ligonier, where incidentally my dad, Steve Dusza, spent several years as a child in their orphanage.

Kudos from the frozen north

Letter No. 125 | July 6, 1999        


Have seen the Nanty Glo website in passing several times, but this is the first time I stopped to check it out a little. A nice service to those of us from afar now who continue to call Nanty Glo home. The Kupchella family is a fairly major presence in the Nanty Glo area; all five of my brothers live in and around Nanty Glo; Mom still lives on Caroline Street; lots of other relatives there and so we get back often. Adele (Kiel) (grew up in Portage) and I have been away from NG for about 35 years; our three kids and four grandchildren live in Virginia, Minnesota, and Kentucky. We now live in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where I serve as President of the University of North Dakota. Our winters here make Nanty Glo look like a tropical paradise. We hope you keep up the web page—a great way to visit from a distance.

Chuck Kupchella

Delighted to find Home Page

Letter No. 124 | June 27, 1999        

Was so happy to find all this great information and pictures of Vintondale and Nanty Glo.

My mother-in-law, Mary Gulyas Williams, who is now 82 years old, was born (in 1917) and grew up in Vintondale with her two sisters, two brothers, and parents.

My husband (her son) is taking her back to Vintondale to reminisce in about two weeks so seeing the web site ahead of time is just fabulous. Thank you for all your work.

Janet H. Williams

Notable Nanty Glo native retires;
other news and updates

Letter No. 123 | June 27, 1999        

A cover story appeared in a recent issue of the Johnstown daily newspaper about a Nanty Glo native retiring from his job. What's so unusual about this? It's a little different if a worker retires at the age of 89 after 62 years of service as was the case of Mr. Joe Casale who left Nanty Glo in 1937 to work for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Employment Security. He started as a clerk in Harrisburg for $100 a month and was transferred later that year to Johnstown where he has worked ever since. Mr. Casale recently ended his career as manager, since 1955, of the Cambria County Job Center in Johnstown. As reported, he's giving in to family pressure and is hanging it up. Mr. Casale oversaw the Johnstown office during good times when coal and steel were king, and depressing times when the 1977 Johnstown flood inundated the Bethlehem Steel mills and resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs. He called the flood his biggest challenge. He wishes the area could attract some sort of assembly plant that would create 400 to 500 semiskilled jobs. Mr. Casale was No. 2 in terms of service with the state. A 90-year-old female clerk/ typist exceeds him with 64 years of service. One fellow employee says, "He is a legend in his own time. There will never be another Joe Casale." (It must be that strong Nanty Glo character building!)

Here's a story about coincidences. I was remarking to an Alexandria, Virginia, neighbor who I just recently met that my wife and I were soon going to the Johnstown vicinity to visit. He asked if I had ever heard of a town with the strange name of Nanty Glo. The neighbor is presently retired after years of service with the Federal Aviation Administration, but his long time secretary was from Nanty Glo. She would relate to him colorful stories about hometown sites like Shoemaker Street, once referred to as the "Barbary Coast" with its hotels and bar rooms. He must have pictured a "Wild West" town.

The Nanty Glo Journal and Mainline newspapers have been publishing a series of weekly articles on the early history of the many towns in Cambria County like Nanty Glo, Colver, Revloc, and Ebensburg. The series also discusses the establishment at the turn of the twentieth century of the mines and railroads in the area. Mr. Charles Edwards, responsible for these articles, has researched the diary of a Mr. S.H. Jencks (Sterry Henry Jencks) who chronicled the history of this era. Mr. Jencks did a remarkable job of detailing this fascinating period, but who was he? He was born on March 25, 1867 in Argentina, but his family migrated to the state of Rhode Island. Mr. Jencks attended Lehigh University and began a long career as an industrial engineer. His work included the opening of coal mines, building of rail lines, and the laying out of new towns. He came into personal contact with men like Mr. Coleman and Mr. Weaver, the builders of towns like Revloc and Colver. His writings paint the history of Cambria County from 1885 to his retirement in 1936. Mr. Jencks, who served as president of Ebensburg Borough Council, died on January 12, 1948. He was buried at Mahaffey cemetery, leaving a few thousand dollars cash, some shares of stock and a 1940 Packard worth $800. It didn't look like much for a long time of hard work.

To Paul Simendinger...Shortly after questioning you about the whereabouts of Paul Batulis, your old theater partner, I saw in the paper that his sister had passed away and that Paul resided in Southfield, Michigan. On my most recent visit to Revloc, I encountered Larry Sedor, who recently suffered a heart ailment and will be taking a break from his constant chores of painting and house repairs. Larry is a friend and handyman who often helps me.

Again thanks, Jon, for providing this electronic platform to exchange stories about the old hometown "Glory Days." On a past topic about Mr. Abe Book, you are correct in recalling him being struck by a car. He passed away several days later from the injuries. I too recall the incident that occurred on Route 422 near Bethel, and it was strange to hear of his death in this fashion. Mr. Book either owned or leased a farm near Bethel where he had livestock and raised potatoes. Later in life, Mr. Book married a store employee who worked for him and had a child, Israel (Buddy) Book, who would be in his fifties now. On a recent visit to Nanty Glo, I asked my Uncle Mike Bzdyl what ever happened to Buddy. Mike stated that the son settled in the Johnstown vicinity.

Best Wishes,
Frank Charney

Webmaster's note: It's my great pleasure, Frank. I always learn something from your posts. I knew Penn Traffic (the department store; the name lives on in a now-New York State-based grocery company) died (by bits and pieces) as a result of the 1977 flood, but didn't realize that that flood "did in" the last of the Bethlehem Steel mills in the "Flood-free City." I assumed they just faded away to the economic advantages of the new processes introduced about that time in mills far away (and the decline of "rust belt" industry in general).

Library to memorialize mine tipples

Letter No. 122 | June 22, 1999        

I saw the painting of the mine tipple which [the Nanty Glo Public Library] recently acquired. You might be interested to know that the Beaverdale Public Library is planning a children's' addition reminiscent of the mine tipples which were so much a part of the region.


Older brother adds his memories on 'Death in the Family'

Letter No. 121 | June 16, 1999        

Webmaster's note: My eldest brother, Tom Kennedy, wrote the following observations after reading my essay on the tragic death of our brother, Gary, in a 1957 accident, posted elsewhere on the Nanty Glo Forum on May 30. I received his permission to publish his thoughts as a corrective to my faulty memory. I have, since receiving this, corrected the reference to victims' bodies being "mangled." The one point I'm sticking to is that I still think the funeral was on Monday, Labor Day, but I have no hard evidence at hand and could well be wrong. He's also right that we boys gave our Dad a bum rap, always easier to see in hindsight. —Jon Kennedy

Dear Jon:

I thought you did a fantastic job of writing ["A Death in the Family"]. If I may, I would like to interject some of my memories which in some cases are a little different than yours. You, for example, stated that recognition of the bodies was difficult because of the mangling. As I recall, it was more due to being burned. I always said it was ironic that Gary had survived being nearly killed by fire at the age of 4 and then to have his body burned beyond recognition at 19. I'm quite sure he did not die of burning, however, because they all must surely have died on impact.

Also you stated that you boys and Dad were never close but as I remember it, Dad and Gary were good buddies. They did a lot of work together on the farm and Dad took him hunting, etc., and Gary seemed to think very highly of him when he lived with us.

I don't think the funeral was actually on Labor Day, either, because Sally and I had to get there and I think it was held off just a short time hoping we might hear from Bob [our other brother]. Bob was on the road in his trucking job and could not be reached and if I remember correctly he just happened to stop at the farm a couple hours after the funeral.

I, too, think about that occurrence frequently and sadly. Gary was a nice boy and we enjoyed having him with us. I had just cosigned for him to buy that pretty Ford and when Dad called and told me he was "killed last night," I was not only shocked at that news but immediately wondered how that would afffect my signing. Dad immediately told me that the accident was not in Gary's new car!

Anyway, I agree that that happening changed us all somewhat. It was the first time I had ever seen Dad cry and I'll never forget feeling surprise that he could feel love for one of us to that extent. Let me say parenthetically, though, that I have come to think in later years that Dad got somewhat of a bad rap from us boys.... I've thought often about how he never hesitated to let me get my learner's permit, taught me how to hunt and always took me anytime I wanted to go. He went and signed for me to enter the Navy and seemed to understand why I wanted to go so badly, etc. Besides all that, he certainly deserves a lot of credit for faithfully going to work in one of the most dangerous and horrible environments imaginable to support his family. I could go on but maybe you get my point!

Guess I've bent your "eyes" long enough.

So long,
Brother Tom

New Nanty Glo food business open

Letter No. 120 | June 16, 1999        

Just wanted to welcome a new business to Nanty Glo. Al Farabaugh of Nanty Glo has just opened Al's Pizza at the site of the old Charlie's Shoes. I don't want this to be meant as an advertisement, but would like to welcome this new business and wish him all the success in the world. It's always nice to see that someone would locate a business in our small town. His menu includes pizza, tacos, strombolis, etc., and he has tables where you can just sit for awhile. I have two children who enjoy just walking downtown and getting a slice of pizza for something to do, and it's nice to see young people having a place to go. If you could include a little something on your Nanty Glo page about this to let others know, he hasn't done any advertising and at present doesn't even have a menu you can take home, but I want to wish him the best and hope he succeeds in his new venture.

Thanks, Sandy Getz

Webmaster's note: We're always glad to hear about new businesses in Nanty Glo and there's no problem with giving them a "free plug." Hmmm...tacos in Nanty Glo? There's another thought that never crossed my mind till now! —Jon Kennedy

More fascinating info on earlier days of Nanty Glo

Letter No. 119 | June 13, 1999        

Dear Jon,

You mentioned visiting Levinson's when you were very young. The earliest I remember of that building it was occupied by Abe Book and his brother Karl. I do not remember of ever being in the store so I do not know what kind of a store it was. It may have been a clothing store.

The next occupant was Milford (Slim) Emery. He had a grocery store called the Quality Market. From there he moved to the Miner's Building and then to the present location of the Nanty Glo News Stand, formerly Deitrich Hardware. (Not sure of the correct spelling).

Abe Book started delivering meat from somewhere along Route 422 and then he opened a meat market in the Book building across from St. Mary's School. Mert Wilkinson was the meat cutter.

The earliest occupants of that building were Will Hunter Jewelry store and S.H. Zimmerman Electric Co. I do not know if he was connected to Penn Central Light or not.

I do remember of once riding in the back ot the store truck to go to White Mill to swim. Adam Barr worked there at the time and he drove the truck. Coming home he had to back up the hills because of the flow of gas.

Continuing down Roberts street to the Donofsky Building...the Odd Fellows Lodge used the hall on the upper floor for their meetings.

Across the alley in the upstairs of the bank building was a room used by Chat Davies as his Justice of Peace office in the late '30's and early '40's.

I am not certain if T.P. Burns had his office there earlier when he served as Justice of Peace. Towards the rear of the bank were three offices. My father had the middle office and on either side were the Telephone Exchanges. Nanty Glo had both Bell Telephone and The Johnstown Phone. We had both phones in our house and you had to count the rings to know if the call was for you. To make a call, you had to turn the crank on the side of the phone and when the operator answered you gave her the number you wanted. Some of the operators were: Alice Rinehart, Elva Smith, Maggie Hyland and Grace (Shaner) Alexander.

The only occupant that I can remember of being in the next building was Dr. Porias' Office in the front room. He later moved into the little building next to the bridge and was there until moving to the corner of Roberts and Caroline.

My wife said she remembers Penn Central Electric being in that little building at one time. Richard Hakanen's mother, Isabelle, worked there,

George E. Dilling..0

Webmaster's note: My first well paying job was for Penelec, as editor of their Pennsylvania tour guide while still editor of the Journal, but I didn't know till now that it had formerly been Penn Central Electric! Nor did I know there had been Bell Telephone service in Nanty Glo, though I'm not surprised that ever-independent-minded Johnstown had its own phone company (apparently incorporated into General Telephone when it was formed?). I remember a man who used to walk along Route 422 whom my Dad called "old Bookie." In fact, I believe he was hit by a vehicle and killed; wonder if he was the Mr. Book you mention? Also, your story of having to back up hills on the way back from White Mill reminds me of a favorite unforgettable event when I was 17. Louis Scansarolli, John Golias, Mike Shutak (the younger) and I were in Punxsatawney with Dick Millward (also the younger, in 1959 anyway) when Dick's generator failed. We drove all the way back to Nanty Glo by moonlight, using flashlights out the windows and flashing the headlights momentarily when there were oncoming cars...wondering if the battery would make it, but it did.

Class of '62 alum remembers growing up here

Letter No. 118 | June 13, 1999        

I am new to e-mail and this is my first computer, an iMac which has a tendency to send mail before the letter is finished.

I grew up in Nanty Glo, and the article on Levinson's Department Store brought back so many memories. Thank you.

I graduated from Nanty Glo Vintondale HS in 1962. You may have known my brother Stanley Mckavish, who passed away about six years ago, and Simone Mckavish- Szekeresh is my sister. Some family history.

Your home page was fascinating, just fascinating. Especally the photograpy info about Eisenstadt (photographer/Life). I am a photographer, artist, have worked as a professional for about twenty years in the city [New York].

I may have some suggestions about how one may be able to get some prints or some other forms of graphics concerning those photos of Nanty Glo. That man [Eisenstadt] is one of the "greats in photography." Let me know if I can be of any help.

Kind of busy right now, but in the future could make some calls if needed. When I figure out more about "internet life" I will put my name on the [list] recieving news of Nanty Glo website.

Farewell and thanks again.
Delilah Mckavish

Webmaster's note: I remember Mckavish as a familiar local name but don't remember making any acquaintances until now (nice to meet you). I'm sure you could make some good contributions to the site and look forward to hearing more from you.

Three letters on the same day

An 'Old Gloer' remembers

Letter No. 117 | June 12, 1999        

I remember the Heisley Company Store. It was really the only place for people to shop. It carried everything and things were charged. Their office was in an open upper room and they had little recept boxes that ran on a pully back and forth from department to office. Miners, particularly, used this during strikes and this debt was taken from their pay before their check or money was paid.

They also had a garage to do car work and get gas. This was a unique system and kept the miners fully in debt. My father was non-union, and we used the store anyway. Food, clothes and drugstore. It seemed miners had to work a lot to make up for strike losses and they did hard, dirty work. Wives had to clean clothes and have bathwater ready for them. [There were] no mine showers in those days. I am sure many remember this. Just a small fact (I hope). I am sure there will be corrections.

I hope this is of some interest.
Old Nanty Gloer

More thoughts on Tom Hawksworth

Letter No. 116 | June 12, 1999        

This is not really meant as a tribute to my brother Tom, but just saying good things. Tom loved Nanty Glo and drove out to visit on his last trip from Tulsa. He really enjoyed going to see his old friends. Since Aunt Minerva (is) gone, no one in the family is around. Mother Marie is buried in Conamaugh.

Tom enjoyed Beatty Ragley, Joe Mesasos and many old friends as well as places. He worked for his dad in the power plant for years. I am glad you saw fit to remember him so highly. I am sure it was good for his daughter, Maggie Hackler, also. She is struggling but through your pages she is learning of her dad's young years. I don't feel it wrong to go back and remember, it's like a form of relaxation.

Thank you Jon,
Tom's sister Joanne

Call before you dig, you dig?

Letter No. 115 | June 12, 1999        

We encourage you to visit our site. The information provided will be very valuable to your residents and excavators/designers who work within your community.

Thank you for your time. Please email us back to let us know if you will provide a link.

Debra Schwartzmiller
Public Awareness Coordinator
Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc.

Call Before You Dig - Protect yourself and your community - 1-800-242-1776

Nostalgia for old Nanty Glo days

Letter No. 114 | June 7, 1999        

Reading this news about NantyGlo and its inhabitants and former such is a nostalga letting one escape into the past. I keep in touch thru an old schoolmate but never really gave much thought till I started writing to her. Betty C. and I were in the class of 1949.Yooo. Tom Dongilla and many others. I often wonder how all are doing. I don't get back there but my brother Tom Hawksworth took time when he came from Tulsa to stop and see old friends and areas. It was nice to see picture of him in church in Uniform in 1943. He was home on leave. He was a true native who cared. Not many left anymore and his loss takes one of the best away. I guess I have spent enough time on memories and life is to go ahead. Thanks for all the news and again memories.

Joanne [Fedorchik]


Letter No. 113 | June 7, 1999        

Dear Jon:

It was sad to hear of the passing of Tom Hawkworth. My condolences to his family. Tom will be missed by all who frequent this web site. Just read Frank Charney's report on his annual trek to the cemeteries. My brother had told me the same regarding the Shadow Box, as he purchased his flowers there also. We had always taken care of the Ceria and Simendinger grave sites prior to our move to Orlando, Florida. My brother is now the new caretaker.

To Frank Charney:

Thank you for the iinformation on Nancy Phillips. I knew her well,having worked in the same building as the company store. My sister, Arlene worked with her in the post office. Was also glad to hear about Paul Serluca. I also knew his wife, Ruth. You asked where Paul Batulis was........I don't know. The family had moved when I returned from the service. This web page has been very interesting and we owe Jon a round of applause.

Rah Rah Rah
Paul Simendinger.

Thoughts on learning from life's losses

Letter No. 112 | June 2, 1999        

Dear Jon,

The recent death of my father [Thomas Hawksworth] was the first time I'd lost someone so important, and integral to my life.

I just got through reading the story about your brother, and found it to be so heartfelt and thought provoking. My deepest sympathies for your family's loss, and I know how heart wrenching it must have been to write it. Writing my dad's obituary was one of the hardest things I've ever done. With nine brothers and sisters, and the hell raising we all did while younger, it amazes me none of us have had to suffer through the death of a sibling. To lose a child, has to be the most unimaginable pain, and I have so much respect and awe for any parent who survives this horrific loss.

Friends and acquaintances seem to have a fear of not saying the "right thing" in such circumstances, or upsetting someone, or even calling at a wrong time. There are no "right times," and it's so comforting to know someone cares, and understands, even if it's a card or note. These are things that are precious to a family suffering a loss, and they will never be forgotten, and most will be stored away in a box with many other items and remembrances.

One word I'm not sure I'll ever understand is "closure." It sounds so final, as if it's all over now. The last chapter of a book, as being read and closed. I prefer thinking of it as a new way of handling a loss, as they will always be an everyday part of our lives, whether consciously or not. Having known them, changed us forever.

Thank you for sharing your brother's life with us, and his "ripple" has even reached a heart all the way out here in Oklahoma.

Take care,
Maggie Hackler

Memorial Day in Nanty Glo

Letter No. 111 | June 2, 1999        

Hello Jon,

My wife and I made our ritual trip from Alexandria, Virginia, to the Nanty Glo area to visit the cemeteries of deceased parents and relatives for Memorial Day, and perform the task of decorating graves. We went to a floral garden called the "Shadow Box," located between Ebensburg and Carrolltown, to buy flowers. The "Shadow Box" is almost a local tourist attraction, since it has a surprising display of flowers, hanging baskets, and lawn ornaments. I would recommend visitors to tour the place.

After purchasing the live flowers, we began the arduous task of decorating graves at both Holy Name Cemetery and St. Mary's . Besides my wife's parents and a brother buried in the same plot at Holy Name in Ebensburg, we also decorate the separate grave of a brother who, as a youngster, was tragically struck and killed by lightning that followed a clothes line wire into the house. At St. Mary's Cemetery in Nanty Glo is the site of my parents and maternal grandparents. At the adjourning Russian Orthodox Cemetery are my paternal grandparents. Both grandmothers also had second spouses after they were widowed. You can readily see why Memorial Day keeps me busy!

I keep vowing that I'm going to do a genealogy search of my ancestors someday. A female cousin from Detroit did half the work 20 years ago. Without benefit of a computer or program, the cousin traced my mother's Polish ancestry (Komerosky) back to the early 1800's to a small town 75 miles east of Warsaw. Meanwhile, I know nothing about the Charney ancestry, except that my paternal grandparents came from Austro-Hungary. A Jewish doctor with my surname once inquired about my background. Maybe I might learn something I didn't know!

Interestingly, I saw an article in the Ebensburg News Leader titled "Use caution in cemeteries" during my visit. At first I thought it was about lone females, but the article describes a six-year-old boy who was injured in the Lloyd Cemetery at Ebensburg when a tombstone fell on him. An adult relative tripped and tried to grab the stone for balance. Meanwhile the 400-pound stone toppled onto the boy standing nearby and broke his leg. This was certainly a freakish accident, but indicates the caution one must always exercise, especially with small children.

To Paul Simendinger...I also noted the recent passing of Mrs. Nancy (Paul) Phillips, a longtime Revloc resident, at 88 years of age. Nancy worked at the Revloc Company Store for 11 years and also 38 years as a postmistress for the US Post Office. At the time of her demise, she was at a rest home in Missouri.

I noted the recent forum letter from Mr. George Dilling with his excellent description of old Nanty Glo landmarks. As a youngster, I remember George as a mailman delivering mail to my parents' house, and also a Brethren minister. Now George can add knowlegeable computer user to his resume.

Best Wishes,
Frank Charney

A tribute to Tom Hawksworth

Letter No. 110 | May 30, 1999        

I have just started reading information on Nanty Glo site. My brother, Tom Hawksworth, was a fan of this page. His death is a great loss. He was a good guy and brother. Read Tom Dongilla's note and remember him well. It's almost like coming back.

Sure Bill Martin does a good job on the Nanty Glo Journal. He is one good person, too. Comes from two of the finest. Keep up the good work.

Click here for Thomas Hawksworth's obituary | Additional tributes

A treasure-trove of Nanty Glo memories

Letter No. 109 | May 19, 1999        

Webmaster's note: The following letter, received in three parts from George Dilling, who lived in Nanty Glo for 73 years, is the biggest "haul" of memories and facts about the town we've yet received. It's truly a treasure. Because of its length and our desire to make it available without delay, we posted it before editing, and apologize for any errors of spelling, typing, and fact that might have appeared. It is now (as of May 29) revised and edited, but that's no guarantee, of course, that there are not still some oversights. Enjoy; and I hope it spurs many others to send their remembrances and questions. —Jon Kennedy

Early Nanty Glo theaters

Dear Jon,

I have enjoyed the Nanty Glo Home Page very much. I arrived in Nanty Glo in 1917 at the age of 18 months. I lived there for 73 years. We first lived in the second tile house on Christoff Street. My father was the contractor for building them. We later moved to Second Street across from the Bapist Church until the large house next to the Nanty Glo Lumber Co.(Later Ragley Lumber Co.) was built. The Star Theater was on the next street (First Street). The pictures were on the silent screen and throughout the movie they had someone playing the player piano.

The Nickelodian was located on the corner of Lloyd and Roberts Street facing Lloyd Street. It took up one half of the building and the other half was a Ben Franklin five and ten cent store. There were apartments on the upper floor.

Just above this building was a small one where Nathan Asbel had his tailor shop, and after he moved to McCoy Street Joe Rabel's barber shop moved in.

My father was the contractor for the Capitol Theater when I was 11 years old and I worked there doing odd jobs--waterboy, mixing cement for "Houseman Prussia," soaking lime for the plasterers for the ceiling moldings.

I don't remember what happened to the Grand Theater but around 1931 or 1932 the sides of the theater were raised. I remember standing on a platform about six feet square and halfway to the top of the wall. The person on the ground would throw the bricks up to me and I would heave them up to the person at the top. It was frightening when, once in a while, a brick would fall down, but I never got hit. A winch was brought in to raise the steel girder to the top of the wall. They didn't have the cranes to bring in in those days.

I was acquainted with the Victory, Grand, and Liberty theaters.

Early Nanty Glo stores

Not having any of the family [working in the mines] I was not associated with the company stores. I remember the Springfield Store being above the Ford garage and the groceries were delivered by a team of mules and a wagon. The Heisley company store was located in the Luther building on Shoemaker Street. We called the hall above it where the high school played it basketball games "Luther's Hall."

Next to this building was a wooden structure in which Mrs. Hopkins had a restaurant. Directly across the street was Cherkola's restaurant. I remember when the Heisley store was moved just above the Grand Theater. I believe it was the building that Mrs. Hopkins had been in. I remember seeing it being moved. There were several railroad ties used and rollers in moving the building. I remember seeing it when it was in the middle of the street. I was seeing from the back side and I don't know what might have been pulling it. From there it went to the building on Lloyd Street that is now the Legion building.

I don't know whether the building on Shoemaker Street was torn down or what happened to it. The Sons of Italy had a building there before Sheetz moved in.

Revival crusades

A couple of weeks ago I came across your letter asking about the Joneses coming to Nanty Glo. I had forgotten about it until last week riding in the car I happened to have a tape that I started to play and it was a recording of some of Bert's songs.

Bert was an accomplished organist and evangelist. For several years he had a combination musical and scriptural program over the Apollo Radio Station and later we heard him over the Dubois station. After moving to Plum Borough in 1990 we could no longer get that station.

The Nanty Glo Ministerium held four townwide evangelistic services over the years. We invited Bert to be our Evangelist for the second one. The services were held in the VFW. There was some opposition to holding them there. Bert's sisters Carol and Ruth helped him with the special music. They were here for a week. They stayed with Pete Lanik who lived across the street from us.

Two of the meetings were held in the fire hall and one was held upstairs in the Miner's Building

The "American" Store, and others

In one of the letters someone asked where the American Stores had been located on Roberts Street. The store was originally Kupp's Grocery Store. The American Stores took over in the late 20s. On the corner was Edelstein's Department Store. I remember going in the back of the store truck with Ben Edelstein and someone else to peddle circulars to the houses in Wehrum. It was easy because the houses were all in rows.

On the other corner in the present Library building was Herman Donofsky's clothing store. The American Store was located between these two stores, and later Shadden's.

After Donofsky's left, the A&P moved in there and after some time they moved to the lamantia building. Jack Lumley was the manager.

I worked [at the American Store] one fall into the following summer in the butcher shop for 50 cents a week. A helper came in on Saturdays for $5 a day. One Saturday, when the helper did not show up, the boss from Johnstown brought a beef quarter to the store and he asked the butcher if I could handle the work and when he said yes, I was raised 50 cents to $2.00 a week.

My hours were 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. then off to school and after school until 6:30 p.m. On Saturday it was 6:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. [12 hours total for weekdays, 17 hours on Saturdays]. When school was out I was required to work from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and the same hours on Saturday as before, with no increase in pay. One day some friends were going swimming and when I asked for an afternoon off the butcher said no, and he made me scrub down the large cooler. My dad said that if I quit he would pay me that much in a day, so I went to work for him. I did enjoy the work in the butcher shop.

Fred Edwards' Store

I noticed a question about the Edwards Store. In the building at the end of Roberts Street on the left side of the street at the corner of Roberts and Shoemaker, T.P. Burns had his market. T.P. owned a lot of land and along upper Rodgers And Roberts Streets was the Burns Addition. My home was on part of that addition.

The first recollection I have of the Edwards was when Fred Edwards opened his butcher shop where T.P.'s market had been. Later, it was located at the corner of Chestnut and Second street on the left side of the school hill. The final location was in part of his home on second street. Fred had a slaughterhouse and butchered his own beef. I was in there one time when he had just begun butchering.

George Dilling

Looking for Nanty Glo connections

Letter No. 108 | May 16, 1999        

I was hoping someone could find me information on family members who lived in Nanty Glo around 1908 or 1910.

My grandparents came from Finland and must have stayed/lived in Nanty Glo for a while. Their names were: Matti, Liisa Luoma with two daughters, Alma and Martha, who was born in Pa.

They had many friends that visited them on weekends after they moved to Ohio. My mother does not know from where. I have been trying to make connections with family, etc... for her. She will be 83 yrs.

It would be greatly appreciated if anyone could help. If you need more information I may have it.

Barbara Pasanen Wiser

Tom Hawksworth passing reported

Letter No. 107 | May 11, 1999        

Tom Hawksworth, a Nanty Glo native and occasional correspondent to this department, died of cancer on Saturday, May 8. His sister, Carmen Archer, writes:

I have some very sad news for all: my brother, Tom Hawksworth, passed away on May 8th in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He really enjoyed the Nanty Glo home page and informed me about it, so I have been watching it for quite some time.

I will try to be more active in the future and I would like to know if there are any Members of the Class of 42 still around town...?


Mr. Hawksworth is the first active member of our online community to pass away, and will be missed. Check these references for...Tom's first letter to the Forum and a photo of him as a young man,...his last letter to the Forum...his daughter's letter about his illness.

Memories of Joe Frata

Letter No. 106 | May 11, 1999        

I remember Joe Frata [letter no. 101] very well as he used to live beneath me on First Street behind my Grandfather's and Uncle's plumbing shop. I can remember Joe sitting on his chair under the apple trees smoking his "stogies" from early morning until late at night, and he always had a good glass of homemade wine handy.

first time on web page but will return
Ed Buige Jr.

Two strong regional leaders died on same day

Letter No. 105 | May 4, 1999        


I thought it would be worthwhile to introduce viewers to two men who played major roles in our native area. It was certainly a coincidence that their passing occurred on the same date, April 21, 1999. These two prominent figures were active in the political, business, and industrial development of Cambria County and Johnstown.

The first of these two men was Mr. Joseph P. Roberts, Sr., who died at the Altoona Hospital at the age of 85. He was a native of Cresson who became Cambria County Commisioner in 1960 and served in that role until 1992. Prior to that, Mr. Roberts served as chief county detective, 1948 (as a youngster I remember my father, Michael Charney, being a Cambria County detective in the early '40s); chief deputy sheriff, 1952, and county treasurer, 1956. Mr. Roberts was instrumental in implementing many county services to introduce new industry, assist patients with mental health problems, provide elderly care, and promote senior citizens' programs. He was also a member of numerous community and religious organizations.

The second gentleman was Mr. Frank J. Pasquerilla, a Johnstown native, whose fabled life reads like that of Horatio Alger. Mr. Pasquerilla, Chairman and CEO of Crown America, passed away at the age of 72 at the Johnstown Memorial Medical Center. He began working for the Pennsylvania Department of Highways at Holidaysburg, 1946-50. He joined Crown Construction in 1951, the same year the company was founded. In 1953, he became President, and purchased the Company in 1961. In 1963, Crown built its first enclosed shopping mall in Altoona. At the same time, the Company got into the hotel business by purchasing a hotel in Indiana, Pa. Looking for further diversification, Crown American in 1979 purchased the Hess Department Store chain of Allentown. In 1989 Crown American built a landmark headquarters in Johnstown, whose architecture duplicated a Roman Temple.

At last count, Crown American's holdings include 31 shopping malls (Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia). Besides, Crown owns 26 hotel properties and 73 department stores called May Department Stores or Bon -Tons (the successors to Hess Stores).

The philantrophic contributions of the Pasquerilla family should also be noticed: Three buildings at Notre Dame University bear the family name; a facility at the Georgetown University Medical Center; a Performing Arts Center at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown; the Pasquerilla Library at St. Francis College, Loretta, and a spiritual center at Penn State University. The family was also involved with plans to build a new Cambria County War Memorial Conference and Convention Center.

One recipient of Mr. Pasquerilla's generosity stated, "He's very interested in giving to Roman Catholic causes, but is also interested in giving of the interfaith nature [such projects as the Penn State chapel]." Both Mr. Pasquerilla and Mr. Roberts were awarded honorary degrees from colleges, were trustees, and headed committees for businesses and organizations.

From humble beginnings, both men certainly are to be lauded for their vision, strong religious convictions, and outstanding lifetime accomplishments. What's remarkable is that they didn't relocate elsewhere to achieve success.

Frank Charney

A big howdy from the real Nantyglo (Wales)

Letter No. 104 | April 28, 1999        

Howdy folks,

Sorry I haven't written for a while but I've been very busy lately. Anyway some members of our local council here in Nantyglo have got to hear about your Nanty Glo, Pa., site, and they have asked me to contact you with more info about Nantyglo. They sent me some Nantyglo Heritage Trail flyers. If anyone would like "hard" copies of these leaflets please email your address to me and I'll put some in the mail for you.

I have attatched a map of the heritage trail for display on your site and over the coming weeks I'll send more information about the main attractions on the trail. [Click here for the map and photo of a historic round tower.] Please feel free to email me with any information you would like about the real Nantyglo. Also, there are plans here to publish a Nantyglo Wales homepage like yours. I'll keep you informed of any news as I hear it.

Finally, I think the twinning idea (yours and ours) is a great one and I would be glad to be part of that. One last thing, the Ebbw Fach Development Trust website is long overdue for a major overhaul, and I think yours truly has been roped in to redesigning the site. I'll keep you up to date with any new developments.

That's all for now.

Rob James
Nantyglo, Wales, UK

Webmaster's note: These documents have been posted to our Nantyglo page.

Some questions answered

Letter No. 103 | April 28, 1999        


The following responds to several of your questions:

Strip mines in the late '40s extended from Cardiff to the Twin Rocks Cemetery on the hillside above the Nanty Glo -Twin Rocks Road. Another strip mine tract extended beyond the western hills along the Jackson Township Road beginning at an entrance close to Twin Rocks - Vintondale bridge and stretching through the hills to the Lorain Road intersection. Several of my friends and I swam frequently in pools formed by the strip mines. It's best our parents never knew.

High school initiation was the tradition of upperclassmen removing a freshman's trousers on a busy downtown night, and have him go searching or begging to retrieve them. It was pure harassment and humiliation, but shows the frequent shallow thinking of those times. I don't think the girls would have gone for similar treatment.

"The old Cottage" was a popular spot where everyone you knew gathered. Pete DeBalli, the founder and owner, discovered the popularity of pizza long before Domino's or Pizza Hut. Peter died in his mid-fifties from cancer. There was a Teen Canteen beneath the firehall with several ping-pong tables and also a juke box with a dance area. It kept youths from loitering on the streets.

Regarding another older question, Joe Kovach ran a taxi service in Nanty Glo for years. When he passed away, a relative, William Kovach from Twin Rocks, took over. The taxi operation ceased after his passing. I was acquainted with his son, William (Bill) Kovach Jr., who resided in Ebensburg, and it was surprising to hear that Bill Jr. died about two years ago in his mid-sixties.

Well, Jon, I exhausted all the knowledge I have for now.

Best Wishes,
Frank Charney

Webmaster's note: Ah, yes, now that you mention it...I remember it all well. Boy those strip mines didn't ruin the landscape forever nearly as much as we all expected, did they (but they were all refilled, I presume)? And Nanty Glo's idea of initiation makes me glad I went to Blacklick Township High School! Ours was for both genders and also humiliating (but not that humiliating), but on the whole benign and fun, ending with a night of organized antics and the first dance of the school year. I can't remember anyone really wanting to do away with it. Pete DeBalli, Jr., was a schoolmate of mine in Belsano for a while; before the Cottage, Pete, Sr., had Charley's Grove on the Cambria and Indiana County line on Route 422. His nephew, Dennis Misener, was in my class until fifth grade, when his family became the first I knew of to move to California (I managed to contact Dennis by phone in Sunnyvale, Calif., once after moving to neighboring Palo Alto in the early '70s).

A mailing address for Tom Hawksworth

Letter No. 102 | April 27, 1999        

Webmaster's note: I asked Maggie Hackler, daughter of occasional Forum correspondent Tom Hawksworth, if she'd care to supply a mailing address where well-wishers can send cards and notes. This is her reply.

Thanks so much for thinking of us, and it would be a great idea to have his address where someone can send him cards and well wishes.

I wanted to let you know a little about my Dad. He's a very intelligent, sharp-witted, social man, who retired from American Airlines after 35 years. He raised 10 kids and all but three of us were born in Johnstown, Pa. Although my parents are no longer married to each other, my mom and her parents are from Nanty Glo, too.

I copy any new letters to the forum and take them to the hospital for Daddy to read. Frank Charney's letter, and your mention on the end, really touched him and we thank you both so much! [He has] melanoma and [it] has spread into his lungs, liver and of course his brain. He will be starting radiation this week and hopefully can go home and get back to his computer in two weeks, so keep looking for his letters!

Daddy's mailing address is:

Tom Hawksworth
1946 N. Elwood
Tulsa, OK 74106

Thank you again....

Maggie Hackler

Ah, nostalgia (of the mid-'40s to mid-'50s)

Letter No. 101 | April 24, 1999        

OK you old timers from the mid-'40s-mid-'50s


The dreaded initiation when a young man passed from 8th grade to the 9th

The Teen Canteen beneath the firehall

The company garage across from the company store

The dances at the Polish Hall

The carnivals

The medicine shows

Sledriding down Roberts Street at night


Swimming at the strip mines

The old Cottage

Baseball at Finntown and "two in the bucket"

And Joe Frata

Hey Sonny, I know you do

Tom Dongilla

Webmaster's note: About the only one on the list I can give a 100 percent "yes" to is "Mitchell's." Well, I remember some of the carnivals (does "Robin" ring any bells?) and a medicine show or two. And some revivals (does anyone remember a team called "The Joneses"—they wrote the familiar gospel song, "My Anchor Holds," and performed it in Nanty Glo). What strip mines? I remember some in northern Cambria County, none in Blacklick Valley. I vaguely remember "the old Cottage" but remember Merlo's pizza better. Blacklick Township High School had freshman initiations into the '60's, but they always included the girls as well as boys, so far as I know. And considering I was the Journal's teen columnist from 1957 on, it's surprising that I don't remember the teen canteen under the Firehall (did I ever know the Firehall has a basement?).

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