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A brief history of Nanty Glo

Nanty Glo, or more properly “Nant-Y-Glo” from the Welsh language meaning vale or valley of coal, was started in the 1890s under the name of Glenglade. By 1896, the community had 13 houses and was ostensibly a lumber camp-type town located on both sides of the southern branch of the Blacklick Creek.

According to U.S. Postal Records, the Glenglade post office opened Nov. 21, 1894, with Merton A Davis as the first postmaster. A total of three Davis brothers served as postmaster: Merton A., from 1894 until 1900; Montell, 1900 until 1911, and Everett C., until 1916. It was during the term of Montell Davis that, according to oral history, the town name was changed to Nant-y-Glo, through the intervention of his wife. Glenglade became Nanty-Glo on Feb. 20, 1901.

By 1899 the huge coal deposits in the settlement had attracted additional settlers and the Pennsylvania Railroad installed a line through the community that year. Commercial mining was initiated in 1896 by Dr. James W. Dunwiddie of Pine Flats, Indiana County, who opened up what was then called Nanty Glo No. 1.

Nanty Glo Bethlehem Mine #31, known for much longer as Heisley Mine, before its main face was moved to Leidy Lane, Jackson Township, in 1955-6. The photo was taken in two parts and stitched together, the stitch showing on the scan above.

Other mines in the area and their starting dates when known included: Lincoln (1900), Springfield, owned by the Peale, Peacock and Kerr Company (1907), Emma Coal Company (1909), Heisley Mine, later sold to Bethlehem Mines Corp. (1915), and Webster, later owned by the Pennsylvania Coal & Coke Company, Ivory Hill and the Warren Colliery. Other “house coal” mines of a much smaller scale included Lorraine, Bech, Johnson, Cornely, Dorsch, Yobbagy, and Ebandjieff.

Electricity came to Nanty Glo in 1908 from a plant operated by John and Harry Conrad. Later, the company became the Jackson Light & Power Company, then Penn Central. Presently, power is furnished by the Pennsylvania Electric Company/GPU.

A photo of Lincoln (Nanty Glo) School as captured in 1971 in a slide by Warren Thompson.

Formal education came to Nanty Glo about 1898 with a school opening on what was then the Jackson or southerly side of the settlement. Later, a school was opened on the Blacklick or northerly side of the creek. Over the years, there were numerous one-room schoolhouses and in 1918 a fourth class school district was established. The first four-year high school class was graduated in 1925. In 1957 the school district merged with that of Vintondale, and later Blacklick Township became part of a triple jointure to form the present Blacklick Valley School District in 1967. History of Nanty Glo’s churches, hotels, industries, Journal, and fire company first house of worship In Nanty Glo was the Methodist Episcopal Church, now United Methodist, established in 1901. Other churches in the community, past and present, include: St. Mary’s Roman Catholic (1902), First Baptist (1913), St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic (1919), Church of God and Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses (both 1920), Christian & Missionary Alliance and Holy Ascension Ukrainian Orthodox (1921), Church of the Brethren (1922) and Church of the Nazarene (1935). In the 1920s a Finnish Lutheran Church and a Jewish house of worship were started. Both of these edifices no longer exist.

Over the years, Nanty Glo had several hotels including the Home, St. James, Commercial, and Jackson.

In addition to coal mining, Nanty Glo had at one time a chemical works, water filters, soda bottling factory, plastic factory, and a dress manufacturing firm. At the present time, all of these industries except Jo-Mar Plastics, have ceased operation.

Nanty Glo was incorporated as a borough in 1918 and was formed from taking parts of Blacklick Township on the northerly side and Jackson Township on the southerly side of the creek.

Only known photo of Victory Theater, in the LaMantia Building, before being destroyed by fire.

Two newspapers served the borough during Its lifetime. In late 1920 or early 1921, a small publication called the Nanty Glo Bulletin served the community. That paper was purchased by Herman Sedloff who published the first edition of the Nanty Glo Journal on May 5, 1921. The Journal has continually served the community since that date with its weekly issues.

Although Glenglade and early Nanty Glo had some type of fire protection service, it undoubtedly was an instantaneous bucket-brigade-type group. In 1913, the Nanty Glo Volunteer Fire Company was chartered. That same year, a hand-drawn hose cart with 500 feet of hose was purchased by the town’s governing body and the fire company has prospered to the present time, having an enrollment now of some 116 members. A ladies auxiliary to the fire company was organized in 1927 by 44 women of the community.

Bill Martin, Nanty Glo Bureau Chief, and Betty Nedrich, a former reporter and office manager (now retired), at Nanty Glo Journal office.

—Written by Bill Martin and Betty Nedrich
Submitted by Ron F. Weekes

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