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Letter 100: Coal mines and railroads

Letter No. 100 | April 22, 1999        

Hello Jon,

I am trying to be the one to write the hundredth letter on your Nanty Glo web site, so here goes.

The Nanty Glo Journal is featuring a weekly column on the editorial page, and the April 14, 1999, issue has a column titled, "Railroads and Coal Mines of Early Days...Cambria County." In a contemporary diary discussing the year 1915, mention is made of a manager "having jurisdiction over three company stores; Colver, Revloc, and Nanty Glo." (Colver and Revloc once appeared in "Believe It or Not" as two towns with their spelling reversed. Such words are called palindromes).

Interestingly enough, the 1915 diary discusses the Colver coal company manager "giving several labor organizers good punches on their faces to show he meant business." The article continues, "It was found necessary to get out an injunction to keep the agitators away from the operations at Nanty Glo." This bitter rivalry between mining company management and organized labor apparently lasted back then and for several decades that followed. It would be interesting to learn more about labor and management rivalries during the Depression years from some of the old-timers, if [any who remember] are still around.

On a discussion of railroads during World War II, German saboteurs had targeted for destruction the Horseshoe Curve near Altoona and the Gallitzin Tunnel of the Pennsylvania Railroad, because of their strategic value. In June 1942 four spies came ashore on Long Island from a U-Boat. Four others also landed from another submarine near Jacksonville, Florida. All were quickly captured, and in early August 1942 six of them were executed and two were given long prison terms in exchange for testimony. When the strategic value of the Pennsylvania Railroad sites was uncovered, the areas were fenced off and placed under 24-hour armed guard.

To Paul Simendinger...I recently met an old Nanty Glo acquaintance of yours, Paul Serluco, who also remembered collecting theater tickets at the Capital and the Liberty theaters (or was it the Grand?). After serving 34 years as principal of Lower Burrell Township schools (near Kittanning), Paul is enjoying retirement. His wife, the former Ruth Ray from Nanty Glo, accompanied him. Paul was a nephew to my recently deceased aunt, Mrs. Helen Anodide. Incidentally, what ever happened to another ticket taker, Paul Batulis?

Also I wish Mr. Tom Hawksworth a speedy and successful recovery from his recent "lite stroke." He has been an invaluable contributor to the Nanty Glo web site.

Best Wishes,
Frank Charney

Webmaster's note: Tom's daughter writes that he is still being treated in a Tulsa, Okla., hospital, where he is enlightening nurses with tales of Nanty Glo and reports of this Home Page.

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