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Nanty Glo landmarks

Letter No. 175 | May 7, 2000

In an earlier article I wrote about the buildings on the North side of Roberts Street. Today, I would like to start up one side of the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Lloyd Street and down the other to the South side of Roberts Street and include some of the buildings on Chestnut Street.

First, I remember ice (snow) skating on the sidewalk of Lloyd Street. The older boys would be on the corner of Roberts and Lloyd and as the cars came around the corner from Roberts to go up Lloyd Street, they would skate out to the cars and grab on the back bumpers and let the cars pull them up the hill and then skate back down and wait for another car. The cars were slower in those days and the bumpers large and easy to hold on to. One boy I especially remember was Joe Strapple.

Going up the right side of Lloyd Street above the Ben Franklin Store and the Nickelodian Theater was a small building where Nathan Asbel had his tailor shop, later occupied by Joe Rabel's barber shop. Next was the home of James Cornelius. James was the Station Master at the Railroad Station and I often saw him roll out the large carts to take baggage, mail, and freight off the trains.

Above his home was an open lot where a tent meeting was held that was the beginning of the Nazarene Church. The Ebandjieff Clinic was later built on that lot. Dr. McNaulty (Atty. John Taylor's father-in-law, though he died on a trip to Nebraska a long while before John married his daughter, Rhea), a very nice friendly man, had his office and residence in the same building.

After Dr. McNaulty's death, Dr. Ebandjieff bought the bulding and had his office there and later had the clinic built that carried his name for years.

The next building was the James Dunwiddie home, which also had a storeroom attached and, if I remember correctly, the Nanty Glo Journal moved to that storeroom after the old Miner's building below the Methodist Church burned down. (We lived next to Dunwiddie's.)

The first house on the top of the hill was the Herman Donofsky home. After he retired, a Mr. Moore, the first manager of the Ell and Gee five and dime store, lived there and had a photo studio in the home. Later, this became the home of Tom Bello (for many years the manager of the Capitol Theater). The next business was Dr. Miller's dental office, also attached to his home. The Nanty Glo Library was located here for a while.

Ben Fresh's home and Meat Market was in the next building. Web Misner had his first TV service shop in the room once occupied by the meat market. Webster Mine company store, the large stone building later occupied by Heisley Company Store and later the American Legion, ended that block.

On the other side of the street was the home of Postmaster Mr. Cornely, then the Mom and Pop store of Peter Miller. This was a busy place. Later occupied by Webster Company Store, Mitchell's Restaurant, the Nanty Glo Library...and I can't remember what after that.

Next was what was later the Heisley Garage, which was an auto service station run by Tug Myers who lived next door to it. His son, Elwood, and I were very good friends, but they soon moved away. Later, the garage was home of Nanty Glo Motors, the Kaiser-Frazer franchise owned by Joe (“Sparky”) Millward and for some years after the car dealship closed as run by Millward as a car repair shop and Amoco gas station.

Below Tug Myers' house was a large wooden bulding with an apartment on the second floor. On the first floor was a bakery run by a very friendly man. The only name I ever heard him called was Jew Baker. He was a jolly fellow and I was in the bakery often. He had a large brick oven and I would watch him move some loaves around and bring others out with a large wooden spatula that had what must have been a six-foot handle. (The other bakery in town was Lekawa's, which did a very good business.)

Costlow's Garage, a Chevrolet dealership, a very thriving business until a little while after World War II, was located on the corner of Lloyd and Foster Streets. Although they no longer sell cars, the Kovach brothers have a car repair shop in the bulding and Nonie Kovach has Nonie's ceramics.

Across Foster Street was Dr. Dunnick's, a longtime company doctor for Heisley Coal Company. Skipping down to Roberts Street, on the corner was Gib Wissinger's market and apartment, occupied when I was a boy by the Esteps.

Next to it was a smaller building. On one side was the office of Dr. Collins and on the other side Joe Rabel's barber shop. Beside the barber shop was the Post Office. I only remember being in it one time, and that was enough. My father had a post office box. One day while skating (we may have gone in to get warm), another boy and I went into the office. I didn't know the combination of our box but I did know the number, so I was jiggling the box lever and the other boy was jiggling a number of boxes when a man came out of the office, grabbed us and pounded our heads together a resounding blow. I believe it was Dave Evans. You can be sure I never went back again.

After the Post Office moved to the LaMantia Building on Chestnut Street, the Journal office moved in where it had been. After fire destroyed the LaMantia Building, the Post Office relocated to the basement of the Fire Hall and it was there when I came home from the army.

Gib Wissinger built a new building where Dr. Collins and Joe Rabel had been, and leased it to the Post Office. After some years at this location, a new Post Office was built at the site where the Capitol Theatre had been and the Journal office moved into the Wissinger Building after the Post Office moved out.

Next to the Journal office was J.B. Hunter's Jewelry Store. J.B. was the brother of Will, who had the jewelry store in what was later the Book Building. I don't know whether both families lived in the two apartments around the back and upstairs or not. I know J.B. did. Later, when this was the Nanty Glo Journal's building, the Stiffler and Divido families occupied these apartments.

Next was the building, next to the alley, that housed a bank that closed shortly after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Other occupants of this building was a Patent Medicines and Soda Fountain owned by Dr. Dunnick, Hagan's Restaurant, Kozlovacs' K&B Restaurant, and Marlene's Pizza. There was a Waltz's drugstore either in this building or in where J. B. Hunter had been. I am inclined to believe it was in the latter. [I have no recollection of that drugstore, but when I was editor of the the Journal working in that building, I recall that there was definitely what looked like a drugstore counter and service window between the front and back sections of the business area.—Webmaster]

In the alley back of this building was a building that housed a garage and Rube Peter's ice house. In the days before we had electric refrigators, many homes had iceboxes and Rube delivered ice all over town. The ice came in 200-pound blocks and he would cut it into 25 or 50 pound blocks and, with a pair of tongs, deliver it to the houses. Many the time we kids would go to the back of the truck and get a large chip of ice which he allowed us to have.

Continuing down Roberts Street, across the alley was A. A. Dietrich Hardware, a landmark for years and years (and later the site of Nanty Glo News). Besides A.A., Clyde Hawksworth and his son, Leroy, worked in the hardware.

Then there was another short alley. I believe it was here, from this alley to the corner of Shoemaker, where the old Heisley Company Store was located before being moved above the Grand Theater to make way for the Commons Building. In the first part was Russell Commons' 5&10 cents or novelty store, combined with a grocery store. An entrance was opened in the lower floor of the Luther Building.

The upper floor of the Luther Building housed the first High School basketball hall that I knew of. There was a basketball hall in the LaMantia Building, but I don't know of the high school ever playing there. Previte's Grocery took over this part of the store until they opened the Gold Crown Market on Shoemaker Street.

Then, Common's Hardware, which was in the other part of the building, took over the whole building. Across the street on the corner of Shoemaker and Roberts was the Lamont Hotel, later called St. James Hotel and Mary Swigle's.

When he had to move, John Casale moved into the small room on the upper side of the hotel. The building above it was the Cherkola Restaurant. Later, it was the Labash Hotel, then Campbell's.

Across the street from the Grand Theater was Elmer Shafer's novelty store. Many of my Christmas presents came from there. After the Miner's Hall burned down, the Church of the Brethern held its services in Shafer's Hall upstairs until a new church could be built. The Odd Fellow's Lodge also met in this hall. When my wife and I were married, a shower was held for us in this hall. Thus sweet memories.

Back down to the bridge, across from the hotel, was Abe and Karl Book's store [was this later Levinson's?—Webmaster]. Across the bridge was a building where you went down two or three steps into Casale's barber shop. It was on a wall right alongside the creek. In the same building was the Silver Front Market, and later Mary McGlynn had her dress shop there. I believe the building had to go when they put in the new bridge. The railroad tracks from Webster mines came across the creek here and went on to join the main tracks above the Fire Hall. Rinehart's Drugstore was next. Down the steps along the side of the building was Clay Berkey"s barber shop, followed by Bill MIller's General Tire shop and later Taskey's Sanding.

On the upper side was the Roosevelt Restaurant, run by a Mr. Barr. The restaurant had originally been in the VFW, along with what I believe was the Roosevelt Hotel before the bulding was acquired by the VFW. It was where Barosky's barber shop and the Little Wheel is now.

On First Street was Buige Plumbing, the Star Theater, Domenick Gellotte's Justice of the Peace office, Grant Davis Lumber Yard and Music Store. In the LaMantia building along First Street was Prave's Barber Shop, Nanty Glo Building and Loan Office, Prave's Insurance, John's Shoe Shop, and Nanty Glo Water Authority. Rinehart's Drugstore moved to the corner store.

Joe Kovach had his taxi stand in front of the store, and when he was not on the road you would always see him with a rag in his hand shining his car or inside helping in the store. When he was not around, his brother Frank was there to take over. Joe was always smiling. The brothers were from Twin Rocks.

Over the years, the LaMantia Building housed LaMantia Fruit Stand, the A&P Store, Springfield Company Store, Murtha Furniture, Victory Theater, Taskey's Pool Room, the Post Office, Bob Simmers Ford cars , a basketball hall upstairs, Gallitzin Savings and Loan, and probably others that I can't remember.

On Second Street was the Baptist Church, LaMantia Garage (the Dodge dealership), Rennie's Car Repair Shop, Nanty Glo Lumber Company (later Ragley's), Sybert's Feed Mill, and my wife said I just had to mention Charlie Luigi's Butcher Shop, where she often bought meat for the family when she was growing up. She was just here as I was writing and said the best and freshest meat in town could be found there.

On the corner of Chestnut and Second was Garfield Wilkens' News Stand. Cattercorner from his stand, up the hill next the alley on the same side as the high school, was a white building that looked like a garage when I was going to high school. But I remember as a very young boy, before we moved across town, when I was nine years old, of going up the hill where the jail was in the basement of that building. It was rather dark in there. There were bars over the window, but no glass. Often, Billy Kopp was in there on a charge of drunkeness. I believe Billy must have been in his late teens or early twenties. We would talk to him through the window. He always seemed to be in good humor.

On Chestnut Street I failed to mention the Ford garage. The building must have been owned by the Hines family as their name was on the side of the building. The earliest name I remember was the Lauer Motors, run by the Lauer family. The next I recall was Duppstadt, then Castelli's, followed by Bob Simmers' Ford. I have seen the name of the new owner in the Journal since we moved to Plum Borough, but I don't remember the name [Freedom Ford? —Webmaster].

I believe I mentioned in an earlier article that above the garage was the Springfield Company Store with a covered roof over a driveway, and I remember the wagon drawn by mules coming out to the street on its way to make home deleveries. My wife lived in Springfield and she said one of the drivers would often give the kids rides, especially from the upper row of houses to the lower row.

George Dilling

Postscript: I will do a little more rambling.... Just a few items: Nanty Glo Bottling Company, making pop, was located in the basement of the LaMantia garage back of the VFW. The only person that I know who was associated with it was Steve Emerson, who drove the truck. Betty Emerson Leonard, Loy's wife, might be able to give you more information on this.

Two blacksmiths that I know of. Louis Stager on Lloyd Street...he also worked at Heisley. Herman Lepisto, on corner of Roberts and Race Streets at his shop in back of his home and it was his only occupation.

Small family stores I remember: On Roberts Street: Bookies meat market, Ciotti's, George's, Yoses, Rodkey's, Palmonari's, and Cavanaugh's. Caroline Street: Jackawitch (check for correct spelling). After a fire there, it was changed to a double-house dwelling. On Davis Street was Pappy Haris's, later occupied by Mary Rabel and Vermillion's, then Steve Kopchick, followed by Mary Rabel.

On Lloyd Street was Pete Miller, and I believe that was later run by his daughter Bessie Sargent; Ben Fresh's meat market, Dabb's, Antishin's, Mosso, and Nestor's.

McCoy and Second Streets: Monfordini, Sybert's, Eppolito's (Dino), Edwards', and Szymusiak's. On Third: Androscovich's.

Cardiff Road: Lamonica's, Martinazzi's, Bendenelli's, Zienko's, and on Bloom Street, Zito's That's all I can think of just now. Will write on a couple other things later. Remember the Yellow Brick road? I remember the Red Brick Road.

George Dilling

Webmaster's note: Thanks for a masterful job, George. What a contribution to us all. And don't forget that the Capitol Theater occupied the whole block now taken up by the Post Office (alluded to, but not in the context of the Chestnut Street "tour"), which was the landmark of Nanty Glo in my youth.

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