are they now? Nanty
Glo native, Lori (Swartz) Oldham
Born August 8, 1964, Lori is one of 11 children
born to Raymond "Ray" (deceased 1987), and Wilda (Delehunt) Swartz. Lori's brothers
and sisters include; Madeline Martinazzi, Nancy Thomas, Janice Deetscreek, Linda
Lonesky, Lisa Simasek, Brian, Larry, and Raymond, who all live in
the local area. Her sister Brenda Mackanick lives in the Pittsburgh area
and her sister Susan Calander makes her home in Chicora, Pa.
A 1982 graduate of Blacklick Valley High School,
where she was a cheerleader, class secretary, homecoming queen, and member of
the National Honor Society, Lori is a 1986 graduate of the University of
Pittsburgh with an undergrasuate degree in business administration. Like many
youngsters from homes of modest means with a desire for a college education,
Lori obtained grants and student loans and held a job to pay her college
expenses."I went to college because I knew I had the potential to improve myself,"
she says. "And my parents were very encouraging and supportive of my efforts."
to her childhood sweetheart and recently elected Nanty Glo Boro
Councilman Herb Oldham since October11, 1986, she and Herb are the
parents of Christopher, 14; Lauren, 11, and Caleb, 7. "Herb was my first love," Lori
says, "We've been a couple since we were 14 years old."
days, Lori works as a substitute teacher for several local school districts along
with St. Mary's parochial in Nanty Glo and the Cambria County Christian School.
and dynamic, the Oldhams have purchased the Finklestein Building on the corner
of Roberts and Shoemaker streets. According to Lori, the old landmark building
was built in 1914 and was originally designed to be a bank, but through
the years, was used as a clothing store, a restaurant, a dentist's office
and most recently was the location of a beauty salon.To get a glimpse of Nanty
Glo in 1914, click here.
Lori hopes to eventually convert the old historically rich building into
a combination gift and antique shop where, as Lori says, "The shop will have
an old country store atmosphere but stocked with new artistic treasures....
A place where local artists can display their talent and sell their
creations. I would also like to feature gift baskets, candy, and possibly
an ice cream bar."
The Oldhams hope the
opening of Lori's shop, which is tentatively scheduled for late this summer, will
draw patrons of the Ghost Town Trail and generate a measure of interest and business
in Nanty Glo. The renovation process is progressing slowly, however, as Lori
hopes to maintain the antique and historic integrity of the building. "We've
uncovered an old tin ceiling," she says. "That's a wonderful find!" According
to Lori, the owners of the land under the building, like much of the
local landscape, can be traced through records dating to the days of William
Reflecting back on her "growing
up days" in Nanty Glo, Lori recalls that "Nanty Glo was a safe
place to live. I grew up on Lloyd street where you could see the coalmines
from our front porch. I remember sitting on the cellar steps waiting for
my father to come home from work; he would have chalk and goodies for me
in his lunch bucket, and he would have black rings of coal dust around his
eyes. He used butter to clean it off because, 'Butter works the
best,' he said." Lori says she would have liked to have grown up in Nanty
Glo when the town had its movie theaters, record hops, and the many
other things to do and enjoy. "There wasn't much to do in town when I was growing
up, so most of my activities were centered around school."
the child of a coalminer, Lori's interest in Nanty Glo and its history as a mining
town has led her to seek help in securing the $5000 needed to pay for the transport
of a railroad caboose that has been donated to the borough. According to Lori,
the caboose made regular trips through Nanty Glo during the days when trains made
their runs through town. "It's part of our history and it belongs here,"
she says. The caboose is currently in Johnstown and, according to Lori, "The owners
have given it to us...we just need to get it here."
summing up her hopes for Nanty Glo: "It would be nice to see the town come
alive again by attracting speciality businesses," she says, "I can picture it
as a cute, quaint, beautiful town based on its rich and wonderful ethnic history,
and would like to see an annual Nanty Glo Heritage Day to
celebrate and honor our ethnic history. Nanty Glo was and still
is a wonderful melting pot of different ethnic groups."
you think about Nanty Glo, we have a fantastic history...we played an important
part in this country's industrial revolution, and a lot of us don't appreciate
it," she says. "I would like to see a museum and a memorial dedicated to
the miners...we owe something to the people who worked...and died...here."
wishing to contact Lori can find her at CREATE48@aol.com.
you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now, please write Judy
for an index of all Where Are They Now profiles in this series.