A Tale of Old Mahanoy - The Circus Riot of 1891



Click on the link below to go to the Circus Riot Page


A Tale of Old Mahanoy- The Circus Riot of 1891


Three Fantastic Videos of Mahanoy City and Vicinity by fdnyfish at YouTube

The Mahanoy Valley Enters the Drone Age


Click on the link under each picture to view the video.



Drone Flight Over Mahanoy City




Drone Flight Over St. Nicholas Breaker



Drone Flight Over Water Tower Construction at Vulcan


Fifty Years Ago - The Class of 1965




Who do you recognize from Mahanoy Area High School's Class of 1965

Check out the entire class at the link below.

Please note: the link contains a pdf file and may take a few seconds to load.


The Class of '65




Three Videos for Memorial Day - 2015




2015 Memorial Day Parade



Sgt. Francis Chesko-From Barrys to the Bulge




Memorial Day Fire - 1945 - Video





Monday, April 13th will mark the 100th anniversary of my dad's birth. To help Mahanoy City residents and natives who have moved away remember Bill Coombe I've compiled a tribute which can be accessed at the link below.

I hope you'll take time to view the video. There are many pictures of Mahanoy City and surroundings taken during Bill Coombe's fifty-seven years in the area : the East End Park, Lakewood, Kaiers, St. Mary's Byzantine Church,the Elks, Marian High School and more. I've also included twenty music clips of my dad singing and playing his ukulele.



Happy Birthday, Dad




Note:The music was recorded shortly before Bill's sudden passing in 1972.
The audio portion of the Power Point presentation begins on the fourth slide.
Click on the link below.


Bill Coombe - Entertainer,Cantor,Choir Director,Teacher,Brewery Worker



Who Do You Recognize From the 1967 Easter Parade?



1967 Easter Parade



The Case of the Missing Windows


The historical society has been contacted recently by a number of persons who were interested in information about Beth Israel Synagogue at the southwest corner Catawissa and Mahanoy Streets.


Beth Israel's cornerstone was laid in 1923 and the synagogue opened in 1924. The synagogue served a vibrant Jewish community in Mahanoy City until it closed in 2003.


A few years ago someone entered the synagogue and removed the stained glass windows. The windows ended up in a newly constructed synagogue on Long Island. The story of this mystery was recently documented by Dickinson College professor Ted Merwin in the first article below.


The second link will take you to an article by Rabbi Akiva Males who visited Mahanoy City in 2012 to research the growth and decline of the Jewish community here- a pattern that he found was repeated in many small communities across the United States.




Click on the links below to access the stories



The Mystery of the Missing Stained Glass Windows by Ted Merwin


The Disappearance of a Jewish Community in a Small American Town by Akiva Males


Kaier Brewery Back in the News



A crew from WVIA Public Broadcasting visited Mahanoy City on Saturday, December 7, 2013 to film footage for" Back In The Day", a new series which features businesses of the past in the WVIA viewing area. WVIA Program Manager Larry Vojtko and a camera crew came to the Village Inn on West Centre Street to interview Louie Cameli who worked at Kaier's from 1956 until 1967 when the brewery closed after being sold to Philadelphia's Ortlieb Brewery. Louie and the WVIA crew were the guests of George Mammarella, owner of the Village Inn and also the property on North Main where the brewery operated for the better part of a century.


To view the video on WVIA click on the link below. If you haven't done so already, please take time to visit the Kaier Page also by clicking the link below.



Back In The Day- Kaier Segment On WVIA


Kaier Page



70 Years Ago in May- Case of the Phantom Firebug



Thanks to Jim Kates, the historical society has been able to digitize a March 1948 edition of Master Detective Magazine which contained the story, Case of the Phantom Firebug. The story ran in Master Detective almost three years after the infamous Memorial Day fire of 1945.


The article gives an extended account of the circumstances surrounding the Memorial Day fire and previous arson fires leading up to it.


The photos in the magazine were taken by Mahanoy City free lance photographer Bill Kates, Jim Kates' dad. Film was rare during the war years and Bill was one of the few people in Mahanoy City who had some. A short note on the opening page of the article written in Bill's handwritng states that he was paid $40.00 by Master Detective for the photos that accompanied the article. That was a few days pay back in the late 1940s!


Bill was well known in Mahanoy City. He worked at the St. Nicholas Breaker and later as a custodian at the Pennsylvania National Bank, now M& T. He was very active in the Eagle's Social Club.


Later in life Bill moved into the Mahanoy Elderly Hi - Rise where he could be close to the action in the center of town. Bill died in April, 2010 at the age of 100. Look for more of Bill's photos in future stories on this web site courtesy of his son, Jim.


You can read the article and view additional photos taken by Bill that haven't been seen before by clicking on the link that appears below.





Case of the Phantom Firebug - Master Detective Magazine March, 1948


Frank Selgrath sent me the link to the amazing video that you'll find by clicking on the link below. It's a great World War II story and a tribute to the reconnaissance pilots who flew unescorted and unarmed deep inside Nazi Germany. It may also be of interest to anyone who tries to preserve the past- a surprising story of how the digital age makes it possible to bring back long lost images for future generations. So to view John Blyth's story and how it was unearthed by digital detectives click the link below - PA 144.






Printed below is a copy of the letter which was recently sent to all active historical society members. If we missed you in the mailing or if you wish to join the historical society, you can download a membership form below. Our main source of income is membership dues and donations.Thanks to all those who have supported the historical society in the past.
Please help is to continue to preserve the heritage of the Mahanoy area.



A Letter to Our Members


Greetings from the officers of the Mahanoy Area Historical Society.


Last year our 150th anniversary year was exceptionally busy. We launched a new Images of America book Mahanoy Area Revisited and began in earnest to collect original photographs from families and organizations. We’re even getting some from “newcomers” to town who are tearing out walls and finding treasured artifacts from the turn of the century. After being scanned and researched, many of these photographs are posted on our website. Our webmaster, Paul Coombe, has the full responsibility for the website. Be sure to check out the extensive collection of photographs from North Main Street. You need not type in the web address, just Google “mahanoy history”.


About two weeks before the anniversary week, we took over and now rent a second room in the Rhoades Center where we have set up our research room. We have four computers containing our searchable Record American newspapers, scanned copies of Maroon and Black and Corinthian yearbooks (completed 2014), copies of John Ambrosia’s cemetery records, the Nugget (Shirley Ryan’s project), directories of town (some from the late 1890s) and the latest one from 1948. Frank Selgrath’s lifetime work of recording the history of our area is contained in numerous binders in our bookcases. Some of the collections of photos and information that have been digitized and are now available are from: Elwood Young, Augusta Dillman Thomas, Bill O’Brien, Maurice Pedriani, Jim Shaup, the Victor Schertzinger family, the Kaier – Lieberman family, the Miles - Shock family, the Domson family, the Williams/Holman family, John Walashunas family, Luther Holt family, H.J. Heiser family, Charles Palulis, Francis Chesko family and many more.


We have expanded our “team” with new volunteers. Ed Conrad, retired news reporter, opens the Museum and Research room every Thursday. Never too old to learn, Ed can search our newspapers and our Board of Health records and turn them in to fascinating stories. One on the 1918 flu epidemic is particularly interesting.


Up until a week ago Tom Ward held down the Friday contingent, making sales, planning programs and doing publicity. Tom is now recovering from a recent stroke. Please remember him in your prayers. We look forward to his return to active participation in the workings of the historical society.


Virginia Motsko has joined our effort to record and file thousands of of photos, artifacts and newspaper clippings that we have in our boxes. Anne Marie Evans is also a meticulous sorter and arranger who is frequently in the room on Thursday.


Looking back at our goals for the year we are close to being on target. Don Coombe loaned us a clever scanner that records images from slides and movie film into individual, digital photos - many clear enough to print or post on the web. In this way we are saving 16mm film, too deteriorated to play, but still able to be copied. We are interested in acquiring more 16mm film to be scanned.


Now that the MCHS and MTHS yearbooks have been scanned with one or two exceptions, we will now begin to digitize the Areascope yearbooks. A particularly exciting find was five years of the Mahanoy City’s Tri Weekly Record from the 1890s on microfilm held in a facility in Hazleton. The microfilm has been digitized and we have added 3,200 newspaper pages to our electronic library. We are now pursuing other sources of microfilm to be digitized. Our enclosed brochure is our attempt to spread the word on our organization and facility. Please share it with your neighbors. Also keep us in mind if you have old photographs of your family that may help us chronicle Mahanoy Area’s history. By searching through your old photos, slides and movie film you can help us in our mission to preserve images of the Mahanoy area for generations to come.




Peg Grigalonis, President                                             Marylou Henninger, Vice President
Betty Ann Chescattie,Treasurer                                   Peg Coombe, Secretary
Paul Coombe Webmaster                                             Ron Andruscavage, Videographer/ media expert



Download Membership Form







Click Here to View the Brochure



Tri Weekly Record - December 24, 1894

125 Years Ago


The Mahanoy Area Historical Society recently acquired digitized copies of the Tri Weekly Record from July 2, 1889 to June 30, 1894. That's five years of papers (over 3000 pages) that have been added to our digitial newspaper collection of over 100,000 pages. The Tri Weekly Record was one of the precursors of the Record American. Founded in 1871 by John Parker, the Tri Weekly had undergone a series of name changes over the years. See the diagram below for the evolution of Mahanoy City's newspapers. Click on the links below to read the Tri Weekly Record from 125 years ago this week and to read Bill O 'Brien and Lorraine Stanton's article about John Parker in the Mahanoy City Chronicles.






Tri Weekly Record- December 24, 1889


Honest John Parker- Mahanoy City Chronicles-1988



Sgt. Francis Chesko


From Barry's to the Bulge




December 16th marked the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, perhaps the greatest land battle in American history. On Saturday, December 13th the Mahanoy Area Historical Society honored Sgt. Francis Cheko in a program at the Mahanoy City Public Library. Sgt. Chesko fought in the Battle of the Bulge and in four other European campaigns during World War II and thus is the recipient of five Bronze Stars. Sgt. Chesko also received a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in France shortly after D-Day.

Francis is a regular visitor to the historical society, usually on Friday when Tom Ward is on duty. Tom was the force behind the program to honor Francis. Tom organized the program and lined up a dozen individuals and organiztions who presented plaques or citations to our ninety year old World War II hero.

Currently Tom is recuperating after a stroke. Hopefully he'll be back at his Friday post in the historical room before the robins start singing.


To view the slide show, Sgt. Francis Chesko, From Barry to the Bulge, that was presented at the library on December 13th, click on the link below.


Sgt. Francis Chesko - From Barry's to the Bulge





80 Years Ago- Remembering the Class of 1935 MCHS


The images below were captured from a 16mm video which was brought to the historical society by Francis "Red" Burke.The Individual frames of the 16mm reel were scanned with a slide scanner . The historical society is previewing films in this manner in preparation for possible digitization.


I've added some information from the 1935 Maroon and Black yearbook in case you want to search for names to go

with the pictures.You may see your parents or grandparents in some of the frames.The video was shot right in front of the high school at Fifth and Centre. It's amazing to see Coach John Goepfert, Miss Stella Hinch, Howard Amour, Bill Becker, Garf Lewis and others in action. Look carefully for basketball great George Senesky among the eighth grade basketball players and take a close look at the band as they march east in the four hundred block.



It's interesting to note that in the days before television, computers and cell phones the Mahanoy High School students of 1934-35 found time to put on two plays: "The Patsy", which was the Senior play and the Gilbert and Sullivan Operatta ,"Iolanthe", which was performed by the Junior and Senior classes. The Junior class also performed "A Christmas Carol" on December 21, 1934.


After looking at the pictures you can read a copy of the December, 1934 Nugget. Eighty years ago this month the staff of the Nugget would have been preparing the Nugget's Christmas edition for publication at the Record American.


Thanks to Shirley Ryan for digitizing all of the Mahanoy City High School Nuggets ( 1927-1959). They are available for purchase on a DVD from the historical society. Cost is $10.00. The historical society also has available a digitized version (CD) of any Mahanoy City High ( Maroon and Black) and Mahanoy Township High ( Corinthian ) yearbook. Cost is $10.00.






Click on the newspaper below to read the PDF Version














Memorial Day 1952


The pictures below were scanned from a 16mm video using a Wolverine Slide Scanner. The historical society has a number of reels of 8mm and 16mm videos that are being previewed and prepared for eventual digitization. Part of the previewing process sometimes involves looking at individual frames of film using the slide scanner. I was able to identify the marchers in the picture below with the help of Marilyn Miller Evans ( MTHS-'53 ) and the 1952 Maroon yearbook.






Click on the pictures below to expand and/or view the slide show.



If you recognize anyone in the pictures below please let me know by using the CONTACT page of this web site.






McCann's School of Business Summer Program 1963


In the summer of 1963 students from McCann's School of Business Summer Program gathered at the Mansion Restaurant for the group photo pictured below. I can recognize many faces in the group which is made up mainly of students from Mahanoy Area and Immaculate Heart High Schools.My brother is pictured as well as a few of my classmates who were about to begin their fresman year at IHHS. How many do you recognize?



Click on the picture to enlarge.Then click the "X" on the upper right to enlarge further.


Remembering North Main Street


At one time or another the North Main Street area had : a brewery, two railroads, a bus barn ( trolley barn),a water company office, two collieries, a dress factory,a shirt factory, a bottling business ( besides Kaiers ), five slaughter houses, a stockyard, a national meat packing chain, at least eight bars, at least five hotels, a gas works, an electric plant and numerous other businesses both wholesale and retail. I estimate that that small area of town employed almost 2000 persons at its peak. The Mahanoy Colliery and the North Mahanoy Colliery alone employed over 1600 workers around the turn of the century. Much of that was gone by the time I arrived on the scene in 1949, but my dad worked at Kaiers and I remember miners returning from the Mahanoy Colliery in the early 1950s and I remember Centaks, Mickey Pucks, Nick Botocks, Murphys, Pasiekas, Brennans, Fogartys, Dorandas, Schaars, Fogel Bros, Mahanoy Wholesale, the bus barn, the dress factory and the P&R RR.



Who Are These North Main Street People?


Click Here To Find Out








Remembering Past Lithuanian Days

by Don Coombe


Don is a retired educator and a member of the Mahanoy Township High School class of 1949.



During my growing up years, Lithuanian Day was one of the big days of the summer. You see, I was born and raised barely a football field distance from Lakewood Park. I found employment there each summer from the age of nine. From an economic standpoint, Lithuanian Day was by far the best of all the ethnic days ( Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, Slovak, Greek, Welsh --- and more I can't recall). My fondest memories involved the years I worked at the marvelous dance hall -the dance hall was a classic '20's structure and hosted all of the era's big bands.... You name one -- it played the Lakewood circuit.

August 15, 1914, the 1st Lithuanian Day was held at Lakeside Park in Barnesville. It was organized by the Lithuanian Catholic Priests League. During those early festival years most attendees had to take the train & arrived at the Lakeside station pictured below.




In 1922, Lithuanian Day moved to nearby Lakewood Park where it remained for over 60 years 'til the park closed in 1984. The festival was then held at Rocky Glen Park in Moosic 'til it closed in 1987. Now, the Schuylkill Mall is home to Lithuanian Day.

Before the end of World War II, Lithuanian Day was held on August 15th. The mines would close on that day which was also a Feast Day celebrating the Assumption of Mary. We're told early festivals were often rowdy & extended into the wee hours--in keeping with the rough & tumble tradition of the coal region. Many said it was like having St. Patty's Day during the middle of summer. After World War II, Lithuanian Day was held on the Sunday closest to August 15th.

Lithuanian Day at the Schuylkill Mall has grown into a two day celebration of culture, cuisine, song & dance. On Saturday from 11:00 to 5:00 and Sunday from 12 noon to 4:00 you can enjoy traditional Lithuanian foods: Cold Beet Soup (Saltibarsciai), Potato Pudding (Kugelis), Meatballs (Kotletai), Lithuanian Sausage, (Desros) Potato Pierogies (Koldunai su Bulviu Idaru), Stuffed Cabbage (Balandeliai) Fresh Dill Pickles (Agurkas), and Sweet Sauerkraut Salad (Saldus Rauginti Kopūstai Salotos).

There will be Lithuanian music, displays, demonstrations, and boilo taste testing. The Knights of Lithuania Anthracite Council 144 has been the prime sponsor of Lithuanian Day since 1977 and has done an excellent job keeping this rich coal region ethnic tradition alive.









Note: The Mahanoy Area Historical Society will present a slideshow which features photos from the Swirsky/Mack family in the 1920s, the Lobichusky/Alansky family in the 60s-80s and the Valinsky family 70s and 80s. There's even a photo of the "tug of war" and some scenes from the Dance Festival in Lithuanian.


For more information on this year's 100th Lithuanian Days Celebration at the Schuylkill Mall go to the Events page of this web site.


For extensive information on Lithuanian culture click on the link below.


Knights of Lithuania Council #144 Website



Seventy-seven Years Ago



Members of Mahanoy City’s Tyrian Club ( Masonic social club) enjoy an evening of “hausey” at Lakeside Grove on Tuesday, August 17, 1937. Hausey was played in many of the bars and clubs of Mahanoy City and the surrounding “patches” and a game of hausey was a common sight at picnics in any one of the many groves and parks that surrounded the town.


Pictured here from left to right are: shoe store owner Thomas Tregellas ( 1866-1966), Dwight G. McCann ( 1889-1956) president of McCann’s School of Business, druggist Phaon Snyder ( 1880-1976), barber Frank Oschman (( 1887-1963), Dr. Christian Gruhler , Shenandoah ( 1870-1950) and Dr. Fred Wagner ( 1876-1955), a well- known dentist who was burned out of his practice in the “Dipper Building” in the Memorial Day Fire of 1945.


Note: Hausey is played with a deck of twenty-four cards. The jack of trump is the high card ( e.g. Jack of Spades ) and the other jack of the same color is second high card ( e.g. Jack of Clubs ) followed in order by the A-K-Q-10-9. Hausey can be played individually or with a partner. In the picture above there are two games with four players each going on at the same table.



Forty-six Years Ago





World War II Flag Raising


Father John J. O'Shea, pastor of St. Canicus Church, sent this picture as a postcard to Private John Long , one of the many St. Canicus parishioners who served our country during WWII. It looks like the postcard traveled from Mahanoy City to Fort Knox and then to Fort Benning and Fort Bragg. Father O' Shea's message to John reads,


" Dear John, Your star is in this flag. You will always be remembered in St. Canicus Church. Best Wishes, Father O'Shea."










Remembering Summers Past




To see a large version of the photo click the ling below.


Mahanoy City Sportswear- Summer 1949


1922 State Championship Revisited

Compiled by 1956 MCHS grad Ed Conrad









Mahanoy City won the high school basketball championship of Pennsylvania here this afternoon by defeating the Harrisburg Tech five in a fast game. The team thus earned the champ ionship cup and each of the players on the winning team was presented with a gold medal.




Mahanoy City pulled the game out of the fire in the final seven minutes of play.

Harrisburg led early in the game and with seven minutes to play in the second half led 17 to 11.

It looked bad for the locals when Courtney was banished after his fourth personal.

Kappo went in for Red and later was supplanted by Deem.

Leonard succeeded in getting in a long side shot and was followed quickly by Dawson with another long shot from the field, tying the score at 17 all.

Smith dropped in three fouls and Leonard made the lead safe by dropping in another field goal.

The team scheduled to arrive home on the L. V. flyer due in town at 6:08 p.m. Sunday.



Two thousand loyal followers of the Mahanoy City High school basketball team greeted the new champs on their return from State College last evening where they won the tournament that places the Mahanoy five as the best in the State.


The conquerors of Nanticoke, Newport, Mount Uniion and finally Harrisburg Tech were accorded a great welcome at the local train station, and each player was made to feel the gratitude that the town felt to them for their wonderful work in the championship tournament. Tossed on the shoulders of their admirers, the long procession ended at an automobile, and with George Heinz, flag bearer, and a local "jazz" band producing music, a triumphal march was made about the streets of town.


Everywhere the cheers rang out for the athletes-heroes, and everywhere were the highest honors accorded the noble wearers of the Maroon and Black. With Jimmy Deem, a sub on the team, and whose long side shot tied the score in the game of games carrying the ball that brought us victory, the march went on until reaching the rooms of the B.P.O.E. where a chicken dinner, with all that goes with it, was served to Captain James Leonard, Thomas Courtney, Frank Dawson Edward Tolan, Vladimir Smith, Peter Kapo, James Deem and Edward August, all members of the squad, and to Coach Johnny Goepfert, Supt. of Schools H. A. Oday, and Russ "Bobby" Green of the Record-American force.


It was a great moment for the boys to cast all training rules aside, and they certainly did justice to the fare presented them.




The last two games that brought the championship of Pennsylvania to Mahanoy City were won only after a great up-hill fight. More than ever "The Old Fight" was needed in the game, and Mahanoy who was not even figured in the finals, had the fight that carried them through.
Trailing for ever thirty minutes in each game, they rallied, tied the score, and then passed their opponents and rushed on to victory. They were men of iron in the highest pinches.

The Mahanoy team was the smallest of the four teams that represented the sections of Pennsylvania. Striplings compared to the brawny teams of Mount Union and Tech, the locals had the support of the entire Penn State student body, and sent the students wild as they trallied and took the lead in the semi-finals and finals.

Fourteen hundred people saw the first game, while a thousand were present at the second. The latter was the best game of the series.
Mahanoy demonstrated in both games that they were not a "one-man" team. The Mount Union game was won only after a game fight, while the Tech game was won under the same conditions.

Tech seemed destined for victory in the champion- ship game but Mahanoy pulled out the victory with an outstanding effort in the final seven minutes.



Captain Leonard was a giant in both games, scoring the field goal that downed Mount Union in the semi-finals, and making four two-pointers in the title game (as many as scored by the entire Tech team). The last one ignited the rally that carried us to victory.

And then, when the praises of the boys themselves had been sung, turn to him who has been their leader and who has carried the boys thru the stormy season preliminaries until at last they have reached the pinnacle of success -- Coach Johnny Goepfert, the brains of the team, who has delivered the goods for Mahanoy athletes the past eight years.

"It's the proudest moment of my life," said Goepfert. "Those boys are world beaters. Give them all the credit in the world."
Tech had held the lead, 12-10, at halftime but the second half was Mahanoy's.

With Tech leading 17-12 and only seven minutes remaining, Deem sent the thousand spectators to their feet with a roar as he dropped in the second of two long shots that knotted the tied the score at 17.

Smith then scored a free throw that gave Mahanoy the lead, 18-17, and later added anotherr to make it 19-17. Leonard made the lead even safer as he stood at a point equal to the distance to the foul line (but in a position near the boundary of the court) and tossed in a beautiful one-handed shot for a 21-17 lead. Smith added a free throw to make it 22-17 (the final score).

Tech missed three opportunities to score during the final minutes and, as the clock was runnning out, Mahanoy held the ball and THE CHAMPIONSHIP WAS OURS.







For more about the 1922 state champions click the link below.

March Madness 1922




50 Years Ago



Beatles, Beach Boys, LBJ vs Barry Goldwater, Clay vs Liston, Summer Olympics in Tokyo - it's hard to believe that 50 years have passed . Click below to view Mahanoy Area's Class of '64.




Mahanoy Area - Class of 1964


Memorial Day Remembrances



Below you will find some remembrances of a few of the many young men from Mahanoy City and the surrounding "patches" who served our country in time of war.

Mahanoy City's VFW Post is named for George Reese and Joseph Hall who were the first from town killed in action in World War I.

Grier City's Harold Messerschmidt gave his life for his comrades in World War II and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor . Be sure to click on the link below to view a tribute to Sgt.Messerschmidt on the Armed Forces Network.

Steve Gavula endured 33 months of captivity in North Korea before returning to Mahanoy City in September of 1953. The huge parade in his honor is one of my earliest memories.

Six young men that many who view this page will remember well gave their lives in Viet Nam. May they all rest in peace.

Links to some other pages Memorial Day pages are listed below.


Purple Heart Page - WWI - WWII- Korea-Viet Nam

Jerome Szematowicz- December 7, 1941

1945 Memorial Day Fire



Civil War






World War I








1937 Memorial Day Parade






World War II









Korean War





Killed In Action - Viet Nam War





To read more about the Mahanoy Township Fire Click the Link Below


Mahanoy Township High School Fire- 1938



38 Years Ago- 1976 - Mahanoy City Celebrates America's Bicentennial






Lassie League 1963



In the summer of 1963 the Mahanoy City Lassie League players gathered in the East End Park for a group picture that would appear in the Centennial Souvenir Book later that summer. Click on the picture to view an enlargement.





The First House in Mahanoy City

The Story of a Log Cabin by Joseph H. Davies (1943)












Three years after the Victoria Theatre opened and one year after the first "talking picture" - Al Jolson's The Jazz Singer opened in New York, movies with syncronized sound came to Mahanoy City when the John Ford movie Four Sons opened at the Vic on October 1, 1928.


Four Sons wasn't a "talkie". Instead it had sound effects and music which were part of the film. This spelled the end of the days of the accompanying pianist. During the silent film era movies were accompanied by an a piano or organ player .


In Mahanoy City Michael Slowitsky and Charlie Domson were employed in this capacity. Slowitsky later became famous with the publication of his tune Once in Awhile which was a number one hit in 1937 for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.


Charlie Domson worked his way up through the ranks at the Kaier Brewing Company and eventually became president.




"The Movietone sound system is an optical sound-on-film method of recording sound for motion pictures that guarantees synchronization between sound and picture. It achieves this by recording the sound as a variable-density optical track on the same strip of film that records the pictures. Although sound films today use variable-area tracks, any modern motion picture theater (excluding those that have transitioned to digital cinema) can play a Movietone film without modification to the projector. Movietone was one of four motion picture sound systems under development in the U.S. during the 1920s, the others being DeForest Phonofilm, Warner Brothers' Vitaphone, and RCA Photophone, though Phonofilm was primarily an early version of Movietone".Source: Wikipedia











Former Historical Society President Frank Selgrath has contributed thousands of hours of research in compiling hundreds of binders filled with historical and genealogical information. These binders are now located in the new historical society room annex in the Rhoades Building. Frank continues to research historical records and newspapers on a daily basis in the tenth decade of his life. He's a savvy computer user and today forwarded the collage of Record American New Year's banners seen below. Happy New Year, Frank






Winter Scenes page




Post Office 75th Anniversary


Saint Paul's Fire - 1948


1930's Mahanoy City Personalities




Hartman Beynon Page


Kaier Page


Mahanoy Township Fire Page




December 16, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the acceptance of the Petition for Charter for the Borough of Mahanoy City by the courts of Schuylkill County, thus establishing the legal existence of the borough. You can read the petition, view a list of the petitioners and a short biography of each person by going to the Mahanoy City Charter page.



Mahanoy City Charter Page








To read more about George Luks' Life Click Here

To read more about George Luks as a Comic Strip Artist- Click Here



75 Years Ago


1942 Fire on East Centre


Thanks to Janet Schock Kline for allowing the historical society to scan numerous pictures taken by her uncle , Bill Miles, in the 1930s and 1940s. Below are pictures from the Central Bowling Alleys fire in 1942 along with the Record American's coverage of the story. I'm amazed that some store fronts remain similar to the way they looked fifty or even one hundred years ago - even after a destructive fire.








100 Years Ago in Mahanoy City

Click here to read the Mahanoy Record Front Page from October 15, 1913



Kaier Opera House page





To read more about the history of Mahanoy City's newspapers click here.



During Sesquicentennial Week a time capsule which had been buried in 1988 for Mahanoy City's 125th year celebration was unearthed.The Mahanoy Area Histoical Society received permission from the Sesquicentennial Committee to scan pictures which had been placed in the capsule 25 years ago before they are buried again along with items collected for the 150th celebration. I scanned about 140 pictures and will put them on this site in three groups. The first two groups can be viewed by clicking on the link below.






Click Here To View Time Capsule Pictures From 1988








Click here for more Sesquicentennial Parade Photos


Picture of East End Park Pool taken by Elwood M. Young in 1928



Click here to expand the image above.


“This is the second swimming pool in the East End Park. It was larger than the first by one thousand square feet. It was built in 1924 and dedicated on August 1, 1924.( Note: The first pool was dedicated on July 4, 1915.) Length from east to west was 116 feet; width from north to south was 73 feet. The depth ranged from 3 to 9 feet going east to west.


This pool was very popular for many years, and convenient for everyone…making it unnecessary to travel to Lakeside or Lakewood for a swim. Hundreds of children learned to swim at this pool…with swimming instructors giving lessons each morning during the summer school vacation periods. Special swimming events were held, especially on 4th of July and Labor Day holidays, with expert swimmers of town and vicinity participating. At various occasions champion U.S. swimmers were a featured attraction. Thousands of people would witness these events…taking a picnic basket to spend the day “At the park”.


Unfortunately the usefulness of the East End Park Pool came to a close in the late 1930’s. The settlement of mine workings under the park caused an opening on the surface which ran through the pool, making cracks approximately 2-3 feet in width in places, and the wall heaving or sinking in other sections.


The bronze tablet monument on this East End park picture was unveiled on June 11, 1920. The tree on the left was one of the memorial trees planted for each of the dead WWI veterans whose names appear on the monument. The trees were planted and dedicated on May 30, 1919. The World War I Monument is now in the German Protestant Cemetery situated on the Civil War Plot.”


Elwood Young Collection- Mahanoy City Public Library




East End Park 1940s.

Click here to expand the image above.











The Class of 1963- Mahanoy Area High School


50 years ago this week the Class of'63 became the first class to complete four years as part of Mahanoy Area High School - the jointure of Mahanoy Township and Mahanoy City High which occurred in September of 1959. The class of '63 was also the Centennial class, graduating during the 100th anniversay year of the borough of Mahanoy City.




View the Class of 1963





History of Mahanoy City
Written in 1933-34


Most of the early history of Mahanoy City was taken from the account written by Mrs. T. H. B. Lyon. A great deal of information was obtained by Garfield Lewis, Jeanne Faust, John Malone, Josephine Unsinn, Jane Glaudel, Elsie Oliver, Robert Lowe, Bertha Tulin, Jane Maher and Anna Ryan, from interviews with Mrs. R. P. Swank, Mrs. T. L. Thomas and Mr. William H. Boyer. The history was compiled by Theresa Lusckus, Lillian Bonavage, Charles Welsh and Charles Doorley. The typists were Theresa Lusckus, LillianBonavage, Freida Tulin, Leodania Wysocki, Josephine Matalavage and Anna Gnall.


Click on the Link Below to go to the History Page


History of Mahanoy City -Written in 1933-34



Mahanoy City Then and Now - 100 West Centre Street



Daniell Brothers hardware store at 100 West Centre Street in the early 1890s. From left to right are: Bill(?) Moyers, Charles M. Daniell and George M. Daniell. The Daniell Brothers moved from the anthracite coal region of Mahanoy City to the bituminous coal fields of West Virginia sometime after this picture was taken. The store later became the O'Connor hardware store. See the picture below. The digitized picture was sent by Hanna Maurice, a descendant of the Daniell Brothers





This picture of O'Connor's hardware store at 100 West Centre Street was taken from a film that was produced in 1916. The film was found in the Lincoln School Building when the building and its contents were sold at auction a few years ago. The film was donated to the historical society by Larry Levy and digitized. The digital copy, 1916 Movie Memories runs approximatelt eighteen minutes and shows scenes of Lakewood Park and Mahanoy City. I "captured" the image above from the digital copy.


Daniell Brothers and O'Connor's more than 100 yeras later. The bottom floor has a brick face, but notice the cornice work around the second floor windows, and compare it to the 1892 picture. There is still evidence in downtown Mahanoy City of the town's historic past.










The Last Duel In Pennsylvania


The last duel in Pennsylvania was fought on March 26, 1931 on a mountainside north of the 8th Street bridge in the vicinity of Pleasant Hill. To read the full newspaper account from the March 27, 1931 edition of the Record American click on the links below.



Last Duel in Pennsylvania- Front Page

Last Duel in Pennsylvania Page 9


Some Recent Articles That are Now in the Archives


Here a the links to some recent articles.

The Joe Boley Page

The Kaier Grand Opera House Page