William Alexander Davies "The Golden Miner"
William Alexander Davies was born in Flintshire, North Wales in July of 1843. As a young man he emigrated to the
United States and arrived in New York aboard the steamer Edinburgh with his young wife, Maria Jenkins Davies,
on September 30th, 1864 after a sixteen day Atlantic crossing from Liverpool. Like many other immigrants he headed west
for the Anthracite coal fields of Eastern Pennsyvania and arrived in Shamokin, where he stayed until early 1866.
He arrived in Mahanoy City on January 25th, 1866.
A miner by trade, but a poet at heart, Davies published two major volumes of poetry: "The Banks of Susquehanna" and "The Workingman's Companion". Much of the poetry contained in "The Workingman's Companion" is
about Mahanoy City and its residents. The Bells of Mahanoy, which appears below, also appeared in " A History of Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County
1863-1963" published by the 1963 Centennial committee. Also in in that book is Davies' poem, The Miner. The Open Library contains both of Davies' books of poetry. You can read more of William Alexander Davies' poetry by clicking on the links below the poem.
Mahanoy City reached its population peak just before the United States entered World War I in 1917. The 1910 census shows that the "City on the Level" had more than 16,000 people. The borough's land area is a little more than one-half square mile, so the population density in 1916 would have been around 30,000 persons per square mile.
Mahanoy City was really hopping in those days. There were more than 300 retail businesses, two railroad lines, two trolley lines, three theatres and as the ad below shows 22 houses of worship.On Easter Sunday in 1930 there were at least 40 different church services- the Catholic Churches had 17 masses.
In 1923 just one of Mahanoy City's many markets, the Economy Market on East Centre Street, would sell five tons of Easter hams. Who knows how many kegs of Kaiers it took to wash down that much ham- despite Prohibition.
To view a larger image of the 1930 Go To Church Tomorrow Page click on the picture. To see more about Easter in years past, click the link below- Remembering Easter from Years Past .
If you are in Mahanoy City this week stop by the Historical Society to see the Easter display in the front window. Thanks to Elaine Luschas and Peg Grigalonis for creating the display.
To read more about the Mahanoy Township Fire Click the Link Below
38 Years Ago- 1976 - Mahanoy City Celebrates America's Bicentennial
Thanks to the Mahanoy City Public Library for allowing me to scan almost 200 pictures from Mahanoy City's celebration of our nation's Bicentennial which took place in town during the week of September 5-11, 1976. These photos were taken in the pre-digital age, so the clarity may not be what we used to today.
Click on the image to enlarge and/or view the slide show.
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 Last Season
About three years ago when the historical society was discussing ways to digitize the Record American from 1930-1969, I met Bill Pilconis at a track meet in Pottsville. I told him of our plans to scan the papers and put them in digital files. Bill asked me to keep an eye out for the sports pages from the 1958 football season. He told me the story of the Maroons 10-1 season and how he was a nine year old waterboy on the squad which was coached by his dad and had his brother Johnny as one of its star players.
I vaguely remembered some of the 1958 season. I was also a nine year old and had attended Mahanoy Township games at the West End and Mahanoy High games at the East End; however, I know I missed the last two games of the season because on the day of the Mahanoy City High - Shenandoah game I was in the Locust Mountain Hospital having my tonsils removed by Dr. Burke. My recuperation took more than a week and I so also missed the historic last game at the East End Park on November 22.
We are saddened by the sudden loss of Bill Pilconis, an outstanding athlete and gentleman.
I'd like to dedicate my small efforts in researching this article to his memory.
The Last Mahanoy City High School Football Squad- 1958
The Last Mahanoy Township High School Football Squad-1958
The Last Two Games at the East End Park
After defeating the Blue Devils the stage was set for the showdown of the Town and Township rivals the following week at the East End Memorial Stadium, the home field of the Maroons. Mahanoy City High now sported an impressive 9-1 record after the Shenandoah game. Mahanoy Township was 5-3 but had a three game winning streak and had defeated the Maroons the previous year. So the showdown was considered a tossup by many.
The Larks Had Won Handily in the Last Meeting of the Rivals in 1957
The Last Game
Click the link below to read the full account of the game.
The Championship Parade
The Title Grab
The joy of Novemebr 22 would be short lived. The following week Shenandoah school officials announced their plan to protest the Maroons' Southern Conference victory in a complicated argument involving playing percentages, correction factors, a defunct football program, and a tie game between Mt. Carmel and Shamokin on Thanksgiving Day. And so the only Southern Conference championship in the history of Mahanoy City High School would be taken away by events that transpired behind the scenes by secret vote.
Note: Some of the photos below may have been taken prior to the 1959 football season, the first year of Golden Bears football.
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
Click below to view a short clip from Fours Sons and/or Michael Slowitsky's Number 1 Hit Once in Awhile played by Tommy Dorsey
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
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.
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
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.
Picture of East End Park Pool taken by Elwood M. Young in 1928
“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.
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.
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
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.
Some Recent Articles That are Now in the Archives
Here a the links to some recent articles.