Mahanoy City 1940s





July 4, 1942 was the first Independence Day to be celebrated during World War II. Mahanoy City and the surrounding patches were now seven months into the war. The borough's first casulty of the war had occurred on December 7, 1941 when Pvt. Jerome J. Szematowicz was killed in the Japanese bombing of Hickam Field, Hawaii. Another war death would not occur until October of 1942 when Marine Lt. Paul Petrucka was killed in an airplane accident also in Hawaii. So on July 4, 1942' the borough of more than 13,000 souls had so far been spared the tragic losses which would come in the following years.


As you'll read below at least one of the parade participants in 1942 would later be killed in action and many of the young men who lined the streets to watch the parade, or attend a flag raising at the Citizen's Fire Company, Stony Point or New Boston would not return to Mahanoy City for a parade or a flag raising again.


To see a list of our area's Purple Heart recipients and war dead go to the link below.

Purple Heart Page




The Parade



The parade divisions formed on East Pine Street and East Mahanoy Street.The parade began shortly after 1:00 PM on Saturday, July 4, 1942 at the sound of the Kaier Brewery whistle and proceeded north on Main to Centre and then turned west to "D" Street. The picture above shows the Kaier's Riders as they head toward Centre Street.



The Girls' Drum and Bugle Corps from St. Joseph's School in Girardville are about to turn west on Centre Street from Main. Note the Acme sign and the "Air Conditioned " sign outside the Victoria Theatre. The double feature on July 4th was " The Magnificent Dope" starring Henry Fonda and Lynn Bari and " Dude Cowboy" starring Tim Holt.


The mixed color guard of the Mahanoy City American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars march on Main Street.

Note the sign for Gus Simotas' Embassy Grill which was still in operation twenty-five years after this parade when I was a 12th grader in 1967. The Embassy was also known as Gus's Candyland. Gus's corner was the gathering place for high school students from the 1930s to the 1970s.



A fire engine from the Humane Fire Company makes the turn onto West Centre. Note the sign for the Morris Men's Shop just west of the Embassy Grill. This store was also part of the Mansion Hotel Building. The Morris Men's Shop moved to Shenandoah in 1947. The site at 8 West Centre was remodeled and became the entrance to the new Mansion Restaurant.



The Kaier's Riders head west on Centre. Note the Mansion Hotel sign on the right and Newberrys and Woolworths on the left.The Mansion Hotel, restaurant , bake shop, bar and the Embassy Grill were in the same building.



Bill Miles took this shot in the 400 block of West Mahanoy Street. You can make out part of the "onion dome" of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Church on the right. I'm note sure who has the reins of this horse drawn buggy, but in the passenger seat on the right is James Post. Jim worked on the construction of the post office in 1937-38 with my father, Bill Coombe, and Frank Selgrath, a former historical society president. Jim entered the Army in November after this parade and landed in Normandy on D-Day 1944. He was killed in France less than three weeks later. Jim was brother-in-law of Bill Miles.


To read about the opening of the Mahanoy City Post Office in 1938 go to the link below.


Mahanoy City Post Office Opens - 1938




The Record American didn't mention Girl Scouts, but it sure looks like a group of Girl Scouts preceding the Boy Scout troop behind them in the 1300 block of East Mahanoy Street.



Here's another photo of twenty-one year old Jim Post.Looks like this shot was taken as the parade was forming before moving from Pine or Mahanoy onto Main Street.


Jim Post had just been married in February of 1942 .


PFC James F. Post is buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery.





The Flag Raising at The Citizens' Fire Company




The invocation at the Flag Raising on East Pine Street. This may be Rev. Lester B. Lutz of St. John's Evangelical and Reformed Church.




"Appearing as soloists during the exercises at the Citizens' Hose house were Miss Marion Heeb, talented young local soprano, whose rendition of the National Anthem and God Bless America were highlights of the program, and William Henninger , one of the regions finist tenor soloists who sang " White Cliffs of Dover" and "Your a Grand Old Flag" assisted by a ensemble comprised of William Kates, Nelson Stride, Charles O'Connell and Prof. (John) Unsinn. An additional feature was "Remember Pearl Harbor" by a group of girls, Lois Perry, Frances Mae Lynch, and Gloria and Evelyn DeCesare." The Mahanoy City Record American - July 6, 1942








To learn more about Hartman Beynon go to the : Hartman Beynon Page



Note the two birds flying near the flagpole which stood between the Citizen's Fire Company and the Borough Hall/ Police Station next door.




The forty-eight star flag flys high above the borough hall. The corner building in the upper left with the two small awings was the Gallagher residence in 1942 - now the Haughney residence and funeral parlor




The keynote speaker, former Schuylkill County judge, Henry Houck.


Looks like that could be young Evelyn DeCesare, later Purcell, sitting just to the left of the flag pole. Evelyn, along with her sister, Gloria, sang in a quartet at the flag raising.



Pictured at the microphone is the Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon , James H. Kirchner, founder, editor and publisher of the Record American. To read about James H. Kirchner - The Last of a Breed go to the Mahanoy City Chronicles page and read Bill O'Brien's article from August 26, 1988.


Mahanoy City Chronicles


Attorney James H. O'Connor



United States Congressman Dr. Ivor Fenton addresses the crowd. A medical doctor and World War I veteran, Dr. Fenton served in the United States congress for twelve terms from 1939 to 1963. Dr. Fenton was born in Buck Mountain in 1889 and died in 1986 at the age of 97.


To find out more about Dr.Ivor Fenton go to the Mahanoy City Chronicles page and read a short biography written by his daughters Mary Kernan, Betty Lewis and Peggy Brewer. The article is from July 29, 1988 and is entitled Dr. Fenton - Served Humanity Well


Mahanoy City Chronicles


Washington Hook & Ladder Aerial Truck Demonstration






Thirteen years after this photo was taken my family would move into the house in the picture on the right at 101 East Pine Street and I would prepare to enter first grade.




To see more Bill Miles photographs go to:

Bill Miles Aerial Photos

Mahanoy Township Fire - 1938





To read about the opening of the Mahanoy City Post Office in 1938 go to the link below.


Mahanoy City Post Office Opens - 1938