Pages From The Past

Curated by staff librarian Brian Fulton, Pages from the Past is your outlet for regional local history stories, discussion and the treasures of the Times-Tribune archives.

Mustering the Troops

Mustering the Troops

Editor’s note: Portions of this article original appeared in Sunday Times on August 14, 2016

In the summer of ’16 — that is 1916 — the U.S Department of War called up the 13th Regiment to serve on the U.S./Mexico border in an effort to capture Mexican revolutionary Francisco “Pancho” Villa.
Before the entire regiment was called up, a portion of the group, Company A Engineers, left for the border in late June. The rest of the regiment was called up Aug. 10 as an infantry unit.
The 13th Regiment had men to serve but they needed more. They set up a recruiting station on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square. They also used a series of advertisements in The Scranton Times asking for men to enlist.
The men left Scranton on a special Lackawanna Railroad train for Mt. Gretna Military Reservation in Lebanon County on August 14, 1916.

The next day, the War Department ordered the halt of all troop movements to the U.S./Mexico border because of the possibility of a railroad strike. The men of the 13th were held at Mt. Gretna.
While the troops were held at Mt. Gretna, new recruits were sent to the camp to join the regiment.

On Oct. 4, 962 officers and enlisted men of the 13th Regiment finally left Mt. Gretna for the border. They arrived in El Paso, Texas, in the early morning hours of Oct. 9.

On March 12, 1917 the War Department announced that Scranton’s 13th Regiment will be leaving Camp Stewart in Texas to return home on March 17.  With this news, Scranton started preparing a welcome celebration for the troops. The celebration was to feature 200 piece band and the ringing of the city’s church bells when the troops arrived at the Lackawanna Station. Due to damage to a train bridge in New Jersey, the troops finally arrived home in Scranton on March 28.

Members of the 13th Regiment returning home from the U.S./Mexican Border in March 1917. Times-Tribune Archives

Several months later in July, the 13th regiment would be mobilized to start training to join the fight in Europe. The United States entered the war on April 6.  Troops started to leave Scranton for training in Georgia in early August.

To learn more about the Mexican Punitive Expedition visit https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1997/fall/mexican-punitive-expedition-1.html

Easter Parade, Scranton Style

Easter Parade, Scranton Style

From our Easter Sunday collection –

Images in this gallery are available for purchase at photo store – http://thetimes-tribune.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=2193735&CategoryID=49658

Throwback Thursday – Answering the Call

Throwback Thursday – Answering the Call

On June 14, 1956 the employees of Bell Telephone’s office in Scranton answered the call of the American Red Cross. The employees donated 121 pints of blood.

An excellent turnout of donors during a visit of the bloodmobile to the Bell Telephone Co on June 14, 1956 enabled the Scranton Red Cross chapter to exceed its quota by collecting 121 pints of blood. The accomplishment made possible the distribution of 83 pints of blood to area hospitals. Standing from left: Eleanor Koscinski, RN; James M Griffth Jr., manager at Bell Telephone; and Betty Gesek, RN. Donating blood are Teresa Ruddy (left) an Catherine Goldieri. Times-Tribune Archives

If you want to “answer the call” visit the Scranton Red Cross’ website to find out more about blood donation – http://www.redcross.org/local/pennsylvania/eastern-pennsylvania/find-your-local-chapter/northeastern-pa

Throwback Thursday – Parade Day 68

Throwback Thursday – Parade Day 68

Images from the 1968 Scranton St. Patrick’s Parade –

 

Presidential Elections 1904 – 2012

Presidential Elections 1904 – 2012

On this President’s Day here is a collection of front pages from The Scranton Times and The Times-Tribune dealing with the election of the president –

Pages from this gallery are available for purchase here – http://thetimes-tribune.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=2187327&CategoryID=49658

Toasters and Dusters – Valentine Day Ads

Toasters and Dusters – Valentine Day Ads

Throwback Thursday – Fight Club

Throwback Thursday – Fight Club

Throwback Thursday this week is all about fight club. I know we shouldn’t talk about fight club but the purpose of the boxing clubs at the Boys Club in Scranton were to keep boys “from going down the dead-end road of juvenile delinquency.”  Here two images and article from the Times-Tribune Library dealing with boxing at the club.

Two unidentified Scranton boys are boxing under the watchful eye of professional referee Manny Gelb in September 1952 at the Central Boys Club in Scranton. Times-Tribune Archives

 

Young boxers from the Central Boys Club and the West Side Boys Club participated in a interclub competition on May 8, 1953 at the Central Boys Club gym at Adams Ave and Mulberry Street. Times-Tribune Archives

 

To learn more about the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania visit http://bgcnepa.org/index.html.

Remembering Louis Weitzenkorn

Remembering Louis Weitzenkorn

Have you ever heard of Louis Weitzenkorn? No. Me either. He came to my attention the other day when I was writing “This Day in History.”

Weitzenkorn was a newspaperman and playwright who made his home in Wilkes-Barre. According to his obituary that appeared in the paper 75 years ago today –  he was born in Wilkes-Barre in 1893, he graduated from Columbia University, worked for sometime at the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader but then moved on to work at the New York Times, New York Tribune, the New York World and the New York Evening Graphic. During World War I, he served in the 302nd Tank Battalion in France.

While working at the newspaper, Weitzenkorn started writing plays. His first play, First Mortgage, was performed on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre in 1929.  His next play, Five Star Final, was a hit on Broadway. It opened at the Cort Theater on December 30, 1930 and would run until June 1931. The play centers around an editor at a tabloid newspaper who is “asked” by the paper’s publisher to rehash a 20 year old murder case to help sell newspapers. The articles caused ripples through society that leads to suicides. In September 1931 the play was turned into a motion picture starring Edward G. Robinson as the editor and Boris Karloff as the reporter. The film was nominated for Outstanding Production (now known as Best Picture) by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1931/32. It lost out to Grand Hotel.

Five Star Final would be remade in 1936 by Warner Brothers. This version was called Two Against the World and it starred Humphrey Bogart and Beverly Roberts.

Weitzenkorn also wrote the screenplays for the films – 24 Hours (1931), Ladies of the Big House (1931), Men of Chance (1932), The Devil is Driving (1932) and King of the Newsboys (1938).

Weitzenkorn died tragically in a kitchen fire at his home in Wilkes-Barre on February 7, 1943. According to his obituary, he returned from an early morning walk and decided to make a pot of coffee. It is believed that he accidental caught his clothes on fire and he tried to use a  towel to smother the flames but it caused the flames to spread. Police reported that his wife, Ilse Lahn Lichtbau, found him slumped in a chair with the burnt towel on his badly burned face.

According to his death notice in the February 27, 1943 edition of Billboard, Weitzenkorn was buried on February 9 at the B’nai B’rith Cemetery in Lee Park section of Hanover Township. He was survived by second wife, two sons – Joseph and William, and sister Mrs. Mortimer Schwager.

Trailer for Five Star Final

 

Throwback Thursday – Be Prepared

Throwback Thursday – Be Prepared

For those who were in Boy Scouts, you will remember the motto – “Be Prepared.”  That was the point of this winter sports information session that took place in December 1959 at the South Abington Elementary School. Young men from two Explorer Posts – 172 in Nicholson and 55 in Tripp Park – gave a demonstrations to younger scouts on items that would come in handy if you were participating in a winter activity.

A winter sports demostration was staged by Explorer Post 172, Nicholson, and Explorer Post 55, Tripp Park, when about 50 scouts from Pioneer Council, Dan Beard Council, Boys Scouts of America, held a round table on December 8, 1959 at the South Abington Township Elementary School. Among those participating were, from left, Robert Gritman, Paul Brown, both of Post 172; Edward Petcavage, of Post 55; and Robert Cornell, district commissioner. Times-Tribune Archives

The Boy Scouts of America still offer the Exploring and Venturing programs. Both programs are co-ed.  Exploring gives the opportunity to explore careers. Venturing gives them opportunities to get outdoors.