When I drive past the American Legion posts in Northampton, Coplay, Catasauqua and Fullerton, I “remember” the Dough Boys returning home from France after World War I.
The American Legion was incorporated by an act of Congress in 1919. Its purpose was to foster Americanism, uphold the Constitution, preserve the memories of the World War I veterans and promote good citizenship — worthy goals indeed!
Mr. Michael Miller was reared in Nazareth, graduating from Nazareth High School in 1986, where he played tackle on the football team and was a heavyweight wrestler on the Blue Eagles championship wrestling squad.
He recalled, “I especially admired coach Ray Nunamaker and Larry Oberly, my social studies teacher.”
Michael attended Unity College in Maine and studied conservation and law enforcement. He used this training and served on the Coopersburg Police Department for seven years.
A prolific weightlifter, Michael owned Nazareth Barbell for 12 years.
In this third column, Mr. Larry Oberly and this writer are over at the old Essroc Cement office, now Lehigh Hanson. Essroc was formerly Coplay Cement, so we were given permission to search for some old Coplay history.
There are records for the early Coplay Cement Company, which was founded in 1866. Many are handwritten. We found many interesting flashbacks to the company’s past. Among the photographs we found were many projects in New York City, Maryland, New Jersey and other East Coast cities that used Coplay Cement.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Local NewsKevin Toth
Mr. Kevin Toth was reared in Nesquehoning, graduating from Panther Valley High School in 1984, where he was a member of the wrestling team. He learned the cobbler trade from his brother and became skilled in shoe repair, working in their shops in Lansford and managing the Lehighton Plaza location. When the business closed, he was employed by J.E. Morgan Knitting in Hometown.
Recently, Larry Oberly and this writer visited Essroc, now Lehigh Hanson, in Nazareth, to look at some old records of the Coplay Cement Company. Coplay constructed the plant, which became Essroc on 1978.
We found a treasure of historic photographs. The photos in today’s column were taken in 1944.
During World War II, the cement companies in our area continued operation, but their machine shops took on extra responsibilities. The War Production Board directed the companies to utilize their shops to manufacture equipment to support the war.
“Remember” when you were a student in elementary and high school? For some of us, that’s a long, long time ago. The day most dreaded was report card time. Would our parents be pleased with our effort and achievement?
One of my teacher friends at the Northampton Middle School shared with me a report card from the Siegfrieds Grammar School — the year, 1896-97.
Siegfried was one of the three villages that would later, in 1909, be incorporated as the Borough of Northampton. Siegfried was basically located in the borough’s present first ward.
Today I return to the old Indian Trail Park in Pennsville. The year is 1947. My father had just purchased his first post-war automobile: a 1947 Plymouth. We drove to the park on a sunny summer Sunday to enjoy the day.
Back in the Revolutionary War era, an old grist mill, which ground wheat, oats and corn, was still on site but no longer in operation. Community groups attempted to preserve the old mill, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
Recently, some of my loyal readers requested I recall Indian Trail Park in Pennsville. As a youngster, it was a treat to visit the park. My parents would visit the park on many Sunday afternoons. There was always plenty of activity. I wonder how many of my readers have been at the park!
My friends at the Lehigh Township Historical Society wrote a great book of Lehigh Township giving us an accurate history of the park far superior to my youthful memories.
Mr. Rick Murphy was born in Long Island, N.Y., moving to Berks County when he was 13 years of age. He graduated from Reading High School and was hired by Quaker Maid Kitchens, making doors.
When the company closed, he started a cement career at Evansville, now Lehigh-Heidelberg Cement.
Rick recalled, “I started as a laborer in 1990, transferring to the pack house in 1993. I was trained to be a bulk loader by Dean Witman, a position I currently hold.”
My friend and fellow historian Mr. Larry Oberly of Allen Township also has fond memories of the Allentown State Hospital farm in Weaversville. In today’s column, Larry turns back the clock and revisits the farm colony in this concluding column. He recalls:
Growing up in the environs of Howertown and Weaversville might lead one to be told that he led a sheltered life in the 1950s and ’60s. It may have been true, but it was certainly not isolation from the world outside. Our schools and churches that occupied so much of our time saw to the expansion of our horizons in many ways.