Wednesday, November 22, 2023

A Thanksgiving Flag Raising, Danville 1913

A Flag Raising For Thanksgiving, November 1913, Danville Pa

"While the band rendered “The Star Bangled Banner" and several hundred school children joined in the singing, the large flag, 10 by 20 feet, was unfurled to the breeze, and now remains an added and impressive feature of the splendid system of improvements that are under way on the river front." - November 29th, 1913

Sunday, November 19, 2023

The Dale Engle Walker House

The Dale Engle Walker House

"Born in 1741 in northern Ireland, Samuel Dale, a wheelwright, emigrated to America in 1766. During the War for Independence, he served in the Northumberland Militia and fought in the Battle of Princeton. In 1789 Dale bought a 303-acre plantation for £ 600 from James Fleming, who had cleared 4 acres and built a log cabin on a place Fleming called “Lilliput.” By 1793 Dale had built the front portion of the house on the northeast corner of what is now known as Dale’s Ridge. Although no records exist, the back wing was probably added sometime between 1810 and 1840. Of Georgian style, Dale’s house was built from local limestone and floors are American Chestnut quarter-sawn. "

In 1929, Jacob & Maude [Troxell] Engle purchased the Dale farm. They established the J.B. Engle Dairy, delivering milk to Mazeppa, Forest Hill, and Lewisburg.  

The Sign Reads:
Welcome to the Dale Engle Walker House

Samuel Dale, a Scots-Irish immigrant, Revolutionary War officer and state representative, built the front half of this limestone structure around 1790.  His descendant's added the west wing about thirty years later.

The Dale family rented the farm to a succession of tenants before selling it to Jake and Maude Engle in 1929.  The Engles operated a dairy farm here during the 1930s and 1940s.

Charley and Rosemary Walker bought the 137-acre farmstead in 1957.  Thirty-two years later  they protected it with a conservation easement administered by the Merill Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy.  The Walker estate bequeathed the property to the Union County Historical Society in 2000.

Enjoy the sights, sounds, and events here, but remember: the DEW House and Dale's Ridge Hiking Trail are on private property, so please be considerate.

If you'd like to volunteer or if you want more information about the tours, programs, and photography policy, please call the UCHS office at 570 (524)-8666 or visit our website at

"Exploring Union County's Past To Inform the Present and Future."

Jacob and Maud had 10 children: Paul, Dick, Ruth, Millie, Anna,
George, Grace, Nevin, Arthur & Jacob.

 "Charlie"  [Ralph Charles] and Rosemary  Walker purchased the property in 1957. They installed running water, electricity and modern heating in the house and improved the cellar with a stone floor and rough-sawn walnut walls made from the property's trees. Rosie, a master gardener, cultivated extensive flower beds around the house. 

In 1989 the 137-acre property was protected by a perpetual conservation easement held by the Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy. The Conservancy
maintains a two-mile trail along Dale's Ridge.

 In 2001 the Walker estate bequeathed the property to the Union County Historical
Society, which has worked to preserve and restore the house, create exhibition and
storage space for the society's collection, and use the property for public programs and
events such as Rural Heritage Days

Jacob B. Engle, 77, a dairy farmer, Lewisburg RD3, died September 29, 1977 in the Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village, Lewisburg. Mr. Engle was a native of Gowen City, born Oct 3, 1899. He was the son of the late George K. and Catherine Moyer Engle. He was married for more than 57 Years to the former Maude Troxell, who survives.

He was a lifetime member of the Loyal Order of the Moose in Selinsgrove, and the United Church of Christ of Mazeppa.

In addition to his widow, he is survived by four daughters, Mrs. Ruth Clemens, Mrs. Anne Dersham, and Mrs. Mildred Noll, all of New Columbia, and Mrs. Grace Buckley of Australia; six sons, Paul A., New Columbia; Richard R., Roanoke, VA; George C., Allenwood; Arthur F., Lewisburg RD3; Jacob F., Mifflinburg RD2; and Nevin E., Bellefonte RD; 28 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren; and one great-greatgrandchild.

Burial will be in Highland Cemetery, New Columbia.
The funeral for Mrs. Maude Engle, 90, Lewisburg RD3, will be conducted at Mazeppa Union Church by the Rev. Kerry Smart. Burial will be in Highland Cemetery.

Mrs. Engle died February 23, 1987 in Colorado Springs, CO while visiting her daughter, Mrs. Grace Buckley.

Born July 14, 1896 in White Springs, she was a daughter of the late Clinton S. and Anna (Shively) Troxell. Her husband, Jacob Engle, died in 1977.

Mrs. Engle was a graduate of the Muncy Normal Teachers College. She moved to Gowen City in 1907, where she taught in the public schools.

She was a member of the United Church of Christ Congregation of the Mazeppa Union Church.

She is survived by 10 children: Paul, Mrs. Ruth Clemens, Mrs. Anna Dersham and Mrs. Mildred Noll, all of New Columbia; Richard of Roanoke, VA; George of Allenwood RD1; Arthur of Lewisburg RD3; Jacob of Mifflinburg RD3; Mrs. Grace Buckley of Colorado Springs and Nevin of Bellefonte RD1; 26 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; two sisters, Mrs. Mary Lewis of Scranton and Mrs. Mabel Frederick of Shamokin; and one brother, Ray Troxell of Julian, CA.

She was preceded in death by three brothers.

Kolacky Cookies - A Coal Cracker In The Kitchen Recipe


Printable Version at the bottom of the page

A classic staple often found on cookie trays during the Christmas season, not only in the Coal Region but beyond, these are so simple to make you don’t have to wait for December to roll around. Tender, flaky kolacky cookies go by a few names - kolaczki, kolachy, kolack - and can be found throughout Eastern Europe.

· 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
· 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/2 cup fruit jam, preserves, or filling the flavor of your choice
· 1/3 cup powdered sugar, for decoration plus extra for dusting work space

Soften salted butter and cream cheese to room temperature. In mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together, add in flour gradually and mix with wooden spoon into smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Roll out to a rectangle 1/8 inch thick on board generously dusted with powdered sugar.

Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares, place about 1/2 teaspoon filling of your choice directly in center of square and fold two opposite edges or sides of dough together on the top, press lightly to seal points together. Don’t over-fill or the filling will cook out.

Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking liners. Bake 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned,

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Walnut Filling:  3/4 pound walnuts, chopped very fine, 1/4 cup granulated sugar,  scalded milk, enough to bind and make spreadable paste.  Grind nuts with 2 Tablespoons sugar in food processor until very fine (helps keep nuts from turning into paste while processing). Place in small bowl and mix in remaining sugar. Scald milk then add slowly just enough to make a spreadable paste. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.

Lekvar (Prune) Filling:  1 1/2 cups pitted prunes, tightly packed, 2/3 cup water,  1 teaspoon lemon zest, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Simmer all ingredients except brown sugar in covered saucepan for 25-30 minutes until very soft and most of the water is evaporated Uncover last few minutes if necessary to remove water. Remove from heat and mash. Stir in brown sugar. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.

Apricot or Peach Filling:  1 1/2 cups dried fruit, 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar depending on fruit used, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon almond extract. Place fruit in medium saucepan and cover with water to about an inch over the fruit. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 35- 45 minutes until very tender. Remove from heat and mash until fruit is smooth. Add cinnamon and vanilla. Add sugar from 1/2 to 3/4 cup to taste. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.

Sweet Cream Cheese Filling: 16 ounces cream cheese , 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, Pineapple Filling, 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, un-drained, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 pinch salt. Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Store in refrigerator until using.

Chocolate-Cherry Filling: 1 cup drained canned sweet cherries, 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped fine, 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Finely chop drained cherries in food processor. Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients, blend well. Store in refrigerator until using.

Poppyseed: 2 cups scalded whole milk, 1 pound ground poppy seed, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.  Mix ingredients together and set aside till milk is absorbed and mixture is cooled. Store in refrigerator until using.



Lori Fogg was the author of the blog, “A Coalcraker In The Kitchen” where she shared recipes, and creative ideas based on her experiences growing up in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. Fogg died in 2022.

From her now archived blog:

What is a “Coalcracker” and what the heck are you doing in the kitchen?

“Coalcracker“: Affectionate term for a resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania, but particularly of the Anthracite (coal) Region (Scranton to the Lehigh Valley to Schuylkill County).

With the expansion of the mining and railroad industries. English, Welsh, Irish and German (the “Dutch” (Deutsch) in Pennsylvania Dutch) immigrants formed a large portion of the population, followed by Polish, Slovak, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Italian, Russian and Lithuanian immigrants.

The influence of these immigrant populations is still strongly felt in the region, with various towns 
pronounced ethnic characters and cuisine. Throw in some influence from the Pennsylvania Dutch of the Schuylkill County and Lehigh Valley areas and you have a sampling of Coal Region comfort foods!

The Coal Region is a historically important Anthracite (“hard coal”) coal-mining area in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the central Appalachian Mountains, comprising Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northumberland, and the extreme northeast corner of Dauphin counties.
Her recipes can still, currently, be found using the WayBack Machine Internet Archive:

Thursday, October 26, 2023

From A Swimming Hole On "Peggy's Farm", To Knoebels Grove

Much  of the text below is taken directly from The History Of Knoebels.  I've added assorted old photos of the items mentioned in the early history, as well as some additional history.

From Spaceship Simulator To Sky Slide - At Knoebels

The Spaceship Simulator opened at Knoebels in 1958

 Riders would take a seat inside the rocket and watch a film on space exploration. As the rocket in the film was about to blast off the rocket ride would tilt upward to simulate a launch.

The Roller Skating Endurance Contest At Knoebels, 1933

The Crystal Ballroom & Skating Rink at Knoebels, Built 1933
[Today the Roaring Creek Arcade building]

In the early days of Knoebels, rides were operated by individuals who paid rent to Knoebels.  The first ride to open was a carousel, in 1926.  But then, the Great Depression arrived.  While many still visited Knoebels, few had the money to build and operate new rides.  There was however, a sawmill on the property, and plenty of wood..  so it was a good time to build pavilions, cottages, and, a skating rink and ballroom.  Roller Skating was very popular in the 1930s.

So popular in fact, that in September of 1933, a "Roller Skating Endurance" Contest was held at the Knoebels Skating Rink.  15 Couples entered the contest on Wednesday August 30th.  

On Saturday September 8th 1933, at the end of the skating rinks fist season, Knoebels Grove held a "Roller Skating Endurance Contest".

No breaks. Continuous skating.  Eat and drink while skating.  
The world's record for skating endurance was, at that time, 3 days.

The contest began at 7pm on Wednesday August 30th 1933, and lasted for a week.  

"Two of the regions well known doctors will be on hand at all time to render what assistance may be needed.  They will be assisted by two trained nurses, Miss Helen Godleki of Mount Caramel and Miss Margaret Jones of Ashland"

Of those 15 couples originally listed as signed up for the event, only 10 were still registered on August 31st, and of those 10, 4 dropped out the day the contest began.

At 7am on August 31st, less than 24 hours into the contest, 5 contestants dropped out.  Those remaining after 7am were listed as:

  • Mickey Swad, Mount Caramel 
  • Pete Shepos, Shamokin & Curley Marchetti Mount Caramel
  • Thomas Higgins, Excelsior & Jean Moll, Mount Carmel
  • Bob Eckman, Shamokin & Barbara Millage, Centralia
  • Dan Balses Pottsville and Gladys Burd, Elysburg
  • Bill Chapman, Ashland & Dot Dundra, Brady
  • Marie Ryan, Centralia & John Moll, Marion Heights
  • Terry Yodez, Mount Caramel

Six couples remained in the competition, on Saturday September 2nd.
100 spectators visited each day, more than 1,000 in attendance [at a ticket price of 25 cents each] over the week long marathon.  The original prize of $50 [The equivalent of roughly $1200 in 2023] was being increased as the marathon continued.  

September 5th, 1933 - Three Couples Remained

Three couples remained, on Tuesday September 5th: Pete Shepos & Curlie Marchetti, Gladys Burd & Dan Balsis, Barbara Millage and Bob Eckman.

  Bill Chapman, "a solo skater who usually took it upon himself to arouse the crowd of spectators with his bag of acrobatic tricks was forced to drop out early this morning because of sore feet."  

On September 8th the Shamokin News Dispatch reported that the marathon was on it's 10th day, with only two couples "continuing the grind on rollers on the spacious Crystal Ballroom."

"Sixteen couples [other reports state 15, and some say 10] entered the marathon on wheels, but one by one the competing couples fell by the wayside, leaving but two couples in the competition during the last 48 hours"

The two couples remaining were Daniel Bolsis & Gladys Burd, and Robert Eckman and Barbara Millage.

According to the same article, 15 minute rests had been added to the program.  "Under the plan of the marathon, each couple skates for a given length of time and is then permitted a 15 minute rest."  The four remaining contestants were reported to be showing evidence of fatigue, but "are kept in good condition by nurses and other attendants"

The next day the same paper reported that Bob Eckman and Barbara Millage withdrew from the floor at noon on September 8th.

September 9th, 1933

On Sunday September 10th, at 9pm,  a ceremony was held, awarding "loving cups"  and the cash prizes to the winners.  News articles stated that the winners "would appear in the Victoria Theater at Shamokin"

The Danville Morning News reported that seven cash prizes and four loving cups were presented.  The prizes were listed as:
1st Prize - Daniel Balsis  and Gladys Burd
2nd Prize - Barbara Millage and Bob Eckman
3d Prize - Pete (Pretzels) Chepros and Margaret Marchette
4th Prize William Chapman, "who acted the part of the clown during the contest" 

More About Knoebels Skating Rink
In May of 1933, the Mount Caramel Item reported on the many improvements made to Knobel's Grove.  Included was:

"One of the largest and most modern ball rooms in their part of the state has been erected, where both dancing and roller skating will be conducted during the oncoming summer.  Some of the best orchestras from Reading and also local orchestras have been booked. Wednesday evenings modern dancing and Friday evenings modern and square dancing.  Skating will be conducted Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons and evenings.

Skating at Knoebels

1958 Park Map showing the location of the Skating Rink

Skating display in the back of the Coal Miners Museum.

The skating rink at Knoebels closed in 1983 [I'm told, due to "skyrocketing insurance rates"]. 

May 1933

August 1933

Those entered in the contest were:
[This list changed frequently!  This was the original list posted in the newspaper]
  1. Pete Shepos, Shamokin, & Margaret Marchetti, Mount Caramel
  2. Dan Balses, Pottsville, &  Juel Puketsa, Mount Caramel
  3. Thomas Higgins, Excelsior & Jean Moll, Mount Caramel
  4. May Yodis, Mount Caramel & Mike Mall, Keiser
  5. Robert Echmon, Shamokin & Barbara Millage, Centralia
  6. Curtis Berresford, William Penn & Gladys Bird, Elysburg [Gladys was one of the winners, but Curtis was not her partner]
  7. John Mall, Keister & Marie Ryan, Centralia
  8. Robert Loreman, Bloomsburg & Edith Fedan, Bloomsburg
  9. [Dropped Out Day Of] "Dot" Dudra, Brady & Tony Augustine, Mount Caramel
  10. Catherine Landy, Mount Caramel & Joe Pasterskit, Keiser
  11.  [Dropped Out Day Of] Celia Durovich, Mount Caramel & Frank Pupo, Keiser
  12. Paul Rega, Shamokin & Rachel Paulash, Bloomsburg
  13. Ethel McGinley, Centralia & John Hepner, Brady [Ethel and Jose Pasterskie dropped out day of]
  14. Johnny Scott, Mount Caramel & Celia Oelovich, Springfield
  15. Joe Ostich, Kulpmont & Celia Karlocich, Mount Caramel
 The Four Couples Who Dropped Out were listed as: 
  • Mickey Swad & Celia Durovich, [Listed above as registered with Frank Pupo]
  • Bill Chapman and Alberta Suprinski, 
  • Jose Pasterskie and Ethel McGinley [Ethel was originally listed with a different partner]
  • Tony Augustine and Dot Dudra

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Roadside Coal Miners Memorial, Hegins Pa

 David A. Lucas' Independent Coal Miner Memorial
A roadside shrine located at 
320 east main street [Rt 25] Hegins Pa