Friday, April 10, 2020

The Doodle Dandies of Watsontown Pa

Brothers Of The Brush clubs formed for the centennial celebrations in towns across the country.  Their mission was to promote the centennial events, and to do so by growing beards.  Women joined clubs as Ladies Of The Swish, or more often, Belles.  

The Doodle Dandies, one of 25 Brothers Of The Brush Clubs formed in 1967 for Watsontown's sesquicentennial, continued on for years after the celebration.  The club competed in softball games & wrestling matches,  walked in parades, hosted dances, organized raft races, donated a refrigerator for public use at the Watsontown Park, set up Santa's house each year, organized Easter egg hunts, and the Halloween Parade.  They took group trips to New York and Pittsburgh to watch professional football games.  They raised money for the building of the Watsontown Pool, and provided a long list of  awards for students at the end of the school year.  They also threw an umpire into the Susquehanna River, after a series of "bad calls" caused them to break their winning streak.  

In July of 1967 the Brothers Of The Brush marched through town in a solemn procession to bury a ceremonial razor, signalling the beginning of the Watsontown Centennial.

In June of 1967  the Doodle Dandies,  charter was closed to active membership.   There were 25 members present at the June meeting.  They voted to  purchase 6 centennial badges for senior citizens who were unable to purchase them, and they made them honorary members of the doodle dandies.

In August of 1967 the Doodle Dandies made a "good-will tour to Shamokin" where they met at John's barber shop to advertise the Watsontown Centennial to be held the following week.

In 1968, the Doodle Dandy club was an incorporated off-shoot of a Brothers Of The Brush Chapter formed for the previous  summers Centennial celebration in Watsontown. The group sent a package to Gerald Folk, a Doodle Dandy member serving in Vietnam.

In October of that year, the Doodle Dandies sponsored the Halloween Parade. "Selected as king and queen of the mummers were James Lehman Jr & Mrs Marjorie Black.  They rode on one of the Watsontown fire trucks."  Riding in convertibles were Mary and Mrs Frank Kear, and Frank Gentile, president of the Doodle Dandies, along with his wife.  The Watsontown Centennial band marched in the parade, along with the snoot band of McEwensville.  The Turbotville girl scouts all dressed as ghosts and road on a truck.  The parde ended at the parking area near the river bridge, where the Centennial band gave a concert and doughnuts and cider was served.  Each child who participated in the parade was given 25 cents.

In 1969 the Doodle Dandies received permission from the borough council for a series of dances.  They planned  a battle of the bands for boys and girls ages 12 to 21, with Carl Pick, John Burrows, and Salvatore Nicolosi chairing the event.  The bands were to be Echoes LTD, The Genesis, and the Glass Menagerie.  They also planned a record hop, and received permission to place a refrigerator in Pavilion #2 at the park. The Dandies would be responsible for the refrigerators care and maintenance, but the public was welcome to use it.

The club were original supporters of the town pool.  As of August 1969, the group had contributed more than $1700 for the building of the pool.

They also supplied awards to high school students, including awards for little league teams, outstanding citizen under the age of 21, an essay contest, and awards for seniors in each sport as well as the chorus, at Warrior Run.  Chief Reed was on the committee to choose the award recipients.

At a baseball game between the Doodle Dandies, and the Legion 9 Team, the Dandies lost 11-6, breaking their five game winning streak.  Unhappy with the umpires "bad calls", the Brush Brothers threw the Umpire James Garthwaite into the Susquehanna River.


Thursday, April 9, 2020

Jacobs Candy, Home To The Nodding Easter Bunny in Danville Pa

For nearly 40 years,beginning in 1915,  a two foot tall dark brown mechanical bunny stood in the window of the Jacobs Candy Store in Danville each Easter.   Powered by a spring mechanism, the bunny would nod his head when wound.

The  rabbit was manufactured in Germany, and was given to Grove Keefer.   Keefer gave the toy to Mr. Jacobs, owner of the confectionery, who displayed it in his store window each Easter.  Children would press their noses to the window to watch the mechanical toy, and could often be seen nodding in rhythm with the rabbit.

In 1938 the local newspaper reported that the beloved bunny was off "to the hospital for repairs to his clockwork that controls his movement.  Mr Jacobs  believed that the bunny would be rejuvenated after a dose of oil and some internal adjustments"  The bunny was able to fully recover, and return to his Easter duties in Jacobs store window that Easter season.  

1943 was the only year that the rabbit skipped his yearly appearance.  Sugar was being rationed for the war effort, and the store did not make candy Easter eggs that year.

The last mention I could find of the bunny was in 1952, but the Jacobs candy store was in business through 1961.   The contents of the business were sold in a public auction in 1962, but the rabbit was not listed in the advertisement.

John Jacobs was born in Germany in 1836.  When he was 19 years old, he came to America, first settling in Pottsville Pa, where he learned both the bakery and candy making trades.

In 1860 he established his own candy company on Mill street in Danville Pa.  

At one time he had two stores, an upper, and a lower store, both on Mill street.  The upper store , at 126 Mill street, closed around 1918

Jacobs made traditional clear Christmas candy toys each year.  The iron molds for the clear candy toys were cast at one of the Danville foundries, and the same molds were used for more than 50 years.  Their record was 35 tons of clear toy candy made in one season.

John Jr recalls that when he was 10 or 12 years old, ice cream was made by placing a mixture in a container filled with brine, and then the solution had to be paddled for 30 to 45 minutes.  It was a laborious task.  The store got their first ice cream machine around 1890.  It was water powered.

It was also around 1890 the the bakery and candy department of the store was remodeled, and 5 years later machinery was added for making the bread, which had been made completely by hand before 1895.  

 The Jacobs continued to make bread until the first world war.  When Italian workers came to Danville to install the trolley tracks between Danville and Bloomsburg, the store made a "special variety" of bread that they requested.

In 1901, three of John Jacobs sons took over the store, changing the name to John Jacob & Sons.  In 1949, the sons sold the store to Mr & Mrs Quigg, who ran it until 1960.   Mrs Esther Quigg was the daughter of George Jacobs, and the granddaughter  John Jacob senior.  In 1960, 100 years after Jacobs store had first opened,  it was announced that the business was being sold to Brown's catering, and that the new owners intended to add a dining and banquet room.  In 1962, Esther Quigg was still listed as the owner on the public sale bill.    The Jacobs Confectionery building was torn down  in 1973.

In a 1973 letter to the editor, Ralph McCracken described the store:

"The ice cream parlor at the front of the building had a gay ninety atmosphere that cannot be duplicated today.  It's tiny bent wire tables for four, with bent wire ice cream parlor chairs to match, it's stained-glass mirror back of the serving counter, the apothecary jars filled with licorice, teaberries, and other candies, and the smell of freshly basked pastries will be fondly remembered by the ladies who stopped for refreshment on their shopping trips downtown.

There are other font memories of Lucy Meintzer, who was the waitress there for twenty five years.   Lucy was always kind and cheerful and she was almost an institution herself, until she was killed in a tragic accident two years ago (1971).

Jacob vanilla ice cream was special too.  It was flavored by real vanilla beans, nothing artificial about it. "

I could not locate any photos of the famous bunny, nor of the store front, although I am certain some must exist! 


Bock - The Traditional Easter Beer

Eastertide and Bock Beer - Go Hand In Hand
Get it at the Germania Brewery in Danville Pa

Bock, known as the "Easter Beer", was a traditional German Beer traditionally brewed in the winter months and lagered (or stored) until it was ready to be consumed in spring, “Bockbier”, or "liquid bread", was  the only thing German monks consumed over Lent, and when German settlers came to American, they brought their traditional Easter beer with them.  Newspaper ads in the years both before and after prohibition advertised that the Bock was ready, and wouldn't last long, every year between March and April.

Bock roughly translates to “billy goat” in German, and since bockbiers were generally brewed under the sign of Capricorn, the name stuck. Even today, many brewers of bockbeir evoke the image of a goat holding a stein on their labels.  After a night of drinking this sinfully smooth and strong beer, you are likely to wake up feeling like you got kicked by a goat.

According to The Catholic Gentleman website, Monks survived on the rich, malty Bock beer, through the Lenten season. 

"So you gave up dessert for Lent? Good for you, you wimp! Once upon a time, German monks ate nothing for the entirety of the Lenten fast. No bread, no salad, no fruit—nothing. Beat that."

The German monks in the town of Einbeck developed a specific style of malty, dark, high alcohol beer to help sustain them during intense periods of fasting. This beer became known as Bock, a corruption of the name Einbeck. Later, discontent with the strength of Bock style beer, monks developed an even stronger variant known as Doppelbock, meaning double Bock. This beer was so laden with nutrition that some dubbed it “liquid bread.”

Legend tells us that the monks were concerned that their beer was contrary to the Lenten  spirit of penance, so they decided to consult the pope.  On their journey to Rome, the very smooth, never bitter, beer was subjected to extreme weather conditions, causing it to spoil and turn sour. When the pope tasted the spoiled beer, he was so appalled by taste that he immediately deemed it an excellent Lenten penance.

In 2011, a newspaper editor in Iowa tried the Liquid Bread fast, inspired by the monks.  He drank 4 beers a day all week, and 5 on the week-ends  - drinking nothing else but water, and eating nothing at all.
With so much of our area having strong German roots, it's no surprise that Easter Brock was a tradition here in the Susquehanna Valley.  

Danville Breweries, Including The Germania
A bottle from the Germania Brewery in Danville Pa

The Germania Brewery was located on East Front and Ferry Streets in Danville Pa.
It was one of the oldest establishments in Danville, being owned by Hiatt Matchin in 1840.
According to a newspaper article in 1903, the building may have once housed a cooper shop.  In 1903 the building was "a rambling old structure made up of several parts, one or more of which may have been rebuilt within a few years past."  In 1922, The McGlow  Ice Cream Company purchased the brewery from the Fousts, and the building were used as an ice cream distribution center, as well as for the manufacturing of ice, before going out of business less than two years later. In 1925, as part of the prohibition raids, the Brewery was searched, but no "high powered beer" was found.

October 1925

The Montour American November 1903

Montour American, August 1923

Liquor Licenses in Montour County, 1918

Saturday, April 4, 2020

When Milton Had A Movie Theatre

The Capitol Theater in Milton opened for the first time on June 30, 1934 with  Baby Take A Bow, starring Shirley Temple and James Dunn.    The theater survived several floods, and a renovation, before succumbing to fire in 1973.

The Life Of  Virgie Winters, shown on the marquis above,  was showing in 1934.

The Capitol Theater in the 1936 flood

Located at  55 Broadway Road, Milton, PA 17847, in 1934 afternoon shows cost 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults. For evening shows children were charged 15 cents while adults paid 35 cents.

A 1942 Ad for the theater.

The  Milton movie theater had  350 seats in the balcony, and 850 seats on the floor.  It was a grand, well built theater, that survived at least two floods.

Help, Starring the Beatles, was showing in 1965

By the 1960's and 70's, the theater was in disrepair, and very much in need of restoration.  In 1971, Jack Oberleitner & Thomas Poling  purchased the theater and began to restore it to it's original glory.

Alfie, starring Michael Caine, was showing in 1966

   The theater was closed for two months in 1971, while volunteers repaired, painted, re-wired, and polished the building.  The volunteers worked nonstop, reportedly eating and sleeping at the theater.  Nearly 1,000 light bulbs  were replaced on the old-fashioned marquee.

"It was mainly done by ourselves and our friends," Oberleitner said. "A lot of times we would sleep in the balcony of the theater, and get up in the morning and start painting again. It was a major, major undertaking."

Usherette Vickie Coup looks on as  Owner Jack Oberleitner holds a 35mm film, for Mayor Evan C. Williams to cut as the "ribbon" for the opening ceremony on August  6 1971.

A crowd nearly six blocks long lines up for  for the grand re-opening, while the owners and volunteers hurriedly finished painting and putting away scaffolding, just an hour before the doors opened.  

 The  1933 version of King Kong was shown, along with   classic short subjects featuring Shirley Temple, W.C. Fields and Laurel and Hardy.   Organ music greeted them as they entered, and all of the ladies were presented with an orchid corsage, and children received a comic book.  Gold fabric couches lined the lobby, which was lit by chandeliers that had been rescued from the theaters basement storage. Free coffee was served.

The Capitol Theater in the 1972 Flood

Over the years the theater had hosted many events and clubs.  It was used by the catholic church for Sunday services while the church was renovated, by the Union Workers at Chef Boyardee when meeting to approve a new contract, and by many civic organizations for Christmas parties.  

 In October of 1972, just months after the flood, "Let No Woman Be Overlooked", a mass cytology screening program, was held at the Capitol Theater in Milton.

A ticket stub from 1973, when admission was $3.50 for orchestra seating.

In 1973, a year after the flood caused by hurricane agnes,  a fire at the theater buckled the walls and burned a hole through the roof.

On Friday Nov. 30 1973, the Republican & Herald newspaper reported that a fire had erupted in the furnace room of the theater.  The fire gutted the stage area, and damaged the roof.  

  Because of the condition of the walls, the building was in danger of collapsing. 

The Capitol Theater Sign Coming Down

 In 1974, after citing the owner William Cloninger of Nanticoke, multiple times for building code violations, the borough had the building torn down.

The demolition project was expected to cost the borough more than $8,000.  A lien will be filed against the property in an effort to recover the demolition costs.

"I was totally, totally devastated,"  Oberleitner said. "It was almost like having a close relative die. I just couldn't go back to that and see an empty lot where a thing of beauty had once been. There was such magic in that building … I just couldn't do it."

In 1976 the former theater site was for sale.  Today the area is a park, with a large mural commemorating the theater on the adjoining building.

Find More Local History at:

Timeline Of The Capitol Theater In Milton -

1934, June 20 - Warren C Girton, of Bloomsburg,  is named manager of the newly completed Capitol Theater in Milton.

1934, June 30 - Capitol Theater Grand Opening

1939, February - the Theater was  robbed, with the burglers getting away with approximately $70.  It was believed that the thiefs entered through a basement window.

1942 - a scrap material show was held at the theater, and $10 of scrap metal was collected. The money was turned over to the Milton Council of Defense for equipment.
1943, January - Francis Fletcher replaced Harry O Burns Jr. as ticket taker.

1955, December - Milton Steel held a Christmas party for employees children and grandchildren at the Capitol Theater.  388 children attended. (each child received a "bright steel sand pail", filled with candy)

1964, July - Warren C. Girton, Manager at the Capitol Theater, retires after 35 years in the motion picture business.

1971, December - Amalgamated Food Workers and Butcher Workmen of the North America Local 38 (Union) met at the Capitol theater to approve a contract.

1971 - August, St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church of Milton held Sunday morning services in the Capitol Theater through September 17th, while the chruch was renovated.

1972, Oct -  "Let No Woman Be Overlooked", a mass cytology screening program, was held at the Capitol Theater in Milton.
  Prior to the program, two films were shown: Time And Two Women, &  BSE.  A physician was on hand to speak between the two films.  "Priority will be given to women in lower socio-economic groups and menopausal and post-menopausal women of all income brackets who have never had a pap test."

1974, May - Charged were refiled against William Cloninger of Nanticoke, owner of the Capitol Theater. Borough Code enforcer filed the charges, for violations of the borough building code.

1974, Feb 22 - Cloninger cited for building code violations

1974, June - Cloninger arrested for building code violations.  Freed on $2,500 bail.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Where To Pick Up Easter Dinner To Go


The Iron Fork In Danville
Ham Dinner $70 for up to 6 people, $130 for up to 10 people
Roast Beef Dinner for $80 for up to 6 people, $140 for up to 10 people
"We have limited amounts so it is first order first serve. We would love to make your Easter a little easier by providing your food. Call 570-275-4003 to place your orders today. We will take orders up until 5 PM on Wednesday, April 8 or until we sell out.We look forward to hearing from you soon and as always we appreciate your continued support and patronage"

Johnson's Cafe In Montoursville
This year for Easter, we're putting together dinner packs for you to heat at home! 🐰💐
.Each pack includes:
🌼Our Sliced Baked Ham with Pineapple-Raisin Glaze
🌼Sliced Roast Turkey Breast
🌼Filling for the Turkey
🌼Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
🌼Candied Sweet Potatoes
🌼Green Bean Casserole
🌼Choice of Coleslaw, Appleslaw, or Both
🌼Choice of Coconut Cake, Chocolate Cream Cake or Apple-Walnut Crumb Cake
.Dinner for 2 - $39 | Dinner for 4 - $74
.Orders must be placed & paid for by April 10th, and may be picked up between Thursday April 9th & Saturday April 11th. Minimum of 24hrs after placing order required before pickup!

Complete Easter Dinner
$100 for 10-12 people
Silver Moon Catering In Lewisburg

With Easter on the way Grams and Gramps is here to help out!!! We are going to offer a "Family Easter Box" for your family!!!! You will simply just have to Heat it up in the oven!!
All orders must be in by 5pm Wednesday
Must be Pre Paid
Pick up will be on Saturday
$50 for 5 people.
$25 for 2
For additional people it will be $10 per person

-Easter Box-
Maple Glazed Ham
Roasted Turkey
Garlic Green Beans
Roasted Carrots
Roasted Potato Medley

Apple Pies available for $8
Message to set up for orders and payment.

Eat & Run Catering, Williamsport
"We are excited to announce that we will be preparing and delivering Easter dinners! The menu will be A choice of Ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, baked corn, garlic roasted veggies and a delicious Cake
We can deliver it hot or ready to bake the day before.
Available Ready from the oven on Sat
Or ready to eat on Sunday!
Send us a message to get it set up! Don’t fuss with the grocery stores, let us do the work for you!"

Cracker Barrel
Heat n’ Serve Easter Family Meal To-Go
From your oven to table in 3 hours or less • Available Now • Curbside, Pickup, Free Delivery*
Our Heat n' Serve Easter Family Meal To-Go comes chilled and ready to heat, so you can spend more time around the table. You don't have to wait until Easter to get your meal as it is now available. Serves 10 and comes with:

Spiral Sliced Sugar Cured Ham
Hashbrown Casserole
Choice of 3 country sides (each serves up to 10)
Sweet Yeast Rolls
2 Buttermilk Pies

Country Sides
Pick your family's favorite sides from these classics for a truly complete Easter Celebration: Country Green Beans, Fried Apples, Hashbrown Casserole, Macaroni n' Cheese, Whole Baby Carrots, and Whole Kernel Corn.

Available now for curbside, pickup or free delivery through 4/12, while supplies last. 24-hour notice required on all orders. Payment required at time of order. Serve within 72 hours after pickup. All sides pictured may not be available.

Texas Roadhouse - MAYBE
The Texas Roadhouse is offering Family Meal packs, and while not a traditional Easter dinner..  they are great meals at a great price.  They are typically open for Easter, but I have not yet been able to confirm that their take out meal deals are available for Easter

 Watson Inn’s Easter Sunday Menu
Please call 570-538-1832 or 570-855-0074 to place your orders!

Lisa's Milltown Deli in Milton

Traditional Easter Recipes From The Farmers Almanac