I really enjoyed my visit to the Frackville Museum last Sunday. It's the kind of place where you're bound to run into someone you haven't seen for awhile. The exhibits all bring back memories of growing up in Frackville, including some unusual photos of places or people you may have forgotten. The exhibit includes many photos of course, from the collection of local historian Lorraine Stanton. There are also vintage fashion items, and other collectibles especially from the 50's and 60's. I saw some photos of the interior of the Garden Theater, and one of the visitor's said that there was a special seat in the balcony that held two people! I didn't get into the balcony too much, I guess, for I didn't remember that. There was also a photo of Wagner's Dam, a small body of water that used to exist at the northwest corner of Balliet and Arch Streets. Most people don't remember it now. A visit here is a must for anyone with Frackville roots. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until Spring to visit, as it is closed for the winter months. Look here for news of the reopening in March.
by Hilary Mantel. This book is not for everyone. If you don't know anything about English history in the16th century, you might find it a bit confusing-lots of characters, references to past events, and a setting not only foreign in location but in time. Even if you love historical novels, this one does require a little work on the part of the reader. Mantel, a prize winning novelist in the UK, has taken an actual but little known participant in the Court of Henry VIII and brought him to life. Thomas Cromwell, great grandfather to Oliver Cromwell, came from very humble roots to become a key advisor to Henry VIII during a time of great change and turmoil for the monarch. The beauty of Mantel's writing is in her being able to make us react to Thomas as a real person. Her glorious prose allows us to enter the society where Cromwell, at least for a time, flourished, and to share the company of Henry and several of his well-known wives. This book is the first in a series of three. The second volume in the series, Bring Up the Bodies
, is also available in both print at the library and as an ebook.
Even though the library was very fortunate to escape serious damage from the fire on our block on Friday, November 21, we certainly feel very sad for the other property owners. I am especially sorry to see the two buildings at 60 and 62 North Lehigh suffering such a fate. Both of these buildings have been a part of our town for a good portion of its history. In local historian Lorraine Stanton's book, Images of America: Frackville
, there are two great photographs. One shows Mr Alexander Polanchyk standing in front of his first '5 and 10' store at 60 N Lehigh. Apparently back in the the 1920's there were dances held in the basement here! The photo of 62 N Lehigh, which currently housed Amberdeen's, dates from 1914, and shows that even then the property was providing food and entertainment. W D Maurer had a restaurant and confectionary at that address. If you 'd like to have a look at these photos, stop in and have a look. We have several copies of Mrs Stanton's book available for use in the library.