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RHOADS OPERA HOUSE

Rhoads Opera House as it stands today.

Located on Main & Washington St. in Boyertown, PA is this old Opera House that was built by G. Rhoads in 1885 for the purpose of having Plays & Opera on the 2nd Floor of the building. A National Bank occupied the 1st floor. Most people have passed this old building many times, including me, without really being aware of a horrid tragedy that happened here back in 1908. I have passed by this place a number of times, and never, ever knew anything about it. It looks just like any other older building in Boyertown, but looks here are deceiving.

This is the Opera House back in 1908. The Opera was on the 2nd Floor.

On the evening of January 13th, 1908 a Play & Opera was scheduled to perform on the 2nd Floor. Many, many people came here to see the performance from around the area. The place was packed with people. Back in the day, lighting was done with kerosene lamps, and a jug/bucket was kept near-by to keep the fuel filled so lights would not go out. At sometime during the 3rd Act, someone knocked over one of the jugs of kerosene onto a light and it ignited into a fire. Most everything then was built of wood, and the fire spread fast. There was only 1 entrance & exit back then. People were screaming and climbing over each other to get out. Boyertown had only 1 Fire Company with just 1 Fire Truck & a small Police Force consisting of 2 Officers.

After the fire.

The response of the Fire Company was very slow back in the day. Water pressure was very weak for the fire hoses. The fire spread so fast that people were burned alive and were stacked 2 – 3 deep near the door. Most of them were trampled to death & burned where they fell. It took until 3 in the morning until the fire was declared out. Some of the bodies could not be identified, because of being burned so badly. A total of 171 people lost their lives on that horrible night.

Looking at the Opera House from Washington St.

You can’t even tell that something like that happened here. There are no objects or burn marks to show anything. The Fire Escapes were removed because they did nothing to help.

The Plaque that honors the people who died here.

The horrific fire on that evening prompted the many Fire Codes you see in place today, so something like this never happens again. The people that could not be identified are buried in a mass grave at the entrance to the town of Boyertown.

Thanks for stopping by. It’s been a long Winter.

Les

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TRACTORS OF THE PAST

One of the things I do, on occasion, is grab my camera gear and take a drive around the many back country roads that are in/around my area. There are so many of them. So many that I can get lost on them, and really not sure where I am. A portion of the roads I’ve known from before, but there are also many that I’ve never been on. This is part of the fun of it. You can never really know what’s up around that next hill or bend in the road.

So, yesterday was one of those days. Driving the back road I happen to come up on a big field that had so many junk looking tractors that I just had to pull over and stop to see what’s there. It had my interest that here was a photographers dream with all these old tractors just sitting there.

The 1st thing I had to do was find the Land owner and ask him/her if I could walk around and shoot some of the many farm tractors that were there. I found the owner outside working on a tractor and asked permission. My wish was granted. He even showed me where the best/old ones were.

There were so many of them I had a hard time choosing which ones were the best for photography. There were many of the same name. International Harvester, John Deer, Massey Ferguson, & Ford.

Now this is the old Barn where I was told the tractors are repaired as best they can be. The place is a mess, as you can see.

I’m sorry that my Post is not quite right, but there is a reason. I had to start using this new format which I don’t like at all! Can’t seem to get used to it. Wish I could change back to what was before.

Thanks for stopping by,

Les

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DREIBELBIS STATION COVERED BRIDGE REVISITED.

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Greetings all!  This Post was made before about the Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge that is located about a 1/2 hr. drive away for me in a town named Lenhartsville, PA.  The difference with this post is that this Bridge has been repaired & made to look much better than it was before.  The image above is what it used to look like before the restoration.

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Here now, is the restored bridge after months of work.  During the years of 1834 – 1885 there were 45 different Covered Bridges built in the area.  This is just one of them, plus the ones I posted about before.  Dreibelbis Station Bridge is 172 feet long & weighs just over 100,000 lbs.  She looks darn good!

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Here’s another look at the bridge from a different angle.  As you can see there has been new Red siding installed, a new roof, and new stone supports.  The small problem I had was that I could not walk inside the bridge yet.  I was still blocked off for any traffic.  Guess it’s not quite ready yet.

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This is about all I could show of the supports in the Bridge.  Notice the old way of securing the beams together with 1″ Dowel Pins.

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This is the clearance to enter the Bridge.  Traffic is not yet allowed, but cars can cross over when it opens.  Also, notice the “Hex sign” at the top which I had posted about before.  I don’t know what this one means.  They all have a special meaning from the PA Dutch.

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Here’s another look.  During the heavy rain, we had a few weeks ago from that Tropical Storm that came our way, the water rose up very, very close to the Bridge!  That would have not been good!  All that work might have been washed away!  The few homes in the background are part of Dreibelbis Station.  Just where that name came from, I don’t know.

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Taken from the Internet, this is a picture of the bridge from long ago.

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Here is how they lifted the Burr Arch Truss Bridge before/after it’s restoration.  Wish I could have seen this being done!  I knew nothing about it, until later on after the work was just about complete.  The Farmhouse in the background belongs to a friend of mine.  This is how I found out.

Well, this should be the last Post on Covered Bridges around here for a while.  Thanks for stopping by.

Les

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EPLERS SCHOOL

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Pictured here is the old Eplers 1-room schoolhouse that was built in 1847.  This school was originally at another location not very far away in Bern Twp.  It also was scheduled to be destroyed by a wrecking ball, until some residents fought to have it preserved for History.  After many months of meetings with those who wanted to destroy it, it was picked up and moved to this location at the Berks County Heritage Center.  It must have been a very delicate move as not to crack any of the structure.  As shown, it is not quite done sitting on its new foundation.  This was a good thing to do and that preserves History for all to see.

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Just a very short walk away from the old school is the Wertz Covered Bridge that has been here for many years.  It was repaired & painted to keep its original look.

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A look inside the Covered Bridge.  No cars are allowed to cross this.  Just people walking & bicycles.  What the “white” spots are for I have no knowledge.

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With all the torrential rain we’ve had from that tropical storm, the old Union Canal still holds water.  It’s almost like the Canal Barges could travel here again.  The Mule Towpath is shown to the left.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

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MY HOME TOWN

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This is a bit of a re-post from before, but with a much better Image of the Fleetwood Auto Body Plant where the Cadillac Fleetwood got it’s name.  Fleetwood, PA is my ole’ hometown and where I went to High School.

The Plant was formed in 1909.  Fleetwood Auto bodies were made here until 1931 when the process was moved to Detroit.  Even though it was re-located the Cadillac kept its name.  Right next to it where you see the nice parking lot, was the Fleetwood Tannery where leather was tanned & processed for many years.  However, back in 1981 the Tannery caught fire and burned to the ground.  It was one heck of a big fire because of all the chemicals that were in the plant.  It just could not be saved.  There must have been 10 fire engines trying to put out the roaring fire.  Nothing is left of it now.  Just a nice parking lot where something used to be.

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Just another view of the old Plant.

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This is the 1929 Cadillac Fleetwood Body made in Fleetwood.

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I did not take these images, but they are one beautiful looking cars from the day’s of long ago.

Thank you for reading.

Les

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SCHOOL DAYS

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This is what remains of the old Frey 1-room School House.  This old 1-room school was in use when I was in High Scool back in the early 60’s.  Grades from 1 – 8 were taught here by a Mr. Gehert, a teacher I’ve never known.  Just how old this school is I really don’t know, but it’s been here at this spot for as long as I can remember.  The front area shown used to be the play yard, but now it’s full of weeds.  I remember this play yard being a dirt yard with 1 swing set and a see-saw.  They are long gone now.

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Using “Selective Color” this is the main entrance to the school.  I wanted to take a peek at what was inside, but it was locked up.  All I could do was look thru the glass window and just see a bunch of ole’ rusty junk piled in it.  What I wanted to do is get some Images of the Pot Bellied Stove that is still there.  I was sorry I couldn’t do that.

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Still standing after many years is the Barn that is right next to the school.  The Barn was used to house pigs, chickens, and horses in its day.  I remember the barnyard critters being here long ago.  I’m surprised that the Barn is still standing.

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Just one of the 6 windows at the school.  They are just rotting away.  I have heard that there are no plans to save this old school.  It will pass into History.

Thanks for stopping here.

Les

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BACK INTO HISTORY

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This is called a “Steam Lokie”.  Used a lot at the ole’ #9 Coal Mine in Coaldale, PA to haul coal from the Mine to the Coal Breaker that was nearby.  The Breaker is no longer there, but this is all that remains from when Coal was King in this area.

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Remember the song by Tennessee Ernie Ford “Sixteen Tons?”  “You load 16 Tons and what do you get?  Another day older and deeper in debt.”  This is a 1 Ton Coal Car that was loaded by Miners using just a pick & shovel.  When full, it was pulled out of the Mine using Mules & Horses.  It was dangerous, dirty, and back-breaking work!

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The Mine here is no longer open to the public.  I don’t know why or what happened here.  This Mine was a living museum to see just how hard the Miners of long ago had to work to earn a paycheck.

“I am an Anthracite Miner.  Come walk with me  .  .  .  today, tomorrow, and eternity.”

 

Thank you.

Les

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MAKING PAPER

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Located on the outskirts of Philadelphia along the Wissokicken Creek is the old Rittenhouse Paper Mill Town, also known as Paper Mill Run where paper was made in the early 1700’s.

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This is what remains of the Creek that powered the Mill.  I have no idea what the building is in the background.  This area was not open to the public, so I could not walk around here.

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One of the old homes that were built around 1702.

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Another home built around the same time.  These buildings are showing there age, but still, stand after 300 yrs.!

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The Main House where the owner of the Mill lived.  It is still in use to this day.

It was darn hot when I shot these images.  I ran into a big problem while walking around here.  I had to use the bathroom real bad.  The problem was that there was none to be found!  Not one public bathroom or Porta Pottie.  I could not believe this.  A public place like this had nothing!  I finally found a place in a small Cafe, but there was nothing for the public to use!  Only for the volunteers.  I asked to use it, and my wish was granted!  Thank goodness for that or I would have to use the wooded area nearby.

Thank you for stopping by.

Les

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LUMINAR 4

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This is an image of my ole’ Destroyer that I served aboard for 3 yrs. that was stationed in Pearl Harbor.  The picture was not taken by me.  It was shot from another destroyer, the USS Strauss.  I don’t know if I was aboard when this was taken.  Could be.

Using my photo editing program, Luminar 4, I could enhance the image to make it look so much better than before.  With the old picture, the sky was very dull and all the color was not very good.  With Luminar 4 I could insert a much better sky and enhance the color of the sea & my ship.  By the looks I think she is steaming at about 15 knots.  Where we were going, I don’t know.  I like this program quite alot.  It’s well worth the money you pay for it.  There are so many, many memories for me looking at this picture that are too numerous to tell about.  I will always remember.

Till the next time.

Les

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NOT MUCH DOING HERE!

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Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my blog.  With this stupid virus thing running around and a “lockdown by the Governor of PA” to stay in your homes and not to go out unless it’s really necessary is getting to be kinda boring.

We are not going anywhere, so there is not that much to do here.  The only thing that I do is “putter” around the house.  This gives me a chance to do things that should be done such as clean up the yard outside of leaves from the Winter winds, pick up broken twigs from the tree, do some coloring, work on my wooden cut out of an anchor, and help with the wash.  Clean out the car from Winters slop and keep it clean lookin’.

Life around my area is pretty much the same as it is anywhere else.  Most people are staying at home and off the roads.  Malls are shut down.  WalMart is open for food and necessary items, but there are those who stock up on everything leaving the shelves bare.  The Vendors can’t seem to keep up with the demand.  There is really no reason to get nut’s over this.  I think it will pass in time.  People are going for walks and getting out, but not lots of them.  I haven’t gone out on a “photo shoot” in quite a while.  However, I will go out but avoid places that have crowds of people.  I don’t think I’ll see that since most places are closed down.

I would like to travel down to Philadelphia to shoot Boat House Row and some other places in the City in B&W, but not sure about that yet.  We shall see.

Stay Safe in this trying time.

Les

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SPINNING REEL

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Now, how does this thing work?

I happen to be paging thru some of my Images that I had forgotten about.  I came across this one that I took last year at the Daniel Boone Homestead Festival.

I was just walking around and taking a look at what was there.  Walked around the old Barn and found this Lady working with a Spinning Reel.  She was fiddling around with it trying to either get it to work right or she was confused on what do do.

I stood there watching her along with other interested people.  Put up the Pentax and zoomed in a bit.  Just happened to catch this look on her face.  I know I would have no idea on how those old Spinning Reels were used.  It must have taken some knowledge to operate.  The brushed wool she was using was down in a wooden box on the lower right of the Image.  Watching how this worked, it seemed that  with her left hand she had to twist the wool into long strands while spinning the wheel.  I have no idea what that is in her right hand.  This is what had to be done if you wanted something to wear during the Winter months.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

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HAUNTED HALLWAY

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Photographed on the 2nd floor of the old High School.

Last summer I made a drive over to my old High School to see if what I had been told about that my school was Haunted!  I sort of did not believe it and that’s what I wanted to find out for sure.

My old HS was empty except for some administrative people that were there using one of the Classrooms as an Office.  It has become the Administrative Building since it closed down and was going to be demolished in the near future.  No one is there anymore.

I walked in and told the 2 nice Ladies who I was and what I was there for.  I was told I could walk these hallowed halls as long as I had an escort with me.  Why did I have to have that?  It was for Insurance purposes.  Ok.  That’s fine with me.

While walking around in the Hallways that I remembered so well, I asked about whether this school was truly haunted like I was told.  To my complete surprise, she said: “Yes, that it is.”  She had witnessed some of the “strange” things for herself.  She saw a “misty” form standing in the doorway at the back entrance of the school.  It was there for just a few seconds and then gone!  In the old Gym where Saturday night dances were held long ago and is now used as a collection area for hundreds of records, she & others have heard “voices” from nowhere!  They have no idea where they come from, but can be heard!  From who?  From what?  No explanation.  They just don’t know.

Now, the above image is one that I shot while up on the 2nd Floor.  I was told that the doors are always kept closed in case of a fire.  When she comes in she finds them open!  Who does this?  Can’t be explained.  Notice the long bench on the left?  It moves from one place to another!  One time it’s on the other wall.  Another time it’s down the Hall against the wall!  They never seem to know where it will be.  No explanation.  Also, notice the “exit” light at the end of the hall?  It’s lit up!  There is no electricity in this part of the building.  No, it’s not a reflection.  I used no flash here at all.  During the daylight hours, strange noises are heard in the Halls for no reason.

Since my visit here, the old school has been demolished.  There is nothing there now except an empty lot.  Going to be used for a Park of some kind.  I wonder if the haunting will continue in the empty lot?

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

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STARTING A JOURNAL?

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For a number of weeks now, I have been thinking about starting a Journal about my past, what I think, and my opinions of what’s going on in this crazy world we live in.

I am a bit hesitant about doing this for the reason that I’ve never done this before.  I have noticed that there are quite a number of different kinds of Journals out there.  In fact, there are hundreds of them.  My biggest problem is who would read it?  Who would care?  Would you take an interest in what I write?  As some of you might have noticed, I have not really said much about my personnel Life.  Most of it has been about places that I go to or have been Historical in nature with my camera.  I always have been interested in doing this because I can show the History that is around me and my Photography that I enjoy doing.

If I start this, I will probably tell of my early life growing up and then keep going forward from what I remember.  Even though I’m almost 73 yrs. old, my memory is still pretty good.  I will label my entries as Journal Entry #1 and so on.

If you have any opinion on this, leave a comment.  I would appreciate that.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

 

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SOME NEW LOOKS

About 1 week ago I happen to come across a new photo editing program called Luminar 4.  I’ve been reading about it and it seemed to be much better than the Luminar 2018 program I had before.  So, after some thought, I decided to upgrade to this newer program where it told me it could edit dull grey skies to a sky that is much more colorful with just one click.  Really?  Ok, let’s see what this can do.

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This Image I had posted awhile back, but the sky was dull and washed out.  I never really did like it.  Using my new program, look at what it can do!  I was astonished, to say the least.  Much, much better than before.  Since then I’ve done a few more.

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The old St. Nickoles Coal Breaker that now no longer here.  Torn down.

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Heading to the Bahama Islands.

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The mighty Bethlehem Steel Plant

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Coal slag left over from the now gone Primrose Coal Breaker.

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The abandoned Days Inn located in Schuylkill Haven, PA

Now, you can see just what a good sky can do to improve the look of your Image.  I am impressed with this program.  Glad I upgraded to the new one.  My Images will look so much better now.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

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DOWN A OLD ROAD

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Looking East on old RT22 that used to be the only 2 lane road from Allentown to Harrisburg, PA back in 1952.  In the day there was no Interstate 78.  It was being built during that time.  There have been a lot of improvements on this old road since then.  No longer is it a cement 2 lane road.

Old RT22 used to have a number of gas stations & motels for travelers using it, but now most all of them are gone to History.  At places along this road are still remnants of a gas station or motel that is no longer there.  On the right side of this Image there was once a Texaco Gas Station I seem to recall.  Nothing there anymore.  Just an empty farmer’s field.

The road is still used pretty much, but not as much as years ago.  I even use it here & there and remember what used to be.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

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MY YEAR IN REVIEW

Happy New Year to all my faithful followers!  At the end of this year, I would like to take this time to THANK all of you for following me & my Posts.  I have always appreciated your likes and comments.

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Now then, I think that this is the 1st time I’ve posted an image of me and what I look like.  This is who you talk to via my FB Posts. This was taken on Christmas morning while helping my Wife, Eileen cooks Christmas Dinner.  She took this photo.  Eileen does all the cooking of the food.  I just help out when & where I can.  Normally I stay out of the kitchen because I can’t cook what she can.  I would be just in her way.

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The Christmas Table in our Dining Room before all the food has been placed and all the relation has arrived.  My phone camera does not do such a good job taking pictures.  Sorry for the blur in it.  The Chair Rail you see, I put in a number of years ago to match the Table, Chairs, & Hutch.  The Hutch has a number of crystal glass, plates, and figurines that are old and worth a bit of money.  My Mother had some of them from the 1950s.  We keep them in there for display and to keep the dust off them.  The rest were purchased by Eileen over the years passing.  The Dining Room does not get used that much during the year.  Just when we have other people coming over for dinner.  The rest of the time it just sits there and gathers dust.

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And for the 1st time, this is my Loving Wife, Eileen.  Taken by me & my phone again.  “Leenie” as she is called most of the time is 6 months younger than me.  She was born & raised in the Coal Region that is north of here.  I call her a “Coal Cracker” at times because people from that region are known by that name.  She has 2 Sons, Galen & Brian from a previous marriage.  Her late Husband passed away in 1990 from Cancer.  In 1992 she met me.  We have been together since then.  Her oldest son, Galen, is a retired PA State Trooper and Brian is working as a Food Specialist here in Reading.  Both of her sons are big boys!  Galen is 6’5″ tall & Brian is just a bit shorter.  She has nothing to worry about when they are around her!  Growing up in the Coal Region, she didn’t have much because her father just could not afford a lot.  She grew up poor but managed with what she had.  Just one of the things she had to put up with was while in Minersville High School, she had no heat in her bedroom.  It was so cold in there she had to get dressed for school in the bathroom.  It was the only place up-stairs that had heat!  There were many times that her father could not afford the Coal to heat the furnace.  It was cold enough to see her breath in her room!

So, this year has not been bad for me, but for Eileen, it’s a different story.  Eileen has been having problems with her knees for a long while.  A lot of pain, discomfort, & limping around.  She had to get shot’s in her knees to get rid of the pain.  This would last about 3 months until she’d have to do it all over again.  Finally, it was recommended by the Doctor to have her knee replaced with an artificial one.  This would mean major surgery!  So, on June 6th she went into the Reading Hospital to have this done.

She stayed in the hospital for 3 days to start the healing process.  Then she came home.  Now, trust me, this is no fun at all!  She was in pain for about 2 weeks before there was some relief from the surgery.  It was terrible at times.  She could walk but not very well until the healing process got better.  I was there to help her out as much as I could.  Now, 6 months have gone by, and she’s doing much, much better.  It was a long, tough process that I don’t want to go thru at all!

For the most part, our year so far has been pretty good.  I’m still doing and above ground so far.  We are not going anywhere for New Years at all.  Staying home.  New Years Day we are having 10 people over for Pork & Saurkrut as we have done for quite a while.  It is said that having Pork & Saurkrut brings good luck?  Not sure about that one.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

 

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JOLLY OLE’ ST NICK

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Photographed at the Reading Hospital Cancer Unit

Yesterday while over at the Reading Hospital waiting for my Wife to have a Stress Test done on her heart I didn’t have much to do but walk around and see what’s going on.  While slowly walking the many areas of the huge Hospital, I happen to hear some Christmas carols being sung by a choir over in the next building.  They sounded pretty good, so I thought I’d go over there and see what’s going on.

Found out that the Choir was from one of the High Schools around the area.  The Choir was pretty much all young Ladies and 6 or 7 young men.  They all looked to be in 8th or 9th Grade.  They were singing Deck The Halls, Jingle Bells, Hark The Herold Angels Sing, and White Christmas, plus a few more.  They had some good harmony and I enjoyed listening to the music for a while.

In the process of just standing around enjoying the music, I noticed Santa walking around with his bag of goodies.  I thought he looked pretty good and was worth an Image being taken of him.  When he came close to me, I asked him if he would mind me taking a shot of him.  He said No, and stepped over in front of the tree for me.  The above is the photo I took of him with my phone camera.  I thanked him for his time, and he went along his merry way.

Found out that Santa visit’s the Children’s Area and goes into the Rooms to greet all the sick children who might not be home for Christmas.  He gives them all a small gift from Santa himself.  This is such a nice gesture for them all.  Santa’s reindeer were not there, that I saw.

Happy Holidays to all

Les

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I THINK I’M GETTING BETTER.

Hello there my blogging friends.  How is your Holiday Season going so far?

For the past few days, I’ve been trying to learn how to place a different sky in my Images when the sky itself is blown out and not attractive at all.  I found out by reading that this can be changed in Photoshop CC by doing a few steps that I could follow along with.  There are video’s out there to learn from, but I’m not good at watching a video and then try to remember what was told to me.  I found it’s much easier to print out the instructions and then read what it tells me as I follow along.  Even with doing this, it takes me 3 or 4 times to get it fairly right.  It takes practice.

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A previous posted Image of a Historic Barn, but with some enhancement.

Using my Photoshop CC program this is the 1st Image that I tried to add a better sky since the one before had no color at all.  There are 6 different steps that you have to do to add a different sky.  I got the sky from the Internet that was free to download.  It took me 3 times to get this sort of right.  I say that because there are mistakes here that I made, but I learned from them.

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Another Image I posted before, but with a different sky.

Again, I did a bit better, but it should have been done with not so many white spaces around the trees & buildings.  It’s an improvement.

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This is the 3rd one I’ve done of an old home from years ago.

With this one, the sky came out much better.  I also made the stone on the house a bit more brown to show an “old look”  There is so much more that can be done with Photoshop CC but it takes a lot of time to learn how.

Happy Holidays to my Followers

Les

 

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MY OLD TOYBOX

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Pictured above is what used to be my Toy Box that was hand made by my Grandfather & painted by my Grandmother in 1948, a year after I was born.  I had no idea who did this back then since I was only a year old.  The Pine Wood box stands about 2.5 feet high, 3 feet long, and about 2 feet wide.  Everything was made with just a hand saw, jigsaw, a hammer, maybe some glue, and decorative studs.  It has survived my banging around and was also used by my Daughter years ago.  It shows the wear & tear from 73 yrs.  The Lid to it is gone.  I have no idea what happened to it.  The Lid was the same color but had my nickname across the top in Silver letters.

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There is also another one just like this one except it is painted blue with different kinds of figures painted on it.  It was made by my Grandfather in the same way but was for my Cousin who was born in August 1947.  My Cousin turned his into a box that displayed his stereo system.  As far as I know, he still has it.

My Grandmother liked to paint on canvas too.  I still have some of her paintings that have survived over the years.  My Brother has more of them.

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a nice Holiday Season

Les

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KAUFFMAN FARM RE-VISITED

Don’t really remember if I had mentioned this before on an earlier post, but a few weeks ago I was asked by the Oley Heritage Foundation to take Images of Historic buildings around the Oley area.  They must have liked my shot’s from viewing them from a friend of mine who told them about me.  I am very grateful for this.  Someone has noticed my work.  So, with that in mind, I have been taking my camera gear “out there” to places that they have requested I shoot fresh Images for a book that will be published in January or February of next year.  The last Images they had were taken sometime in 1993.  I told them I can do better than what they have.  I won’t be making any money from doing this, since the Foundation is a non-profit.  I don’t care about getting paid.  I just enjoy doing it as I always have.

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Here is the Historic Kauffman Farm Homestead.  Established by David Kauffman in 1726 it is a fine example of PA German buildings that are frequent to this area from long ago.  The Main House in the background was built in 1763.  The Farm buildings were added in 1834.

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This is looking to the rear of the Farmstead.  The Main house, Springhouse, and another building that I don’t know what was used for.  Notice the Outhouse from years gone by when there were no toilets or running water in the home.  Water had to be drawn from a Spring that is still there.  Imagine going to the bathroom in that Outhouse in the rain, sleet, cold, snow, or hot weather?  I can believe it must have been a challenge back then . . . especially in the middle of the night!

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This is the Main Barn.  It’s rather large, I must say.  PA German barns are usually this big.  Everything is padlocked so no one goes snooping around in it and possibility stealing or worse destroying History just for the fun of it!

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Here I thought the Farmstead would look better in B&W.

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From behind the stone wall.

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Photographing History.  Why the barn door was open, I don’t know.  I ventured inside to take a look-see.  Nothing in there to be of interest.  Just old timbers, hay, and a very dirty floor.  There are times when I look into places like this, that I don’t know what’s in there!  You never know!

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With the light fading by the minute, I elected to depart this old place, but only after I find a place to take a pee!  When walking around taking Images, it doesn’t matter where I always seem to get this problem!  So, with no one around here but me I didn’t have a problem finding a place.  Also, while here, I noticed how very quiet it is.  No noise at all.  Just the sound of me walking thru the grass.  I often thought what was it like here back then?  Guess I’ll never know.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

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MAIN STREET, OLEY

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Out photographing old homes yesterday for the Oley Heritage Foundation, I find that homes like this are not seen so much anymore.  It seems to be a design that has gone to History.  This home is found along Main St. in Oley which has a number of places like this.  While photographing these I always wonder who had this in the past?  How long has it been here?  Information is very hard to find about these.  All I know is it was built sometime in the early 1800s.  They must be well built because it stands to this day.

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Here is another one.  Who was here?  What happened you never seem to know.

Photographing homes in Oley along Main St. is somewhat of a job to do.  Most homes are located along a busy 2 lane road that runs thru the town.  Traffic traveling up and down can be a problem.  Even though I have pulled my car off to the side of the road as far as I safely can, and have my 4-way flashers on, and an added yellow rotating light on the roof, car’s speed by without care or slowing down.  I always have to be cautious when doing this or get run over!

Another thing that I have to put up with is wires & telephone poles!  I hate them being in my Images.  You can’t seem to get away from them.  I try and shoot the best possible composition, but still, get them in my Image.  Then what I have to do is get rid of them using my Photoshop CC program.  Thank goodness for that!  It’s a bit time consuming since there are so many.  Wish Oley would get rid of them somehow.

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This one dates back to the 1800s but does not look it.  It has been made over to look more modern.  It looks good.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

Featured

OLD HOMES

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A few days ago I was asked by the Oley Heritage Foundation to take Images of Historic buildings on Main Street in Oley, Pa. to replace the Images they had with better quality photos.  The ones they had were out of date and not anywhere near what I could do.  I was given a list, via e-mail, of numbers that were the addresses of buildings.  Since then I have been traveling back & forth to Oley taking the Images asked for.  The above is what used to be the old Union Meeting House, but is now a Church.  This dates back to the middle 1700s.

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This is another Historic Home that has been here since the early 1800s.  I like the porch supports.  Things like this are very rare to see anymore.

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This home was on the list of Historic Homes, but I don’t know why.  It seems that at one time it looked a lot different than what it does now.  If you look close you can still see the original foundation on the bottom.

The small town of Oley is just full of History.  You just have to know where and what to look for.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

Featured

FALL IN THE NOLDE STATE FOREST

Not but a half hr. drive away for me is the Nolde State Forest.  I have known and driven by this place many times in the past, but have never taken the time to walk around here.  I decided to go check it out during this Fall time of the year.

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One of the picnic areas in Fall color.

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On one of the many hiking trails.

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Tried to capture the leaves falling.  Didn’t work out well.

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I must make a point to come here after we have a good snow this winter.

Thank you for viewing.

Les

 

Featured

PROMISED LAND STATE PARK

One of the really nice State Parks that are in Pennsylvania and is not a really far drive for me is Promised Land Park.  It is located north of here and takes about 3 hrs. to drive there.  I had been to this Park back in the early 70s when I used to go camping with my former Wife.  I grabbed all the camera gear that I thought I might need, loaded the car and off I went.

However, there was a small problem when I left.  The weather was not looking good at all!  There were many dark windblown clouds and it was on the cold side.  The wind made it feel colder than it actually was.  While driving up there I was thinking that the weather would improve more, but to my disappointment it never did.  I was not happy about this, but I have to deal with what Mother Nature gives me.  I made the best of it.

Upon arriving at the Park, I was a bit confused about just where I was.  It’s been so long since I’ve been there I had to stop at the Ranger Station to get a map of where I wanted to go.  My memory is good, but some things escape me after time.

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After stopping at the Ranger Station I used this Map to refresh my memory on where to go.  This State Park is huge.  There are so many things to do and see, but I didn’t have all that time.  This Map only shows part of the Park.  There is so much more!  I drove the very narrow Park roads that I show in Black.  It doesn’t look long, but it is.  The maximum speed is 10 mph in the Park.  The Rangers will stop you if caught speeding.

There are many, many Trails to follow.  I didn’t have time to do that, even though I sort of wanted to if they were not real long.  Camping is a big thing here and there are numerous places to camp.  Too many to mention.  Also, this is Black Bear country.  Bears in the Park are common sight to see.  I didn’t see any, maybe cause it’s close to the time for them to hibernate.

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So, despite the windy cloudy weather I did manage to get in some shots of where I was.  This is traveling along the Lake.  The road is quite narrow.

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Part of the Lake in Fall Color.

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Taken from the car.  I was headed down this road and thought this looked pretty nice.

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Here is another one, but a much better color.  It’s a bit blurry because of the wind but still turned out pretty good.  I have always appreciated what Mother Nature shows us.  It’s not here very long, so behold it while you can.

After driving around some more I was getting tired & worn out, so I headed home.  It was a good 3.5 hr. drive back.  By the time I turned into our driveway I was dog tired!  Gathered my gear and sat in my comfortable chair for the rest of the evening.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

 

Featured

MISTY

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It was a bit Misty & on the cool side here at the old Bernheart Dam.  Weather & the Fall Season are upon us, but the color is not quite all there yet.  It should be in full color in a week or so.

This old Dam has been here for longer than I remember.  It used to be a good fishing place until a Battery Plant moved in close by.  Now, the water here is no good.  No fish, either.  The only Wildlife here are the ducks & geese which don’t hang around very long.

The City of Reading is going to drain this Dam in the next 6 months.  Where are they going to empty this water into?  There is alot of it.  Pump it out into a nearby stream?  I don’t know, and I think the City does not know either.  Guess that time will tell.

Thanks for viewing.

Les

Featured

M60 TANK

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The M60 Main Battle Tank is a static display located in the small Town of Leesport, Pa.

Used during the Korean & Vietnam War’s this tank had a 105mm Main Gun.  It also had a 7.62cal. machine gun that was located on the top.  Also carried a few thousand rounds of machine gun ammunition.

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Photographed in B&W the M60 is slowly loosing the color it once had from sitting in all types of weather.  Would have liked to see the inside of this, but everything is locked up tight so no one enters.  The engine that powered this is still inside.

Thanks for viewing.

Les

JUST A RETURN

Wasting away.

Now that all the snow is gone from that bad Winter we had I decided to go back to the “Tractors From the Past” and see if anything had changed from the last time. Again, I asked the Land Owner if I could walk around again, and my request was granted. He remembered me from last year. I found that most of the old Tractors were still there, but a few were missing. This is because some of them were sold to people who wanted parts. I knew they were there for a reason.

Just sitting here.

The weather was not all that good when I went here again. It was cloudy, windy, and on the cold side. Mother Nature is having trouble deciding to still be in Winter mode or not.

I also noticed that there was a old abandoned farm house that sits up on a hill just across the road from where I was at. It looked like no one has lived there in a long, long time. It was falling apart. Decided to ask the Land Owner about it and if he owned it. Was told that it was owned by someone else and no one lives there anymore. It gave me a idea to go up there and shoot some Images of a old farm house, but was advised not to do that. He said that the Owner does not want anyone “snooping around”. Good enough for me. I’ll stay out of there!

However, I do have a Tamron 400mm Lens that could reach the old house, so I thought I’d set up my Tripod and see what I can see. Well, it didn’t turn out too well. The hill that the house sits on kept getting in the way of my shot. Tried different angles, but they did not look good to me. I gave up. Maybe I can try from a different place. We’ll see.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

JUST A OLD FOUNTAIN

The old Fountain.

Located in the town of Hamburg, PA where I grew up is this old Fountain that has been here for way before I can remember. To all of you it’s just a nice fountain, but to me it has many memories.

When I was so much younger, I used to climb over the fence and play here trying to catch the large fish that were in it. The fish were large Goldfish that were all kinds of different colors. I’d catch them and then put them back in the water just for the fun of it all. Getting my clothes & shoes wet was all part of the fun. Going back home, my Mother would scold me about my wet clothes and to be more careful.

The Fountain has changed over the many years since then. It used to be red in color. There was no landscaping there like now. I was surprised to see that it was still here. I have no idea if the Fountain still sprays water or the fish are still placed in it during the late Spring & Summer. It’s a good memory for me.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

OPERA HOUSE FIRE

Rhoads Opera House burial site.

Located in the cemetery where you enter Boyertown stands this grave marker to mark where the victims of the fire that could not be identified were laid to rest. It’s a big plot. No one knows who they were. The names of some victims are here on the Stone.

The old building.

After that horrid fire which burned 171 people, a good portion of the bodies were taken here in the basement to await burial. It was under a different name back then, but the original building still stands. Since that fire, this building is said to be haunted by those who lost their lives. I was told that strange sounds are heard, voices from empty space, and objects being moved from one place to another. Now, weather that’s true or not, I don’t really know. I wanted to go inside the building, but the sign said it’s closed. Will re-open soon.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

IT’S SNOWING AGAIN!

I know that for those of you that follow my blog here that I have not been posting that much. The reason for that is there is not a whole lot going on here. Can’t really get “out there” because of the snow that we have been getting every so many days. Here in Eastern PA the weather patterns have been worse than other years. Last year we got really nothing for snow. This year is totally the opposite. So far we have close to or over 2 feet of snow on the ground. As I write this it is snowing again! We are forecasted to get 2 – 4 inches more of the white stuff! To be honest, I’m getting tired of clearing the drive-way and sidewalks with my snow thrower. My back & legs get sore from this. However, the new snow makes things look pretty with a fresh coat of snow. Better days are coming soon.

PlayStation2 US Navy SOCUM SEALS Combined Assault game.

So, since there is not much to do in or around the house, I had decided to bring out my Playstation2 game console, hook it back up to the TV, and start playing these totally awesome shooter games. The computer simulations are so very good. Each “mission” you have to navigate thru have sound and “bad guy’s” that you have to “neutralize” with what you are armed with. You also have 3 other Navy Seal’s that work for you. It’s a lot more detail than what I describe here, but these games are fun to play. They keep you thinking on where the “bad guys” are going to come from. I have 5 different SOCUM SEAL games to get thru. These games can get your heart pumping in excitement.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

LATHES OF BETHLEHEM STEEL

Bethlehem Steel Plant

In the number of times I have been to the once mighty Bethlehem Steel I have seen the now empty #2 Machine Shop and always wondered just how much machinery used to be there, but is no longer. The #2 Machine Shop was the place that gun barrels were made and turned on huge lathes for the battleships of WWII. These lathes must have been the biggest ever seen. So, I surfed the Internet to see what I could find out about them.

Horizontal Lathe

Since I worked in the Machinist Trade for more than 20 yrs. I can look at this picture and tell every part of this huge Lathe. This is a huge piece of machinery. Something I’ve never worked on. It shows a gun barrel being turned to size using a “taper attachment” that cuts steel at a angle. This must have been one long job to complete. With something like this you don’t get a “set-up” part. You have to do it right the 1st time or it’s scrap! I would venture to say it took a few day’s to make this. I can only imagine what it was like.

Vertical Turret Lathe

Again, this Vertical Turret Lathe is huge! What you see here is 2 men standing on a round table that spins at different speeds to turn large tube casters for housing’s, etc. I have never, ever operated such a huge lathe. Cutting tools must be located in the area above the men’s head. They also must have been very large. Catwalks around and above is probably where you went to change tooling, but not sure on that. Parts that were turned on this probably cost thousands of dollars to make.

A Bullard Vertical Turret Lathe.

Now, this is what I’m used to. This Vertical Turret Lathe has a 42″ table that turns to machine big parts, but not anywhere as big as the Lathe pictured in the previous post. I used to run this type of Lathe. I machined large bearings for Youngstown Steel. They were 38″ in dia. with a 32″ I.D. They cost over $5000 to machine. I never got a “set-up” part to work with. I had to machine it right the 1st time or it was scrap! I could describe every part of this lathe in detail, but I’d just bore you.

Working in the Machinist Trade for those years and holding tolerances that were tight took a heavy toll on my nerves over time. After doing things like this I found I just could not take it any longer. My nerves were shot! Decided, after 8 more years to get out of the Trade and never go back. I retired from Polymer Corp. after 30 yrs. of working. However, to this day I still use the same Machine Shop Practice that I learned many years ago in school. I even have a small machine shop in the back of the house.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

HEAVY SNOW!

The weather service has been telling us that we are going to get a nasty snow storm started on Sunday. It did just that. For 2 day’s here, it snowed very heavy. Snow was falling at the rate of a inch per hour or more in some locations. There were times when it snowed so hard that we could not see the homes across the street from us! It kept snowing into Tuesday afternoon, until it finally slowed down then stopped.

Then it was time to get out and fire up the snow-thrower and grab a shovel. The amount of snow we got was 13.1 inches! That’s alot to throw around & clear. It took me 3 times to clear the drive-way, the side-walks, and the mail spot. It’s a back-breaking job! Finally, everything is pretty clear giving me a well deserved rest.

Taken when there was a lull in the snow storm.

It’s still snowing here. I had to get the ladder, climb up it, and brush the snow off the Direct TV receiver. That’s why the ladder is there. I’ve had enough snow for awhile.

Thanks for stopping in.

Les

THE OLD LAKESIDE BALLROOM

THE LAKESIDE BALLROOM

Before I start telling the story of this, I have to say that I had a problem here for a few days. I went to make a Post about this place, but when I did it told me that I didn’t have enough space to put a Image here. WHAT! I tried to do this 2 more times, but no luck. So, with this in mind had to write to WordPress and tell them what was wrong. They got back to me within hours, and said that what I had to do was delete all the Images I had posted over the passing years. This should clean up space so I can Post more. I did what I was told to do by going into my Media and deleting the many, many Images from all the way back to 2014! I had no idea that I had to do this. Since I have a free plan that only gives me 3GB of storage, it finally got filled up. So, I had to spend over a hour getting rid of what I did not want anymore! Now, I can Post more on my WP Site, Thank goodness! I really don’t want to pay for this stuff, so I’ll leave well enough alone.

The Lakeside Ballroom Dance Hall was built in 1924 and has 28,000 sq. ft. of building. The dance hall is a huge polished wooden floor of 10,000 sq. ft. This place was extremely popular back in it’s day. Many bands, wedding receptions, etc. were held here until the 1970’s when it started to loose popularity. The owners were having trouble keeping up with maintenance, costs of food, and paying for good help until it had to close for good.

This once popular dance hall, I was never at. I had no idea it existed until my Wife told me about it and how great it used to be. She was here once when the Jordon Brothers played. The parking lot was so full there was hardly any space to park your car!

Now, after doing some research on it, I find that after sitting vacant for years, someone has bought the property and want’s to return it to it’s glory of years ago. A new kitchen, some building maintenance, paint, wax & polish the dance floor, and bring back the popular bands of today is in the plans. When all this is complete, I’m not sure of. Guess the new Owners are not either.

Thank you for stopping by.

Les

STORIES I’VE NEVER TOLD

Me, when I was a EMT-M

Back in the middle 70’s to the middle 80’s I had decided to volunteer to be a EMT-M with the local Medic Unit that was in my area. I did this because I enjoyed helping other people in a time a need. However, it was not just going to the Medic Station & asking if I could join and start volunteering. There was a lot more to it. The picture above shows me in the center kneeling with fellow Medics.

First thing I had to do was sign up to take a 1st Aid Course to learn basic First Aid. The course lasted about a month. Learning the ABC’s of First Aid. Airway, Breathing, & Circulation were the basic’s of it. Then on to CPR where I learned how to treat a Heart Attack. After all this I had to take a test to show the Instructor that I knew how to do what I was taught. I did all that, and passed the course with a A+ Grade, I was then assigned a Crew to be on duty at certain times of the day or week. It was usually a 8 hr. shift or more. Depended on how much time you wanted to give. In between this I had a family to support and keep a job. It was not all that hard.

The very first call that I had to respond to was a bad one. Real bad. I will never, ever forget this one.

In the town of Leesport there was a bar not far from the Medic Station. The call came in as a “person down” at the Washington House just up the street from us. All of us climbed into the Ambulance and went up there. The Police were already there. When I got out of the Ambulance, the cop said to me “I hope you have a strong stomach. Your gonna need it!” Oh crap! What am I getting into? I found out real fast.

The Owner of the Bar we found laying behind the bar with his head blown off!! He had committed suicide with a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun! His head was gone! Parts of it were splattered all over the mirror behind the bar. Plus all the gore. He was dead, to say the least. Nothing we could do for him. It was a horrible thing to see. We also found the top of his skull by the doorway! Darn. That was bad. This was the very first suicide that I ever saw. Not good. All we could do is have the Coroner arrive, put the body in a plastic burial bag and take him to the Morgue. Our job was done.

What I saw for the first time, didn’t bother me much until after the Call was over. Then it did. You relive what you saw over and over. I found as I continued to volunteer there was going to be a lot more that I would see.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

GULDIN/LAUER GRIST MILL

I finally grabbed my camera gear and took a short drive to a old Grist Mill that I’ve known about since my days in High School. Even though the weather was cold & a bit cloudy at times I bundled myself up & drove over here. Located on RT73 just outside the small town of Blandon, PA stands the Guildin or sometimes called the Lauer Grist Mill. When you look at this Image, the old Stone Grist Mill was built at 2 separate times. On the far right is a residence where some people live, and in the middle is the Grist Mill. The far left part was added on in a later date of which I don’t know. The original Grist Mill was built in 1722 and the stone living area was added on in 1877.

This is the entrance to the old Mill property that I was not too sure about entering since no one was around. When-ever I go on someones property, I always ask if I can photograph & walk around with my camera. I have never been refused at all as long as I do what the owners may ask and it’s usually nothing special. If you look close at the door you will see a long piece of wood attached to a bell. Pull on the stick, and the bell will ring. I did that, not knowing who or what would answer the door. After waiting for about 5 min. a scruffy looking older man came and opened the old door. I told him who I was and what I wanted to do. He was very nice and granted my requests. He told me some History about the Mill as I asked some questions. I could walk the property freely just as long as I don’t fall into the Mill Pond!

Grist Mills back in the early days did not have electric at all. Was not invented quite yet. What powered the grinding wheels was water from a Mill Pond that turned a huge water wheel. This is just part of the Mill Pond that supplied water to the Mill. It in turn is fed by a creek that enters at the far end. The Mill Pond is not very deep. About 2 feet. Maybe long ago it was much deeper.

This is looking at the other end of the Mill Pond with the Mill Race at the top on the left side. The original Mill Barn is the small building in the foreground. The big part was built on at a later time for more storage. I was told that the original Barn was used to distill whiskey during the early 1800’s, but that’s all he knew.

With the light of the day starting to fade and it was getting colder & windy, I took this last shot of the old Barn before I got too cold.

I also asked the Owner if I could go inside the Mill and see what is still there from long ago. He said “Sure. Just be careful. The floors are weak & full of dust.” “Try not too fall, please.” I won’t. The above is part of the wheels that powered the grinding stones below. With a bit of repair they would still work after close to 300 yrs.!

Then going down some well worn wooden steps that were rather steep, he showed me this “hopper” where the ground corn in dumped into for further process. One of the Grinding Stones are visible to the left.

The remains of wheel pulley’s that turned the Grinding Stones below. An old belt still hangs where it was placed. All this is never used. It just wastes away into History.

The side door that enters the Grist Mill. During the real heavy rain we had this past Summer this area had water up to the line above the window. Most everything on the bottom floor of the Grist Mill was flooded badly. Not much the Owners could do, but sweep out the water & mud, then wait for it to dry.

There are a few Grist Mills still standing in my area, but not many. Most of them are gone or converted into homes. It’s good that some of them are still left.

Thanks for stopping by.

Les

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