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Hazleton City


Hazleton City Hall is located at 40 North Church Street, Hazleton 18201; phone: 570-459-4910.

Beginnings [1]

The only scrap of paper that bears the marks of authenticity, is the following extracts from the diary of Robert Miner, and is evidently the beginning of the village of Hazleton:

"The Hazleton Coal company was incorporated March 18, 1836."

"November 1, 1836. Came to Hazleton to be clerk for a company on trial; no terms fixed. Board at the old Drumheller house tavern, kept by Lewis Davenport. The company's office is in the lower room of an addition built on the east end of the old house. Railroad located and contract just assigned. Village laid out."

"November 10, 1836. Town lots were laid out and sold by company. Wages offered for 'good hands' are $16 a month with board on Sundays. Fresh pork is by the hog, 8c; corn meal, 1.12£."

1837. First dwelling put up and occupied by Charles Edison, on lot No. 9, Sq. 11. Then by S. Yost, F. Santee, T. Peeler. Store and house by L. H. and J. Ingham. R. Miner, hotel."

"4th of July (1837). Moved my family from Wyoming valley, Plaines, to Hazleton, in house I have just finished on corner of Broad and Poplar streets."

"L. Davenport moved to hotel 23rd October, W. Apple taking the old house."

"First birth of child in Hazleton, October 9-W. Apple's; born in house at junction of old state road and turnpike—daughter; 2nd, child of F. Santee, blacksmith; 3rd, my son, John Howard Miner."

"First corpse interred in graveyard was wife of Th. B. Worthington in the fall of 1837."

"Locomotive Hazleton first on the railroad."

Unfortunately this is all of Mr. Miner's diary that refers to founding of the village of Hazleton, the coal industry, and the building to this place of a railroad.

Mr. William Kisner came here in 1840 and says his recollection is that there were about ten houses then in the place. The company, in whose employ he came, was then working two mines—one in lower Hazleton and the other at Laurel Hill, or upper Hazleton. The place then had a daily stage running from Mauch Chunk, and one to Wilkes-Barre.

From Mrs. A. M. Eby, daughter of Lewis Davenport, we learn that her father came here in 1832 and built the Hazleton house, standing at the corner of Wyoming and Broad streets; first living at the old Bird hotel, just below the present Lehigh station; house still standing. The "old State house" was where is now Dryfoos' residence, on Vine and Broad streets. This was where the "State road" intersected the turnpike. She informs us that William Apple came soon after her father; he was a carpenter; then came John Megargell, who opened a store at the corner of Broad and Poplar. Ario Pardee's cultivated farm included the present fine stone mansion of the Pardees. The first physician to locate here was Dr. Lewis Lewis. The toll-house on the old turnpike was in the southern part of the village. John Jacobs, uncle of Mrs. Martha E. Eby, nee Davenport, was killed in a runaway of the mail coach on the mountain about 1845. The first church was the old Presbyterian, where the present building stands; the old one being torn down. The old Schoolhouse, where the people held union church meetings, was burned. When Mrs. Eby first remembers the place as a little girl, there were strung along the turnpike, Pardee's house, then Markles', Dr. Lewis', Blackwell's, then the Hazleton tavern. There were a few houses on Mine Street, occupied by Irish families mostly. The Irish were the first miners here, and in time have been succeeded largely by other foreigners.

Lewis Davenport sold the Hazleton house and built where is now the residence of Stephen D. Engle. The Mansion house was built by Greenawalt. He and Davenport exchanged, and the latter kept the Mansion house some time.

Hazleton simply commenced as a mining town, and in the remarkable advances in this line in the past forty years, it has led the van, and is now the capital of the middle coal field district. The old schoolhouse, built by the coal company, was near the graveyard. Here was the general union church meeting house, free for all, as well as the ancient pedagogue. It was, unfortunately, burned, and the present frame, near the church, took its place.

Mrs. Joseph Greenawalt (Rosanna Charles), who is now about seventy years of age, coming with her parents (John Charles) to Hazleton when she was "a little girl," and in addition to those named above, recalls Samuel Barenger, Thomas H. Worthington and John Hurst, all of whom lived near "the upper mine;" two German families (one was Heckroach), lived in the east part of town. Peter Stare kept the old toll-house, near where is now the foundry, on east Broad Street. Anthony Fisher lived across the street from Davenport's hotel.

The coal industry, though commenced here in 1837 by the Hazleton Coal Company, was an uncertain quantity until 1863-4. A few men never lost faith in ultimate success, but a great many looked upon it as a doubtful venture. That is, there was a doubt as to its ever successfully paying when carried through on a large scale. The coal company was composed of such men as Pardee, Miner and Hunt— dominated by Ario Pardee, whose faith and resolution never faltered, but who built the railroad that was the quick solution of the question, and then Hazleton was on the highway to the present form of city.

From an old account book of Lewis Davenport, under date of October 23, 1837, is the following: "Moved to new house." As reference is made to this above this fixes the date. There are entries in this book as far back as 1833. As he kept a hotel it is fair to presume that in this little old account book is very nearly a complete census of who were here during the thirties, as well as a correct report of the market prices of whisky and every family necessity at that time. It is a rare case when the liquid charges do not outnumber all the others on its pages. Page one appears John Andrews and the first item is "one gal. whisky, 31 cents." In this account is the following: " Old Gundy, $1." Who was that? Was it not a short way of saying "burgundy?" In this account are twenty-two items, all liquid except three — beef.

The next is Jacob Drumheller's account, for coal mostly. Then is Lewis Compton: "meals, oats, hay" and some liquids. Charles Edison is next: "shingles, sugar, Gofey, gal wk. Tobias Smith: nales, Cofey, shinglis" — no liquids. Then appears a written order, signed by William Engle, for Mr. Davenport to pay for him to Henry Seybert $150. Thomas Peler has a short account.

John Jones has a long one; great variety of things; no liquids in this bill—"one bekfis, 25 cents" is one item. Looking a little further down the account is "one drink, 3 cents." This is given as it fixes the price at that time. " John Mickgagins' " long account was crossed out. One of the largest accounts is that of William Apple, which amounts to over $1,000—no liquids. Then comes Samuel Yost, Samuel Cox, David Richards, George and Isaac Hughes, Dr. Bols, Jonathan and G. Ingham, Samuel Dever, McCallum, Nathan Courtright, John Newbold, Jonathan Cooper, " Cooper and Suns," Sugar Loaf company, "Arow" Pardee, Henry Seybart, Pardee, Miner & Hunt, Nathan D. Cartright, Edward Vauxen, Jacob Hausneack, William Bronson, Mikel Grover, William Hunt, J. G. Fell, A. Foster.

Coming along down in the forties it appears that the firm became Davenport & Jacobs; Mrs. D. was a Jacobs. Then appears the names of S.B. Markel, Hazleton Coal company, David T. Jones, Doct. Scot, George Fenstamacher, J.H. Baldwin, John R. Miller, Robert Nealy, Jonathan Moors, Jacob Hues, Lewis Ketchman, Joseph Greenawalt, Craig & Bro., Samuel Colans, Kier Powell, Hanes & Miller, A.S. & E. Roberts, R.S. Weaver. Thomas Worthington, Norman Denis, Crarey & Bro.

The book accounts come down to 1850. As they commenced about 1835 it is quite an account of the then population at this trading point.

Mr. Davenport was a leading spirit of his time and stood here a very prominent figure in commercial and financial affairs. He had great opportunities to become one of the great coal barons, and abundant means to lead in that developing industry, but while he was a man of public spirit, he preferred to use his money as an accommodation to those who desired to develop the mines, rather than invest in coal lands on his own account.

Mr. Daniel P. Raikes, one of the early settlers in this place, could recall all there were here in 1817 — two houses — and so unimportant was it supposed to be that until 1834 but two more houses were added. Thus, practically, in thirty years but three families had been added to the first settlement. Coal was found here in outcrop, tested and pronounced of superior quality in 1826, and then for some years investors could see nothing in it as there was practically no easy transportation to markets. The Ingham brothers, merchants, built the first store here at the corner of Broad and Wyoming streets. They sold to Cooper, and Cooper sold to Pardee, Miner & Hunt.

The Hazleton Coal Company commenced operations in 1836-7, and then the village was laid out by the company and settlement of the place was rapid for that time.

An act incorporating the borough of Hazleton was passed April 3, 1851, and a supplemental act April 22, 1856. But the first election in the borough, completing the organization, was March 27,1857, at the hotel of Thomas Lawall, six years intervening, and the following officials were chosen: Abraham Jones, burgess; Joseph Hamburger, George Brown, John Schreck, Andrew Ringlebew, George B. Markle, councilmen; F.A. Whitaker, secretary; Charles H. Myers, treasurer; John Kahler, supervisor. August, 1857, was contracted a "lock-up" — a stone building at the corner of Mine and Cedar streets.

The limits of the village, as originally platted by the Hazleton Coal Company, were bounded by what is now Chappel, Vine and Hunlock streets and the present eastern bounds of the city. The company added an addition in 1869.

The Diamond addition, by the Diamond Coal Company, was added December 10, 1885.

In the order of their election after the one given above were the burgesses as follows: For 1858, Ezra C, Vincent; 1859, K. F. Russell; 1860, Lewis Lubrecht; 1861, Ezra C. Vincent; 1862, Fredrick Knyrim; 1863, R. F. Russell; 1864, Peter Breihoff; 1865-6, Thomas E. McNair; 1867, Thomas N. Smith; 1868, Peter Heidenreich; 1869, John A. Barton; 1870, Charles F. Hill; 1871, J. E. Ulman; 1872-3, Joseph P. Salmon; 1874, no record; 1875, Gotlieb Ulmer; 1876-80, John Pfoutz [As this was the first burgess who received any compensation whatever for his services, this may account for his being so good an officer that he was kept in the place during the remainder of his life from the first election.]; 1881, Reuben T. Kreider; 1882, John Knies; 1883, A. R. Longshore; 1884-5, Emanuel Dunn; 1886, A. R. Longshore; 1887, John Schwartz; 1888-9, A. R. Longshore; 1890, Philip Maue; 1891, N. L.-Gavitt.

In October, 1889, a resolution passed the council to take the preliminary steps to become a city. There was a hitch in this first resolution, but in October, 1890, a renewal was successful and the good work progressed vigorously. Clerk James B. MacCartney confesses guilty to being the main lever in bringing about the moulting of the borough and the budding and blooming of the city of Hazleton. An election on the question of putting on city airs was held in November, 1891, and carried in the affirmative by 700 majority, and the charter duly and formally granted December 4, 1891. Then followed the election for city officers, and resulted as follows:

Mayor, N.L. Gavitt; select council: J.W. Bogle, T.D. Jones, F. Lauderburn, William Martin, Frank McHugh, H.C. Mills, James E. Roderick, Anton Wagner; H.B. Casselberry, president; clerk, James B. MacCartney.

Common council: Henry Bontz, Thomas Coburn, John W. Cooper, Peter Deisroth, George J. Heyer, Andrew Houston, Henry Iffert, John F. Lemmerhart, Philip Lindemann, John H. Moyer, William L. Murphy, Clark Price, Anthony Reilly, Andrew Ringlaben, Oliver Rinker, Josiah Smith, Andrew W. Wagner, Elliott P. Kisner, president; C.H. Lindemann, clerk; city clerk, James P. Gorman; city solicitor, George H. Troutman; city engineer, A. Brooks Celiax.

Board of Health: C.R. Bombay, J.B. Brown, Dr. R. B. Fruit, Dr. W.R. McCombs, P.F. Boyle.

Police: Chief, Ed Polgrean; lieutenant, John Ferry; patrolmen, Robert Wallace, John Wetterau, Tague Gallagher and John Brill. To these are ten special police to be called on extraordinary occasions; janitor, Henry Eidan. No board of health yet appointed. Fire department: Two companies; first the Pioneer Steam Hose and Hook and Ladder company, No. 1, is the old company and was organized in 1873. Their engine and all their apparatus seem to be entirely too heavy for quick handling. The company has two steam engines, hook and ladder truck and jumper.

The other company is the Diamond Hose and Hook and Ladder company; two hose jumpers. Until the Diamond Coal Company erected their water works to supply their addition, the only water company was that of the Lehigh Valley railroad, their works erected in 1862; the facilities they can furnish in case of fire are not adequate to the emergency that might arise. The two reservoirs have a capacity of over 7,000,000 gallons.

The present city building, a fine brick, two stories, No. 53 and 56 N. Wyoming Street, is finished for "lock up," engine house, and the second floor for offices and council chamber. It was erected in 1868.

The Diamond water works were erected in 1887. Already the demands require that they double their capacity, and at this time (June, 1892) work has commenced enlarging their reservoir. The Hazleton Gas Company was incorporated March 14, 1872. Commissioners named in the act: C. Pardee, W.A.M. Grier, Sylvester Engle, R.F. Russell, John Bond and James James. Board of directors: president, C. Pardee; secretary and treasurer, W.A.M. Grier. The works were built in 1872 and gas furnished customers in November of that year.

Electric light plant is named "The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Hazleton;" was organized in the fall of 1882, and commenced furnishing its customers in February, 1883. The stock was subscribed for by the prominent men of the place. A fine brick building was erected on the corner of Wyoming and Green streets; original building was 40x80, and in 1890 enlarged to 60x95; have five engines; four boilers, and a total of 430 horse power; a Babcock & Wilcox and three return flues. Officials of the first organization: President, F. A. Lauderburn; secretary and treasurer, N.C. Yost; superintendent, George Markle. Present officers: J.G. Sayer, president; N.C. Yost, secretary and treasurer; J. G. Giles, manager.

Banking. — Hazleton has three banks — two national banks, namely, Hazleton National Bank and the First National Bank, and the banking house of Markle Bros. & Co. The latter, on June 1, 1892, was changed into a stock company and organized under a State law and charter, and is now "The Markle Banking and Trust Company of Hazleton," and is officered as follows: President, Alvin Markle; vice-president, Thomas S. McNair; cashier, N. C. Yost; trust officer, C.W. Kline, Esq. The directors are J.C. Haydon, Thomas S. McNair, John G. Seager, C.W. Kline, Frank McHugh.

This was originally the banking house of Pardee, Markle & Grier; opened in May, 1867, and in 1872 built and occupied the present building.

The Hazleton Savings Bank was established May 23, 1871, with a capital of $30,000. Officers were: President, William Kisner; vice-president, W.R. Longshore; cashier, N.H. Shafer.

The Hazleton National bank succeeded by purchase the savings bank February 1, 1890. Capital $100,000; deposits average over $900,000. Officers as follows: President, A.S. Van Wickle; vice-president, Frank Pardee; cashier, A.M. Eby; directors: J. P. Pardee, A. S. Van Wickle, W. Lauderbach, Thomas D. Jones, J.E. Roderick, William Schwartz, E.A. Oberrender, Frank Pardee, E.L. Bullock, F. W. Cooper, H.B. Conahan, John E. Kern, Henry Knies, A.M. Eby, P.V. Weaver.

First National Bank was organized in June, 1888; capital stock, $100,000. Officers: A.W. Leisenring, president; David Clark, vice-president; John R. Leisenring, cashier; John B. Price, assistant cashier; directors: A.W. Leisenring, J.S. Wentz, S.B. Price, A.P. Blakslee, David Clark, Dr. J.R. Tweedle, Dom. F. Sweeney, J. R. Leisenring, P. J. Ferguson, Peter Heidenrich, Frank O. Stout, Fred Lauderburn, T.H. Williams. The bank is in temporary quarters on Wyoming Street, having been driven from its old home on December 22,1891, by fire. The fine "Brill block" now in course of construction in place of the burned building, will, in a short time, be the new and permanent home of the bank.

The banks and their depositors are a true index of the business and wealth of a city. By this gauge Hazleton with a population of 12,000 shows remarkably well, the average deposits in its banking institutions being $2,500,000.

Hazleton Manufacturing Company was originally the Hazleton Planing Mill and Casket manufactory, built by Dryfoos, Grier & Youngman, and was made a joint stock company, enlarging and extending its business until now. It is one of the largest concerns in south Luzerne County. It was incorporated in September, 1886. The manufactory is a three-story building, 42x250 feet, a large mill, three stories high in the rear, storage rooms, sheds, lumber yard, etc.: has an average force of employees of 100. Its capital stock, paid up, is $100,000, with the following officers: A. Markle, president; N.C. Yost, treasurer; E.S. Dodd, secretary; W.J. Collinson, manager.

Hazleton Steam Feed Mill, by George W. Engle, established in 1880, near the Lehigh depot.

Railroad Slurps of the Lehigh road, on the east border of the city, cover an area of 56,864 square feet. The dimensions are: machine shop, 50x450 feet; foundry, 56x104; car-wheel shop, 36x80, with wing 36x36; boiler shop, 52x102; forge or steam trip hammer shop, 50x50; blacksmith shop, 40x80; car shop, 50x95, with addition 63x95. These are exclusive of offices, round houses, etc. There are 250 hands employed, who receive an average total monthly pay of $9,500. The round house, nearly adjoining the shops, furnishes room for twenty-one locomotives. There are 110 hands employed on this division of the Lehigh Valley railroad, whose monthly pay constitutes an important factor in the business interests of Hazleton.

Opera House, a very neat frame place of amusement, was burned in May, 1892, and stops have been promptly taken to rebuild a better brick edifice. The same fire that destroyed the opera house burned a portion of the Valley hotel, the stables, railroad building and the small frames and contents adjoining it on the west.

Brewery of Arnold & Krell, on Mine Street, is one of the growing important industries of the city.

Broom factories are two in the city.

Prof. Earnet's business college is a well established institution of the place.

Two flouring mills; Pardee's, the oldest in the place, and that of the Hazleton Mercantile Company on West Broad Street.

Hazleton Iron works was established by L.S. Allison, and recently made a joint stock company and its facility and capacity enlarged.

Piano and organ factory by Peter Kelmer is on Chestnut Street, near the iron works.

Stephen D. Eugle's watch and jewelry factory is quite a flourishing Hazleton institution. The Engle Spring Gun company is incorporated; was organized in 1886, by J.P. Barber, H.W. Hess and S. C. Wagenseller, and in 1889 enlarged, and W.G. Galey and M.F. Koenig were admitted under new charter in 1889. This company confines itself to the manufacture of specialties invented by Stephen D. Engle. In addition to manufacturing his own goods for his jewelry store he is engaged in making and putting on the market his own inventions, which include a wide range from the dust-proof watch case and dental plates, to the celebrated apostolic and astronomical clock, the latter pronounced by scientific men to be far more remarkable than the celebrated Strausburg clock. Mr. Engle is one of the noted inventors of Hazleton and Luzerne County. And in the line of work in his own shop of jewelry of the most expensive and elegant description, there is no one factory in the State of more interest than his.

The other classified industries are 6 carriage factories, 5 cigar, 5 dentists, 68 groceries, 16 dry goods and general stores, 4 drugs, 10 hotels, 8 lawyers, 8 newspaper publications, 18 physicians.

Hazleton Hospital is a splendid institution; erected in 1889, and was contributed to by the State to the amount of $60,000, and by liberal subscriptions of private citizens to the amount of $15,000; a spacious and elegant building on the hill east of the town; has two wards, twenty-four beds in each. Superintendent is Henry M. Keller.

Railroads. — Hazleton is the central attraction of the entire system of railroads that now fairly criss-cross the coal fields of this section. Ario Pardee, of the Hazleton Coal Company, made many efforts to secure favorable results in the matter of transporting the coal to market. The main line of the Lehigh Road was built along the Lehigh River after the destruction and end of the old canal that at one time furnished transportation from this section at Penn Haven. The old railroad had been built to Beaver Meadows, the nearest point to Hazleton. It crossed the different mountains by different " planes," as it was then supposed engines could not be built to haul trains up steep grades. The first railroad built to Hazleton was from Weatherly to this point. The main line of the Lehigh Road through this county runs twelve miles east of this place; and yet such was the importance of the business offered here that a line was soon completed from Penn Haven, from the main line, and it returned to the main track again at White Haven.

Hazleton now is abundantly supplied with railroads to all points. The main road remains the first one — the Lehigh Valley, then comes the Pennsylvania railroad running out a spur to this place from its main line from Harrisburg to Wilkes-Barre. Then the Reading found the place of sufficient importance to tap the place in connection with the Delaware, Susquehanna & Schuylkill Railroad. The latter is Eckley B. Coxe's belt railroad that connects the mines of Coxe Bros. & Co. Thus, in fact, there are four railroads accessible here, though the recent "combine" of the Lehigh and Reading Roads makes them under one management. The results are that through all this coal-bearing region are the amplest railroad facilities that touch by main lines or spurs or junctions every point, especially where there is active mining going on. Every little stream hereabouts, and it should be remembered that near the depot is the high point, or rather the place from which the waters flow in the four cardinal directions, as said, all these drains and streams have been utilized by engineers as the guides to survey and build railroads along.

Hazleton is, as you may be told by any well-posted railroad man, one of the best points on the line of the great Lehigh system of railroads, in point of paying business, both in travel and freight traffic.

  1. Bradsby H.C., History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania, S.B. Nelson & Company, Chicago, 1893.
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