Whitehall-Coplay Press

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A century of faith

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

In this fourth column, we are speaking to the Rev. Jerry Mraz, a native of Czechoslovakia, who was the last full-time pastor at Holy Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church in Northampton.

The church was organized in 1905, an era when many ethnic churches were formed by immigrants in the Lehigh Valley. Holy Trinity’s roots were laid by dedicated Slovaks, who constructed the church on land formerly owned by John Smith, a wealthy local property owner.

Cement Worker of the Month

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Local News

Ronald F. Silfies

Mr. Ronald Silfies was born in Chapmans Quarry, graduating from Northampton High School and vo-tech in 1972.

He recalls, “I had good teachers at both schools; at tech, I completed the drafting blue print class.”

Ron was hired at Keystone in 1974 by manager Steve Hayden Sr. to work on the labor gang at a rate of $4.10 an hour. His grandfather and father were Keystone employees.

Always interested in electricity, he joined the electrical department.

Cement Worker of The Month

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Local News

Rodney Hartzell

Mr. Rodney Hartzell was reared in Nazareth, graduating from Nazareth High School in 1971. His first job was at a local textile factory, earning $3.50 per hour. In 1973, Rodney followed his three uncles and was hired at Nazareth Cement Company, starting on the labor gang.

One of the former managers was Mr. Paul Lentz. The plant, at one time, operated eight kilns. There were various jobs no longer found at cement plants. The roof cleaners, sweepers and dust collectors have been replaced by modern, clean technology.

Slovak heritage in area

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

A few months ago, I wrote a series on Austrian immigrants who came to America for opportunity and a new life in a new country. Another large migration from the old Austria-Hungarian empire were people of Slovak origin. Many settled in Northampton, Cementon, Egypt, Coplay and Catasauqua.

My mother, a Slovak, also made the long journey to the United States and settled in Northampton. She was very proud of her heritage. I wonder how many of their descendants can converse in their native tongue.

A historic cemetery in East Allen Township

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

I recently made my semiannual visit to the historic Horner’s Cemetery in East Allen Township. The cemetery was part of Craig’s Scotch-Irish Settlement founded in 1728. The cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Northampton County. The first burial there was in 1747.

Ten years ago, my friend Peggy Moser organized a group of dedicated volunteers who cleaned and restored the cemetery. A 10th anniversary program will be held there 1-4 p.m. Sept. 22 on the cemetery grounds, 4965 Nor-Bath Blvd. The mission is to raise funds to place name plates on unreadable tombstones.

Cement Worker of the Month

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Local News

Douglas A. Newhard Lafarge, Cementon

Mr. Douglas Newhard was reared in Catasauqua, graduating from Catasauqua High School in 1973.

He recalls, “I played on the basketball team, and my favorite subject was math.”

After taking an aptitude test, he was hired by Bethlehem Steel Corp. in 1973 at a rate of $3.51 an hour. In his 25-year tenure at the plant, there were dramatic changes.

Railroad series concludes

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

In this concluding column, Mr. Mike Bednar, noted local historian, recalls some of our railroad history. Mike worked on railroads for 41 years and, with the aid of his wife, Donna, wrote a number of books on railroad history and lore.

In the last column, we wrote about two famous Lehigh Valley Railroad trains — the Black Diamond and the John Wilkes.

Today, we board the Asa Packer, Maple Leaf and Central Railroad of New Jersey’s Philadelphia Flyer.