EVANS CITY AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Evans City, Pennsylvania

Newsletter

NEWSLETTER

SUMMER 2018

EVANS CITY AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

204C South Jackson Street Evans City, PA 16033

724-538-3629

E-mail address: evanscityhistory@gmail.com Web site: www.evanscityhistory.com

SUMMER NEWSLETTER

There is no General Membership meeting during the summer. Our next meeting will be Monday, September 24. You will receive a newsletter prior to that date. In the meantime you can always contact us by phone or email. We’d love to hear your ideas on how we are doing and suggestions for programs. We would especially like to receive your family stories before they are lost.

WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS:

Cheryl Caldwell,  Kay Iman Cumberledge, Bob & Linda Irwin,                                     Rick & Barbara Jespersen, Debra Jordon, Marilyn McElhinny, Nancy Stach

OUR THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING FOR THEIR MONETARY DONATIONS

R. Troy & Beverly Barkley, Patricia Capella, Kay Cumberledge, Bill & Linda Irwin, Ed & Dottie Gifford, Clif & Jeanne Graham, Ariel & Shirley Kelly, Kevin Lenz, Adaline Liken, Kitty Martin, Virginia Morgan, Wayne & Jane Meyers, Barbara Pabst, Martha Papania, Randy & Kathy Pfeifer, Evelyn Sinz,  Ed & Audrey Smith,  Lewis C. Sowell, Jr., June Wedge, Thomas & Lynn West, Joyce Yasco.

IN MEMORIUM

Of William (Bill) Scaramuzzo by Carol & Gene Polite

CCONGRATULATIONS to Board member Dean Zinkhann who also happens to be mayor of Evans City. Dean was recently notified he is one of four finalists from the Pennsylvania Mayor’s Association throughout the state of Pennsylvania to be nominated for Mayor of the Year.  Good luck, Dean. You are a tireless worker for the historical society also.

WHERE DID EVANS CITY KIDS SWIM in the summer before EDCO Park? Before EDCO Park there was Pleasure Isle and before Pleasure Isle there was Breakneck Creek. In most places the creek was shallow enough for wading. There was the fun of trying to catch a salamander or minnow or water battles and lots of splashing to cool off. And there were swimming holes like the one the boys liked to frequent, especially at a spot known as Second Iron a bit east of the town and close to the May Stop area. The boys loved this spot for skinny dipping; the girls occasionally - with a look out posted. There was a spot in the bend of Connoquenessing Creek in the area of Wonderland Park. There were cuts left by strip mining that were deeper and more dangerous, but somehow the kids learned water safety and watched out for each other.                                                                                                        Then sometime in 1965 a place known as Pleasure Isle was up for sale. It was located in Forward Township along Needlepoint Road and Connoquenessing Creek about 3 miles north of Evans City. Since there was no land available within the borough to establish a park, the Evans City Chamber of Commerce decided to look into the possibility of purchasing the site. It contained 13.4 acres of land, a large cottage, 3 small cottages, a dance hall, a good-sized pool and bathhouse, a pumphouse with the necessary operating equipment, a workshop and garage. Funds were acquired from the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs Project 70, and from dedicated citizens and organizations. By February 1966 the purchase was made by the Chamber of Commerce. The purchase price $25,000.00. The Chamber immediately turned the property over to Evans City Borough. They also purchased a right-of-way into the park from Earl Knauff. Improvements were made including a covered picnic shelter and ball field. A shuttle bus ran from Evans City to the park twice a day during the summer. Lifeguards were local young people  

Chris Ripper remembered the pool was elevated 8 to 10 feet above ground level to get above the flood plain. Concrete decking surrounded the pool. The park swimming pool manager for several years in the early 70’s was William Gardner, a Seneca Valley High School science teacher.  His science background gave him the knowledge to maintain the pool water quality system. Chris remembered that on his side of town the shuttle bus stopped at the corner of Harrison and Jefferson Street to pick up the swimmers.  When he turned 16, sometimes his parents allowed him to drive to the park. He also talked about many Ripper reunions being held there.

     Barb Etter remembered  as a teen ager spending many days with her friends swimming at Pleasure isle. The water was freezing as it came from the creek. The warmest place was lying on your towel on the concrete.  The boys and girls locker rooms were side by side and once in awhile kids got mixed up on which side to enter! Her family also held family reunions.       

 

 

     By the early 1980’s acts of vandalism had increased, because of its distance from Evans City the police found it hard to patrol; the pool was approaching 40 years old; costly repairs were going to be needed.  In 1983 Ralph Dambach came to the rescue. He would sell the 3.3 acre site of  Dambach Lumber  Company  to Evans City Borough for $50,000.00 provided the land was used exclusively for a park  and the park would be named in honor of his father. The site was valued at $106,000.000. The remaining $56,000.00 he would use as a donation to the borough.

     On June 14, 1983  an EDCO Park Advisory Committee was organized to explore and develop a plan for the use of the site for a community park.  By December 1983 the committee recommended to borough council to indeed pursue the opportunity and the Evans City Park Authority was established. The Pleasure Isle property was sold for $40,000.00 and a new park was on its way. Over 4 years later, on August 1, 1987, the swimming pool  complex was opened to the public.

      On September 12, 1987 the park was officially dedicated. During that 4 year time frame, the Evans City Park Authority had met one hundred six (106) times and turned in sixty (60) reports to borough council.  Martin Wahl was chairman of the Authority and Pat Boylan Council president.

 In a final report, Wahl wrote.”Take a bow Evans City area community and thank all those persons, organizations, designers, contractors, government agencies and others who have contributed to this great project”.

    The same can be said today as the current authority has had to address maintenance concerns. After 31 years of use the pool needs repairs  and the park should be updated and improved. Again, a group of dedicated people have worked long and hard to raise $80,000.00 in needed matching-grant money. They have reached that goal. And for our small area that is a remarkable feat.

 

MY DAD - Dr. Harry Wahl Nicklas (1901 – 1967) by Nan Nicklas Barton  When asked to share about my dad, I was flooded with memories of a compassionate physician and a loving family man who lived a life of strong faith.
     He was born on October 23rd of 1901, the third child of Sophia and George Nicklas.  He loved his hometown and, after attending school in Missouri, returned to set up his practice across the street from the roller skating rink.  Later his office was part of our home on Wahl Avenue.
     Several times a week he would make house calls, often taking me and always carrying his black bag filled with medical supplies.  That bag was so heavy, I could hardly pick it up.  One night he was called down to Harry Mickley’s house.  He went out to the garage, started the car and began to back out,only realizing too late that he hadn’t opened the garage door.  It jammed, so he walked to Uncle Harry’s house. We had many good laughs over that!
   

 On Friday nights in the Fall, he would go to the home football games and sit on the bench with the players.  Sometimes injured players would have to go to his office for an x-ray, which often lead to an arm or leg being put in a cast.

       On many Sundays after church, Dad would visit patients in the hospital. If we went to Grove City, we would be treated to ice cream in Harrisville!
     Some of my favorite family times were spent on our property off Brownsdale Road. My dad loved to entertain the Mickley/Nicklas relatives on holidays and friends on Thursdays and Sundays during the Summer.  There was plenty of badminton, swimming, horseshoes, target practice with the .22 rifle and, of course, great food.  Hamburgers cooked on the outdoor fireplace were the favorites!  When it was just my dad and me, we would walk into the woods finding teaberry leaves to chew on along the way.  A lot of good advice was given during those walks among trees and alongside streams.
        Dancing with my dad was incredibly special to me.  He was a terrific dancer and
 enjoyed the two-step most.  If my parents were chaperoning a dance, I always made sure I had one dance with him!
       Other memories include piggyback rides down the stairs after my dad and I were dressed for the day.  He would wait for me at the top of the stairs and give me a ride down to the first floor.  Then we would have breakfast together.

      He often took me to the Hot Dog Shoppe in Butler.  One time, Lorraine Pfeifer went with us. Lorraine and I each ate five hot dogs with everything on them!
     My dad loved to sing in church, in the car, around a campfire or anywhere else the spirit moved him.  I can still pull up the vision of Dad standing behind me singing, “In the Garden”, while I played the piano.  We had a whole repertoire of songs including “Mairzy Doats”, “Down By the Old Mill Stream”, and “In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia”.
     As a man committed to his faith, my dad prayed often.  In fact, I would find prayers that he had written on pieces of paper in Bibles and other books.  For over 20 years, he taught the Victory Through Christ class at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.  He prepared the lessons each Saturday night, with the goal to finish before Gunsmoke came on the TV. He always sat in the platform rocker in our living room wearing a sweater and often munching on a rose hip candy bar.
     After suffering two heart attacks, my dad had to rest quite a bit.  It was strange to see him wearing pajamas and reading in bed during the day.  I know this really bothered him.  At first, I thought he was concerned about my brother and me.  I made a point to assure him that we were both working and able to take care of ourselves.  But that wasn’t it!  He was concerned about his patients —unable to care for them as he had for many years.
     My dad passed away over 50 years ago, but the memories remain special.  He was a true blessing to me, our family and to many people in the community.  Over the years, it has always made me smile to hear other people share their memories and stories of my dad.  The Lord blessed me with a wonderful father.
     If my dad were alive today, he would be 117 years old.  At 5’4’' tall, he was larger than life to me.  He proved true the saying that nice things come in small packages.

 

 

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