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Old Timers 1916

(Glimpses of prominent Frackville citizens from the borough's early days)


MR. HERBST DELLECKER of 14 South Third Street was born in Oley, Berks County and moved to Frackville in 1910. His first job was with the Saw Factory which was located on South Broad Mountain Avenue where the Robbins Door and Sash Company is now located. In 1909 the Union Saw Company of Williamsport moved their plant to Frackville in this newly built brick building. Production was started in 1910 and Mr. Dellecker remembers getting a salary of four dollars a week. The saws manufactured here were considered one of the best in the country and some were sent out of the country to Russia. They were made of steel and the handles were made, designed and carved by Mr. Dellecker. One of the handles he showed me was 67 years old which he had designed with a leaf design. Each handle was a piece of individual art, varnished and polished to a high sheen.

Several years later the plant was known as the Pennsylvania Saw Company and Mr. Timothy Cockill and Mr. Devitt were the owners. The department supervisors were men brought in from Williamsport but the thirty laborers were men who resided in town. Mr. Dellecker explained how the steel was hardened, tempered, ground down, filed and then shaped. He was responsible for the handles and Lottie Halls Rooney, Laura Richardson and Beatrice Burchill varnished them and Grant Hornberger polished them on a felt wheel. Sally Hicks was the office clerk at this time. He explained that the person working on the shaping machine had the most dangerous position in the making of a saw and many men in town lost fingers in accidents that occurred here.

During World War I, Mr. Dellecker worked for the Rubay Manufacturing Company in Cleveland, Ohio, where they made airplanes for the war effort. At the end of the war he returned to town and told of the flu epidemic that claimed the lives of many of our residents.

He was fireman in the boiler house at Lawrence Colliery for three years and in 1921 started as a sub-clerk with the United States Post Office in town. He recalled the different locations of the post office while he was an employee: 30 North Lehigh Avenue, (Chick Abeloff's Building); 15 South Lehigh Avenue, (Meyer Building); 14 West Frack Street, (Law Building); 19 North Lehigh Avenue, (People's Trust Building); and 109 South Lehigh Avenue, the present location. He served 19 ½ years as Assistant Postmaster, a total of 39 years service, worked under seven different Postmasters and retired in September 1961.

He recalled mail delivery twice a day with three cent first class mail and penny postcards for short messages. Some of the clerks he remembers working with are: Maude Whery Zimmerman, Marie Wagner Erdley, and Harriet Lawrence. Carriers he knew well were John Kocher, Franklin Eyster, Paul Wagner and Doug Batdorf.

Mr. Dellecker remembers the Sunday School League Baseball games that were held on the field opposite the Saw Factory. There were no stands or bleachers then but the whole town was there sitting on the grass, cheering for the favorite team. He was catcher for the Trinity E.C. Team and still has the baseball outfit he wore at that time. Some of his team were Charlie Lindenmuth, John Hodgert, Tom Watkins, Hap Ginther, and William Wagner. He proudly told me that they won three pennants in a row! He also reminisced about the Sunday School Picnics held at Lakeside Park. Special excursion trains were used to transport all the children and many churches in town held their picnics on the same day.

Mr. Dellecker is the son of Rev. George Dellecker who was pastor of the Trinity E.C. Church for four years. He was married to the former Irene Seitzinger and has a daughter, Dorothy Hochstuhl.

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