Welsh Choir coming to Carbondale

 

Swansea Valley Celebration Male Choir

Comes to Eastern Pennsylvania

 

By Dr. S. Robert Powell

 

Côr Dathlu Cwmtawe Male Choir, under the direction of Conway Morgan, will perform three concerts in eastern Pennsylvania in October. The hosts for these concerts, all of which will begin at 7 P. M., are the Saint David's Society of Lackawanna County, the Carbondale Historical Society and Museum, and the Trinity Episcopal Church of Bethlehem, PA. The tour manager is Ted Frutchey.

The first concert will take place in the Elm Park Methodist Church, 712 Linden Street, in Scranton on Tuesday, October 27. Special choral guests at this concert will be the Scranton High School Knight Rhythms.

The second concert will take place on Thursday, October 29, in the ballroom at the Carbondale Best Western Pioneer Plaza, 25 South Main Street, Carbondale. Special guests at this concert will be the Valley View High School Choir. The third concert will take place on October 31, in the Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 East Market Street, Bethlehem. Featured at this concert in Bethlehem will be Aram Basmadjian, Trinity’s Artist-in-Residence.

The leader of this 50-voice male choir, which was formed at Ystradgynlais in November 2011, is Conway Morgan, who is Head of the Creative Arts Faculty at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, a bi-lingual High School in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire.

The Choir’s accompanist is David Lyn Rees M.D., who took a first degree in Natural Sciences from Girton College at the University of Cambridge, and then graduated from the School of Medicine, Cardiff University. He is now working at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

Two female soloists and three guest tenors will perform with the choir during this tour to America.

Helen Gibbon, who has a degree in Latin from the University of Wales, has won the Soprano Solo Competition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales on four occasions, and has toured internationally, singing with Côr Meibion Ystradgynlais in North America in 1989, 2000, and 2010.

Ffion Hâf Jones, who graduated in mathematics from the University of Wales, is a C. P.A. in Swansea. In 2014, she won second prize in the Open Vocal Solo Competition at the 2014 Llangollen International Eisteddfod. In 2013, at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, she won the Lieder Solo. In both 2014 and 2015, she won the Contralto Solo Competition. At this year’s National Eisteddfod of Wales she won the Blue Riband (the David Ellis Memorial Prize) as the best classical vocal soloist.

Ffion Hâf and David Lyn Rees were both pupils of Conway Morgan’s at High School, as were the three tenors who are singing with the choir on this tour, Luke James, Sion Mattey, and Finley Bizzell-Browning.

Côr Dathlu Cwmtawe Male Choir was formed the year after a choir from Ystradgynlais visited Scranton, Carbondale, Shamokin, and Wilkes-Barre in May 2010. It includes choristers who sang with Côr Meibion Ystradgynlais and some who still also sing with Côr y Gyrlais, Morriston Rugby Club Choir, Dunvant Male Choir, and Pontarddulais Male Choir.

The choir’s first president was Dr. Rowan Williams (Baron Williams of Oystermouth) who was born in Ystradgynlais and recently retired as the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Williams has been succeeded by Lord John Thomas (Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd) who is the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

On Facebook, follow this tour by Côr Dathlu Cwmtawe Male Choir at "CD Choir US Tour 2015."

Posted on November 10, 2015 .

Gravity Railroad Anniversary Commemoration Set

A program to commemorate the anniversary of the opening of the Gravity Railroad in 1829 will take place in the Chamber of Commerce building in Carbondale on Friday, October 9. On that day, 186 years ago, the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale became operational.

By means of that rail line, millions of tons of anthracite coal were shipped from Carbondale over the Moosic Mountain to Honesdale, where the coal was then loaded into canal boats for the 108-mile long journey to the Hudson River at Rondout.

This commemorative program will begin at 7 P.M. and will be under the direction of Dr. S. Robert Powell, the president of the Carbondale Historical Society. In the course of this program, which will adjourn at or before 8 P.M., Dr. Powell will speak briefly on (1) the importance of the D&H to the City of Carbondale and the surrounding area, and (2) the five new volumes on the history of the D&H that he has written during the past year and which were published on October 9, in commemoration of the anniversary of the opening of the Gravity Railroad on that day.

The subjects of these five new D&H volumes are waterpower on the Gravity Railroad, working horses and mules, passenger service on the D&H, Farview Park, and the D&H steam locomotive line between Carbondale and Scranton.

These five new D&H volumes are a component of the multi-year publishing program undertaken by Dr. Powell on the history of the D&H. Last year on the anniversary of the opening of the Gravity Railroad, the first five volumes in this series were published.

All of these volumes on the D&H have been published as DVDs. To read them, each disc is inserted into a computer, the reader then scrolling through the text at his own rate of speed.

For additional information on this program, contact the Historical Society at 570-282-0385.

Posted on October 8, 2015 .

Architecture:

Rich architectural heritage; substantial number of nineteenth-century houses, including many high style Victorian houses, including the Eli E. Hendrick House and Park (designed by the celebrated American architect Andrew Jackson Downing)


Carbondale City Hall and Courthouse (Romanesque Revival structure, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983)

 

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Distinguished / Celebrated Carbondale Natives:

  • Gwynn Murray, Broadway actress
  • Joseph R. Sarnoski, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (World War II)
  • Patrick DeLacey, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (Civil War)
  • General Jerome F. O'Malley
  • Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey (family from Carbondale Township)
  • Pennsylvania State Auditor General Robert Casey, Jr.  (family from Carbondale Township)
  • The founders of the pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson  were from Carbondale
  • Eli E. Hendrick, industrialist
  • Mary B. McAndrew, educator
  • Jack Race, author and pilot
  • General Alvin Ungerlider
Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Some important Carbondale "firsts"

  • 1829: the Delaware & Hudson Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale began operations on October 9, 1829. This was the first commercially successful railroad to operate in America.   ·     
  • 1831: the first deep underground shaft anthracite coal mine in America was opened here in 1831 (just West of the Seventh Avenue crossing on the Delaware & Hudson tracks)   ·      
  • 1850: the first eisteddfod (a Welsh musical and literary festival) in America was held in Carbondale on Christmas Day, 1850. Among the literarians and musicians who attended were Daniel Davies, Rev. John Moses, Thomas Eynon, Rev. Thomas J. Phillips, and Edward Jones. These were the pioneer eisteddofdwyr of America.   · 
  • 1851: Carbondale was incorporated as a city on March 15, 1851, making it the oldest city (the "Pioneer" city) in Lackawanna County, and the fourth oldest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (after Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York)   ·   
  • 1853: the first lodge in America of the ancient Welsh fraternal order of Ivorites was opened in Carbondale in the fall of 1853; the first public Ivorite celebration in America took place in Carbondale in August 1855, when a procession and other public exercises took place, under the direction of Thomas Voyle, Esquire, chief marshal, and Edward Roberts, Esquire.   ·  
  • 1859: the first anthracite coal breaker in America, the Racket Brook Breaker, was erected by the D&H, adjacent to the company's coal and rail operations in the vicinity of the Artesian Well.
Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Carbondale USA

There are ten cities/communities in the United States with the name Carbondale. 

They are located in   

 

  • Amador County, California
  • Garfield County, Colorado
  • Jackson County, Illinois  
  • Warren County, Indiana  
  • Polk County, Iowa 
  • Osage County, Kansas 
  • Menominee County, Michigan  
  • Athens County, Ohio
  • Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania   
  • Fayette County, West Virginia
Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Mayors' Portrait Exhibit

Many years ago, the Historical Society installed an exhibition of paintings and photographs of the mayors of Carbondale in City Council Chambers. This project was initiated by Society Treasurer Joseph Pascoe. 

There are several mayors' portraits, some from the nineteenth century and some from the twentieth century, that we have not been able to locate.   

If you have access to photographs of any Carbondale mayor, please contact the Historical Society. 
 

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Maplewood Cemetery Restoration

The Maplewood Cemetery Association has partnered with the Carbondale Historical Society, the City of Carbondale, and numerous volunteers to work on the ongoing restoration of Maplewood Cemetery in Carbondale, PA.

Phase One of the project was the clearing of overgrown weeds, brush, grass, and debris.

Phase Two, which is the restoration of stones and monuments, started in the summer of 2009.
Phase Three will be the replacement of the Cemetery's retaining wall along Cemetery Street and the restoration of the Cemetery Gates.

Maplewood Cemetery was established in 1831. The first burial took place on October 31, 1832.

On May 15, 2010, A Highly successful clean-up/maintenance project took place in the cemetery. Volunteers from a broad range of community organizations spent the day working in the cemetery. Astonishing progress was made.

Donations for this restoration project may be sent to the Maplewood Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 151, Carbondale, PA 18407.

If you would like to volunteer to work on this restoration project, contact the Historical Society at 570-282-0385.

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Japanese Doll Exhibition

Miss Helen Kane, who died 24 October 2010, is the late daughter of the late Michael and Ellen (Gilboy) Kane, 71 Scott Street, Carbondale. After graduating from St. Rose High School, and Marywood University (B.A., M.A.), she taught, initially, in Binghamton and in the state of Maryland.
 

Miss Kane then became a member of the faculty of the Department of Defense Air Force School, and taught abroad (Newfoundland, England, Germany, Spain, Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea) for many years the dependents of American servicemen, and the dependents of those engaged in the United States diplomatic service, government construction work, and other government services abroad.

During her two years of teaching in Japan--at Tachikawa, 25 miles from Tokyo--Miss Kane learned the fine art of creating Japanese dolls by attending classes conducted by one of the top experts in that field. Miss Kane then made 11 exquisite Japanese dolls. They are Boy's Day doll, Farmer Girl, Koto Player, Mama-San, Bride, Lion Dancer, Flower Girl, Samurai, Geisha, Merchant's Daughter, Rain Children.

Those eleven dolls, each hand-made of exquisite silks and brocades, and perfect to the minutest detail, as well as three Oshie dolls (dolls framed as pictures), were donated to the Carbondale Historical Society in April 2010. 

On Sunday, May 23, from 2 to 5 P.M., was opened to the public an exhibition featuring those 14 Japanese dolls made by Helen Kane, at the Carbondale Historical Society. The Guest Curator for the exhibition is Matthew Buberniak, Carbondale. (Shown above upon mouseover.)

The Japanese Doll exhibition at the Historical Society is open to the public weekdays from 1P.M. to 5P.M. and by appointment. 

The Society's telephone number is 570-282-0385.

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Maplewood Cemetery Tour

On October 2, a guided historical tour of Maplewood Cemetery took place under the direction of members of the Maplewood Cemetery Association. The tour took place in conjunction with a ride on the ninetenth-century trolley replica that is owned by Lackawanna County. The members of the cemetery tour, which was sold-out, boarded the trolley at Carbondale City Hall and were transported to the Cemetery for the tour.  Following the guided walking tour through the Cemetery, the members of the tour were transported back to City Hall.

Twenty-three burial sites/tombstones were visited: William Wurts, James and Margaret Russell, Alice Voyle Rashleigh, Magdalene Davies, Mary Davies, Philo C. Gritman, Joseph B. Van Bergen, Thomas Gillespie, Alexander Bryden, James Dickson, C. E. Rettew, Eleanor P. Jones, George J. Davies, Moon family, William Emmett Kirby, Solomon Bolton, Joseph Alexander, Daniel Scurry, Alfred Pascoe, Joseph Birkett, Frank Hollenbeck, Peck Family, and Von Beck family.

 

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Historic Building for Sale

  This building, located on Salem Avenue in downtown Carbondale, is the former Masonic Temple. It is currently for sale. It is an architectural treasure that must be preserved!  It has a few problems at present, but nothing that can't be solved. Contact the Historical Society at 570-282-0385.

This building, located on Salem Avenue in downtown Carbondale, is the former Masonic Temple. It is currently for sale. It is an architectural treasure that must be preserved!  It has a few problems at present, but nothing that can't be solved. Contact the Historical Society at 570-282-0385.

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Crystal Band Christmas Concert Hosted by the Carbondale Historical Society and the Berean Baptist Church

   This year's Crystal Band Concert took place on Sunday, December 5, beginning at 7 P.M. in the main hall of the Berean Baptist Church in Carbondale. The Church is located at the corner of North Church Street and Lincoln Avenue. This was the twenty-seventh annual Christmas Concert by the Crystal Band that has been co-hosted by the Society and the Baptist Church. The conductor for this year's concert was Ms. Doreen Hughes Ignatovich.

     The Crystal Band is a concert band that was organized in 1879 in the Petersburg section of Scranton as a boys' brass band. At that time, there were as many as fifty thousand concert bands in the United States of America. Today such bands are a rarity.

     "Bands like the Crystal Band that have survived are truly community treasures," said S. Robert Powell, Executive Director of the Carbondale Historical Society.

     This concert is sponsored by the Carbondale Historical Society and Museum, as a Christmas gift to the community, and by the Berean Baptist Church. This was a free concert which any person could have attended. Refreshments were served following the concert.

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Historical Society Annual Christmas Dinner

  The Society's annual Christmas Dinner took place on Monday, December 6, beginning at 6 P.M. at Pettinato's Restaurant. The restaurant is located at 78 Dundaff Street, Carbondale. Menu selections consisted Veal Marsala and Baked Ham. Reservations were coordinated by the Society's Treasurer, Joseph Pascoe.

    The Society's annual Christmas Dinner, together with the annual Crystal Band concert, are regarded by many as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season in Carbondale.
 

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Mount Carmel Band, Carbondale, PA

The original of this rare and wonderful photograph is in the collection of Dean Cerra, Greenfield Township, PA. The band is shown here in front of the building, still standing, at the corner of Hospital Street and Apple Avenue. The bar that was owned and operated by Luigi Cerra is seen at the far right of the photograph. Luigi Cerra, who is very probably one of the musicians shown here, was one of the constituent members of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Carbondale. He was the great grandfather of Father Louis Pascoe (Fordham University, New York City), Joseph Pascoe (Carbondale) and Ronald Pascoe (Carbondale), the three sons of Santo A. Pascoe and his wife Rose M. Cerra, of 36 Hospital Street. Please contact the Historical Society if you can identify any of the persons shown in the above photograph or if you can tell us more about the Mount Carmel Band.  

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

New (old) Year's Recipes

For the new year's anticipation, one might feel the need to follow tradition and consume large quantities of fish. We at the Historical Society feel obligated to provide to the reader recipes of an appropriate nature. One might feel the inclination to try Miss Pascoe's "Boiled Blue Fish," but be unable to find the recipe to do so. To solve such problems, we have posted a sampling of Carbondale's "Old Year" recipes. Given below are recipes prepared by the "Young Lady Workers of the Methodist Episcopal Church," as given in the Carbondale Cookbook, Seventh Edition, 1924. 

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

8th Annual Carbondale St. David's Day Dinner

   Fresh Daffodils and Leeks are the hallmarks of any St. David's Day gathering.

 Fresh Daffodils and Leeks are the hallmarks of any St. David's Day gathering.

 Barbara Campbell presents a very touching and amusing reminiscence of her welsh grandmother.

Barbara Campbell presents a very touching and amusing reminiscence of her welsh grandmother.

  Ted Frutchey presents a comprehensive report on upcoming Welsh events in the Lackawanna Valley.

Ted Frutchey presents a comprehensive report on upcoming Welsh events in the Lackawanna Valley.

   Mrs. Fran Justin conducts the St. David's Welsh Male Chorus in a program of traditional welsh music and selections from the Broadway show "Oklahoma"   

  Mrs. Fran Justin conducts the St. David's Welsh Male Chorus in a program of traditional welsh music and selections from the Broadway show "Oklahoma"  

  St. David's Welsh Male Chorus

St. David's Welsh Male Chorus

    Freshly brewed tea and Welsh cookies are always a hit with the dinner guests.

 Freshly brewed tea and Welsh cookies are always a hit with the dinner guests.

    A large group of Welsh enthusiasts enjoy the traditional celebration.

 A large group of Welsh enthusiasts enjoy the traditional celebration.

     Ted Frutchey, Donald Powell, Jerry and Patty Williams enjoy the evening.

  Ted Frutchey, Donald Powell, Jerry and Patty Williams enjoy the evening.

      S. Robert Powell presents a report on the pioneer Welsh settlers in Carbondale.

     S. Robert Powell presents a report on the pioneer Welsh settlers in Carbondale.

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.

Welsh Tombstones in Carbondale, PA

This Samuel Davies tombstone is one of the three very early Welsh tombstones in Maplewood Cemetery, Carbondale. As you can see in the photos above, Samuel Davies was born in Llanguic, Wales, and died at the age of 26 in 1833.

Over 7,000 interments have been made in Maplewood Cemetery in the past 180+ years, but these three Welsh stones are the only ones in the cemetery that are made of this beautiful reddish/brown stone, on which the inscriptions are as clear and readable today as they were on the day they were carved, by a highly skilled stone carver (surely a Welshman).  

What is the material out of which these tombstones are made? Is this a Welsh stone? Did these early Welsh people who came to Carbondale to work in the anthracite mines here bring with them from Wales the stones that would ultimately become their tombstones? 

We would very much like to hear from anyone who can help us answer these unanswered questions about these stones. 

  One of the Welsh tombstones in Carbondale's Maplewood Cemetery. This stone marks the grave of Mary Davis, who died on January 30, 1832, at the age of 44. She was the wife of the Reverend John Davis.  

One of the Welsh tombstones in Carbondale's Maplewood Cemetery. This stone marks the grave of Mary Davis, who died on January 30, 1832, at the age of 44. She was the wife of the Reverend John Davis.  

  The Reverend John Davis and his wife Mary were among the twenty Welsh families who were brought to Carbondale from Wales by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company in the late 1820s for the specific purpose of teaching the D&H the techniques and procedures of deep underground anthracite coal mining.

The Reverend John Davis and his wife Mary were among the twenty Welsh families who were brought to Carbondale from Wales by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company in the late 1820s for the specific purpose of teaching the D&H the techniques and procedures of deep underground anthracite coal mining.

Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Archived.