Timeline of Schuylkill County
300,000 million years ago
Coal formation began.
Columbus “discovers” America. Although other Europeans had been here earlier, this time, “discovery” leads to expeditions, explorations and settlement. Native American tribes had already been here for centuries.
Leni Lenape Indians settle in the Sculps Hill area
1638Swedes become the first European settlers in what is now known as Pennsylvania. They explore part of the Schuylkill River.
Charles II, king of England, charters the province of Pennsylvania to William Penn, a Quaker.
Two Indian chiefs from Wyoming Valley (near Wilkes-Barre) visit England. They take with them bags of black “stones” or anthracite coal. The English test the coal for use in blacksmithing.
George Gottfried Orwig and his wife Gloria establish Orwigsburg, which will later become a temporary county seat.
Daniel Boone, the famous hunter, is born in Exeter. His family later moves to North Carolina and Kentucky.
Francis Yarnell builds a gristmill in what is now Orwigsburg. It is the county’s first industry.
The Red Church (now on Route 61 near Orwigsburg) is the first church built in what is later to become Schuylkill County. Burned by Indians in 1756, the church was rebuilt and dedicated in 1770 as the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Conrad Minnich, who later served as a captain in the Revolutionary War, rebuilds his hotel after an Indian attack. This was the first “public house” or inn in Schuylkill County. In the area now known as Seven Stars,this was a stage coach stop for those traveling from Reading to Fort Augusta (Sunbury).
Pennsylvania provincial government establishes a chain of forts along the Blue Mountains between the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers. These include Fort Lebanon, located between Auburn and Pinedale, and Fort Franklin, near Snyders.
British Parliament passes the Stamp Act.
Surveyors William Scull and William Maclay discover coal near Ashland.(Scull’s grandfather, Nicholas, also a surveyor, had indicated “coal points” on earlier maps.) William Scull’s map, published in 1770, indicates coal at Schuylkill Gap (Tuscarora).
The King’s Highway opened from Reading to Fort Augusta (Sunbury). Meant to open trade with the Indians, it followed the Tulpehocken path. For those traveling north, the last resting place along the way was a roadhouse or inn at Seven Stars in Manheim Township.
Members of the Continental Congress sign the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.
The Neiman Massacre occurs. Where the Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic now stands, a man and his three children were murdered by Indians. This prompted other settlers to flee. Since they had been providing tall trees as masts for the Continental Navy, Marines moved in to the area to continue the supply.
Evangelical Lutheran Church School in Orwigsburg opens, becoming one of the first local schools.
Necho Allen “discovers” coal in New Castle while hunting on the Broad Mountain, and uses it for heat. * About the same time, Philip Ginther “discovers” coal near Summit Hill in nearby Carbon County. Others had known about coal and use it, buy these two “discoveries” will eventually lead to the development of a market for coal.
The Center Turnpike, a 75-mile connection between Reading and Sunbury,opened. It included what is now Centre Street in Pottsville. Back then, Centre Street was a vast marsh. Its low points were filled with logs and stones. That made it the first “corduroy road” in the area.
William Morris ships a load of coal from Mill Creek to Philadelphia. The effort fails and people refuse to buy his “black rocks.”
John Potts, an ironmaster, buys a forge and furnace already existing in what is now known as Pottsville. Potts laid out the plot for the borough. His ancestors had emigrated from England with William Penn. While preparing a trail for the Valley Furnace, workers discover coal near Pottsville.
Schuylkill becomes the 45th of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. It includes land that had been part of Berks and Northampton counties, and covers 840 square miles. At various times it had been part of land first known as Chester County, then Lancaster County and finally Berks County. The first county seat was at the inn owned by Abraham Reiffsnyder at McKeansburg.
The Centre Turnpike is completed. It runs from Reading to Sunbury. The U.S. declares war against England as a result of British seizure and confiscation of American ships. * Countians serve in that war. * Colonel William Shoemaker proves the value of coal in furnaces. This event begins the development of a market for coal as a fuel.
Orwigsburg Academy is authorized by Governor Simon Snyder. This was the first county school to provide a good classical education as preparation for college.
The first county jail opens in Orwigsburg.
The state legislature incorporates the Schuylkill Navigation Company. Work on the 108-mile canal is divided into two sections: one from Philadelphia to Reading, and one from Reading to Mill Creek. Built to carry lumber, the canal will cost $3 million. Construction takes from 1817 to 1825. * The Schuylkill County Courthouse opens in Orwigsburg. After 36 years, the county seat will be moved the Pottsville.
Additional land from Columbia and Luzerne Counties is annexed to Schuylkill County.
The first tunnel in North America was dug by the Schuylkill Navigation Company near Landingville. Mules or horses walked over the hill, while the canal boats were poled through the tunnel.
The Schuylkill Canal opens.
The Pottsville Journal begins publication. For many years, it was the only English-language newspaper in the county. The next two newspapers were both published in Orwigsburg German. * The port at Mount Carbon does a booming business in shipping lumber and merchandise on the Schuylkill Canal. * The “coal rush” begins as people in the Philadelphia realize that coal is a good fuel. * Phoenix Iron Works in Phoenixville is the first to generate steam from coal.
Abraham Heebner, Port Carbon, builds a half-mile railroad to connect his mines to the Schuylkill Canal. This is only the third railway in America.
St. Patrick Church, Pottsville, is the first Catholic church in the county.
Pottsville is incorporated as a borough. * The Schuylkill Canal was extended from Mount Carbon to Port Carbon, which became its northern terminus. * Construction of the Union Canal is completed. Canal passengers can make the trip from Pine Grove to Philadelphia in five days.
Daily mail service between Pottsville and Philadelphia begin. Three stage coaches also carry passengers. Their 18-hour trip departs Pottsville at 2 a.m. and arrives in Philadelphia at 8 p.m.
The first boat travels from Pine Grove to Philadelphia on the Union Canal. This canal later becomes the carrier for coal from the western end of the county. * A miner earns $1 a day. Laborers earn 82 cents a day.
The first locomotive in the county runs from Port Clinton to Tamaqua. * The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad gets its charter.
The Pottsville Assembly holds its first dance. This prestigious annual event will become the highlight of Pottsville’s social season. Only elite males can belong to the assembly.
Now and for the next 20 years, Welsh miners are recruited to work in mines here.
The Philadelphia and Reading Railway passenger train goes into service between Mount Carbon and Philadelphia. * The first recorded coal labor dispute takes place. However, after several weeks with violence but no
work, miners returned to work. * 500,000 tons of coal are shipped out of the county by canal or rail.
Countians serve in the war against Mexico.
The potato blight in Ireland prompts many to move to America. Many Irish immigrants will settle in Schuylkill County.
The Philadelphia, Reading & Pottsville Telegraph Co. brings modern communication to the county. * The county seat moves to Pottsville.
John Bates forms the Miners and Laborers’ Benevolent Association. This group was the first nation-wide miners’ union, and conducted the first miners’ strikes.
John R. (Benjamin) Bannon, an attorney, moves his family from a mansion on the square in Orwigsburg to a colonial mansion on Sharp Mountain. It is still known as the Cloud Home. Later, Bannon will donate a portion of his land to be used for the Henry Clay Monument. * Saint Clair is incorporated as a town. * Jews and Slovenians immigrate in great numbers.
The first courthouse and prison are built in Pottsville.
The Henry Clay Monument is dedicated in Pottsville. It is on the Sharp Mountain, overlooking the city. A Kentuckian, Clay had fought for a protective tariff at a time when English coal and iron competed with those produced by Schuylkill County.
A flood at the Union Canal reservoir (now known as Sweet Arrow Lake) causes the end of the Union Canal.
Large numbers of Lithuanians move into Schuylkill County.
The Girard Colliery opens near Girardville. * The Battle of the Crater is fought at Petersburg, Va. Schuylkill County miners serving in the Union army dig a tunnel under a Confederate stronghold. Poor strategy on the part of Union leadership surrendered the advantage the explosion had given them, and Confederate soldiers staged a comeback.
Oheb Zedeck Synagogue is started on West Arch Street in Pottsville.
The Workingman’s Benevolent Association forms to campaign for the eight-hour work day. John Siney Sr. of Saint Clair serves as the group’s leader. * The Tamaqua Courier begins publication.
The Shenandoah Herald begins publication. * Hungarians immigrate. * Ukrainians follow throughout the next decade.
People’s Railway Company begins service from Pottsville to Minersville. It used both steam passenger service and horse-drawn trollies. * The Schuylkill Republican begins publication in Minersville.
St. George’s Church in Shenandoah becomes the first Lithuanian parish in America.
The Mahanoy City Tribune begins publication. It will later become the Mahanoy City Record-American.
Joseph Henry Zerbey buys Schuylkill Republican, moves it to Pottsville and starts the Weekly Schuylkill Republican.
Telephone service arrives in Schuylkill County when 45 homes in Pottsville, Port Carbon, Saint Clair and Minersville are wired for phones.
The Valley Echo begins publication in Tower City. It will later become the West Schuylkill Herald.
The Pottsville REPUBLICAN publishes its first daily edition. * The Washington Monument opens. * St. Michael’s Church in Shenandoah become the first Ukrainian parish in America.
Electric street lights go on in downtown Pottsville. * Ten men are buried in a mine cave-in at Cuyler Colliery. * Four men are entombed in a fall at North Ashland colliery.
The Reading Company opens its new train station on East Norwegian Street. * Pottsville’s Salvation Army opens. * Robert Braun, founder of the famous music school in Pottsville is born. * St. Michael’s Church on Centre Street
in Shenandoah becomes the first Greek- or Byzantine-rite church in America. In a later era of ethnic consciousness, it becomes known as St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church.
A new Pennsylvania Railroad Depot opens on East Norwegian Street in Pottsville. * Five men suffocate when a rush occurs at Tunnel Colliery, Ashland.
The Pottsville Club opens at 100 South Centre Street as a haven for wealthy gentlemen. * A train crash kills eight and hurts 25 at Quakake Junction. * More than 260 died when U. S. battleship Maine blows up in the harbor at
Havana, Cuba, leading to the Spanish-American War. * Local National Guardsmen serve in that six-month war.
The Eiffel Tower opens as part of the Universal Exhibition in Paris. * More than 2,200 die in the Johnstown Flood in western Pennsylvania. * Ten men die at Kaska William Colliery.
The last conflict between Indians and U.S. troops takes place at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. * The United Mine Workers of America forms at a conference in Ohio. * The population of Pottsville reaches 14,000. *
Conrad Richter, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, is born in Pine Grove. * The Schuylkill Haven Call begins publication. * The Schuylkill Electric Railway provides services between Pottsville and Minersville. * A train wreck in Shoemakersville kills 22, including 16 Schuylkill Countians. * Immigrants come from Poland, Italy, Russia and Slovakia.
Schuylkill County dedicates its new courthouse in Pottsville, replacing one built in 1851 when the county seat moved from Orwigsburg. * Officials unveil the Garfield Square Soldiers’ Monument in Pottsville.
A violent strike at Carnegie steel mills in Homestead, near Pittsburgh, results in 18 dead and many wounded. * York Farm Colliery explodes.
Pottsville Mission starts. * Gilberton Trolley Riot takes place in August.
Tumbling Run Hotel opens. * Five die at Williamstown Colliery.
Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen, a German physicist, discovers X-rays. * The Pottsville REPUBLICAN building is erected. It is Pottsville’s first modern fireproof structure, built of iron, brick, stone and cement. * Pottsville Hospital & Warne Clinic opens.
Four men and a boy die at a Wadesville mine shaft when hurled from a bucket to the bottom of the shaft. * McCann School of Business opens in Mahanoy City. * The Lattimore Massacre occurs in nearly Luzerne County. It leaves
19 dead and as many as 50 injured. It is a clash between the English-speaking establishment and immigrant miners, mostly Hungarians and Slovaks. The sheriff and his posse shoot at miners who are protesting the lowering of their wages. The massacre unites diverse ethnic communities and leads directly to the creation of the Pennsylvania State Police. After it, United Mine Workers membership grows from 40,000 to 200,000.
Port Carbon industrialist Robert Allison purchases the first “horseless carriage” manufactured in the United States.
Carrie Nation, Kansas anti-saloon agitator, begins raiding with a hatchet. * J. S. Losch, Schuylkill Haven, invents a new engine.
The “Great Anthracite Strike” lasts 163 days.
First automobile trip across the U.S. succeeds. * Henry Ford organizes the Ford Motor Company. * Orville Wright takes the first successful flight in a heavier-than-air mechanically-propelled airplane. * Carrie Nation visits
Pottsville on Thanksgiving Day.
Novelist John O’Hara is born in Pottsville. Construction begins on the Pennsylvania & Reading Coal & Iron building, 200 Mahantongo St., Pottsville.
The San Francisco earthquake and fire kills 452 and leaves another 2250,000 homeless.
Admiral Robert E. Peary, accompanied by Matthew Henson reaches the North Pole on his sixth attempt. * The Thompson Building, Pottsville’s first modern high-rise office building, is erected.
Pottsville votes to become a city.
Schuylkill County celebrates its centennial. * Pottsville Free Public Library opens. * Pottsville becomes a third-class city.
The Titanic sinks on its maiden voyage, after colliding with an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. * Les Brown, famous big band leader, is born in Reinerton. * Dr. Robert C. Braun opens the Braun School of Music in
The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the right to levy and collect income taxes. * East Brookside mine explodes.
An assassin kills Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife in Sarajevo in June, followed by war in Europe in July. * The first ship passes through the Panama Canal. * After three years of court fights, Pottsville officially becomes a third-class city when the State Supreme Court upholds the referendum process. * A million dollar fire in Pottsville destroys the Academy of Music.
The first successful wireless communication takes place between a Lackawanna train and its station. * Nearly 1,200 die as a German submarine sinks the ocean liner Lusitania off the coast of Ireland. * Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson hold the first trans-continental telephone conversation.
America declares war on Germany, bringing the U.S. into World War I. * The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is submitted to the states, providing for prohibition.
Czar Nicholas of Russia and his family are shot on Bolshevik orders. * World War I fighting stops. * A flu epidemic kills an estimated 20 million around the world, including more than 548,000 Americans. * The flu hits Schuylkill County in October. An estimated 17,000 become ill; 3,000 children are left orphans. * The Pottsville Chamber of Commerce starts; it changes its name to Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce in 1980.
The World War I Treaty in Versailles is signed June 28, but rejected by the U.S. Senate because the League of Nations did not guarantee American sovereignty. * The first coal is hauled to Philadelphia by truck.
Four plunge down shaft to their deaths in the Kaska mine disaster. * A group of doctors open up the A. C. Milliken Hospital, which becomes the Good Samaritan Hospital in 1929.
Thousands attend Mass in a field as Cardinal Dennis Dougherty dedicates the St. Joseph Orphanage in Orwigsburg.
Archeologists unearth King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. * J. H. Zerbey publishes Pottsville’s first local morning newspaper.
The first sound-on-film movies are shown in New York
20,000 people in Heckshersville Valley and Minersville receive a small pox vaccine.
John T. Scopes of Dayton, Tenn., is convicted of having taught evolution in his local high school. * The Pottsville Maroons football team win NFL football championship, but have it taken from unfairly due to a technicality. * The Hometown Beacon is established as a guide for night-flying mail planes. It was a 50-foot tower with a revolving beacon. Because of improvements in flight safety, the tower only operated for 10 years.
Dr. Robert H. Goddard demonstrates the practicality of rockets with the first liquid-fuel rocket flight in Auburn, Mass. * The state takes control of Shenandoah Community Hospital and renames it Locust Mountain State Hospital.
Capt. Charles A. Lindbergh flies The Spirit of Saint Louis in the first New York to Paris non-stop flight: 3,610 miles in 33 hours, 29 minutes. * The Necho Allen Hotel is built.
Audiences love the first all-talking movie, starring Al Jolson in “The Jazz Singer.”
The “Black Tuesday” stock market crash marks the beginning of the worst U.S. depression.
Good Samaritan Hospital is dedicated.
A $5 million breaker is started at St. Nicholas. * The new Yuengling Dairy starts.
A kidnapper takes Lindbergh baby; the child is later found dead.
Hitler becomes German chancellor. * FDR’s first fireside chat marks the beginning of the New Deal. * Prohibition ends.
A newly formed Democratic Party marches in a parade to counter the tight rule by the Republican Party under the control of the Bruno family in Kelayres, near McAdoo. As participants pass the Bruno home, shots ring out.
Four people are wounded and five killed in what becomes known as the Kelayres Massacre. * Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey form their big band. * “Appointment in Samarra,” John O’Hara’s first novel, is published. * The Schuylkill branch of the Pennsylvania State University opens as a resource for an area battered by the Depression. The first students meet in Pottsville’s Bunker Hill School. The campus in Schuylkill Haven will not open until 1966. In 1997, it will become Penn State Schuylkill Capital College.
Gilberton mine explodes.
Bus service begins with the first run of Capital Trailways bus on a Pottsville-Harrisburg route.
Aviator Amelia Earhart disappears over the Pacific Ocean. * Officials dedicate Pottsville’s City Hall.
A uranium atom is split at Columbia University. * Hitler invades Poland. * World War II begins as Great Britain, France and others declare war on Germany.
Winston Churchill replaces British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlaine. * Italy declares war on Britain and France. * Germany occupies France.
Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the U.S. enters the war. * Hitler opens concentration camps, where six million Jews and thousands of others die by the end of the war. * Pottsville City Council votes to install 269 penny and nickel parking meters along Centre Street.
U. S. government takes over the coal mines, including the area’s anthracite operations, when miners walked out on strike.
D-Day: U.S. troops invade Normandy. * The GI. Bill of Rights is enacted. * Penicillin becomes the new wonder drug.
U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima. * Harry S. Truman replaces the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt as U.S. president. * Hitler commits suicide. * Germany surrenders. * U.S. drops atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. * U.S.
forces enter Korea.
The United Nations opens in London. * A strike by 400,000 soft coal miners spreads to other industries. * At the Nuremberg trials, 22 Nazi leaders are convicted of war crimes. * WPPA Radio, Pottsville, begins broadcasting.
The Truman Doctrine to combat Communism in Greece and Turkey is approved. * Jackie Robinson becomes the first Black to play professional baseball. * John Walson establishes the nation’s first community antenna system for
television reception in Mahanoy City. * WPAM Radio, Pottsville, opens.
Indian leader Mohandas K. Ghandi is assassinated. * The Organization of American States starts. * Soviets blockade Berlin, and U.S. and Britain begin airlifting food and coal. * Service Electric Cable TV, Mahanoy City, is the first cable company in the nation.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization is established. * The U.S.S.R. tests atom bomb. * Pottsville Boulevard opens.
North Korea invades South Korea. * United Nations asks for U.S. troops in Korea. * U.S. military advisers are sent to Vietnam.
President Truman orders the seizing of the nation’s steel mills to avert a strike. * U.S. tests the first hydrogen bomb. Immigration and Naturalization Act passes. * Greater Pottsville Industrial Development Corporation forms.
U.S. Supreme Court rules that racially segregated public schools are unconstitutional.
AFL and CIO merge. * The Warsaw Pact is signed. * U.S. agrees to train South Vietnamese troops. * Three men die and 11 others are injured when Kohinoor Coal Co. breaker in Shenandoah collapses
Soviet troops smash Hungarian revolt. * The interstate highway system starts with the signing of the Federal Highway Act.
Soviets launch Sputnik I. * The first U.S. civil rights bill, protecting voting rights, gets approval. * Plans for I-81 running through Schuylkill County get federal approval.
U.S. puts its first satellite in orbit and moves 5,000 Marines into Lebanon.
Alaska and Hawaii become states. * Fidel Castro takes control of Cuba. * A propane explosion kills 10 near Zion’s Red Church, Route 61, Orwigsburg.
Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy draws 12,000 to Pottsville’s Garfield Square. A week later, 9,000 hear Republican vice-presidential nominee Henry Cabot Lodge, also in the square.
U.S. severs diplomatic relations with Cuba, then suffers the Bay of Pigs fiasco. * Soviets launch the first human into space. * Three weeks later, U.S. has its first manned sub orbital flight. * Schuylkill County begins a six-year drought.
John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit Earth. * U.S. and Soviets clash over Communist missile build-up in Cuba. * James Meredith becomes the first Black student at the University of Mississippi. * U.S. military advisers in Vietnam are told to fire if fired upon. * A trash fire in Centralia starts long-term problems.
President John F. Kennedy dies in Dallas after being hit by a bullet fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. * Dr. Martin Luther King gives his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. * The South Vietnamese government is overthrown. * The Sheppton mine disaster traps three miners 300 feet below the surface. After two weeks, two are rescued but one was never found.
The U.S. and North Vietnam flare over the Gulf of Tonkin incident. As a result, Congress gives President Lyndon B. Johnson the power to step up American involvement in southeast Asia. * The Warren Commission concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing JFK. * Kruschev is ousted as Soviet premier.
Years of protest in America begin as the Vietnam war escalates. Los Angeles experiences the Watts riot. * Four Schuylkill County men die in Vietnam, and one is reported missing in action. * The first jet plane lands at the county airport. * The Minersville Street redevelopment project begins in Pottsville. * The state extends black lung disability payments.
Medicare health benefits begin. * AFL and NFL announce the merger of their 28 football teams into one league. * The Schuylkill Campus of The Pennsylvania State University opens at its current location in Schuylkill Haven. It will later become Penn State Schuylkill Capital College.
The six-day Arab-Israeli war erupts. * Summer brings racial riots to U.S. cities. * Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
North Koreans seize U.S.S. Pueblo and hold 82 survivors, including Pottsville’s Francis J. Ginther, for 11 months. * Assassins hit Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tenn., and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in California. *
Vietnam peace talks begin in Paris. * Violent demonstrations cast Democratic convention in Chicago into turmoil. * Richard M. Nixon and Edmund Muskie campaign in Schuylkill County in October. * Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of JFK, marries Greek multi-millionaire Aristotle Onassis.
Neil A. Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon. * The first U.S. troops leave Vietnam. * The largest anti-war demonstration in U.S.history takes place in Washington. * The campaign for president of the United Mine Workers union becomes bitter and violent as Joseph “Jock” Yablonski challenges incumbent W. A. Tony Boyle. Boyle gets re-elected, and Yablonski, his wife and daughter are murdered early the next year. Eventually Boyle is convicted of the murders.
U.S. Supreme Court orders the integration of 14 Southern school districts. * The National Guard kills four students at Kent State University in Ohio, as students protest the sending of U.S. troops into Cambodia. * John O’Hara dies at his home in Princeton, N.J.
Intermediate Unit 29’s special education program for county school districts is organized.
U.S. bombs North Vietnam. * Five men are arrested for breaking into the Watergate complex. * Mark Spitz wins a record seven Olympic gold medals in Munich. * Seventeen Israeli Olympic athletes die at the hands of Arab terrorists. * Hurricane Agnes floods the county, causing $11 million in damage. * State officials declare it to be the state’s worst-ever natural disaster. * Locust Lake State Park opens. * The state lottery begins. * Muhammad Ali builds his training camp in Deer Lake.
The gas shortage begins. * Abortion is legalized. * Former President Lyndon B. Johnson dies. * The last American troops withdraw from Vietnam, and the peace pact is signed. * Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns and Gerald R. Ford replaces him. * Cressona Mall opens.
President Richard M. Nixon resigns, then is pardoned by new President Gerald R. Ford. * The Pottsville Club, 314 Mahantongo Street, burns. Fairlane Village Mall opens.
Governments of South Vietnam and Cambodia fall. * Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa disappears forever.
The nation celebrates it bicentennial. * Legionnaire’s Disease strikes after a convention in Philadelphia. * Six local coal firms are indicted for price-fixing.
Nine die in Tower City mine disaster. Only Ronald Adley survives the collapse of the Kocher Coal Co. mine. * The ALCOA plant in Cressona closes.
Almost 900 people commit suicide in the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana.
Iranians seize U.S. embassy in Tehran and hold Americans hostage for 444 days. * The Three Mile Island nuclear accident on the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg threatens this county. * Schuylkill County Council for the
Arts begins. * Cressona Aluminum reopens the former ALCOA plant.
Mount St. Helen’s erupts. * Cuban refugees come to Indiantown Gap. * Toxic waste problems surface in the county. * Schuylkill Mall opens.
Iran releases American hostages after 444 days. * Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first female on the U.S. Supreme Court. * President Reagan and Pope John Paul II survive assassination attempts, but Anwar Sadat of Egypt is killed. * Prince Charles makes Diana his princess. * William D. Hutchinson, who serves as Pottsville’s state representative, is elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Great Britain and Argentina go to war over the Falkland Islands. * The Equal Rights Amendment is defeated. * The Vietnam Memorial opens in Washington, D.C. * Barny Clarke receives the first artificial heart and lives 112 days. * Efforts to change Schuylkill County government through a Home Rule charter are soundly defeated.
Dr. Sally Ride, a physicist, becomes the first woman in space. * Jennifer Lynn Eshelman, Hegins, earns her crown as Miss Pennsylvania.
Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman vice presidential candidate for a major political party. * AT&T is broken into “Baby Bells.” * The federal government proposes to buy Centralia properties threatened by mine fires. * Six young people die when their truck is swallowed by an old mine shaft. * The federal government provides a $500,000 grant for the Joe
Six miners die in three tragic accidents in or near Schuylkill County. * Six culm-burning plants are proposed for Schuylkill County. * Governor Dick Thornburg declares a drought emergency. * The Treadway Hotel replaces what used to be Pomeroy’s department store in downtown Pottsville. * The former Necho Allen Hotel becomes apartments for the elderly. * The 130-year-old statue of Henry Clay was renovated, restored and returned to its pedestal on the side of the Sharp Mountain in Pottsville.
The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after take-off, killing all astronauts aboard and shutting down the space program for two years. * The Iran-Contra affair comes to light, showing that the U.S. had illegally sold arms to Iran and used some of the proceeds to fund American guerrillas in Nicaragua. * The nation celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. * The Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Soviet Ukraine is a major setback for the advocates of nuclear energy. * The 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Memorial visits Schuylkill County, prompting calls for a local memorial for those who died in Vietnam.
Americans celebrate the 200th birthday of the Constitution. * The Iran-Contra hearings open. * The “Black Monday” $500 billion stock market collapse is one of the worst in modern times. * State Correctional Institute in Frackville opens. * Westwood Generating Station, a culm-burning plant, opens in Joliett. * Minersville native William D.
Hutchinson is appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Drought hits the Great Plains and the Midwest. * The space program returns with the launch of the shuttle Discovery. * The county courthouse gets a $4.7 million renovation. * The Ku Klux Klan holds a 4th of July rally in Andreas.
Chinese troops kills thousands of protesters in Beijing. * Solidarity defeats the Communist Party in Polish parliamentary elections. * Congress bails out the savings and loan industry. * Gateways open up in the Berlin Wall.
Operation Desert Shield sends soldiers and sailors to the Persian Gulf area, including 250 from Schuylkill County. * Five landfills close. * Mandatory and voluntary recycling gets off the ground. * Gypsy moths strip trees bare. * A lawsuit gives control of Reading Anthracite Co., the nation’s largest anthracite producer, to John W. Rich, Sr., and his family.
More than 300 Schuylkill County soldiers served in Operation Desert Storm. This was a six-week war against Iraq. The leaders were President George Bush of the U.S. and Saddam Hussain of Iraq. * Pennsylvania declares a drought emergency. * The Federal Correctional Institute/Schuylkill opens near Minersville. * Construction begins on a state prison in Mahanoy Township. * Debate rages about putting incinerators in Schuylkill County to clean up oil-contaminated soil. * The former U.S.S.R. or Soviet Union dissolves.
Local garment workers fall on hard times as many contracts go overseas for less expensive labor. * Pottsville native Gary S. Becker wins $1.2 million Nobel Prize for Economics for his ground-breaking work in applying economic theory to the social sciences. * Pottsville gets its first city administrator, Richard J. Schuettler. * Czechoslovakia becomes the first former Communist nation to split. Its parts become known as Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
The countywide 911 emergency center opens in Pottsville, offering centralized service. * The state prison in Mahanoy Township opens. * The Stingers return professional basketball to Pottsville for the first time in 37 years. * Genocide in Bosnia triggers a belated global response to systematic ethnic extermination of Serbs.
The most severe winter in a century dumps more than 100 inches of snow and sets record low temperatures. * In their first season, the Pottsville Stingers, a professional basketball team, wins the Atlantic Basketball Association championship. * From entire municipalities to water and sewage services, consolidation is the hot topic. The need for greater efficiency and economy are behind the discussions.
Mother Teresa visits Mahanoy City, where some of her Missionaries of Charity live. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mother Teresa is famous for her work among the poor and sick of Calcutta, India. * Gen. George A. Joulwan becomes the Supreme Allied Commander of the 60,000 NATO troops on a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. A four-star general, Joulwan is a Pottsville native. * The Army pulls out of Fort Indiantown Gap in nearby Annville, Lebanon County. The move is part of post-Cold War downsizing. The Pennsylvania National Guard continues to train there, avoiding complete
Schuylkill County Vietnam Veterans achieve their fund-raising goal. They begin work on a memorial for those countians who died in southeast Asia. * Shenandoah dedicates it s Pennsylvania Miners’ Memorial in Girard Park. * Reading Anthracite reaches an agreement on relocating Wadesville. * The company’s offer to build a recreation center in Shenandoah in exchange for approval to fill the Shen-Penn stripping pit with fly-ash is rejected. * TWA Flight 800 explodes, killing all 230 people aboard, including Kyle and Amy Miller, Andreas. * Gov. Tom Ridge declares a state of emergency Jan. 9 & 10, after a storm dumps 16 to 32 inches of snow across the county. * Later, excessive rain and melting snow lead to $8 million in flood damage across the county. * Tornadoes strike New Philadelphia, Brockton, MaryD, Middleport and Rapid Run. * The Kutztown Folk Festival moves to the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds.
Pottsville’s Railway Park team plays in the Little League World Series. * County residents dedicate their new Vietnam Memorial in Schuylkill Haven. * Hundreds participate in the Schuylkill County Visioning process. * The world mourns the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.
This timeline was compiled by Frank Blase, Dana Forwood, Kay Haffey, Mary Lipton and Mark Major.