There were maimings, be-headings, and even a murder cover-up along the trolley line between Mauch Chunk and Lehighton...
For a brief time, the Lehighton and Carbon County area was served by an “inter-urban” trolley system. It was a popular form of mass transportation, a necessary bridge from the stagecoach, horse-and-buggy days until the time when cars and buses took over.
|One of many trolley accidents. This one at the bottom of South Street, running headlong into the Lehighton|
Exchange Hotel sometime around 1905. Photo courtesy of Brad Haupt collection.
|This turbine was retrieved from the Lehigh River at Coalport in Jim|
Thorpe about ten years ago. It is believed to be from the power
plant mentioned above. Visit the Mauch Chunk Museum and
Cultural Center for a closer inspection if you like. Click here formore info on the museum.
|The Lehighton-Weissport Bridge built for $25,500 in 1889. Blakslee's Electric|
Company charged $5 per month for lighting the bridge. Courtesy of the Brad Haupt Collection.
Blakslee also started the grain elevator in Weissport in 1894. The building still stands and most recently was the home of Sebelin Lumber. Click here to see more on this business and how it was related to Rickert Wholesale in Weissport.
|Here is how the Carbon County Improvement Company's electric|
powerplant looked in Weissport in April of 1891 (Sanborn Fire
Assessment Map). Note the Iron Bridge at left and the Fort
Allen Hotel bottom right.
|Above is a close-up of the hydroelectric powerplant in Weissport in 1891. Below, you can see how much the power|
works were improved just five years later.
|The above foundations can be pictured in the 1915 Sanborn Map of Blaklee's Lehighton side of the river powerhouse.|
|Another angle of the car that hit the Lehighton Exchange Hotel. |
Courtesy of Brad Haupt Collection. This picture appears in Ebbert and Ripkey's "Lehighton." (Click here to purchase.)
|The Old Flagstaff Trolley Station. Courtesy of Brad Haupt Collection.|
|My grandparents, Zach (above at Flagstaff) and Mamie Rabenold, and |
their familyand friends spoke of many a good leisure Sunday at
Flagstaff Park, traveling there by trolley.
|These steps remain from the stop at the|
bottom of Flagstaff along Lentz Trail and
helped passengers transfer from the trolley
to the Switchback Railroad.
|A photo from the 1966 Lehighton Centennial book dated about 1906 shows a car in front of the Lehighton|
Exchange Hotel approaching the curve to go up South Street.
|Another photo from the 1966 Lehighton Centennial book shows a trolley heading downtown at a stop at Fourth and|
Mahoning Streets in Lehighton. The home on the left is present day Verona's Pizza, formerly Young's Bakery,
formerly Paulsen's Groceries.
|Here is the Fourth and Mahoning Street intersection today. Some of the same houses can be compared after 100 years.|
The trolley was surely viewed with both excitement and trepidation. It made it easier for residents to visit one another. Still others complained of its dangers.
An investigative perusal of the “Carbon Advocate” and the “Lehighton Press” newspapers from 1894 until 1910, finds thirty-three fatalities from trolleys occurring in the surrounding area. Ten of those fatalities happened in the immediate Lehighton, Jim Thorpe, and Panther Valley vicinities.
|This photo appears courtesy of the Ebbert and Ripkey book "Lehighton" published 2013. This is taken|
from today's First Street looking toward Bankway and Weissport. (Carbon Podiatry would be out of frame to the
left and the Carbon Minit Mart is out of frame to the right.) Blakslee's Power Plant would be down the hill
to the left.) Note the trolley tracks headed toward Weissport as well as the electrical wires above. (Click here to purchase Ebbert and Ripkey's "Lehighton."
Milton had established a name for himself in the banking industry, having been named in the 1905 "Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of the Lehigh Valley" Vol I by John W. Jordan (available on "Google Books").
According to the "Banker Magazine" published in October of 1906, it reported that McGeehan also later succumbed to his injuries. Whetstone was the son of Absalom and Rebecca Whetstone of Tamaqua. He married Stella Zeigenfuse/Seigenfose of Tamaqua in March of 1898. They had one child who survived Russell Hartanft Whetstone. Russell subsequently had three children, Doris, Jean and Russell Jr.
Up above on the hill, a group of “reckless” boys uncoupled a trolley, causing it to run away uncontrolled into the Martz family yard. Lillian Ryan survived her injuries. Carrie Martz died from a crushed skull.
The intended purpose of these torpedoes was for a safety warning to be deployed by workers in remote areas on regular freight and passenger lines if a track became obstructed due to a delay or a disabled train. They were not intended for the use within neighborhoods and cities.
Upon the explosion of the torpedo, a piece of metal hit Stuckley. The wound caused her death by blood-poisoning only a few days later. The youngsters probably had no idea their prank would lead to her death.
Mrs. Shiffer had filed a $260 judgment against him for back-pay owed to her as cook at his hotel. He confronted her in the dining room of his “Pullman Hotel” in Duryea, firing three times missing with the first two.
|Recently uncovered picture of my grandfather Zach Rabenold on the bank of the Beaver|
Run ravine with the trolley trestle above overhead.
The third shot though "pierced her heart." He was said to have “coolly” jumped into a passing trolley and rode it to Pittston where he gave himself up.
|The Beaver Run Trestle abutment as it appears today.|
This view is facing toward Lehighton, the ravine to
the viewer's back.
|This view of the Beaver Run Trestle remains gives some perspective|
to the eighty-foot drop off to the creek bed below.
Unknowingly, a repair car conducted by William Hatrick entered the line near the Beaver Run wagon road intersection between these two cars. The repair car was headed directly toward the extra car, down the incline at a “lively rate” of speed.
Seeing the repair car coming toward them and trying to avoid a collision, the extra car driven by motorman Adam Daffner quickly reversed itself back toward Lentz Trail.
Though strongly dissuaded and some being physically restrained from doing so, a small group of women were still successfully able to jump from the moving car. Those women being Mrs. Herman Beissert, Miss Lottie Beissers, Misses Bertha and Vivia Perschel, Miss Alice Boyle, and Miss Mary Cunningham.
|Freshly cut trees and scaffold hoists appear across the trestle as it was being built in around 1905. Photo from 1966|
Lehighton Centennial book. Among others, note the boy/man straddling precipitously off a beam at left of frame
below track level.
Bethlehem was experiencing congestion on its narrow streets, particularly on days of Lehigh University football games and the professional games on Sundays at Fabricator Field, which was several blocks away from the nearest trolley line.
|The work gang circa 1905. One of these workers is Austin Blew's grandfather of town. Photo courtesy of the Brad Haupt Collection. This picture appears on page 58 of Ebbert and Ripkey's "Lehighton" book published 2013. The version shown here is presented in its widest extent. Click here for a link to purchase this exceptional resource of Lehighton's history written by two of Lehighton's finest gentlemen.|
The honor, however, is somewhat dubious, given the continued misspelling of his name.
Invaluable resources that contributed to this article:
~Lamont Ebbert and Gordon Ripkey: "Lehighton," Arcadia Publishing (2013).
~The Brad Haupt Photo Collection.
~Eckhart's History of Carbon County, Volumes II-V (1996-2002).