Monday, June 27, 2016

Lehighton Sesquicentennial Trivia Night

Trying to enjoy all the intriguing events of this week is tough to do.  The Trolley Tour on Saturday, the Cemetery Tour last night and the parade and fireworks coming up Saturday are among the many highlights, not to mention the talent show, various contests, and of course the variety of musical performances each night.

One of my favorite Lehighton pictures:
Chief of Police (most likely Harry Yenser) and
then Mayor William J Zahn chat in our business district.
Zahn served as Chief Burgess from 1934 to 1941.  Chief Yenser
modernized the department by adding new technology necessary to combat
the "gangster" 1930s: a teletype machine, a .45 cal machine gun, and
bulletproof glass in the windshield of the patrol car.  Most work
was still done on foot and even horseback into the 1930s.
The department also owned a motorcycle as early as 1929.

I have a two fold reason for sharing this post to those interested in the Trivia Night this Friday, July 1st from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at the Amphitheater: To give a sampling of some of the questions and also to give a rundown of how the contest will work.

No matter what your level of Lehighton knowledge is, you will be rewarded by attending this event.  Not only will you learn tidbits you never knew existed, but by competing you will achieve a shred of immortality: All competitor's names will be placed in the Time Capsule at week's end along with all the questions and answers.

This was the Lehighton Airport dedication day, on July 20 and 21, 1929 (photographer is facing the homes on Ninth Street).  Pictured here is Mahlon Kistler Sr (4th from left).  It is unclear if Jensen is in this picture.  Other dignitaries attending the event were Governor Fisher and National Labor Secretary Davis.  Jensen was born in Kansas but also
lived in Harrisburg in the 1930s.  One article stated that he was a former resident of our town.
So let's start with a few sample questions that didn't make the cut.

Sample #1: Martin Jensen was the second person in the world to fly from California to where?  (Answers will appear at the end of this article.  Jensen took his $10,000 of prize money from the Dole fruit company to invest it in Lehighton's airfield.  At least 15 other crews attempted this feat, most of those ended fatally.)

Now that could be hard for some folks?  Well first of all, this one is so tough I threw it out.  Also, the first three rounds are all multiple choice.  So is it: A. Jamaica, B. Spain, C. Iwo Jima, D. Hawaii?

An attempt was made to make the questions begin with some relative ease.  Given freely here are some hints at a few of them: "What day does this certain weekly event take place in Lehighton?"  "What is the fee the town charges for someone applying for a ______ permit?" etc.

Sample question #2: Although this is Lehighton's 150th anniversary of its incorporation as a borough, what group originally founded here many years before?  

#3: Give the year of Lehighton's founding by this group.  (Again this is multiple choice in the first three rounds.)

#4: Name one thing you could buy at Karl Shaeffer's store on First St?
Karl "Smotz" Schaeffer ran a novelty
store in downtown Lehighton for years,
here in World War II.

There will be questions about the lives of some of the people nominated for "Citizen of the Century."  #5: He was among the last doctors to still make house calls?  #6: Who are the current owners of the Eugene Baer Silk Mill on Bridge St? etc, etc.

Here's How it will Work:
You can go it alone or pair up with a partner to become a dynamic duo.

Let's say we have 50 teams competing.  You will have a 50% chance of advancing based on how well you do on the first fifteen questions of Round One.  At the end of Round One, only the top 25 teams will advance.

There are lucky-guess tie-breaker questions to help sort out ties if needed.  Here's one: Name (guess) the year Ben Franklin came to Weissport to build a fort.  Or how about guess the number of fire hydrants there are in town.  Person's getting it on the nose will advance.  If no one answers it correctly, the closest without going over will advance. 

Easy right?

Here's an interesting question that was eliminated because it was too hard: Name the Lehighton Chief of Police who died of natural causes at the wheel of his patrol car in 1947?  (See sample answer #6 below).
Mark Blank was Chief of Police prior to
Harry Yenser in the 1930s.  He later became a
US Marshall in Scranton.  In 1929 he was
seriously wounded in a head-on collision on
a motorcycle on the "Mahoning Trail."
The force did have a motorcycle in its livery
at the time.

Round Two and another fifteen questions (they are getting harder now) will have the top fifteen teams advancing to Round Three.  After Round Three, we will have just the top five teams left.

Now it gets interesting.  Multiple choice is gone.  Contestants will then enter the "Jeopardy"-style of play, except for one twist: when in control of the board, they can choose "Battle Questions."

Here's an example.  Suppose this were "State Trivia."  A Battle question could be "Name all the states beginning with the letter "N."  Each question has the number of correct answers available.  In this case there are 8 correct answers.  

The player in control of the board may choose one of these Battle Questions as their turn.  They also get the option of answering first or second.  The player/team that gives the last correct answer gets 5 points.  The losing competitor loses 5 points.  So if you believe the competitor you are playing against knows all their states, you can have them go first, allowing you to give the last correct answer and winning.

Here are some of the Battle Question categories: "Streets (7)," "Streets (11)," "Players (10+)", "Restaurants (10+)," "Service Stations (10+)," and etc. 

There are parameters, such as "Name the streets, including alleys, named after people."  There are eleven of them.  Make sense?  Good.  "Players (10+)" asks contestants to name the players of the 1977 District 11 championship basketball team.  There are more than ten correct names that could be given.  You wont have to know them all, you just need to know one more than the person you choose to "battle" with.

As for the "Jeopardy" side of the game, the categories are: "Sports," "Famous," "Borough," "Corner Stores," and "Current Events."

Questions could be something like: Where could you buy ice cream on South Second Street?  Who was the Olympic Swimmer who trained at Graver's Pool?  Who is our current Chief of Police? etc etc.
Here is one tough looking dude.  He was William Swartz
and he was Lehighton's police chief in 1917.  He tried to
calm down a rowdy 22-year old punk in a Lehighton hotel
and was shot and killed.  The only Lehighton officer killed
in the line of duty.  He left 8 children.

Then of course there is the "Final Jeopardy" question where the five finalists will wager an amount of their score before they answer.  I can tell you the topic now: "Lehighton."

These questions were designed to challenge yes, to inform, certainly.  But my ultimate hope is for all of us present to be enriched by our shared knowledge and love of this great town of ours.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


PS: After the event is over, a complete post of all the questions and answers will be posted, accompanied of course with current and historical pictures.

Sample Answers:
#1: D. Hawaii
#2: The Moravians
#3: 1746
#4: Novelties, trophies, fireworks, small games of chance supplies
#5: Dr. Marvin Snyder
#6: Woody and Robin Frey
Only three of these questions are actually in the game, however they are seen here in a modified form.  The other three questions will not appear at all.