Reflections of Saint Clair

Reflections of Saint ClairBack to main page

Did you know....?

  • The land where Saint Clair is now located was once a swamp!

  • The first street laid out in Saint Clair was Nicholas Street in 1831 by Carey, Lee, and Hart.  This partnership was called the "Carey Group".

  • The town's sewer system was first laid out in the 1850's?  It began on Second Street and progressed to the other streets.  the system was expanded in the 1960's by the Borough.

  • Saint Clair had it's own power plant?  Between 1872 and 1922 Saint Clair had a power plant on Third Street operated by the Borough.

  • Saint Clair's first water supply was polluted from mine drainage?  Saint Clair's first water supply came from wells and the Mill Creek.  After the drainage pollution in 1854 a water main was laid under Second Street.  The Morea, Kauffman, and Wolf Creek dams still supply water to the town via the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority.

  • The Workmen's Progress Association (WPA) built the town's playgrounds?  The three playgrounds were started in 1933 by the WPA.  Work first began in April of 1933.  Local young men and older men who where unemployed gave their time and worked daily at these projects.  For more information.

  • The first person to purchase an automobile in Saint Clair was H. L Daddow.  He had a "Pope Toledo", named after its manufacturer, M. Pope of Toledo.  The auto was sold to Mr. Daddow in 1900 by R. J. Mills who had a bicycle store/men's furnishing store in Pottsville.  The Pope Toledo Co. was the orgins of automotive company who now makes the Jeep an Humbees.

  • Do you know where the first Community Pool was located?   It was on Front and Lawton streets.  The pool was filled in and is now a parking lot for the Columbia Hose Company. The 2nd community pool was located where the "South Ward" playground is now located, it was started in 1933 but was closed by 1942.

  • Saint Clair had its own newspaper?  In fact there were several newspapers.  In 1880 the Holmes Printing Shop opened, operated by Bill Stocks and published a paper called "SPLINTERS".  It was published between 1880 and 1915.  Edward R. Scherr took over Holmes Printing in 1913 and published the 'SAINT CLAIR BULLETIN" for several years.  Then James Kelly opened his own shop on South Front Street and published a few issues of  "SAINT CLAIR - OUR TOWN". 

  • The Center Turnpike (Reading to Sunbury road) passed near Saint Clair, through Wadesville.  It was opened in 1770.  By 1811 the stagecoach was the main transportation.  Mail was carried by stagecoach from Pottsville to Saint Clair beginning in 1845.

  • Railroads arrived in 1826 when the Danville and Pottsville Railroad opened.  Girard Tunnel

  • In 1829 the Mill Creek and Mine Navigation Railroad Company opened from Port Carbon to southern Saint Clair and provided the means to move coal to the Schuylkill Canal.   The Schuylkill Canal head was in Port Carbon .

  • Walker's Hall was not only used as a meeting place for John Siney and his Miners Union but was also a center of basketball games and at one time served as Borough Hall.

  • On the corner of Third and Carroll Streets there was an Armory.  It burned down in 1902.  There are no know pictures of the Armory.

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Whose skeleton is in the closet?

In 1976, David Buchanan, the local pharmacist purchased the building next to his pharmacy.  The building was the the former Odd Fellows Lodge at 27 South Second Street.  He hired some contractors to begin renovating the former Lodge.  The men began to tear apart a closet on the second floor of the building, they discovered a false floor.  Upon removing the flooring, a large canvas was found in a compartment below and under the canvas, a human skeleton in a mahogany coffin.  Whose skeleton was it?  How long had it been there?  Why was it there?   The contractors decided to unearth the story behind the find.

It was found that the skeleton has been wired to create a movable jaw and bending fingers.  Metal insignia found in the casket contained the three linked circles of the Odd Fellows crest.  The three rings signify the Odd Fellows motto of :  Friendship, Truth, and Love.

With this clue in hand, several older members of the local I.O.O.F. were contacted.  They remained anonymous because of their sworn oaths of secrecy about the order's rituals.  They informed the contractors that the skeleton was used in some way of initiation programs and degree promotions exercises.  How it was used was not revealed but it was hinted that it was the medium of providing some hilarious moments.

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How long was the skeleton in the Lodge building.  No one knows for sure.  In 1976 the building in which the skeleton was found was over 100 years. The Odd Fellows moved in to the location on June 8, 1932.

The late Mr. Buchanan displayed the skeleton in his store for a short time as a conversation piece.

Where is the skeleton now?   Well, he never left.  The building at 27 S. 2nd Street is now a bridal store called UNIQUE BRIDAL operated by my good friend, Gretchen Brinich.  The former Lodge member remains upstairs on the 2nd floor, in his coffin, in a closet.  Who is he?  Well, I guess we'll never know.

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More info on the Odd Fellows:   Mineral Lodge, No. 285 I.O.O.F. was chargered November 22, 1847 and organized April 1, 1848.  The orginal members were:  John Batter, Philip Lewis, Anthony Mawry, Jacob Metz, William Phillips, William Renner, John Seitzinger, Daniel Shafer, William Walker and William Williams.

The lodge met each Wednesday evening in the hall on the corner of 2nd and Hancock Streets.   On September 27, 1865, the lodge purchased from John Holmes, four acres for a cemetery.  It was chartered on July 12, 1866, under the name of Odd Fellows' Cemetery Association of the Borough of Saint Clair.  The cemetery was dedicated on October 1, 1867.  Later an addional three acres were purchased.

Membership in 1934:  George Boote, Noble Grand; George Kapsha, vice Grand; Charles J. Crawshaw, Treasurer; Joseph Kelly, Secretary, Joseph H. Hughes, Chaplain; Joseph P. Kelly, Joseph H. Hughes, Joshire Tuckett, Trustees.       (See Prime Spots)

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1958 Overview of Saint Clair

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