Thursday, July 10, 2014

HISTORY comes to life

April 02. 2013 6:29PM

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Ever wonder how Clarks Green looked in the 1940s and 1950s?

Where three byways intersected, small town America was in its heyday.

“Clarks Green corners was just that,” said Clarks Summit resident and history buff, Warren Watkins, 80.

He recalled Kermit Greene, chief of the Clarks Green Police Department. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Chief Greene was the only policeman in the department.

“Kermit was responsible for the Clarks Green corners, which consists of North Abington Road, Glenburn Road and East Grove Street. His patrol car was his own. He is buried in the Clarks Green Cemetery.”

Watkins took a walk down memory lane to paint a mental picture of the scene.

“It was really their downtown area. It consisted of O’Malley’s Gulf (Gas) Station, Brown’s Pharmacy, a dentist, a hairdresser’s and barber shop. At one time, there was a gift shop, along with another small business, and at one time there was a Turkey Hill Store there.”

The Borough Building, a small grocery store and also a barber shop were also part of the landscape. Farther down on East Grove Street was the Clarks Green Garage, (repaired and sold cars) and “that was about it,” said Watkins. “Later on, there was a funeral home next to the borough building, and farther up next to Baumgartner’s (store), was the Baptist Church. The Insalaco’s Supermarket was built where the medical building is now. That pretty much made up the corners.”

Watkins lives in Clarks Summit Borough, but not much farther than a stone’s throw away from Clarks Green Borough. He spent his youth roller skating, riding his bicycle, fishing. That is, he said, “besides church (Clarks Green United Methodist Church) and attending school.”

“We found a lot of things to do on our own to keep busy.” He and his pals fished and ice skated on a pond on Venard Road and, “if we didn’t fish there, we’d get on our bikes and go to Glenburn Pond.”

For anyone who did not wear a watch, a siren sounded at 7 a.m., noon and again at 6 p.m.

To earn money, at one point when he was 12 or 13, Watkins ran a lawn business that included approximately 14 customers. But he did not have a car to transport the circa- 1930s push mower he inherited from his grandfather, so he tied the lawn mower to the back of his bike and pulled the mower to his customers.

A newly formed Centennial Committee will plan ahead for the celebration of Clarks Green borough’s 100th anniversary May 14, 2014. One group aims to fund a town clock for the occasion. For details, contact Gail E. Rees, Chair, at 570.587.0505.


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